MMA

UFC Best Fights in History (Top 55)

UFC Iconic Moments

Throughout its 27-year history, UFC has blessed us with countless memorable fights. So, compiling a list of all-time UFC best fights is far from an easy endeavor. 

But, we took a walk back memory lane and brought back some genuine blast from the past. If you had been planning to binge watch some of the greatest bouts in UFC history, you can add these to your watchlist. 


UFC Best Fights (Highlights)

Without further ado, let’s see which fights made it to our list. We have ranked 50 fights from top to bottom. From the iconic Dan Severn to the modern sensation Conor McGregor-we have covered them all. 


55. Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg

Demetrious Johnson breaks the title defense record by tossing Ray Borg up in the air and catching him with an Armbar.


54. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holmes

Holly Holmes knocks out undefeated Ronda Rousey for the title. The start of Ronda ending her MMA career and legacy. One of UFC best fights in women history


53. George St Pierre vs. Micheal Bisping

Some people say if you don’t fight for over four years, it’s almost impossible to come back. Georges St-Pierre once again showed how he was in a different class.

In addition to moving up a weight class, he went and dominated Michael Bisping and captured yet another belt by choking his opponent.


52. Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor

One of the most anticipated Featherweight fights of all time. Aldo, finally making the walk only to be dethroned by Conor after just 13 seconds, which was also one of the fastest knockouts in UFC history

Some argue that it was his McGregor’s first punch of the fight that ended Aldo.


51. Georges St-Pierre Vs BJ Penn

Two champs meet up for the first time, as the iconic WW champ GSP batters the iconic LW champ BJ Penn.


50. Joe Lauzon vs. Jim Miller

(UFC 155)

Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon had put on a Fight of the Year Award-worthy performance at the octagon in UFC 155.

The lightweight bout was a total bloodbath, with Miller barely clinching the bragging rights.

Even though Miller won the tie, Lauzon showed unbelievable passion and determination with a bloodied face. 


49. Chan Sung Jung vs. Yair Rodriguez

(UFC 139)

Chan Sung Jung might consider himself unlucky for the way he got knocked out of this tie. After an evenly fought contest, Jung succumbed to an elbow hit from Yair Rodriguez.

Rodriguez inflicted the decisive blow with only 12 seconds remaining on the clock. While the uppercut blow won the tie for Rodriguez, the landing seemed accidental. 


48. Alex Oliveira vs. Yancy Medeiros

(UFC 218)

This was another slugfest that bruised and battered fighters. It was such a competitive fight that it seemed unfair that either Oliveira or Medeiros would have to lose.

The final moment of the welterweight contest came at 2:02 when a series of swift punches condemned Oliveira to the canvas.  Medeiros survived an early onslaught to become the eventual winner. 


47. Matt Brown vs. Erick Silva

(UFC Fight Night 40)

Matt Brown and Erick Silva produced a classic display at the UFC Fight Night 40. Both men fought courageously and deserved to go home as the winner.

Silva had drawn blood with an early strike, but Silva licked his wounds and remained in the fight.

Ultimately, Silva had the last laugh when he battered Brown to the ground and claimed victory. 


46. Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway 2

(UFC 236)

In a rematch full of thrills, Dustin Poirier claimed his second successive victory over Max Holloway.

In doing so, he had also won the interim lightweight world title. Holloway had come a long way since his first defeat to Poirier in the early days of his career.

He entered the fray as the reigning lightweight champion but fell short to the American once again. 


45. Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida

(The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale)

Huerta had cultivated a sizable fan base after winning the first five fights in his career and became the first MMA fighter to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

But, he was not the favorite to beat then Clay Guida in the Ultimate Fighter 6 finale.

However, Huerta proved his critics wrong and executed a rear-naked choke to perfection to seal the win. 


44. Forrest Griffin vs. Quinton Jackson

(UFC 86)

UFC 86 will not go down in history as one of the most entertaining night in the tournament’s history, but the main event somewhat saved it from becoming a total snoozefest.

48-46, 48-46, and 49-46 were the final scores as Griffin won the light heavyweight title defeating the Rampage. It was a toe-to-toe affair. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=maeEXRwP4aw


43. BJ Penn vs. Matt  Hughes

(UFC 46)

Matt Hughes was comfortable in the welterweight champion’s throne when BJ Penn had challenged him for the first time.

