The best flying knee knockouts in UFC history

By Lewis Simpson - May 29, 2023

Since the birth of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC) in 1993, the company has provided some of the most memorable jaw-dropping moments in combat sports history.

UFC Knockouts

The sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve yearly, delivering special moments for fans to reflect on for decades. From slick submissions to highlight reel knockouts, the UFC has it all.

Although the art of jiu-jitsu has to be respected, nothing quite gets the blood pumping than adding a highlight-reel knockout to your resume as a fighter.

One of the most devastating and skilled ways to separate your opponent from consciousness is to time and land a flying knee straight to the target. A skill only a select few fighters can master. Let’s rewind to some of the best flying knee knockouts in the UFC’s history.

Best flying knee knockouts in UFC history

UFC 239: Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren

There can be no conversation about flying knee victories without mentioning Jorge Masvidal’s stunning flying knee knockout over Ben Askren at UFC 239.

Months of build-up, bad blood, and back-and-forth verbal warfare were put to bed in five seconds of the opening round in the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas.

Despite competing in the UFC since 2013, 2019 was the year Masvidal had his coming out party after going (3-0) under the company. Stoppage wins over Darren Till, Askren, and Nate Diaz sky-rocketed the backyard brawlers’ stock, which eventually resulted in him competing twice for the welterweight title.

UFC Vegas 16: Cory Sandhagen vs. Frankie Edgar

Timing is everything!

Flying knees are a common theme in a striker vs. grappler matchup, especially against the style Frankie Edgar brings to the Octagon. A short, stocky wrestler that pressures forward with his head on the centerline is a lanky striker’s dream, such as Sandhagen.

The former bantamweight contender executed the manoeuvre perfectly at UFC Vegas 16, sending the now-retired Edgar faceplanting the canvas.

The bonus-worthy knockout moved Sandhagen to (13-2), marking two back-to-back stoppage victories for the American. At this point, the flying knee is a signature technique of the 30-year-old arsenal.

UFC Fight Night 106: Edson Barboza vs. Beneil Dariush

Hailing from Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Edson Barboza a physical specimen who was always destined to attain a highlight reel resume for the ages.

When Barboza pulled off one of the most devastating knockouts in the division’s history, the company’s eyes lit up in dollar signs. Leading into the fight, Barboza was riding a two-fight win streak and had made a name for himself in the 155lbs division after displaying his striking excellence with wins over former UFC champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez.

As Dariush threw a decoy right hand and levelled changed with the attempt to take Barboza to the mat, the Brazilian was one step ahead, and before you knew it, it was lights out.

The win wasn’t only significant due to the flashy-viral knockout, but it marked Barboza’s first finish in six fights dating back to 2014.

Barboza flying knee knockout will remain in the UFC history books until the end of time.


UFC Fight Night 121: Tai Tuivasa vs. Rashad Coulter

Who says heavyweights don’t have athleticism?

After seven straight stoppage victories on the Australian regional scene, Tai Tuivasa smashed his ticket into the UFC in 2017. The now fan-favourite hadn’t seen a second round in his career, and that didn’t change when he met with Rashad Coulter on his debut.

Tuivasa worked his way to a finish by throwing hard leg kicks that stumbled Coulter. Smelling blood and feeding off a home crowd in Sydney, the loud-spoken Australian followed it up with a knee to his opponent’s chin, leaving him unconscious against the cage.

UFC on ESPN+ 10: Michel Pereira vs. Danny Roberts

Michel Pereira is arguably one of the most unique characters to ever step foot inside the Octagon due to his unorthodox style and in cage acrobatics.

The Brazilian made a lot of noise ahead of his UFC debut after footage surfaced of the 29-year-old performing cartwheels and backflips into his opponents during the fight.

In 2019, Pereira met Danny Roberts on UFC on EPSN + 10, and it did not disappoint.

Leading up to his first-round knockout over the Brit, it was hard to comprehend where the energy came from to land a flying knee, considering Pereira spent the moments before running around the cage, leaping off the fence and front-flipping onto his opponent. But he found a way.

As if the knee wasn’t enough,  Pereira landed a thunderbolt of a right hand to send Roberts to the canvas and take home a $50,000 bonus.

UFC 84: Ill Will: BJ Penn vs. Sean Shrek

Save the best for last!

It’s hard to talk about flying knees without mentioning one of the most decorative and most skilled mixed martial artists of all time, BJ Penn.

In his prime, Penn was undoubtfully one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, and after becoming the UFC lightweight champion by defeating Joe Stevenson, his first title defence couldn’t have been any sweeter.

Penn completely overwhelmed Sean Shrek at UFC 84: Ill Will, with Shrek finding minimal success in the third round, ultimately leading to his downfall.

Towards the end of the third round, Penn timed a flying knee to perfection as Sherk bounced off the fence with the hope of re-engaging. Unfortunately for Sherk, the knee left him helpless against the cage, and after eating a further barrage of punches from Penn until the bell, he was unable to continue.

The victory marked the first of many title defences for Penn, and his 13th career win.

Which UFC flying knee knockouts would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!


BJ Penn Cory Sandhagen Edson Barboza Jorge Masvidal Michel Pereira Tai Tuivasa UFC