UFC is the cream of the crop when it comes to MMA. Every fighter wants to join the elite promotion, and if they succeed in that, it means they are among the best fighters in the world.
Without further ado, here’s a ranked list of the 60 best UFC fights of all time.
I used PPV numbers, the overall popularity of the fighters, and the quality of MMA presented in the fights as the criteria for the list, trying to be as objective as possible.
60. Vitor Belfort vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 17.5
One of the first blockbuster fights in UFC history was the clash of two young Brazilian MMA stars on the rise, Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva. The fight was held on October 16, 1998, and while it didn’t take long for the fight to finish, it was a springboard propelling the winner to stardom – although both became global MMA superstars in the future.
Belfort started guns blazing, forcing Silva to back out against the cage. A solid left hook planted Wanderlei on his butt, and the onslaught would continue hadn’t John McCarthy step in to stop it. Silva protested the stoppage, but it was clear he was TKO’d.
59. Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza at UFC TUF 22 Finale
If you haven’t heard of Tony Ferguson or Edson Barboza before 2015, the UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter 22 season finale changed that. Everybody knew it would be a great matchup, and boy, did they deliver.
It was a great back-and-forth battle with Ferguson being the aggressor. Barboza landed his fair share of significant strikes, but everything ended with a beautiful D’arce choke, deeming Ferguson the winner.
58. Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg at UFC 216
Demetrious Johnson is one of the best MMA fighters of all time, but the way he broke the title defense record was just as amazing as the record itself. He fought Ray Borg at UFC 216, and while the challenger put up some resistance early in the fight, it was clear that he can’t handle the Mighty Mouse.
In the final round, Johnson tossed Borg in the air, catching him in an armbar to complete his record-breaking 11th title defense and one of the most amazing finishes in UFC history. The previous record was ten defenses set by Anderson Silva a few years before.
57. Leonard Garcia vs. Chan Sung Jung II at UFC Fight Night 24
Many might not remember this gem of a fight from 2011 when Leonard Garcia squared off against The Korean Zombie for the second time. The fight was a very intense back-and-forth battle, with both fighters having their moments.
Garcia was in a modest lead, but what made this fight so memorable is how it ended. Sung Jung showed the world he is more than just a striker when he pulled off the Twister, one of the rarest UFC submission finishes ever. I’m not even sure if anybody else ever pulled it off, but it was awesome. If you haven’t heard of it, check it out.
56. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm at UFC 193
Many individuals claim that Holly Holm’s knockout of Ronda Rousey was one of the most shocking knockouts in UFC history. The fight was the beginning of the end for Rousey, who was one of the UFC’s biggest superstars. She was demolishing everyone before Holm, and she truly seemed invincible.
However, Holm played to her strengths perfectly in a striker vs. grappler match-up. She kept Ronda on her feet as much as possible and eventually landed her patented high kick and knocked Rousey out cold to become the new champion. After this fight, Rousey was never the same fighter again.
55. Georges St-Pierre vs. Michael Bisping at UFC 217
If anybody needed confirmation that Georges St-Pierre is one of the best MMA fighters in history, they got it after his devastating victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 217. GSP came back after years of absence to challenge him for the middleweight belt – even though he was the welterweight champion before his 4-year pause.
Even though he hadn’t fought in four years, he completely dominated Bisping and took the middleweight belt after a rear-naked choke in the third quarter. I didn’t like that he came back after that long to take the title only to vacate it right after.
54. Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin at UFC 116
This fight was the fight that put Brock Lesnar to the biggest test of his career. It was his first title defense, and he really had to earn it. From the start, Carwin came out swinging. He caught Lesnar with a few mean shots early, sending him tumbling to the ground.
The onslaught continued there, too, and it seemed like it was merely a matter of seconds when the ref will call it a fight. Still, Lesnar survived to see the 2nd round, and Carwin was already gassed. Lesnar took him down and eventually submitted him, earning him one of the biggest comeback wins in UFC history.
53. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier 2 at UFC 241
Daniel Cormier pulled off an upset in his first matchup against Stipe Miocic to become a UFC double-champion, a feat only a few fighters ever managed to achieve. But, Stipe proved he deserves the title of the best heavyweight of all-time in the second match at UFC 241.
DC had his moments early, and for the better part of the fight, it seemed like he has Stipe’s number until the Firefighter woke up in the 4th round. He devastated Cormier’s body leading to a spectacular knockout. It’s one of the most meaningful comeback wins in UFC history and an incredibly entertaining one as well.
52. Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor at UFC 194
Jose Aldo wreaked havoc on the featherweight division for years. He was the one to expose McGregor, the loud-mouth Irishman challenging him for the title. Aldo was the fighter with a better resume back then, and many people felt like Conor will finally get what’s coming to him.
Yeah. McGregor caught him with his first punch, a deadly left hook, knocking the champion out cold in merely 13 seconds. The reign of Conor McGregor started here, and he didn’t even sweat to get the belt. It was a shocker and probably the day that changed the UFC forever.
51. Robbie Lawler vs. Nick Diaz at UFC 47
Everybody expected this fight to be a classic striker vs. grappler affair, but how wrong we all were. Lawler was a known brawler (pun intended), finishing six of his eight victories via (T)KO. However, confident Diaz chose to stay on his feet against Robbie, and right from the start, it was obvious he actually has the upper hand.
He caught Lawler by surprise, which was obvious in the 2nd round, where he was a lot more cautious. In an early exchange, they threw a punch simultaneously, and Diaz landed first, sending Ruthless Robbie face-planting on the canvas.
50. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia at UFC 68
Randy Couture is one of the legends of the sport. However, after suffering two knockout losses to Chuck Liddell, he decided to retire from the sport. A year into his retirement, Dana White offers him a title fight against Tim Sylvia if he comes back, and Couture accepted.
Not only was the comeback successful – it was one of the best performances of the veteran’s entire career. He lost gas towards the end of the fight, but he dominated the bout and reclaimed the heavyweight championship.
49. Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn at UFC 58
This was the first time the two legends collided, and it was a match that’s still debated upon. Georges St-Piere came away with the split-decision victory, and a lot of people disagreed with the decision.
The truth is, both fighters had their moments, but GSP did just a bit more and deserved the win. No matter who you believe should’ve won, it was a fantastic match.
48. Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 139
If you haven’t seen the Pantera and the Korean Zombie UFC Fight Night 139 bout, you missed one of the most exciting fights in the organization’s history. Both Sung Jung and Rodriguez are known for their offensive fireworks, and they displayed every bit of flash they had.
Sung Jung was in the lead point-wise until the literal last second of the fight, when Rodriguez ducked down and hit him with a reverse elbow right to the chin, knocking him out cold.
47. Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II at UFC 236
UFC 236 was one of the best UFC events ever, and it was capped off by a brilliant performance from Dustin Poirier and Max Holloway in their second matchup. Only this time, the results were different.
Holloway came out with pace, but Poirier was clearly at a power advantage, landing brutal strikes every round. Both fighters got their money’s worth, earning the fight of the night bonus, but it was Poirier coming out with the interim lightweight belt around his waist.
46. Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes II at UFC 179
We all knew that a new matchup between Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes would be incredible, but nobody predicted it would become one of the best UFC title fights in history up to that point. Mendes had great moments in the fight, but Aldo was the more composed fighter, earning the victory in the end.
While I believe the fight wasn’t that exciting, apart from several highlight moments, it was a great bout and the first time anybody jeopardized Aldo’s reign.
45. Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson at UFC 86
Most people believed that Rampage would come into this fight and demolish Forrest Griffin with his power. But, real MMA fans knew that Griffin was the better fighter, and he proved it in the fight.
He might have lost a round, but he was clearly at an advantage over Jackson, picking him apart the entire fight to get the unanimous decision at the end. It was a very entertaining match, though, and it felt like it was one shot away from a finish all the time.
44. Andrei Arlovski vs. Travis Browne at UFC 187
This was the best one-round show ever in UFC’s heavyweight division. Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne came out guns blazing. Arlovski caught Browne with a few nasty shots early, sending him tumbling around the Octagon.
