Best UFC Fights of All Time, Ranked

Best UFC Fights of All Time, Ranked

The UFC has been delivering the best stage of combined martial arts motion accessible for near 30 years. In that point, the Las Vegas-based group has promoted hundreds of fights. A few of these have been fairly forgettable, loads of others have been good, and a choose few have gone down as the very best UFC fights of all time.

The listing of iconic UFC fights appears to get longer yearly, and 2021 has been no exception to that rule. This yr gave us epic battles like Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega, Petr Yan vs. Cory Sandhagen, Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler, and Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar. Even so, there are a couple of fights that stand head and shoulders above the remainder. We’ve performed our greatest to slender that listing right down to 10.

Preserve studying for our roundup of the very best UFC fights of all time, all of which may be seen legally on UFC Combat Cross, the promotion’s official streaming service. Though a few of these bouts are over a decade previous, they’re nonetheless sending shockwaves by means of the MMA universe.

The Finest UFC Fights of All Time

10. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor, 2016

Few MMA-related lists are full with out some point out of McGregor (for higher or worse), and this one is not any exception. He’s identified for making knockout wins look easy, however in the summertime of 2016, the Irish famous person was dragged right into a grueling, 25-minute battle along with his chief nemesis, Nate Diaz.

Diaz and McGregor had already fought a couple of months earlier. Diaz shocked the world in that struggle by handing the Irishman his first UFC loss with a second-round submission. Heading into the rematch, anticipation couldn’t have been increased.

The second struggle was a nail-biter, and the 2 welterweights engaged in a razor-close battle by means of all 5 rounds. Diaz landed barely extra vital strikes, connecting on 166 makes an attempt in comparison with McGregor’s 164, and in addition racked up 5:50 minutes of management time on the mat. McGregor, nonetheless, was behind the extra decisive moments of the matchup: He dropped his rival 3 times.

For sure, the judges had a tricky job on their palms. In the long run, they handed McGregor a majority determination win, that means two judges scored it in his favor, and the third scored the struggle a draw.

Similar to that, the 2 superstars have been tied 1–1. The grounds for a trilogy have existed ever since, nevertheless it hasn’t occurred but. Don’t be shocked if that lastly adjustments in 2022.

9. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar, 2005

MMA is best now than it ever has been earlier than. struggle in the present day is objectively higher than an excellent struggle from the early days of the game, as coaching practices have improved dramatically and fighters have turn into extra expert consequently. Even so, we’ve bought to provide it up for the classics, and none maintain a candle to the 2005 gentle heavyweight struggle between Forrest Griffin and Stefan Bonnar.

Griffin and Bonnar met within the finale of the primary season of The Final Fighter actuality present, a time when the UFC was struggling to interrupt into the mainstream. The 2 gentle heavyweights helped the promotion do exactly that: The three-round slugfest was a dazzler, and Griffin finally gained by determination.

It was hardly a technical struggle, nevertheless it didn’t matter. The aggression and grit of each males left jaws on the ground, and it helped introduce an entire new crop of followers to the UFC.

8. Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson, 2017

Robbie Lawler is the one fighter to look twice on this listing, however Justin Gaethje almost did, too. Over the course of his unbelievable profession, the American light-weight has participated in an extended listing of unforgettable battles, lots of which arguably rank among the many better of all time.

However the very best struggle of Gaethje’s legendary profession occurred in 2017. After a powerful reign because the World Collection of Combating light-weight champ, he made his Octagon debut reverse Michael Johnson. Gaethje was unbeaten on the time, and he was among the many most hyped fighters in MMA. But Johnson very almost spoiled the undefeated star’s debut by pushing him to the brink of consciousness within the early going.

In a show of unbelievable toughness and coronary heart, nonetheless, Gaethje surged again for a second-round knockout win—bolstering his resume with not solely a traditional struggle however one of many sport’s nice comebacks.

7. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit, 2016

From the second it was introduced that Robbie Lawler would defend his welterweight title towards Carlos Condit in early 2016, MMA followers anticipated an unbelievable struggle. The 2 welterweights have been each regarded among the many most fun fighters within the sport, and with a title on the road, drama appeared assured.

In the long run, the struggle surpassed all expectations. The pair engaged in a wild putting battle for the total 5 rounds, bombing one another with the sort of heavy artillery that would have simply worn out lesser fighters.

Lawler gained the struggle by way of break up determination, however many followers felt Condit ought to have gotten the nod—and that verdict remains to be debated in the present day. By hook or by crook, the struggle was among the best ever.

6. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry, 2011


Cheick Kongo in 2015 Gregory Payan/AP / Shutterstock

A struggle doesn’t have to final a number of rounds to be nice. Heavyweights Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo proved that after they collided within the Octagon in 2011.

