UFC has given us some incredible matchups since the organization was started in 1993. These MMA classics have also become some of the most talked about events in sports. What’s more, the betting markets on this sport are now huge, with some of the biggest bookmakers in the world, such as Bwin, offering odds on all the upcoming UFC events.
To celebrate all that is MMA and UFC, we’ve decided to countdown the 15 best fights in UFC history. Not everyone will agree – that’s the beauty of sport – but no one can deny some, if not all, of these matchups were classics:
Top 15 fights in UFC history
15) Chan Sung Jung vs. Dustin Poirier – UFC on FUEL TV
Chung, known as ‘The Korean Zombie’ didn’t disappoint in his fourth-round submission of Poirier that won fight of the night honours at the time back in 2012, and has gone on to be remembered as a stone-cold classic.
14) Weili Zhang vs. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – UFC 248
A massive shout-out to the ladies of UFC with this 2020 classic strawweight encounter. An incredible 783 strikes were registered, making it not just the best women’s fight of all-time, but one of the best, period.
13) Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva – UFC 79
Two legends of the Octagon went head-to-head in the light-heavyweight division in 2007 and produced a stunning bout deserving of two outstanding fighters. Liddell may have won on decision, but both came out with their heads held high.
12) George St. Pierre vs Nick Diaz – UFC 158
Five hard rounds saw the legend that is George St-Pierre defend his welterweight crown against Diaz, who had really gone for the Canadian in the fight build-up. Diaz played his part for sure, but this was ring mastery by GSP in this 2013 battle.
11) Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard – UFC 125
A much-discussed UFC bout from back in 2011 saw the match end up in a thrilling draw, which did justice to both of these two incredible fighters. A standout career performance from both.
10) Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor 2 – UFC 202
This rematch from 2016 broke the PPV record and ended with the two fighters drenched in blood. It was an epic fight and one that was in the balance for much of the fight. It ended in a majority decision for the Irishman and is still one of the most discussed fights in UFC history.
9) Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez 3 – UFC 166
This 2013 fight was the third and final instalment of a bitter rivalry, and it was the best of the lot. Velasquez ultimately kept his belt in what was a grueling contest.
8) Diego Sanchez vs. Karo Parisyan – UFC 6
An early classic from UFC 6 back in 1995, Sanchez dominated Parisyan, who still managed to produce what is often remembered as the best judo throw in the history of UFC. So many highlights, it deserves a place on this list.
7) Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama – UFC 116
This 2010 battle was a fight of the night at UFC 116. It saw Chris Leben at his absolute best and coming only a fortnight after his defeat of Aaron Simpson, establishing his reputation as a legend of the sport.
6) Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II – UFC 52
This welterweight championship fight from 2015 followed two years after the initial fight between the two which Hughes won. It looked to all intents that Trigg would gain revenge until Hughes produced one of the greatest single round comebacks in UFC history. Unbelievable stuff.
5) Jose Aldo Vs Conor McGregor – UFC 194
Maybe the biggest fight in UFC history? McGregor had set the scene by confronting Aldo after his win against Dennis Siver. The build-up to this 2015 fight was huge, despite the initial bout getting delayed due to an injury to the champion. The scenes in Vegas had never been seen before in UFC, and the PPV figures were off the scale. The fight itself was no epic, with McGregor claiming a stunning victory in just 13 seconds – the quickest ever in a title fight. But it changed everything and made McGregor the global superstar we know today.
4) Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua: UFC 139
Two huge men going toe-to-toe in 2011. A fast start was proceeded by a Rocky-esque slugfest. You really need to check out the highlights of this one. And pretty much all if it was a highlight. The fight was summed up by the fact neither man could be at the subsequent press conference as they were both in the hospital. UFC Dana White declared it a top-three in the history of the organization.
3) Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2: UFC 189
The rematch! Lawler’s welterweight crown was on the line. The momentum switched in this epic on several occasions, and there were some shuddering blows, not least the connection that smashed up the nose of MacDonald and maintained Lawler’s title. The best fight of 2015, and one of the best in the history of the sport.
2) Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen: UFC 117
Highly anticipated and a bout that well and truly lived up to the hype. This middleweight clash had seen some huge bad mouthin’ from Sonnen leading up to it. On paper, the journeymen had no chance against the champion Silva, but it turned out to be much closer than expected. Indeed, Sonnen dominated and was well and truly on for the win before Silva produced one of the biggest comeback moves in the history of combat sports. You’ve gotta check out this 2015 epic to believe it.
1) Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar: TUF 1 Finale
Time and time again this fight is listed at the top of rankings like this. And for good reason. A stone-cold classic from way back in 2005 that saw these two warriors trade blow after blow. It was an epic, and no one deserved to lose. It also tops the list as being the fight that arguably made the organization. Hats off to both of these fighters. It was only the winner who was supposed to nail a big contract with the nascent UFC, but in the end they both did after this battle royale.