The latter had to upgrade to a higher weight division to participate in the bout, but he never seemed out of place.

Penn defeated Hughes in the first round with a rear naked choke, and delivered one of the biggest upsets UFC has ever seen. 

Joe Rogan’s top 3 UFC best fights!


42. Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie

(UFC 60)

Royce Gracie had enjoyed a legendary career in UFC, but he was nowhere near his peak form when he faced Matt Hughes at the octagon.

Hughes dominated from the very first second and settled the bout in the first round with a TKO.

This was not a competitive fight by any means. However, it will be a fascinating watch for any MMA fan because of Hughes’s excellence. 


41. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia

(UFC 68)

Randy Coutour vs Tim Sylvia
Randy Coutour vs Tim Sylvia

Randy Couture had hung up his gloves following a successful MMA career. But, he couldn’t resist testing the mettle of the contemporary heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.

So, he came out of retirement and produced one of the UFC best fights against his American compatriot. Couture showed no signs of rustiness as he cruised to a rather trouble-free victory. 


40. Antonio Nogueira vs. Randy Couture

(UFC 102)

Couture had been enjoying his second UFC stint, after coming out of retirement. At UFC 102, he met with Antonio Nogueira, a fighter who could match his heavyweight legacy,

The match-up between these legendary fighters didn’t disappoint. Noguiera exploited his larger body frame advantage to the best, as he edged Couture in a tight contest. 


39. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry

(UFC on Versus 4)

If you are a purist, then this bout might not convince you. It was not a fight brimming with technical quality.

That said, it packed a lot of drama as it featured one of the most extraordinary comebacks ever.

Barry seemed to have knocked Kongo out in the first round. But, the latter managed to get back on his feet and turn the table to his favor. 


38. Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama

(UFC 116)

Yoshihiro Akiyama was originally scheduled to meet Brazilian top fighter Wanderlei Silva.

The hype for the fight was immense, but Silva had to withdraw his name after sustaining a rib injury.

Even though Chris Leben came in as a late substitute, he proved to be more than worthy of filling in Silva’s shoes as he bested Akiyama convincingly. 


37. Tony Ferguson vs. Edson Barboza

(The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale)

Edson Barboza had made it very clear from the first minute that Tony Ferguson was up for a difficult night.

Tony Ferguson stood up well against the onslaught his Brazilian fighter.

Finally, he managed to wear Barboza out and make him a victim of Ferguson’s trademark submission. It also marked Ferguson’s seventh win in a row.


36. Mark Coleman vs. Dan Severn

(UFC 12)

Both Mark Coleman and Dan Severn had cemented their status as UFC big names prior to the fight.

So, this bout was shaping out to be one of the UFC best fights before a single punch was thrown. And, it’s fair to say that the duo lived up to the challenge.

But, Coleman emerged victorious between the two and became the rightful holder of the heavyweight title. 


35. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 2

(UFC 66)

UFC best fights all started with these two warriors
UFC UFC Liddell Vs Ortiz

Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz renewed their rivalries in the octagon at UFC 66. Liddell, who had had the better off Ortiz last time around, came out as the winner once.

However, Ortiz had put on a more spirited display in this fight than the original one. The event was a massive financial success for UFC, thanks to the mass crowd anticipation created during the build-up.


34. Daniel Cormier vs. Alexander Gustaffson

(UFC 192)  

This was a five-round epic that deserves an immortal place in the UFC folklore.

Cormier and Gustaffson had given away the final bits of their strength into the fight, making it an incredibly competitive and entertaining affair.

Even the judges couldn’t reach a unified verdict on the winner but Cormier got the nod eventually. 


33. Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin

(UFC 116)

Brock Lesnar Vs Shane Carwin
Brock Lesnar Vs Shane Carwin

Brock Lesnar stripped Shane Carwin off of his interim heavyweight title through a second-round submission win.

But, the bout was not as easy for Lesnar as it sounds. Carwin came out strong in the first round and pushed Lesnar to his back feet most of the time.

However, Lesnar grew into the game and marked his return from a one year exile with a title win.


32. Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler

(UFC 171)

Either Robbie Lawler or Johny Hendricks was set to become the first UFC welterweight champion than Georges St-Pierre.