The Russian went in for the kill but exposed himself to a wild roundhouse for Brown that sent him down to the floor. Arlovski managed to recover somehow and yet again started firing shots all over Browne, making the ref stop the onslaught. If you were sitting still while watching this fight, you’re not an MMA fan.
43. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz II at UFC 66
The rivalry between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz is stuff for legends, and their second matchup might be the best they ever had. It was an epic bout in which Liddell was the first to strike. HE dropped Ortiz early, but he survived the onslaught to see the second round.
It was a bit of a back-and-forth bout before Ortiz ended up on his back with Liddell in full-mount. The Iceman started raining punches, and the referee called it a night as Liddell became the only fighter to finish Ortiz – and he did it twice.
42. Antonio Nogueira vs. Randy Couture at UFC 102
Randy Couture came out of retirement guns blazing at heavyweight, and he finally met his match in Antonio Nogueira when it comes to the legacy they left behind. The legends didn’t disappoint, as they continuously pursued each other and went at it all the time.
It was a tight contest, but Nogueira used his size advantage to dominate Couture position-wise, ultimately leading to his decision victory in a battle as tight as they get.
41. BJ Penn vs. Matt Hughes at UFC 46
If you don’t know the back story, this might not seem like an extraordinary fight, although it was great. However, what you must know is the fact that BJ Penn had to climb up a division to challenge Hughes for the welterweight championship.
Many believed he’d get overwhelmed, but Penn looked even more comfortable than Hughes for the first second. He dismantled the champion and choked him out in the first round in a fight that many fans, including Joe Rogan, still deem as the biggest upset in MMA history.
40. Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC on Fox 29
It’s a pity that this matchup didn’t get its PPV because everybody knew it would be epic. Poirier and Gathje are the two of the toughest fighters in the lightweight division. Gaethje was in relentless pursuit all night and seemed to have Poirier breathing heavily before accidentally poking him in the eye.
It was all the breath Dustin needed, as he came out in the fourth round strong, clipped Gathje with a mean left hand, and finished the fight.
39. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 1 at UFC 196
Pairing up a mean trash-talker with a mean trash-talker made fans desire a historic fight. And we got it. McGregor was a favorite and dominated the first round. However, he never met a heavier chin than Nate, as the younger Diaz brother started picking the Irishman apart.
McGregor made a crucial mistake when he tried to take Diaz down to the ground. Being a BJJ expert, Diaz quickly took Conor’s back and finished him with a beautiful rear-naked choke. It came as a surprise for many, but not for Diaz.
38. Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler at UFC 171
The fight between Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler was the fight to crown a new welterweight champion after years of Georges St-Pierre’s domination. It was an instant classic, as Hendricks and Lawler gave it their all in a five-rounder that instantly became a classic.
Hendricks came out on top that day, winning a unanimous decision, but it was obvious that Lawler was set for success, later becoming a champion, too.
37. Max Holloway vs. Calvin Kattar at UFC on ABC
MMA hasn’t seen a striking exhibition this good in a long time. Max Holloway and Calvin Kattar put on an amazing performance that isn’t ranked higher on this list just because the fight itself didn’t have much significance in terms of championships.
However, it’s definitely one of the best fights we’ve seen in the UFC. Both fighters gave it their all and more. Holloway emerged victoriously, but it was far from a one-sided affair.
36. Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero II at UFC 225
It’s a shame that Yoel Romero missed weight for his 2nd bout against the middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. The fight still went on, but it was a non-championship contest. Still, that didn’t stop Whittaker and Romero from battling it out for an epic five rounds.
Whittaker managed to outstrike Romero, but the Cuban shook him late in the fourth round. The fifth round was a battle for survival for Whittaker, as he had a broken hand the entire way, but he survived and claimed the victory in a historic performance.
35. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes II at UFC 65
GSP hardly ever lost a fight in his life, but Matt Hughes was one of the guys that managed to beat him. However, their second bout was nowhere near close to what the first one was, as St-Pierre avenged his defeat in style.
