As the biggest mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion of all time, the UFC has whipped up some huge fights in its history with some of the baddest men on the planet going head-to-head against one another.
Some fights between two top competitors don’t quite live up to the hype, however, as the bout ends up putting fight fans to sleep rather than keeping them on the edge of their seat for 25 minutes or less.
Then, once in a blue moon, we get a fight that not only lives up to the hype, but exceeds it tremendously. That, my friends, is what we have compiled for you today, the top 10 biggest fights in UFC history that have ended with historic finishes. Let’s begin……
- 1 10. Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum UFC – 188
- 2 9. Chuck Liddell vs. Rampage Jackson – UFC 71
- 3 8. Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes – UFC 189
- 4 7. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture – UFC 52
- 5 5. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman – UFC 162
- 6 4. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196
- 7 3. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir – UFC 100
- 8 2. Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 194
- 9 1. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm – UFC 193
10. Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum UFC – 188
We kick off our list in the big boys’ division, where two of the most dangerous heavyweights of all time clashed for the biggest prize in MMA.
Coming off of nearly a two-year layoff from the sport, Cain Velasquez would attempt to unify his title with the then-interim heavyweight champ Fabricio Werdum who was on a five-fight win streak.
The opening rounds were a bit back-and-forth and the arena in Mexico City was hot for their native Velasquez, however, the altitude proved to be too much for ‘Cardio Cain’ to handle as he gassed out in the third round.
Velasquez then shot in for a takedown on the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist and was immediately wrapped up in a nasty guillotine choke. Velasquez had no other choice but to tap out and make Werdum the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
9. Chuck Liddell vs. Rampage Jackson – UFC 71
Chuck Liddell is one of the hardest hitting 205-pounders the UFC has ever seen, and in 2007 ‘The Iceman’ was looked at as one of the most feared men on the planet.
Liddell was riding a seven-fight win streak when he went into his bout with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson at UFC 71, and hadn’t lost a bout in nearly five years. The last man Liddell had lost to, however, was none other than ‘Rampage’ himself.
Sadly for Liddell the result would be no different. Around the two minute mark of the first round Jackson connected with a clean strike to Liddell’s chin that shut his lights out in a nasty way.
Jackson would win his first and only UFC title of his career, while Liddell would go on to only win one of his next five bouts before retiring in 2010.
8. Conor McGregor vs. Chad Mendes – UFC 189
Our next bout on the list features ‘The Notorious One’ Conor McGregor.
McGregor was originally supposed to face Jose Aldo in the main event of UFC 189 but the Brazilian was unfortunately forced out of the contest due to an injury sustained in training camp.
Wrestling specialist Chad Mendes would then step in for the injured Aldo, and an interim 145-pound title would be put on the line.
Mendes would dominate the Irishman in the opening round and the majority of the second, as he took him down with little to no ease at all and administered some extensive damage to McGregor’s face with his ground-and-pound.
McGregor would manage to get to his feet after scrambling up from a guillotine attempt, and unleash his unorthodox striking arsenal on the Team Alpha Male member.
The gassed Mendes would then fall after eating a clean left hand to the chin in the closing seconds of the second round, and the Irish-filled MGM crowd in Vegas would erupt in joy for their representative’s miraculous victory.
7. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture – UFC 52
After weeks of coaching against one another on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show, former UFC lightweight champ Randy Couture would defend his title against Chuck Liddell in a massive main event at UFC 52.
Liddell was riding high off of two straight knockout victories over Tito Ortiz and Vernon White, and had his sights fixed on the 205-pound strap that rested around Couture’s waist.
When the bout got underway the two engaged in a heated exchange of shots and Liddell dropped Couture with a nasty right hand to the chin. Liddell then immediately swarmed on the downed Couture before the referee pulled him off and waived the contest off.
Liddell would win the UFC light heavyweight title for the first time in his career and would begin his reign as one of the greatest 205-pound champions the promotion has ever seen.
Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen” width=”712″ height=”526″ />6. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen – UFC 148
In the 2010 ‘Fight Of The Year’, reigning middleweight champion Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva went to war with the colorfully worded Chael ‘The Bad Guy’ Sonnen in the main event of UFC 148 for the 185-pound title.
Sonnen earned the opportunity to step into the Octagon with Silva earning a unanimous decision victory over Nate Marquardt at UFC 109.
The former All-American wrestler had gotten under Silva’s skin with his brash trash-talk, and was determined to leave California as the new undisputed middleweight champion.
To many’s surprise Sonnen came into the bout dominating Silva with his superior wrestling ability, and bludgeoning him with some extensive ground-and-pound strikes.
Sonnen seemed to be only one round away from becoming the new 185-pound champion, as he once again had Silva in trouble on the mat with just minutes to go. Silva, however, would pull off a miraculous triangle choke that would force Sonnen to tap out and cost him his chance at becoming UFC champion for the first time in his MMA career.
5. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman – UFC 162
Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva was once arguably the most feared fighter on the planet when he reigned as the UFC’s middleweight champion.
At UFC 162 a young and impressive prospect by the name of Chris Weidman got the opportunity to test himself against the Brazilian phenom, and he made quite the statement when they met in the Octagon.
Coming in Silva was riding a massive 17-fight win streak and was looking dominant as ever after having finished his last five opponents.
Weidman was an undefeated middleweight who was coming off of a brutal second round knockout over Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4 which earned him the shot at the 185-pound title.
When the bout started Weidman immediately took Silva down and had his way with him on the mat. A few minutes later Silva was able to get the fight back on the feet and began to start taunting Weidman with his hands down, but was noticeably getting caught with some shots in the process.
This would continue into the second round, however, Silva mockingly acted as if one of Weidman’s punches had rocked him but ‘The All American’ would then follow up with a shot that would send Silva down for an early nap and send the crowd into a frenzy.
4. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 196
Riding high at the peak of his career, UFC featherweight Conor McGregor was all set to make UFC history when he challenged Rafael dos Anjos for his lightweight title and possibly be the first man to ever simultaneously hold two belts in different weight classes.
Unfortunately for McGregor Dos Anjos would injure his foot during training camp and would be forced to pull out of the historical bout.
Instead McGregor would be met by a man who would change his career forever, Nate Diaz. Diaz would answer the call to save the main event of UFC 196, creating an even more enormous bout as fans clamored to see the two trash-talking enthusiasts go head-to-head with one another.
This was the first time anyone had rivaled the Irishman on the mic, and seemed un-phased by his legendary mental warfare ability.
McGregor seemed to clearly have Diaz’s number in the first round, as he had the man from Stockton in a bloody mess by the end of the first five minutes of the fight.
The second round, however, was a completely different story. McGregor emptied his gas tank with his offensive output in the first round, and Diaz was able to capitalize by rocking ‘Notorious’ with a clean one-two combo to force a lackluster takedown attempt out of desperation form McGregor; eventually leading to Diaz utilizing his Gracie jiu-jitsu black belt capabilities to lock on a fight-ending rear-naked choke for the win.
Diaz would flip the MMA world upside down by shocking the world with his victory that night and ending McGregor’s 15-fight win streak, his first loss in over six years.
3. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir – UFC 100
When UFC 100 rolled around in 2009 it was the biggest card in the promotion’s history, and the main event was even bigger. Literally.
Frank Mir was coming off his second round knockout win over Antonio Nogueira at UFC 92, and securing the interim UFC heavyweight championship.
His rival Brock Lesnar was the reigning UFC heavyweight champion at the time after defeating Randy Couture at UFC 91 with a similar second round finish.
At the time Mir was the only man to have defeated Lesnar in his MMA career, when he caught the former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star in a kneebar during their initial meeting at UFC 81 in 2008.
Lesnar wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, however, as he took Mir down and dominated for two rounds before the referee had seen enough and called it off.
The bitter feud wouldn’t end there, however, as Lesnar would trash talk the bloodied Mir rather than shake his hand.
2. Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 194
The match that everybody in the MMA world was waiting for finally went down in the main event of UFC 194 in December of last year.
UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo, who was undefeated for over a decade at the time, would collide with his hated rival and UFC interim 145-pound champ Conor McGregor to settle the two men’s differences once and for all.
McGregor and Aldo had previously traveled to world together to promote their originally slated matchup that was supposed to go down at UFC 189, but Aldo was forced to pull out of the contest just two weeks out with an injury he sustained in training camp.
The match was re-booked for UFC 194 and both men showed up ready to go.
After nearly a year of anticipation, the match everybody wanted to see had begun at Big John McCarthy‘s signal, and it was over just 13-seconds later. All the trash-talk from McGregor over the past few months had gotten Aldo so rilled up that he came into the fight with so much emotion, and McGregor was able to catch the Brazilian on the perfect spot on the chin and deliver a devastating knockout.
Even McGregor himself looked surprised that the fight ended so quickly, but nonetheless he happily left the arena as the new undisputed featherweight champion.
1. Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm – UFC 193
We cap off our list with probably the biggest upset in the history of the sport of MMA.
UFC 193 was headlined by UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Holly Holm, a highly decorated female kickboxing champion who was also undefeated in her MMA career.
Rousey was expected to run through the Jackson Wink product, as she typically does with any competitor who steps into the Octagon with her, but that was not the case on this night.
Holm went in with a great game-plan and utilized her superior striking ability and completely picked apart Rousey on the feet, visibly hurting her very badly.
‘The Rowdy One’ absorbed the damage for the first round, but couldn’t take anymore after eating a thunderous head-kick that would send Rousey down for the first time in her career in the second round.
Holm would be the second ever woman to hold the women’s 135-pound strap, and the first woman to defeat Rousey in her professional MMA career.