“Must see T.V.” means what’s about to happen on your screen is unmissable. You’d be a fool to change the channel while this is on. Though the phrase is generally used when talking about shows, there are plenty of fighters who fit the bill. If you see one of these guys names pop up before a fight, stay tuned, you’re more than likely about to see something special.
These are the top five fighters who go above and beyond to entertain.
5. Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje
Justin Gaethje is violence personified. Gaethje is 18-0 with 16 finishes (15 via K.O./TKO 1 submission). Just looking at his record it’s easy to see why his nickname, “The Highlight”, is well deserved. If you go back and watch his fights, it becomes much more obvious. He fights with a constant pressure and a reckless abandon that’s a level above most in an already brutal sport. Gaethje has no fear of putting himself in harm’s way to put on a show and get the win.
He’s been rocked and stumbled in fights but has always had the heart and chin to fight through and break his opponents. UFC fans just got their first taste of his brutality in his debut with the organization against Michael Johnson in an immediate classic. Stay tuned, because whether it’s big punches, leg kick TKOs, somersault kicks, “Rampage” vs Arona style slams youre into,he’s got you covered.
4. Carlos “The Natural Born Killer” Condit
Besides maybe the aforementioned Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje, I’m having a hard time thinking of a fighter more deserving of their nickname than “The Natural Born Killer”. Carlos Condit has finished 28 of his 30 victories by knockout or submission. He’s won “Fight of the Night” five times and “Knockout of the Night” twice.
One of the things that makes Condit so dangerous and exciting is his ability and willingness to assault you anywhere the fight goes. Do you want to fight at range? He uses his long frame well to land jabs and front kicks. Want to get in close and throw down? Cool, his elbows, hooks, knees and clinch game are all nasty. Sure, take him down, that’s where some have had success. But be careful down there. Condit has razor elbows off his back, an active guard always looking for submissions, and the ability to win scrambles back to his feet.
Nate Diaz keeps the FOX censors on their toes when he fights on the network. Middle fingers flying, post-fight interviews riddled with “F-bombs”, he’s a showman both inside and outside the cage.
Diaz has finished his opponents in 16 of his 19 victories. He’s a highly- skilled Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt, who has a very busy ground game. And even though 12 of his wins are by submission, Diaz is more than content to stand and brawl. He’s a high volume striker who boxes awkward and long. He may lack that big K.O power, but the sheer number of strikes he lands, while talking trash to his opponents, adds up. If you’ve seen him fight, it’s easy to figure out why Diaz is tied for the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history with 15.
2.“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler
Robbie Lawler doesn’t talk trash. He’s not a great self-promoter on the mic. he seems very bored and disengaged in interviews and at press conferences. He’s not on Twitter searching for the “money fights”. Lawler seems to only be interested in one thing: violence.
“Ruthless” has handed out some of the scariest knockouts in the history of mixed martial arts. His finishes of Frank Trigg, Melvin Manhoef, and Matt Lindland were simultaneously awesome and terrifying. Even when he’s not offering up life-changing K.Os, he’s engaged in in memorable clashes that rarely have a lull in the action. His fights with Johny Hendricks at UFC 171 and Carlos Condit at UFC 195 were both crowned “fight of the year” by various media outlets. Oh, and did I mention his blood and guts war with Rory Macdonald yet? Because many fans and media consider it the greatest fight of all time.
1. “The Notorious” Conor McGregor
Love him or hate him, Conor McGregor is the definition of “Must See T.V.”. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at his pay-per-view numbers. Nobody sells like “The Notorious”. For good reason too. He’s a constant self-promotion machine who has captivated fight fans and people who don’t follow combat sports. People who don’t watch fights, still watch Conor McGregor fight.
Of course, his personality, his press conferences, and his interviews are a big reason he is where he’s at today. Yet, we can’t take away from what the man has done in the octagon. He’s won the belt in two different weight classes. Of his 21 victories, 18 are by knockout. He flattened one of the best fighters of all time (Jose Aldo Jr) with a single punch in 13 seconds. He even squared off against one of the best boxers (Floyd Mayweather Jr) of this generation in a boxing match and made the fight more exciting than many of us thought he could.
Yes, there’s a lot to be said about his lack of title defenses, some of his early UFC competition and the Mayweather bout, but at the end of the day that doesn’t really matter to this list. What matters is, when McGregor is in the cage or the ring, the world slows down and pays attention.