Chuck Norris is a legendary martial artist and action star known for being the epitome of toughness. You may have even come across Chuck Norris facts on the internet that demonstrate his intense level of toughness. For example, "did you know that a cobra once bit Chuck Norris’ leg? After five days of excruciating pain, the cobra died." While we haven’t been able to verify that last fact, it is a fact that Chuck was the first westerner to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master in Taekwondo. Nevertheless, as tough as Chuck Norris is, there are some people who Chuck Norris can’t hold a candle to. While you may not have heard of some of these people, we can assure that there are none tougher. Here are 15 people who are tougher than Chuck Norris. Prepare to have your mind blown, Chuck.
15 Dr. Leonid Rogozov
If you thought Chuck Norris was the toughest man alive, you probably haven't heard of Dr. Leonid Rogozov. In 1961, Dr. Leonid Rogozov was a physician who joined the sixth Soviet Antarctic expedition, where Rogozov would spend 36 days at sea while facing temperatures of -140 degrees fahrenheit. During the expedition, Rogozov would develop peritonitis, which meant that he would have to get his appendix taken out or he would die. There was only one problem. Rogozov was the only doctor at the Novolazarevskaya Station in Antarctica at the time. Since a blizzard was on the horizon and the nearest help was over a thousand miles away, this meant that Rogozov would have to perform an appendectomy on himself! With the help of a mirror, some strong pain meds, and two non-medically trained researchers passing him tools, Rogozov was able to successfully remove his appendix over the course of an excruciating two-hour operation. It’s safe to say that Dr. Leonid Rogozov is definitely tougher than Chuck Norris.
14 Ernest Hemingway
When most people think of Ernest Hemingway, they only think of him as one of the greatest writers in American history. For those of you who may not know, Hemingway was actually one tough s.o.b. Hemingway was a fast driving, hard drinking guy who loved to fight (seeing as how he was an incredible boxer and wrestler). Hemingway would go on to serve in the US Army in Italy during WWI when he was only nineteen years old. During WWI, he would suffer serious wounds from mortar fire. If that wasn’t tough enough, Hemingway would go on to survive an unbelievable amount of uncommon illnesses like; anthrax, malaria, dysentery, anemia, hepatitis, skin cancer, diabetes, a ruptured kidney, spleen, AND liver, high-blood pressure, a fractured skull and a crushed vertebrae, and if you think those are bad; he survived TWO plane crashes as well. Hemingway was immortal during this stage in his life! Take that Chuck Norris!
13 Hugh Glass
If you look up the definition of tough in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Chuck Norris holding up a picture of Hugh Glass. Hugh Glass is a tough as they come. In 1823, Glass was mauled by a grizzly bear while on a trapping expedition. Glass’s entire back and scalp were torn apart and he suffered a broken leg on top of it all from the grizzly bear attack. Since nobody thought Glass would survive the injuries, three of Glass’s fellow travelers decided to stay with Glass until he died so they could bury him. Surprising everyone, Glass survived and on the fourth day, having decided there was no reason to wait any longer, Glass’s fellow travelers left and took his rifle, tomahawk, and knife with them. When Glass gained the power to crawl, he headed for the 200 mile trip towards Fort Kiowa, the would eventually take him six weeks to reach. Don't think he's as tough as Chuck? Glass actually set his own broken leg and let the maggots chew the decomposing skin on his back.
Rasputin made this list because of how he died. More specifically, he’s on this list because of what it took to actually kill him. In 1914, Rasputin was stabbed by a prostitute so severely that his vital organs were left hanging out. Incredibly, Rasputin recovered. Later on, in the night of Rasputin’s murder, he was invited to the Prince of Russia's palace where he was poisoned with enough cyanide (hidden in the food and drink) to kill a dozen men. As the hours passed, those at the palace could not believe nothing had happened to Rasputin. Defeated, they tried once again, but this time by shooting Rasputin in the back. After having left the palace, one of the men went back to get his coat and when he arrived inside, Rasputin leapt up and attempted to strangle him. Rasputin was eventually shot three more times in the back, had his hands and feet bound, rolled up in a carpet and was dumped in the frozen river. The autopsy report on Rasputin revealed that the cause of death was drowning. This meant that after the poison and gunshots wounds, Rasputin was still breathing when he was tossed in the river.