He relentlessly attacked Hughes with a flurry of strikes, finishing the bout in the second round to become the champion. Many saw him as a grappling-only fighter, but it changed with this performance.
34. Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 40
Matt Brown had a tough chin. Without a doubt, that was at full display in the first round of his bout with Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 40. A body shot shook Brown, and Silva poured on the strikes, but the Ohio native recovered soon and unleashed a series of elbows that made Silva wobble.
It continued for two more rounds, and Brown finally finished it in the third, leaving Silva in a bloodied mess.
33. Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann at UFC on Fuel TV 8
The legendary Brazilian Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann put on a show at UFC on Fuel TV 8. The pair headlined the event with an up-tempo battle, with both guys coming out swinging. It seemed like it was a matter of seconds before somebody would put somebody to sleep.
And, it happened in the second round, as Silva knocked Stann out cold, proving he is not done as a fighter just yet.
32. Yancy Medeiros vs. Alex Oliveira at UFC 218
Yancy Medeiros made himself known to the world when he finished Erick Silva at UFC 212, but what got him the well-deserved respect was his performance against Alex Oliveira at UFC 218. Oliveira was the favorite, but it didn’t go as planned for him.
Medeiros shattered Oliveira’s nose in the first round, but the Brazilian still managed to survive and put up a great fight, regardless of the bloodied nose. The pain finally gave in lat in the third round, and Medeiros won a clear Fight of the Night bout in style.
31. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz I at UFC 47
Many fans believe that this was the most-hyped fight in UFC history before Conor McGregor showed up. The Liddell-Ortiz rivalry was huge at the time, and many people believed the champion Ortiz was dodging his friend Liddell.
Nobody ever knocked out Ortiz in his career until Liddell did it that night. He clipped the champion with a few spectacular shots, only to finish him with bombs on the ground. It was a historic fight with a historic finish.
30. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard III at UFC 136
Frankie Edgar only lost one time in his 15 professional fights, and the culprit behind that loss was standing in front of him once again. It seemed like Gray Maynard would yet again get the best of Edgar, as he severely broke his nose in the first round.
Frankie survived, though, and took the fight into his own hands from that point forward. He eventually stopped Maynard and avenged his loss, but it was such an exciting fight that went into history.
29. Dan Severn vs. Mark Coleman at UFC 12
I think this fight gets overlooked too many times, but it was undoubtedly one of the best fights in MMA history. Both Severn and Coleman were already stars in the UFC, but this fight got them to new heights. Everybody expected a show, and the fighters delivered.
It was an epic battle where both men had huge opportunities to finish, but Coleman emerged as the winner, in the end, claiming the heavyweight title.
28. Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock I at UFC 40
Before Tito Ortiz came into the spotlight, there weren’t that many fighters having such a mainstream impact as him. Well, that only ascended even further when he squared off against Ken Shamrock at UFC 40.
It was a spectacular back-and-forth battle, but Ortiz defended his title yet again in a great fight.
27. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen I at UFC 117
Anderson Silva’s first fight against Chael Sonnen caught many by surprise. Many believed Sonnen has little to no chance at winning, but he proved everybody wrong for four and a half rounds. He tossed the champion around, dominating him on the floor.
The problem is, he got too comfortable, and Silva took his opportunity to tag him with a quick armbar, only two minutes before the end of the fight. He would clearly lose on points, but the champion survived and continued his reign.
26. Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje at UFC 218
You knew you’d witness fireworks when the UFC announced a matchup between Eddie Alvarez and Justin Gaethje. And boy, were there fireworks. Gaethje completely decimated Alvarez with low kicks, and it seemed like Eddie was barely standing.
However, Alvarez stuck to his game plan and kept tagging Gaethje with body shots. Bruised and battered, Alvarez landed a ferocious knee, ending one of the most entertaining comeback fights in years.
25. Justin Gaethje vs. Michal Johnson and UFC TUF 25 Finale
Yet another bout with Justin Gaethje on this list, his clash with Michael Johnson at The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale was one for the ages. He’s known as an entertainer, and his aggressive motor paid off here.