The Canadian talisman had announced his retirement earlier, leaving Hendricks and Lawler to fight for the empty welterweight champion slot.

Hendricks won the fight via unanimous decision, but not before putting on an all-time UFC classic.


31. Dustin Poirier vs. Chan Sung Jung

(UFC on FUEL TV 3)

Dustin Poirier was in the early days of his career, but he was walking up the stairs to UFC fame very fast.

Coming off the back of a 5-bout winning streak, Poirier was no short of confidence before facing a Chan Sung Jung.

But, the Korean Zombie put together a complete performance to dismantle Poirier.

The win made Jung eligible to challenge for the featherweight title. 


30. Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje

(UFC on Fox 29)

Poirier found himself involved in another UFC classic several years after the Chan Sung Jung defeat.

He was now more experienced and managed to infuse this maturity into his performance to see out Justin Gaethje.

None of the fighters were afraid to take attack the other. This led to a fast, and engaging UFC event worthy of a UFC best fights mention. 


29. Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre

(UFC 69)

Many MMA enthusiasts cite this fight as the greatest upset in the history of the sport. Georges St-Pierre had developed somewhat of an ”invincible” reputation.

So, the fight against Serra seemed like another routine win for the Canadian.

However, Serra did not only win, but he also knocked out St-Pierre in the first round. He truly did the unthinkable!


28. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes 2

(UFC 65)

Beating St-Pierre was nothing new for Matt Hughes, and he was hoping to do it again.

But, St-Pierre avenged his UFC 50 defeat to Hughes in style. He gave Hughes minimal breathing space as he continued to batter him with punches and kicks.

The reigning welterweight champion couldn’t survive more than two rounds and handed St-Pierre the belt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4x62PeRoAQo


27. Wanderlei Silva vs. Brain Stann

(UFC on Fuel TV 8)

Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann headlined the UFC on Fuel TV 8 event with a fast-paced bout.

None of the fighters were shy to take a swing at the other. Since both Silva and Stann had endured a loss in their preceding fights, the urge to prove themselves was even stronger.

Silva won the fight via a second-round knockout, proving he still had a lot to offer as a fighter. 


26. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 2

(UFC 52)

Matt Hughes Vs Frank Trigg USA fighters
Matt Hughes Vs Frank Trigg

Frank Trigg posed an exigent threat to Matt Hughes’s champion status. Hughes was struggling with a hit on the groin, that evaded the referee’s jurisdiction.

But, he successfully altered the course of the bout as he capitalized on Trigg’s exposed neck and choked him to defeat. UFC President Dana White has singled out this fight as his favorite one.


25.  Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3

(UFC 136) 

Gray Maynard Vs Frankie Edgar
Gray Maynard Vs Frankie Edgar

Before this fight, Frankie Edgar had only one defeat in his 15-bout MMA career.

And that single loss came against Gray Maynard, the person he was about to fight for the third time in UFC.

Edgar suffered a broken nose in the first round. But, he fought his way back into the bout and eventually won it. 


24. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor

(UFC 196)

Mcgregor Vs Diaz 1
Mcgregor Vs Diaz 1

Conor McGregor decided to dip his toes into a weight division he had never tried in UFC before.

But, the reigning featherweight champion was confident that he can make a difference in the lightweight division.

Nate Diaz was not his primary choice of opponents, but McGregor failed to beat him. McGregor was no match for Diaz’s agility and lost within two rounds.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atyz8GQccis
Mcgregor Vs Diaz 1 Highlights

 


23. Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock 1

(UFC 40)

Tito Ortiz was an influential figure in UFC’s ascension to mainstream entertainment.

The big-mouthed UFC Hall of Fame inductee had a knack for ramping up crowd interest ahead of a fight.

In their first fight, Ken Shamrock put on a resilient display. But, he couldn’t stop Ortiz from making a successful title defense for the fifth consecutive time. 


22. Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Johnson

(The Ultimate Fighter 25 Finale)

Justin Gaethje is a true entertainer and he proved it again when he took on Michael Johnson in the Ultimate Fighter 25 finale.

He seemed to have almost given up after taking a heavy hit on the chin from Johnson.

But, Gaethje recovered impressively and went on to win the fight in the third round via TKO.