11 Albert “Hard” Jacka
Chuck Norris may be tough, but he’ll never be as tough as Albert “Hard” Jacka. On August 7th 1916, after an intense night of shelling, the Germans had begun taking over a portion of the line, which included Jacka’s dugout. Two Germans appeared in Jacka's dugout and set off a bomb, killing two of Jacka’s men instantly. After Jacka had emerged from his dugout, he found a group of German soldiers rounding up about 40 of his men. Jacka rallied the remaining men (those who survived the bomb blast, and who charged at the enemy) and tried to get to safety.
An intense battle of hand-to-hand combat later ensued and the Australian prisoners turned on their German captors. Jacka was wounded seven times, including two head wounds and a bullet to the shoulder. The line was retaken and 50 Germans were captured. Jacka was credited with killing between 12 and 20 Germans during the fight. If for some reason you didn’t think that made him tough enough, we should let you know that that was the second time he did something like that.
10 James Grant
James Grant takes toughness to whole other level. That’s because after he was bitten by a shark, he simply stitched up his own leg and then went to the pub for a beer. It doesn't hurt that this man was a junior doctor in the making.
James Grant and his friends were spear fishing on New Zealand’s South Island when he was attacked by a sevengill shark. While in the murky water, Grant felt a tug on his leg, and without a hint of fear, knew he had to get it off of him. Grant used the knife he was carrying in his hand to stab the shark. Luckily, he was able to get free and make it to shore. He had bites up to 5cm long on his leg and gave himself stitches using his handy-dandy first aid kit. After he was done stitching up his leg, Grant did what any of us would do in that situation. He went to the Colac Bay Tavern to have a beer.
9 Shavarsh Karapetyan
Shavarsh Karapetyan is a 17-time World Champion Soviet Armenian finswimmer. What is finswimming anyways? It's an extremely tough underwater sport which involves snorkeling and using tail fins at the same time. However, that is not what makes Shavarsh Karapetyan tougher than Chuck Norris. While wrapping up a 12-mile run, Karapetyan heard a crash and witnessed a trolleybus sink 80 feet to the bottom of a reservoir. With no visibility in the water, Karapetyan swam all the way down to the trapped trolleybus and was able to single-handedly rescue 20 passengers. Unfortunately, the incident left Karapetyan unconscious for 45 days with multiple wounds. And incase you were wondering, this event ended his sports career. Although his athletic career came to a halt, his new career as a superhero was on the rise because 10 years after the trolleybus incident, Karapetyan rand into a burning hospital to save those trapped inside. Somebody get this guy a movie!
8 John L. Sullivan
Imagine the UFC the way it is today, but the fighters are not allowed to use gloves. Can you imagine the pain!? Now imagine a fighter going 40-1. That would be James. L. Sullivan. Long before the Ultimate Fighting Championship, there was the toughest sport of all, bare-knuckle boxing, in which John L. Sullivan reigned supreme. Moreover, Sullivan is arguably the toughest sportsman in American history, as he was the greatest bare-knuckle boxer ever, and he was the first gloved boxing world champion, holding the title from February 7, 1882, to 1892. That's 10 years! This tough as nails fighter would only lose a single fight in his illustrious career, which was his last fight, to James J, Corbett who danced his way to a win rather than squaring up toe to toe with the legend.
7 Ching Shih
Ching Shih makes Chuck Norris look about as tough as a Chihuahua.
Ching Shih is arguably one of the toughest pirates to ever set sail. After living her life as a prostitute, she married the captain of a Red Flag pirate fleet. After his death, she took over his fleet. Shih ran a tight ship and devastated China, while rarely losing a battle. Shih became so powerful that China sent an entire armada out to stop her. Rather than backing down, Shih faced the armada and totally destroyed them, capturing 63 boats, and gave the captured soldiers the choice to either join or die. Shih would go on to fight for a few more years and would even capture British and Dutch naval ships. At the end of her reign, Shih was offered amnesty form China, which she and her 200 plus ships and 17,000+ crew accepted. They were even allowed to keep all of their plunder. Ching Shih 1, Chuck Norris 0.
6 Jack Churchill
Jack Churchill was the kind of guy who would bring a sword to a gunfight; and win. Churchill was a distinguished World War II commando whose exploits earned him the Military Cross. Jack Churchill was known amongst his men and fellow officers as “Mad Jack” due to his intensity on the battlefield. He even chose to enter battles with a sword, long bow, and trusty bag pipes. Think about that for a minute. Everyone else on both sides were using guns, but Mad Jack was using a sword and a bow and arrow! In 1943, Churchill and a corporal were able to capture 42 men and a mortar position form a German occupied town in Sicily. Again, he only had a sword, a bow, an arrow, and bagpipes! When WWII ended, after the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Churchill was apparently upset and had said, “If it wasn’t for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years.” Sorry Chuck, but Churchill’s tougher.
