UFC Leaders - Significant Strike Defense

Posted 11:00 AM
The twelfth (and final) in our series going through the categories on our UFC Official Records page, this post deals with the record holders for the highest percentage of significant strikes defended.

What: This percentage or "rate" stat is the last of our defensive statistics. It simply divides the number of unsuccessful strike attempts by a fighter's opponents by the total number attempted and produces a defense percentage. Note that this statistic only includes significant strike attempts.

Why: This stat seems simple enough on its face. Fighters who can avoid a larger proportion of their opponents' strikes should have an easier time competing. It does not reflect on their ability to take a punch when they do absorb one, but no matter how strong their chin, this category of defense indicates how hard it might be to land that big strike. This is the number that would seem to encapsulate those fighters that are deemed "elusive."

1Ryan Bader76.1%
2Yushin Okami74.2%
3Frank Edgar73.8%
4Georges St-Pierre73.6%
5Rafael dos Anjos72.8%
6Luigi Fioravanti70.7%
7Michael Bisping70.5%
7Jim Miller70.5%
9Rick Story70.3%
10Gray Maynard70.0%

Who's Next: Because of the large number of strikes seen by the fighters on this list, there isn't a lot of volatility, so there isn't likely to be a lot of movement in and out. There also aren't a lot of fighters with four fights waiting in the wings. The one exception is Ross Pearson, who should join this list with one more fight.

The Breakdown: A surprisingly low number of champions on this list compared to most of the others. Only Frank Edgar and Georges St-Pierre have ever held a belt and only Gray Maynard has even challenged for one. That said, with the exception of Luigi Fioravanti, all the fighters on the list are fighters in good standing in the UFC with winning records and prospects to improve their lot in the UFC.

One name that is surprising for its absence is Lyoto Machida, who has made a career out of being elusive. While that's true, the reputation has taken a major hit because of his two fights against Mauricio Rua. If we look at Machida's significant strike defense on October 23, 2009, the day before his first fight with Shogun, it would stand at 75.5%, good for second place. It now stands at 66.4%, which puts him in 22nd place.

The Takeaway: While still an important category to quantify a fighter's performance, significant strike defense is not as important to fight success as things like takedown defense or SApM. The category favors those fighters that choose to stand and trade, because overall accuracy is lowest when fighters are at distance. It can also favor smothering wrestlers. Since the only chance their opponents have to strike is while standing, the accuracy against them will suffer.

See reports for these fighters