1. Matt Serra Over Georges St. Pierre
This legendary, historic bout is widely regarded as the greatest upset in MMA history. Nobody gave Matt Serra a chance against all-time great welterweight St. Pierre.
“The Terror” was 4-4 in the UFC before appearing on season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter. “The Comeback” season of TUF showcased fighters at welterweight and middleweight who had already fought in the UFC – a change from previous seasons – but had yet to win a title. The winners of the show’s tournaments would be granted title shots. Serra advanced to the final and barely eked out a split decision over Chris Lytle to earn his shot at the title.
The man he would try to dethrone was Georges St. Pierre, one of the best athletes and most complete fighters in MMA history. His combination of explosive wrestling and technical kickboxing gave “Rush” the look of an all-time great. He had just ripped the title from the greatest welterweight to that point in history, Matt Hughes, with a head kick and punches. Serra looked to be little more than a sacrificial lamb to GSP.
With nothing to lose, Serra swung for the fences at UFC 69 in April 2007. St. Pierre had not yet begun to employ the cautious and risk-averse style that characterized his second reign as champion, but this was the fight that set him down that path. Serra clipped St. Pierre with an overhand right that sent him staggering, and relentlessly swarmed for the finish. He eventually got it. “Rush” succumbed to the blows, his first brief title reign at an ignominious end.
Serra, the unlikeliest of all contenders, could now and forever call himself a UFC champion.