This one bought loopy rapidly. Minutes into the struggle, Barry despatched Kongo crashing to the canvas with a crackling proper hand, and as soon as he had the Frenchman harm, he didn’t let up. Kongo absorbed punch after punch, clinging to consciousness by his fingernails—to the purpose that commentator Joe Rogan prematurely declared, “It’s over.”

It was not.

Simply when it seemed like Kongo couldn’t probably take one other punch, and the referee seemed able to intervene, the Frenchman surged again and floored Barry with a punch of his personal. A number of punches later, it was over—this time for actual, as Barry stared up on the Jumbotron along with his again on the ground.

Kongo had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in some of the dramatic one-round fights of all time. Severely, watch this one. You are able to do it in much less time than it takes to heat up a plate of leftovers.

5. “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier, 2012

Subsequent time you’re attempting to introduce anyone to MMA, present them the 2012 featherweight struggle between “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier.

This struggle was loads like Costco—it had the whole lot. From wild putting exchanges, to blindingly quick scrambles, to slick submission makes an attempt, each weapon within the MMA arsenal was on full show. It was additionally capped off by one of many rarer submissions in MMA: Jung tapped Poirier with a fourth-round D’arce Choke.

For some motive, this one appears to be forgotten when followers debate the very best fights of all time, however make no mistake: It belongs on this listing.

4. Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk, 2020

Weili Zhang and Joanna Jedrzejczyk’s 2020 strawweight title struggle isn’t simply among the best ladies’s bouts of all time, it’s among the best fights ever, interval.

On the time of the struggle, China’s Zhang was the reigning champion. She was on a staggering 21-fight win streak and seemed to make it to 22 towards Jedrzejczyk, essentially the most dominant champ within the division’s historical past.

The 2 strawweight stars set to work early and didn’t cease till the ultimate bell: They threw a dizzying 783 strikes mixed. The 25-minute firefight took an immense bodily toll on each ladies; Zhang’s face was purple with bruising and Jedrzejczyk, extra notably, sustained a grotesque hematoma that made her brow swell up like a balloon.

It was a blinding show of approach and toughness, and a must-watch for anyone trying to get acquainted with the very best fights in UFC historical past. A rematch additionally feels inevitable.

3. Jon Jones vs. Alexanders Gustafsson, 2013

By the point Jon Jones stepped into the cage with Alexanders Gustafsson in 2013, Jones was already thought-about unbeatable within the eyes of many followers. Since profitable the sunshine heavyweight title with a TKO win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in 2011, the American had defended it six occasions towards a powerful procession of expert fighters: Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, and Chael Sonnen.

After these performances, Gustafsson simply didn’t appear to have a shot.

In the long run, nonetheless, the unheralded Swede gave Jones the hardest struggle of his complete profession. He matched the dominating champion along with his footwork and shocked onlookers by taking him down. It was a traditional instance of an underdog rising to the event.

Sadly for Gustafsson, the judges finally awarded Jones a unanimous determination win, however the struggle was adequate to earn each fighters a spot within the MMA historical past books.

2. Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, 2011

Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, two of the best gentle heavyweights in MMA historical past, got here up collectively in PRIDE however by no means met within the now-defunct Japanese promotion’s ring. After migrating to the UFC, they lastly got here face-to-face within the Octagon in 2011—and their struggle was completely price ready for.

By that time, each gentle heavyweights had confirmed they possessed ferocious knockout energy and superhuman sturdiness, and each displayed these traits in spades within the Octagon. The 2 legends cudgeled one another for 5 wild rounds and repeatedly pushed one another to the brink of defeat. Miraculously, each males have been nonetheless acutely aware by the point the struggle concluded.

In the long run, Henderson was awarded a unanimous determination win, however the struggle was shut sufficient that the pair have been slated for a rematch in 2014. That point round, Henderson picked up a extra decisive win, stopping his rival with a vicious volley within the third spherical.

1. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald, 2015

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald’s first struggle, which the previous gained by break up determination in 2013, was good, however in no way a traditional. But when the 2 welterweights met once more in 2015, this time with Lawler’s title on the road, it turned out to be among the best fights ever—perhaps even the very best outright.

The 2 welterweight stars wasted no time portray the Octagon ground pink. By the point the fourth spherical was winding down, each males have been almost unrecognizable as a result of bruising and cuts they’d sustained, and the depth contained in the MGM Grand Backyard Enviornment couldn’t have been increased—thanks largely to Lawler giving MacDonald a murderous stare proper because the spherical concluded.

In the long run, Lawler put a stamp on issues within the fifth spherical, flooring MacDonald with a fist to the nostril, nevertheless it was the sort of struggle with no actual losers: an all-time traditional that also holds up in the present day.

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