UFC Leaders - Takedown Defense

Posted 11:00 AM
The tenth 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 takedowns defended.

What: This percentage or "rate" stat is the first of our defensive statistics. It simply divides the number of unsuccessful takedowns by a fighter's opponents by the total number attempted and produces a defense percentage. A quick note: some fans are more generous in calling successful takedowns than we are. A takedown must be established and put the attempter in an advantageous position to count.

Why: More than any other defensive category, takedown defense is the one that correlates most strongly with success. Fighters who cannot avoid getting taken down may win a few fights here and there, but they will have a hard time finding consistent success in the UFC. In fact, there has only been one champion in the modern history of the promotion who maintained a takedown defense percentage of less than 50% (meaning, he gave up more takedowns than he defended). That man was Matt Serra and he never defended his title.

1Mirko Filipovic90.0%
2Andrei Arlovski89.5%
3Georges St-Pierre86.4%
4Lyoto Machida83.8%
5Chuck Liddell83.6%
6Yushin Okami83.3%
7Dong Hyun Kim80.8%
8Dan Henderson80.0%
8Gray Maynard80.0%
8Ben Saunders80.0%

Who's Next: If he can manage a good performance against Jon Fitch, BJ Penn should make this list after UFC 127. And while Anderson Silva didn't have to defend a takedown against Vitor Belfort, he's just a few takedowns defended away from making the top 10.

The Breakdown: It might surprise some that the number one spot belongs to Mirko Filipovic. While CroCop built his legend based in large part on his takedown defense, most of that legend was built while he was in PRIDE. His tenure in the UFC has been hit-or-miss and he has faced some less than stellar wrestlers. Still, the skills that made him one of the fiercest sprawl-and-brawl fighters of all time translated enough in his UFC fights to put him in the top spot.

The rest of the list has four UFC champions (Arlovski, St-Pierre, Machida, and Liddell) and several title challengers. In all, not one of these fighters has a losing record in UFC competition. Ironically, the fighter with the worst winning percentage on the list is CroCop, at 4-4.

The Takeaway: Two styles of fighters makeup the bulk of this list. The first are the wrestlers like St-Pierre, Okami, Kim, and Maynard. Because of their excellent wrestling, opponents may think to take them down first, and avoid a takedown themself. The other are standup specialists like CroCop, Liddell, and Dan Henderson. These fighters do not have the best takedowns in the world, but their "wrestling in reverse" is all they need to succeed. With the exception of the rare submission artist who does his best work on his back, following the lead of these 10 fighters is the surest recipe for success.

See reports for these fighters