5 Ranulph Fiennes
What do you get when you mix Chuck Norris, the north and south poles, frostbite, amputation, and marathons together? You get Ranulph Fiennes. Ranulph Fiennes is an English explorer and endurance world record holder. Fiennes was the first person to ever visit both the north and south poles (by surface means) and the first to completely cross Antarctica on foot! If that wasn’t tough enough for you, when Fiennes suffered frostbite, rather than listening to his doctor’s recommendation that he wait several months before amputation, Fiennes took it upon himself to cut the fingers off himself with a fretsaw. Still not convinced on his toughness? Fiennes completed 7 marathons in 7 days on 7 continents in the land Rover 7x7x7 challenge after he suffered a heart attack and had double bypass surgery....Need we say more?
4 Lawrence Patrick
Lawrence Patrick was essentially a human crash test dummy and the toughest scientist who ever lived. Patrick was a biomechanics professor at Detroit’s Wayne State University. From 1960-1975, he described his work by saying that he was “a human crash test dummy.” That was as bit of an understatement if ever there was one. Patrick devoted himself to finding out just how much the human body could withstand, all in the name of car safety and science. Patrick would take hits to the chest with 10kg weights in order to test his rib cage, he had weights dropped on his face to test fracture mechanisms, and he even subjected himself to rocket sled rides to study the effects of deceleration on the human body. If only we could have tested the effects of Chuck Norris on Lawrence Patrick… We’re sure Patrick would have come out of it just fine.
3 Michael Malloy
Michael Malloy may have been a homeless alcoholic, but that doesn’t make him any less tough. Five men decided to take life insurance policies out on Malloy, with the intention to get him to drink himself to death in order to collect the insurance money.
The alcohol wasn’t working fast enough, so the men decided to put anti-freeze in his drink...then turpentine...then a horse tranquilizer...then, finally, rat poison. Nothing was able to kill Malloy.
Since the drinks didn’t work, the men tried oysters with poison and spoiled sardine sandwiches with carpet nails (we're gaging!). Still, nothing worked. Then, one night, the men waited till Malloy passed out, took him outside in -26 °C weather, poured water on him, and left him there to sleep. Malloy came back into the bar the next day to order another drink. This time, the men ran Malloy over with a car at 70km/h, but it only hospitalized him for a few weeks; they still couldn’t kill him. Unfortunately, the men were finally able to kill Malloy by pumping gas down his throat for an hour. The men were ultimately convicted of murder and received the death penalty. After all of these murder attempts, Malloy should have stayed away from the bar and went on and extended vacay.
2 Jane Todd Crawford
When it comes to toughness, not many people know about Jane Todd Crawford. But they definitely should. Back in 1809 in Green County, Kentucky, Jane Todd Crawford was told, what she thought was a post-term pregnancy, was actually an enormous 22.5-pound ovarian tumor. The problem was that back then, no one had ever been able to successfully remove an ovarian tumor. If you that thought that was going to stop Jane Todd Crawford, you’d be sorely mistaken. Even with a 22.5-pound ovarian tumor, she rode horseback 60 miles all the way to Danville to be seen by Dr. Ephraim McDowell. Dr. McDowell was willing to remove the ovarian tumor in an operation that had never been attempted before. To show you how tough she was, Jane didn’t even use anesthesia for the surgery, instead opting for a dose of opium and attendants to hold her down. The surgery would prove a success and she went on to live for another 32 years.
1 Theodore Roosevelt
Theodore Roosevelt is the embodiment of toughness. During his prolific life, Teddy Roosevelt was a rancher, explorer, deputy sheriff, New York police commissioner, New York governor, assistant secretary of the navy, war hero, Vice President of the United States, and President of the United States. Talk about a serious resume.
Roosevelt was also a great boxer and an expert at jujitsu. Once, when Teddy went to a saloon in a small town in North Dakota, a drunken patron fired several shots at him. The drunken patron then pointed the gun in Roosevelt’s face and called him “four eyes” and ordered him to buy a round of drinks for everyone. In response, Roosevelt simply laughed in his face and beat the living crap out of him, leaving the man unconscious. Did we forget to mention that Roosevelt also created the “Rough Riders” that took San Juan Hill? Or that he once delivered a speech after being shot in the chest? Sorry Chucky, but Teddy’s got you beat!