Ten years ago today, first Ultimate Fighters crowned
Where were you April 9, 2005?
Me, I was at my roommate’s girlfriend’s birthday party but as fight fans we were watching the finale of the very first Ultimate Fighter. I remember the sea of of red solo cups in hand with beer pouring out the sides as the excitement in the room grew.
The energy in the room grew as each fight went on, building up toward the crowning of the very first Ultimate Fighter winner.
Who can forget Diego Sanchez living up to the expectations, dismantling Kenny Florian inside two and a half minutes?
But nothing put more excitement on faces than seeing the back and forth war between Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar.
The prize was a six figure contract with the UFC but UFC President Dana White enjoyed the fight so much he offered both fighters the contract.
It is the bout that literally saved the UFC and help put the organization on the map. People poured into the room and gathered around the television to catch a glimpse of the action, some people had never even heard of the sport and were unsure exactly what they were watching.
White credits this fight as being the driving force behind the future success of the UFC, often stating that it was due to the fight that Spike TV offered them a second season of the show.
In 2013 both Griffin and Bonnar were inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, and whilst Griffin went on to win the UFC Light Heavyweight title, this fight is still considered the highlight of both fighters’ careers and some will argue it is the greatest fight in UFC history.
With the win Sanchez extended his undefeated career to 12-0 and was crowned the very first winner of the Ultimate Fighter. He did it at middleweight, later moving down to welterweight and lightweight.
To date, Sanchez is one of just three fighters on the inaugural roster to still compete in the UFC. The others, Josh Koscheck and Mike Swick. White has stated he would like Koscheck to retire after not having had won a fight since 2012, and Mike Swick will return to action this summer after not having competed since December 2012.
That night, ten years ago did not end there however.
In the main event Rich Franklin made himself a household name when he TKO’d the “World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock just a few seconds faster than Sanchez did of Florian.
Franklin would later move on down to middleweight where he would be crowned champion.