He took a huge strike to the chin and almost went numb but somehow survived. Better yet, he kept pressing forward only to complete the huge comeback with a TKO in the third round. He wasn’t even in the UFC, but he had already gained the division’s respect.
24. Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116
If you are the type of person that enjoys a good MMA brawl, then you must watch the Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama matchup at UFC 116. The first round was complete domination on the ground from Akiyama, but it cost him a lot of energy to control Leben on the ground.
The second round was completely different, though. The pair stood in front of each other and started spitting bombs on each other, and no fighter would succumb. Until Akiyama finally did in the third round when Leben pulled off a triangle choke 20 seconds before the final bell.
23. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit at UFC 195
Both Robbie Lawler and Carlos Condit are known as spectacular strikers, and their matchup at UFC 195 proved justified. Condit was first to stagger Lawler, almost finishing the champion in the first round.
However, Ruthless Robbie regained his composure and returned the favor in the second round. The third round was historic, as they both gave it their all, trading shots up to the brink of exhaustion. Lawler edged out a close split decision, but the fight went down in history for both fighters.
22. Tito Ortiz vs. Frank Shamrock at UFC 22
The fight between Tito Ortiz and Frank Shamrock was one of the first huge blockbusters for the UFC. Shamrock ruled the UFC, and things wouldn’t change this time around, too. Ortiz was a young star coming in with only one avenged loss to Guy Mezger, and everybody saw him as a big threat to Frank.
Well, everybody except Frank. He demolished Ortiz for four rounds, and Tito had enough right before the fourth round ended. He submitted to Shamrock’s punches, giving Frank his 4th title defense. He left the UFC after that colossal win.
21. Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez at UFC 166
Diego Sanchez is no stranger to epic MMA battles, but his showing against Gilbert Melendez put him over the top and made him a legend. Melendez battered him relentlessly for two rounds, but Sanchez never stopped moving forward, pressuring Melendez to make tough decisions.
Bloodied and bruised, Sanchez finally delivered a massive right and took the opponent’s back, only to get turned and nearly submitted. In the end, they stood face-to-face, swinging hard at each other, with Dana White jumping up and down in excitement. Melendez won the fight, but Sanchez’s resilience and persistence won the crowd.
20. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79
As two legends collided at UFC 79 in Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva, this was an instant classic. None of the two was in their prime, though, but they both desperately needed to put on a show to prove they aren’t washed. And, they delivered strongly.
They measured each other, probing at the beginning. But, when they started swinging, the crowd went into a frenzy. Silva searched for that wild hail-mary shot, but Liddell was composed, looking for precise, strong blows. Both of them ate some bombs, and it looked like Silva is about to collapse several times, but he never did.
It ended as a unanimous decision for Liddell, but it left fans wanting more, as it was one of the most exciting fights in both their careers.
19. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5
You wouldn’t think that Anderson Silva would end up having one of the most exciting career fights in his UFC debut, but it happened. He fought Chris Leben in a fight that had Leben as a clear-cut favorite. But, Silva was still unknown to the world, meaning nobody knew what he was capable of.
He completely dominated the veteran UFC star and smashed him with a huge knee in the first minute of the fight. Leben looked lost, as Silva’s prolific striking was merely a glimpse of what he would become soon after.
18. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry at UFC Live
It’s crazy that a fight lasting 30 seconds can be deemed as one of the best fights in UFC history, but this was probably the most nerve-racking 30 seconds in a cage – ever. Barry dropped Kongo; then he dropped him again.
It looked like Kongo doesn’t even know where he is, and Barry went in for the finish. Two bombs land on the button out of nowhere, and Barry collapses to the ground like a bag of meat. Nobody knows what the hell just happened, except Kongo, walking around the ring like he was never on the brink of death just moments ago.
17. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture III at UFC 57
We had many trilogies in the UFC over the year, but none was more finished in a more dramatic fashion than the Liddell-Couture trilogy. The last fight was arguably the best, and the pair never ceased to amaze.
