In mixed martial arts (MMA), we can often point out certain competitors that just seem to have been crafted from a different cloth.
The toughness and grit needed to compete inside of the cage is unparalleled, and while all fighters should be given credit for taking on such a daunting task, not all fighters have that extra push deep inside of them.
Some of our favorite combatants are simply warriors at heart; they were made to do what they do, and in MMA, enduring punishment is sometimes just as important as dishing it out.
Let’s take a look at 10 of the UFC’s toughest fighters:
While he has unfortunately lost both of his bids at light heavyweight gold (albeit by split decision), Swedish star Alexander “The Mauler” Gustafsson has risen to stardom as one of the most durable fighters in the UFC’s 205-pound weight class.
He instantly gained exposure when he took longtime former champion Jon “Bones” Jones to the limit in their 2013 bout. Not many people had expected “The Mauler” to offer up much to Jones, but he indeed he did in a classic back-and-forth war.
Towards the end of that bout Gustafsson began to eat some big shots, including a devastating spinning elbow. Despite being bloodied and bruised, however, he always came back for more.
Fast-forward two years and Gustafsson would meet current champion Daniel Cormier in the main event of UFC 192 last October, once again pushing the titleholder to the brink of defeat.
With a busted up face, “The Mauler” constantly searched for the finish despite taking a ton of damage himself, clearly displaying his warrior spirit as one of the toughest fighters today.