The Best UFC Submissions of All Time

Nate Diaz
Christian Petersen/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

The UFC has taken the fight world by storm, regularly pulling in huge crowds and regularly raking in huge Pay Per View crowds. Many have been drawn to the octagon over a boxing ring due to the more attractive and versatile fighting styles. 

Fight fans can get thrilled by a knockout or a more technical submission. Whilst a submission might not have the same impact as a knockout, it’s still fantastic to watch since it requires impressive technical skills and strength. 

Throughout the years, there have been some thrilling submissions, and here we run through some of the best of them. 

Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz

Conor McGregor helped launch the UFC into a new stratosphere and is, without doubt, one of the biggest Pay Per View pulls that the UFC has ever seen. 

The pair first locked horns when they headlined UFC 196. With many expecting McGregor to come through another bout unscathed, many didn’t expect the drama to unfold the way it did. With both fighters bloodied and bruised, Diaz was able to turn the fight around when he landed a flurry of punches to daze the Irishman. Stunning the Irishman, McGregor went to the ground, where Diaz was able to take full advantage. With McGregor on his back, Diaz was able to lock in a choke hold that forced McGregor to tap. McGregor was keen to right the wrongs from their first bout and was able to come out on top when the pair met just a few months later. 

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It’s now been almost two years since McGregor last fought in the octagon after he suffered a broken leg in the defeat to Dustin Poirier. However, he is close to a return, and when he does, it is expected to be another huge draw. Fighters like McGregor have helped make the UFC one of the most popular sports for streaming, and if he does step back inside the octagon, millions from all over the world are bound to tune in. 

Miesha Tate vs Ronda Rousey

Both Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey took the world of female MMA fighting to new levels and were the first female fighters to ever headline MMA cards. In a rivalry that started across social media, the two would meet in Columbus, Ohio, in March 2012. 

In what was a high-quality bout, both fighters came out swinging, and both looked to perform a series of knockout moves. However, it was deep in the first round that Rousey managed to get her opponent on the floor and lock in an armbar that made Tate tap out.

The victory saw Rousey win her first MMA title. The two would go on to meet a year later, with Rousey once again winning by submission in the third round. 

Frank Mir vs Brock Lesnar 1

Back in 2008, the former WWE wrestler Brock Lesnar had taken the MMA world by storm, and he was looking to create a scene by usurping heavyweight legend Frank Mir in his first UFC fight. 

Before this fight, Lesnar had managed one tune-up bout, which he won easily, and many were convinced he was a force of nature that could not be stopped. A ferocious athlete, Lesnar had a prodigious wrestling background, and many believed he was the total package. 

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Mir was a class fighter in his own right and was determined not to be outdone by the newest kid on the block. 

Headlining UFC 81, Lesnar came out of the blocks swinging and looked to have Mir in trouble from the outset. 

Looking to land the knockout blow, Lesnar took his eye off the ball, and before he knew it Mir had rolled him up and got Lesnar locked in a kneebar. Lesnar tried to ride through the pain, but in the end, the pressure was too much, and he was forced to tap. 

The two met again at UFC 100, with Lesnar coming out on top. There have been rumors that the two may face off in a decider, but they are yet to be confirmed. 

Jon Jones vs Lyoto Machida

Back in 2011, UFC 140 was headlined by two legends of the Light Heavyweight division as the unbeaten Jon Jones looked to defend his Light Heavyweight crown against former champion Lyoto Machida, who entered the fight having only lost once in his career. 

Many believed that this would be the toughest test of Jones’s career, and they certainly weren’t mistaken. 

In two rounds of thrilling action, the two went back and forth, exchanging kicks and strikes that inflicted damage on the other. Jones struck Machida with a knee that cut the Brazilian badly, but the fight was able to continue. 

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Clearly rocked by the strike, the fight turned in Jones’s favor, and late into the second round Jones was able to lock in a guillotine that would eventually render Machida unconscious. 

The win remains one of Jones’s most impressive performances of his MMA career. 

Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen

Many believe that the headline fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen in UFC 117 is one of the greatest MMA fights that we have ever seen. 

Aged 35, Silva was the defending UFC Middleweight Champion, and his storied MMA career was clearly coming to an end. 

The fight was dominated by Sonnen trash-talking Silva, genuinely believing that he had a chance of upsetting one of the UFC’s greats. 

In a fight that many predicted Silva would win, Sonnen backed up his pre-fight chatter by putting in a display that shocked the MMA World. Outstriking and outworking Silva on the ground, through four rounds, Sonnen was on his way to a memorable victory. 

However, with just two minutes to go, Sonnen suffered a lapse in concentration that would see the tables of the fight turn. 

With both fighters on the ground, Silva was able to lock in a triangle choke forcing Sonnen to tap. It was a victory snatched from the jaws of defeat, and fifteen years on, the fight still lives large in the memory. 

The UFC is currently the most popular MMA championship in the world, attracting millions of viewers each week. With new fighters regularly joining the organization, it will be interesting to see what new historic moments we can expect from them