The Hit List: Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

By Brian Knapp Jun 9, 2016

They elicit a visceral reaction from an audience like nothing else in combat sports. Quick knockouts are a staple of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and date back to UFC 1 on Nov. 12, 1993 in Denver. There, nearly 8,000 spectators at McNichols Arena let out a collective groan and gasp when Gerard Gordeau sent Teila Tuli’s tooth flying with a kick to the face just 26 seconds into the first-ever fight inside the Octagon. It served as a wakeup call for all those who had considered climbing into the cage and a rallying cry for those who deemed mixed martial arts too barbaric for public consumption.

In the 22-plus years that have elapsed since, the record books have been filled with fast knockouts, the authors as diverse as the methods they used. From journeymen to champions and everything in between, the bearers of such violence have been many. The one common denominator has been the jolts of electricity they send through an arena and the mouths they leave agape.

With that as the background, examines the quickest knockouts in UFC history:

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Robert Emerson vs. Manny Gamburyan | UFC 87 | 12 Seconds

The battle between “The Ultimate Fighter 5” castmates Emerson and Gamburyan did not last long on Aug. 9, 2008 at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Emerson clipped the chin-high and overaggressive Gamburyan with an overhand right, shoved him to the ground and then knocked him senseless from a kneeling position with a left hook. The Armenian judoka was out cold upon impact, leaving referee Yves Lavigne to rescue him from further punishment. “It’s just a right hand that landed,” Emerson said. “If that punch doesn’t land, it would have been a war. He’s a tough guy. He’s been through some tough fights. I just knew I had to keep it off the cage and keep it off the feet.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Johny Hendricks vs. Jon Fitch | UFC 141 | 12 Seconds

A beautiful left hook from Hendricks laid waste to the former welterweight title contender in their featured pairing at UFC 141 “Lesnar vs. Overeem” on Dec. 30, 2011 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Fitch -- who had not been finished in more than nine years and had lost only once in his previous 23 appearances -- threw a straight right hand, backed away and ate a punch that ended his night. The left hook connected, and Fitch collapsed. Hendricks then moved in for the kill and fired off one more left hand for good measure, as referee Steve Mazzagatti stepped in to prevent additional damage. “What did I tell everybody? In every interview I did, I said that I had a left hand,” said Hendricks, a two-time NCAA wrestling champion at Oklahoma State University. “Everybody has been counting me out. I knew if I hit him with it, I could lay him out.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Duane Ludwig vs. Jonathan Goulet | UFC Fight Night 3 | 11 Seconds

Goulet paid a heavy price for his miscalculations at UFC Fight Night 3 on Jan. 16, 2006 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Only 1,008 fans were on hand to witness this historical nugget. Goulet marched toward Ludwig, a vastly superior kickboxer, and walked into a right cross that dropped him face first on the canvas. After a brief pause, referee Mario Yamasaki signaled the stoppage and sent Ludwig back to a jubilant corner that included longtime mentor and former UFC heavyweight champion Bas Rutten. “Not to get cocky or nothing, but people just need to work more technique,” Ludwig said. “He comes in wide, and I just come with a short right hand. Everything just came together. I had two weeks’ notice. I wasn’t really training, and I just focused in.” The UFC recognizes it as the fastest knockout in its history at six seconds, though the official time of the stoppage remains unchanged at 11 seconds on the Nevada Athletic Commission books.

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

B.J. Penn vs. Caol Uno | UFC 34 | 11 Seconds

Penn’s initial three-fight run in the Ultimate Fighting Championship was marked by a series of savage beatdowns that culminated with his 11-second thrashing of Uno at UFC 34 on Nov. 2, 2001 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. At the start, Uno launched himself into the air and unleashed a kick that the Hawaiian easily sidestepped. Penn then short-circuited the Shooto champion with a right uppercut and blasted away with rapid-fire rights before referee Larry Landless arrived on the scene. A motionless Uno lay against the cage, his left leg pinned beneath him, his open eyes staring into the abyss. “I knew he was going to do a jumping kick. I saw already when he fights a good fighter, he wants to do a jumping kick like he did before,” Penn said. “I’m just going to hit you and hit you and hit you and hit you and hit you some more.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Mark Weir vs. Eugene Jackson | UFC 38 | 10 Seconds

Weir made quite a splash in his promotional debut, as he blitzed Jackson in 10 seconds at UFC 38 on July 13, 2002 at Royal Albert Hall in London. The Gloucester, England, native could not have known then that it would go down as his only UFC victory. Weir hid his lethal hands behind a hook kick and caught Jackson with a short right hand as they came together. The blow leveled Jackson and left him defenseless to the clubbing right hands that fell next. He remained on the canvas for several tense moments before rising to his feet and greeting a gracious Weir in defeat. “I had a lot of pressure [on me],” Weir said. “The media attention is amazing. Of all the years I’ve been doing martial arts, this is the first time I feel recognized as a sportsman, an athlete; and to live up to it ... that’s all I kept thinking to myself: ‘I have to live up to it.’”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Gray Maynard vs. Joe Veres | UFC Fight Night 11 | 9 Seconds

A three-time NCAA All-American wrestler at Michigan State University, Maynard was not known for his standup when he confronted the MMA Lab’s Veres at UFC Fight Night 11 on Sept. 19, 2007 at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. It was there that “The Bully” gave future opponents another weapon with which to concern themselves. Maynard faked a takedown and, as Veres dropped his hands to sprawl, planted a lunging left hook on his chin. The impact was too much for Veres to bear. He hit the deck, and a three-punch volley, two rights and a left, mopped up what was left. Maynard went on to challenge Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight championship on two occasions. Veres has fought just one time since.