It seemed that Couture had too much trouble getting down to light heavyweight, as Liddell looked more fresh and fluent. He defended his belt, sending Randy to the heavyweights once and for all.
16. Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236
Nobody saw this fight as a fight-of-the-decade caliber fight, but what Adesanya and Gastelum presented shook the world. It’s silly to stay on your feet with Israel, and everybody thought that Gastelum would pursue a fight on the ground, where he had a clear advantage. Instead, he held his ground on his feet, shocking Adesanya with huge blows the entire fight.
When Israel found his range, he showed a true heart of a champion and destroyed Gastelum in the final round after going 2:2 in the first four. It was an epic battle that had Adesanya coming out on top, but Kelvin earned the respect of every striker in the game.
15. Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1
Let’s face it – you can’t even compare the quality of MMA today with what it was when UFC started. But, in terms of historical significance, no fight was greater than Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau at UFC 1.
It was an incredible fight, though, as Gracie dominated every opponent in the tournament with his prolific BJJ. He destroyed Gordeau, too, and won the first-ever UFC tournament. The rest is history.
14. Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida at TUF: US vs. UK Finale
Surviving what Clay Guida survived in the first round of his match against Diego Sanchez at TUF: United States vs. United Kingdom Finale is stuff out of Hollywood movies. Sanchez threw bombs all over Guida, and it seemed like a matter of seconds before the referee stopped the fight. Guida stood tall, though.
He eats an uppercut time and time again but gets every time, even after a brutal head kick, to survive the first round. He dominated the latter two rounds on the ground, but Sanchez got the split decision. It was a spectacular fight, and it ended in the MMA Hall of Fame.
13. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II at UFC 125
One of the matchups between Edgar and Maynard already found its way to this list, but their best showdown came in their second go at UFC 125. Maynard looked as if he belongs two weight classes above Edgar, and he demolished the American in the first round.
I still don’t know how Frankie got out of it alive, but he changed the game completely in the second. He picked Maynard apart and even tossed him to the mat at one point. All five rounds were highly competitive, and they led to a draw decision. It was probably the fairest decision, but the entire bout was spectacular from start to finish.
12. Zhang Weili vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248
Joanna Jedrzejczyk never backs down from a brawl, but she bit more than she could chew when she fought Weili Zhang at UFC 248. In one of the best fights in women’s MMA history, the Chinese champion decimated the former strawweight queen, leaving her entire head swollen up and unrecognizable.
Jedrzejczyk’s technical striking worked initially, but Weili’s power took a huge toll on her later in the fight. It was close, but one look at both of these women warriors, in the end, showed clearly who won the match. Zhang remained the champion, and Joanna was never the same fighter again.
11. Jorge Masvidal vs. Ben Askren at UFC 239
You can’t have a best-fights list without the record-breaking finish that Jorge Masvidal delivered over Ben Askren at UFC 239. The fight lasted five seconds. You read that right. It took five seconds for Masvidal to fly in and decimate Askren with a flying knee.
It’s the fastest finish in UFC history, and I highly doubt it will happen ever again. Wow.
10. Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey at UFC 207
It was supposed to be the great comeback from Ronda Rousey, but it turned out to be the fight to send her into retirement. Nunes dominated the fight thoroughly as she demolished Rousey with a barrage of strikes that had us going “Ooh” and closing one eye with each strike.
Ronda looked completely lost, asking herself why she’s even there. It also showed the world that Amanda Nunes is here to stay, eventually becoming the best woman MMA fighter in history.
9. Cub Swanson vs. Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206
I would put this match in the top five best UFC fights of all time if it had more significance history-wise. However, it was undoubtedly one of the greatest fights ever. It was brutal even to watch, let alone be one of the two warriors duking it out inside the cage.
Swanson was stronger, while Choi was more precise, and they both ate so many significant strikes it was hard to count. Cub Swanson’s creativity eventually led to his victory via decision, but the fight entered the history books as one of the best striking performances by two fighters ever.
8. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II at UFC 202
If you thought the first fight between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor was awesome, then their second stint at UFC 202 really got you going. McGregor needed to avenge the tap-out defeat he suffered in the first match, but it wouldn’t come easy.
Yet again, they traded punch after punch, both being a bloodied mess by the end of the match. It was a PPV record-breaker at the time, and McGregor barely edged a majority decision win, but he was indeed in control of the fight. Nonetheless, it was such an amazing fight that had me screaming at the TV.
7. Mark Hunt vs. Antonia Silva at UFC Fight Night 33
Mark Hunt is a devastating striker, but Bigfoot Silva is, well, Bigfoot Silva. They went out and delivered a rarely-seen heavyweight slugfest that lasted for five rounds. You’d think they would lose gas, but they just kept on coming at each other, eventually ending the fight with a draw.
It was a Hall of Fame performance out of both of them, and a draw was the only right decision in the end.
6. Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua I at UFC 139
It’s hard to say any fight is a draw. There’s always this slight edge that you can find to determine the victor, but if there was ever a real draw, it was this showdown between Dan Henderson and Mauricio Shogun Rua.
They battered each other silly, and it might be the only fight in history ending in a draw where both fighters had a 10-8 round to their name. It’s unbelievable that none of them got knocked out in the end. If it were a championship bout, it would, without a doubt, be the greatest MMA fight of all time.
5. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson I at UFC 165
There weren’t a lot of fighters that came close to finishing Jon Jones. However, Alexander Gustafsson came as close to it as possible in their first fight at UFC 165. It was a bloody back-and-forth battle that had Jones put up to the biggest challenge of his entire career.
In the end, he got the decision victory that had Gustafsson and many MMA fans in discontent. Some say that Jones deserved the win, some considered it a draw, but many thought that the Swede had done enough to dethrone Bones. You be the judge.
4. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II at UFC 52
Younger fans won’t remember how awesome Frank Trigg and Matt Hughes were as fighters, but if you watched their matchup at UFC 52, that’s all you need to know. The entire fight was incredible, but how it ended made it somewhat of a legend.
There’s a lot of bad blood between the two before the match, and the tension is huge coming into the fight. Trigg delivered a groin shot that the ref missed and nearly choked out Hughes. But, the “hero” escapes, picks Trigg up, carries him all the way to the other side of the cage, tossing him down and choking him out.
You couldn’t write a better script, but it happened.
3. Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg at UFC 232
UFC 232 was one of the biggest UFC events ever. Two of the best women MMA fighters in history collided, while Jon Jones reclaimed his belt after being away for almost two years. The fight that got the most attention, though, was the Nunes vs. Cyborg matchup to determine the best of the best.
It didn’t take long for Amanda Nunes to prove why she is the best we have ever seen. Most people had Cyborg as a clear-cut favorite, especially since the bout was in her division. However, Nunes made her easy work, as she demolished the favored Brazilian in 50-ish seconds with a spectacular barrage of strikes.
2. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2 at UFC 189
Robbie Lawler got the best of Rory MacDonald in their first match, and MacDonald was eager to get even when they met again at UFC 189. He was relentlessly pursuing exchanges with Lawler, and had his number more times than not.
However, Robbie had his fair share of significant blows through all the nasty five rounds. Both were bloodied severely at the end, but Ruthless came out on top again with a hard-grind decision over MacDonald.
1. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar at UFC TUF 1 Finale
There will always be a difference in opinion when it comes to the best UFC fight of all time, but what makes the clash between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar number one is that everybody has it at least in their top three. It was a spectacular fight that will forever remain one of the most exciting matchups in the sport’s history.
There was virtually not a second of the match where these warriors weren’t going for it. They were fighting for their future, a six-figure UFC contract, and it truly showed. They never stopped bashing each other, and neither of them backed down, no matter how many devastating hits they ate.
It was such an incredible fight that meant everything for the UFC, as it took the promotion to new, global, mainstream heights. Griffin won, but Bonnar got a contract too. Watch the fight, and see for yourself – this was the most significant fight in UFC history.