Best MMA/UFC Fights in History
The UFC has seen its fair share of fights between top contenders for the belts. From heavyweights such as Fedor Emelianenko to lightweight champions such as Conor McGregor or current reigning champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, fans have been treated to amazing action in the past. With so much media coverage for all MMA fights, it’s no wonder why UFCs PPV subscriptions are constantly breaking records.
The best MMA fights in history you can see below obviously feature the best fighters in the history of the sport. Although we’ve seen many matches that feature fighters that don’t share the same spotlight as all the champions on our list, there’s a reason why matches featuring Conor McGregor or Fedor Emelianenko before him have broken PPV records. Fans simply love seeing champs take on other champs in the ring and the fights never disappoint.
From Brock Lesnar to Mirko Filipovic and Conor McGregor, we’ve watched exciting nailbiters over the years that have either ended someone’s career or propelled them to the top. The MMA, especially the UFC, is one of the bloodiest and most exciting fighting sports the world has ever seen, and the industry is constantly evolving.
With a big number of exciting upcoming MMA fights, let’s take a trip down memory lane and see the best fights in MMA/UFC history that have not just broken UFC records, but will stay forever etched in the history of the sport.
Emelianenko vs. Filipovic – Pride Conflict 2005
We won’t be making a mistake to say that at the time, this was the most anticipated fight in the history of MMA. Rumors and later negotiations have been going on for two years before the two camps agreed on a match. Both Emelianenko and ‘Cro Cop’ were in their prime in 2005 so fans were rightfully excited about the match.
Emelianenko captured his heavyweight title in 2003, but he was not your typical heavyweight champ. He was undersized which many saw as his only disadvantage. However, his technique and ferocity in the Octagon were unmatched.
His opponent, Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ Filipovic, was a real beast. He debuted in the UFC in 2001 and was hurting people real bad. His brutality was unmatched in the ring and a fight against Emelianenko was going to be epic. With the Pride Heavyweight championship on the line, the two fighters went toe-to-toe on August 28, 2005.
The fight didn’t disappoint. Emelianenko suffered a broken nose and heavy kicks from the Croatian fighter, but he ultimately won via unanimous decision. The fight earned the Fight of the Year honors and was later voted Fight of the Decade. From there, Emelianenko would defend his belt numerous times, starting a reign that will be unmatched for years to come.
Liddell vs. Couture – UFC 43
Both Liddell and Couture are two of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport. They still hold records and have done a lot to promote the sport and make it what it is today. In 2003, the two met at the UFC 43 and gave fans a fight to remember.
It was Couture who came out the winner in a tightly contested match which saw several takedowns. Ultimately, Randy Couture took a beaten Liddell down to the ground, punching him ferociously until the fight was stopped. He won the interim Light Heavyweight Championship and then defeated Tito Ortiz later to unify the Light Heavyweight Championship.
Rousey vs. Holm – UFC 193
This is the fight that changed the world of female MMA fighting forever. Coming into the fight, Ronda Rousey was the undisputed Bantamweight Champion. She sits atop the UFC records list with most title defenses by a woman with 6 and was largely considered a major favourite against Holly Holm at the UFC 193. At the time, there was no one that could even come close to Rousey on the top of the UFC standings.
In 2015, Rousey and Holm fought for the Bantamweight Championship in Australia which was also the most attended UFC event in history. No one gave chances to Holly Holm – Rousey was a clear favourite for a record 7th title defense. And then, the unthinkable happened.
Thanks to her boxing ability, Holm tagged the champ with her left hand repeatedly. By the end of the first round, it was clear that an upset may be on the cards. The fight ended in the second round after Holm hit Rousey in the neck, effectively ending the match and Rousey’s UFC career.
Ronda would later fight in the Octagon one more time, losing to Amanda Nunes in 2016. Since then, she quit the UFC and signed to the WWE, where’s she’s currently on a hiatus. It’s fair to say that the blow by Holm didn’t inflict physical pain only – it also destroyed Rousey’s stellar career.
McGregor vs. Nurmagomedov – UFC 229
A record-setting pay-per-view fight that was years in the making, the UFC 229 was one of the wildest matches in the history of the sport. It “starred” reigning champion and Conor McGregor who was sitting atop the UFC standings for quite a while. The challenger was Khabib Nurmagomedov, a contender for the throne with a fierce personality and an unbeaten record.
The fight took place on October 2018 at the T-Mobile Arena in Nevada and was the largest live gate in Nevada’s history. Fighting for the UFC Lightweight Championship, the two fighters were engaged in unruly comments way before the bout. McGregor was the favourite as he was the undisputed champ at the time, but Nurmagomedov was the surprising pick of several experts.
Ultimately, the Russian fighter would keep his unbeaten record clean by defeating Conor McGregor. The match ended in a controversy after a fight broke out between the two camps and the fighters. Nevertheless, it was one of the most-watched and legendary matches that will go down as one of the best MMA fights in history.