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

James Irvin vs. Houston Alexander | UFC Fight Night 13 | 8 Seconds

Alexander burst on the UFC scene with back-to-back first-round finishes against Keith Jardine and Alessio Sakara, taking care of business in a grand total of 109 seconds. After a technical knockout loss to Thiago Silva slowed his rise, he was matched with Irvin at UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2, 2008 at the Broomfield Event Center in Broomfield, Colorado. The two light heavyweights touched gloves and reset. Irvin fired first, uncorking a slashing Superman punch that folded Alexander where he stood. Two follow-up right hands knocked the dazed “Assassin” unconscious for a brief moment and resulted in an immediate stoppage despite his objections. “The first one barely got him -- it barely got his chin -- but the second one was about as hard as I can hit. It was pretty solid on him,” Irvin said. “I would give anything to fight Houston again right now. If we could do it again right now, I’m down. You want to go to the parking lot? We can go out to the parking lot and do it.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Don Frye vs. Thomas Ramirez | UFC 8 | 8 Seconds

It was a gross mismatch on paper, as these two were paired in the quarterfinals of the UFC 8 “David and Goliath” tournament on Feb. 16, 1996 at the Ruben Rodriguez Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A decorated collegiate wrestler with a black belt in judo and some professional boxing experience on his resume, Frye entered the cage at a chiseled 206 pounds. Ramirez, a Bayamon, Puerto Rico, native, was a pakua-chan stylist who was “undefeated in 200 challenge matches on the islands.” He was 41 years old and weighed 410 pounds. The introductions lasted longer than the match. Frye backed up the woefully overmatched Ramirez with punches and sent a short right hook plowing into his jaw. Ramirez came to rest at the base of the cage. He was out cold as soon as he hit the mat.

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Ryan Jimmo vs. Anthony Perosh | UFC 149 | 7 Seconds

A former Maximum Fighting Championship titleholder, Jimmo tied the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history, as he leveled Perosh in seven seconds at UFC 149 “Faber vs. Barao” on July 21, 2012 at the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta. It was a dazzling promotional debut for the Canadian karateka, as he recorded his 17th consecutive victory. Jimmo threw one right hand and barreled up the Australian grappler. An unconscious Perosh wilted against the cage, beaten for the first time in more than two years. “I just went at him,” Jimmo said, “and I knew when I threw some heavy leather he was going to be on the bad end of it.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Chan Sung Jung vs. Mark Hominick | UFC 140 | 7 Seconds

Korean Top Team’s Jung disposed of the former UFC featherweight title contender seven seconds into the first round of their clash at UFC 140 “Jones vs. Machida” on Dec. 10, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. The result stunned the partisan Canadian crowd, many of them there to cheer on Hominick. A perfectly timed and delivered straight right hand soiled Hominick’s plans, as he threw an errant left hand, left his chin unprotected and met with disastrous consequences. Jung followed him to the floor and landed a series of unanswered blows to force the stoppage. “I’m always expecting to get a good win, but this feels great,” Jung said. “Just because I’ve been knocked out doesn’t mean I’m [not] a great striker. I think I’m one of the best strikers in the world.”

Quickest Knockouts in UFC History

Todd Duffee vs. Tim Hague | UFC 102 | 7 Seconds

A mountain of a man at 6-foot-3, 251 pounds, Duffee entered his Octagon debut with plenty of hype behind him at UFC 102 on Aug. 29, 2009 at the Rose Garden in Portland Oregon. He sported a perfect 5-0 record and carried the American Top Team flag. Duffee wasted no time getting down to business, as he moved on Hague, floored him with a crushing left jab and followed up with merciless rights and hammerfists. One final left hand rendered the Canadian unconscious and put Duffee in the record book. “No disrespect to Tim, but I felt like I was better in every aspect. I knew I was a better athlete. That’s not me trying to be arrogant, but there’s maybe three or four guys out there that are as athletic as I am,” Duffee said. “This week has been the least-stressful week of my last year -- no question. Finally getting to walk out there, it was probably the most calming feeling ever.”

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HONORABLE MENTIONS: Gary Goodridge vs. Paul Herrera, UFC 8 (13 Seconds); Anthony Johnson vs. Chad Reiner, UFC Fight Night 10 (13 Seconds); Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo, UFC 194 (13 seconds); Terry Martin vs. Jorge Rivera, UFC 67 (14 Seconds); Anthony Perosh vs. Vinny Magalhaes, UFC 163 (14 seconds); Jens Pulver vs. John Lewis, UFC 28 (15 Seconds); Andrei Arlovski vs. Paul Buentello, UFC 55 (15 seconds)
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