Recently we took a look at the most violent martial artists, but now it’s time to look at the most violent fighters period. This includes people who would commit their violence hand-to-hand, along with those who used proxies such as the armies and countries they commanded. There are some figurative monsters on this list in the form of martial arts fighters, and some literal monsters. If you think that we’re trying to equate the savagery of war with what happens at a sanctioned sporting event, you’re only half wrong.
Body count: In his wake, he left anywhere from 35-40 million bodies.
He was a prolific lover, with an estimated 16 million living descendants, but he was also one of history’s greatest fighters. He unified the warring factions and brought them together under his rule, kind of like if someone were to bring together the Bloods and the Crips. On the one hand, they’d have stopped gang violence but on the other hand, they would have created a much more organized and much stronger new gang.
“To crush your enemies, and see them fall at your feet – to take their horses and belongings, and to hear the lamentation of their women. That is the best life.”
Body count: 30 (33 if you include his kickboxing record)
Even though he has about a million times less destruction under his belt than Genghis Khan, who do you think would win a fight if the two of them were face to face? Exactly. Plus, Carlos was left off our previous list of martial artists, because his absolute brutality inside of the octagon transcends martial arts alone and earns him a spot here. He is the Natural Born Killer, after all.
Body count: Unknown.
She is the world’s most successful pirate ever, so that’s enough to earn a spot on this list. She’s kind of like the GSP of pirates. She took on empires, except instead of Matt Hughes and BJ Penn, she took on the British, Portuguese and the Qing Dynasty. She was one of the rare pirates to retire before being killed, kind of like how GSP went out on top in his early 30s. She was born in China, and worked as a prostitute until she was captured by pirates and working her way up the ranks and becoming one of the most feared fighters the high seas have ever known. She passed away in 1844 at the age of 69.
Her fleet is estimated at 1,800 vessels with a crew of anywhere from 20,000 – 80,000. We like to imagine her shouting at them with the same voice as the announcer from Pride.
Body count: 34
His nickname is The Last Emperor, but he’s not the last Russian emperor that we’ll be featuring on this list. Fedor is arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, and you don’t get that title without cracking a few eggs. Many of the world’s top fighters have turned down fights with Fedor. For example, Randy Couture could have made 3 million dollars to fight Fedor at Bodog but instead opted to re-sign with the UFC and take a tenth of that amount to fight Tim Sylvia. Before entering into professional mixed martial arts, Fedor worked as a firefighter and he probably kicked the shit out of those fires.
Body count: Too high to count.
The Maori Warriors are some of history’s most feared combatants. They would eat their enemies in order to capture their mana. If you’ve ever played an RPG, it’s mana that lets you cast spells. Before attacking their enemies, they would do a war dance in order to intimidate them and throw them off their game, not unlike Anderson Silva.
Ivan the Terrible
Body count: 60,000+++
We’re hitting our scary Russian quota for this list with the inclusion of Tsar Ivan. This cruel bastard was in charge of Russia from 1533 to 1584, and he was a total freak. He started off torturing animals when he was a kid, then grew up to torture people. During his reign, he started to become very paranoid and started killing tons of innocent people thinking they were his enemies.
Body count: Who’s up for a Bruce Lee movie marathon to tally it up?
Bruce Lee is probably the most influential martial artist of all time. Can you imagine if he was competing in MMA today? The list of incredible things he accomplished in his lifetime is endless. It would be insane to compare his violence to that of Ivan the Terrible or Elisabeth Bathory, because most of Lee’s most-viewed fights happened on a movie set instead of a real battlefield. None the less, he was one of the most dangerous men on earth and the last person you would want to cross if you were a movie bad guy, so he’s earned his spot.
Body count: 40,000 in a single battle.
The Mings were very innovative in terms of inventing new weapons and new ways to destroy their enemies. They were among the first dynasties to use gunpowder, giving them a massive advantage over all others. The Ming Dynasty came to power in 1368 when the Chinese overthrew the Yuan Dynasty. Their first order of business was to create a strong enough army to defend themselves, then it was time for conquest.
They were also trained in Shaolin Kung-Fu, and would collect the ears of their enemies like Mike Tyson.
Attila the Hun
Body count: He ate his own sons.
Are you having flashbacks to Age of Empires yet? During his reign of terror from 434 until his death in 453, Attila the Hun was the leader of the Hunnic Empire and one of the most brutal men to ever live. From his conquest through Austria and Germany, across the Rhine into Gaul, he left a warpath of death and destruction in his wake. He drowned in his own blood on his wedding night, making that the original Red Wedding.
Body count: 56
He started boxing after his bike was stolen. He vowed that he would kick the ass of the person who stole his bike after reporting the theft to the police, and the officer on duty was a boxing trainer, who took the young Cassius Clay under his wing. He was banned from boxing for three years for refusing to fight in the Vietnam war. He tossed his Olympic medal into the river as a protest against the racism that was still very prevalent in his hometown. Ali fought against the world’s toughest boxers, he fought against the military industrial complex, he fought against racism… All with a violent ferocity that would make it a tragedy for him to not featured on this list.
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