21. Eddie Alvarez vs. Justin Gaethje

(UFC 218)

Justin Gaethje is a tough nut to crack. But up until this point, no one had seen him broken inside the cage. Eddie Alvarez brought an end to Gaethje’s invincible record and handed him his first career defeat.

But, that did not come easy! Alvarez had to go through a shower of Gaethje attacks. However, he countered that with equal aggression and got the result.


20. Tito Ortiz vs Frank Shamrock

(UFC 22)

Frank Shamrock was a UFC kingpin during the infancy of the competition. Had he played in recent years, he could have enjoyed more fame and riches.

In this particular fight, Shamrock downright destroyed Tito Ortiz, who is a UFC legend in his own right too.

After defending the light heavyweight championship belt for the 4th time, he left the UFC. 


19. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Leben

(Ultimate Fight Night 5)

This was the debut UFC bout of Anderson Silva. The Brazilian faced Chris Leben in one of the UFC best fights.

Leben was the obvious favorite going into the fight. But, Silva barely gave him a chance! Despite being a rookie, he had no problem in overwhelming a seasoned UFC professional.

The UFC world had the first glimpse of a future star that day. 


18. Chuck Liddle vs. Randy Couture 3

(UFC 57)

Another vintage showpiece that merits a place in the UFC best fights debate. It was the finale of one of the most high-profile trilogies in UFC history.

Liddel tasted his second victory over Couture and defended his light heavyweight title also making him one of the richest UFC fighters.

Couture announced his retirement from light heavyweight after the bout and returned to heavyweight.


17. Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum

(UFC 236)

Israel Adesanya’s persistent efforts to prove himself in the biggest of stages earned him the biggest victory of his career to date.

After a five-round battle that shifted dynamics from time to time, Adesanya left a bloody Kelvin Gastelum on the canvas and walked away with the interim middleweight belt. He also won “Fight of the Night” for this performance. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zE2-MhBkSb4


16. Royce Gracie vs. Gerard Gordeau

(UFC 1)

Royce Gracie UFC
Royce Gracie – Legend

UFC had witnessed one of the best fights in its history at its very first event. Royce Gracie won three fights at UFC 1.

He grounded Art Jimmerson, Ken Shamrock, and Gerard Gordfeu to announce his supremacy. In his third fight, Gracie had baffled Gordfeu with his ingenious fighting style.

The MMA-Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fusion handed Gracie an easy win over Gordeau. 


15. Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 2

(UFC 179)

Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes met inside the cage for the second time. But, in terms of outcome, nothing changed as Aldo came out on top again. It was Mendes’s first loss in three years.

He started the fight strongly but started to fade away as Aldo took control of the fight in front of a cheering Rio de Janeiro audience. 


14. Robert Whittaker vs. Yoel Romero 2

(UFC 225)

The second installment of the Whittaker-Romero fight was packed with thrill from the first second to the last.

Romero forced Whittaker to come out of his shell with consistent attacks. But, Whittaker made use of his own signature techniques, like the oblique kick, to gain dominance.

The hard-fought-win granted Whittaker the status of a 185lbs MMA elite, 


13. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva

(UFC 79)

UFC 79 had brought two of the world’s best MMA fighters under the same roof in Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.

Even though they were not in their prime years, Liddell and Silva still garnered substantial media and fan attention because of their MMA legacy.

The fight went on for three rounds and Liddell won via decision. 

Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva Highlights


12. Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez

(UFC 166)

Two knockdowns, bloodshed, and a legion of flurries-the UFC 166 meeting between Gilbert Melendez and Diego Sanchez had it all.

Both fighters poured their hearts out in the octagon, which made it an immensely enjoyable fight. The action-packed match-up went in Melendez’s favor after the third round as he won via decision. 


11. Cub Swanson vs. Choi Doo-ho

(UFC 206)

ESPN declared the featherweight encounter between Cub Swanson and Choi Doo-hoo as the best fight of 2016 over UFC 202’s McGregor-Diaz rematch.

In the final seconds, Swanson nearly humiliated himself as he lost balance attempting a cartwheel kick. But, he instantly made amends and rattled Choi with a flurry of elbows and punches to win the fight. 

Cub Swanson vs. Choi Doo-ho Highlights


10. Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez

(Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale)

This UFC Hall of Fame lightweight fight still stirs up controversy in the virtual MMA forums. But questionable decisions aside, this is one of the UFC best fights of all time.

In a three-round fight, both fighters tested each other to the best of their limits. The decision went in Sanchez’s favor, but the scoring accuracy of that fight remains debatable to this day. 

Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez Highlights


9. Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit

(UFC 195) 

Robbie Lawler kept up his winning run in the welterweight division as he topped Carlos Condit at UFC 195. Condit, however, gave Lawler a run for his money before going down.

He had also managed to force Lawler to the mat in the first round. But, Lawler bounced back later with some powerful hits that ultimately made the difference. 

Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit Highlights


8. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 2

(UFC 202)

Conor McGregor was desperate to redeem his lost pride ever since he had taken the octagon against Nate Diaz in the lightweight division.

McGregor came back for a second attempt, and this time, he showed why he is a UFC great. The Irishman put on a calm and composed performance.

He dictated the flow of the fight and won it via majority decision. 

Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor 2 Highlights


7. Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva

(UFC Fight Night 33)

Mark Hunt and Antonio Bigfoot Silva didn’t hold back when the duo had met in UFC Fight Night 33. They pulled out every trick they had in their respective hats to beat the other.

After five rounds of ruthless battering, the scorecards read a draw. The result perfectly reflects the proceedings of the fight. Neither fighters could better the other, despite their arduous efforts. 

Mark Hunt vs. Antonio Silva Highlights


6. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 1

(UFC 165)

Jon Jones UFC Best Fights
Jon Jones UFC Champ

Here’s another fight that sparked discontent among many over the final decision. Jones and Gustafsson had locked horns in a close contest, which ultimately went in Gustafsson’s way.

Gustafsson almost made Jones pay for his lack of training before the match. Despite putting on a formidable display, the Swede was frustrated in the end as Jones won via decision. 


5. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

(UFC 117)

Anderson Silva Vs Chael Sonnen
Anderson Silva Vs Chael Sonnen

Chael Sonnen had no short of insults for Anderson Silva before this bout. However, Silva decided to do most of the talking inside the cage.

However, Sonnen seemed equally aggressive inside the octagon, as he was outside. His repeated strikes made life difficult for Silva in the first four rounds.

But, Silva managed to trap Sonnen in the fifth round and forced him to tap. 


4. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 2

(UFC 125)

Frankie Edgar was eager to avenge his defeat to Maynard in their previous bout. But, a win against Maynard remained elusive to him after the UFC 125 event.

Both fighters put in tremendous shifts as they refused to succumb to the other. While some would feel either Edgar or Maynard deserved to win, most others would agree that a tie is a fair result. 


3. Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson

(UFC 139)

Few could have foreseen what a tumultuous fight this would turn out to be. It was all Henderson in the first few minutes before Rua shrugged off his dominance and knocked him out.

A series of attacks, counter-attacks, and submission attempts followed. The intensity of the fight exhausted both fighters, but Henderson managed to scrape himself to victory. 


2. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2

(UFC 189)

Robbie Lawler vs Rory Macdonald
Robbie Lawler vs Rory Macdonald

Rory MacDonald got his chance to get even with Robbie Lawler at UFC 189. The latter had won the bragging rights when the two had first fought in UFC 167.

MacDonald timed his flurries well and landed some fantastic head kicks, but Lawler stayed in contention with his strong punches.

In fact, Lawler had the final say in a fight that viciously dragged on for five rounds. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJUeplaqFn0


1. Forrest Griffin vs. Stephen Bonner

(The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale)

Forrest Griffin Vs Stephan Bonnar
Forrest Griffin Vs Stephan Bonnar

Drumrolls, please! Here comes the topmost entry to our list of UFC best fights in history

Forrest Griffin and Stephen Bonner are two of the best fighters to have ever contested in UFC.

However, their best performance in the octagon came way before they became famous.

For the entirety of the bout, the duo had exchanged punches, kicks, and elbows. Griffin ended up as the winner, but the bout earned both fighters six-figure contracts. 


Final Say

Of course, you can make strong arguments for many fights that did not make it to the list. 

But, the UFC has been in existence for nearly three decades. It is impossible to accommodate all worthy moments in a single article. 

That said, we are confident that each of the fights we have mentioned in our UFC best fights piece will stay evergreen in the hearts of MMA fans for years to come. 

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