In all the bouts in the UFC, what are the best UFC fights?
In Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), UFC promoted fights are anticipated continuously.
For their competitiveness, aggression, skill, and eventfulness, these fights are ranked by order of iconism.
Let’s take a look at the top 30 most iconic UFC fights in MMA history.
The Best UFC Fights Ever
30. Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz
UFC 22 (1999)
At the time of this fight, Frank Shamrock weighed 205 Ibs.
Tito Ortiz, who weighed lesser, was known for his competence, aggression, large frame, and strength.
These skills came to play in the ring as he dominated the first three rounds.
However, he fatigued, and Shamrock used his weight advantage to overtake him and eventually won the fight as Ortiz submitted in the 4th round.
This entertaining turn-around fight was regarded as one of the best UFC fights.
29. Jon Jones vs. Shogun Rua
UFC 128 (2011)
The Rua fans would better forget this fight as he was beaten to a pulp.
This fight showcased a one-sided victory in front of 12,619 viewers as Jones defeated Rua by means of Technical Knockout.
It is much remembered for Jones’ use of kicks and punches to claim the victory.
28. Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
UFC 74 (2007)
In the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas, Couture, who weighed 228 Ibs with a height of 6ft 1in defeated Gonzaga, who weighed 252 Ibs and reached 6ft 2 in the 2nd minute of the 3rd round.
Gonzaga was considered a rising star in the MMA and was tipped to win the fight.
However, he was defeated in all three rounds; the fight lasted till he was knocked out.
Couture’s ability to wrap him up against the rings’ walls and his swift punches was a highlight that entertained viewers beyond doubt.
27. Royce Gracie vs. Kimo Leopoldo
UFC 3 (1994)
At the time of the fight, Leopoldo weighed about 70 Ibs than Gracie.
This was Leopoldo’s debut fight, but he lost to Royce Gracie, who, as a Brazilian, is used to the cultural martial arts.
This entertaining bout proved yet again that the factor of size is nothing compared to pure skill.
26. Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn
UFC 46 (2004)
Matt Hughes was the UFC welterweight champion and was challenged by BJ Penn.
However, Hughes, who was the fans’ favorite to win the bout, was defeated less than 5 minutes into the 1st round.
This must have been surprising to viewers; nonetheless, this encounter has found its way in the list of one of the most iconic UFC history fights.
25. Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo
UFC on Vs. 4 (2011)
Cheick Kongo has a super tall structure at 6ft 4in but took on much shorter Pat Barry at 5ft 11in.
Some seconds into the 1st round, Barry dropped Kongo to the ground, but Kongos’s size paid up for him as he won the fight by KO 2 minutes into round 1.
Such a comeback indeed within seconds!
24. Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Hughes II
UFC 65 (2006)
A rematch for the UFC welterweight championship, Georges Pierre challenged Hughes, who was then the welterweight champion.
After losing to Hughes prior to this time, St. Pierre was resolute to come out victorious.
And as a series of powerful punches emerged from him, he defeated Hughes by knockout in the 1st minute of the 2nd round.
This fight is regarded as one of the best UFC fights and the 2nd greatest MMA welterweight-division fight of all time.
23. Karo Parisyan vs. Nick Diaz
UFC 49 (2004)
These two are experienced in other martial arts other than MMA.
Parisyan was a Karate black belt, and Diaz was a jiu-jitsu veteran.
Many MMA fans much anticipated this fight, but Parisyan emerged the victor in a judges’ decision in the 3rd round.
22. Quincy Rampage Jackson vs. Dan Henderson
UFC 75 (2007)
This fight was a unification bout for the light heavyweight championship.
These two were much known for their several KO victories, and the viewers had expected an electrifying fight.
The fight ended in a 5th round decision as the judges declared Quinton Jackson, the winner.
21. Carlos Condit vs. Rory MacDonald
UFC 115 (2010)
At 20 years, Rory MacDonald challenged the ex WEC champion who stood up to the challenge with valor.
Condit won the bout by KO in the 3rd round.
The bout won the UFC fight of the night award and was voted the 3rd best MMA fight of the year 2010.
20. Georges St. Pierre vs. Jon Fitch
UFC 87 (2008)
This was a fight for the UFC welterweight championship.
St. Pierre dominated the fight throughout, but Fitch’s highlight was his ability to endure the punches, strikes, and kicks he received.
The bout was decided a victory for St. Pierre by the judges in the 5th round.
The fight won the UFC 87 fight of the night award.
19. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia
UFC 68 (2007)
With 19,047 viewers in attendance, Randy Couture defeated Tim Sylvia in the 5th round via unanimous judges’ decision.
The fight was entertaining and even.
Although, experience and age made the difference, which got Couture in control.
This fight is regarded as the 9th greatest heavyweight fight in MMA history.
18. Frankie Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin,
UFC 67 (2007)
Both figures were matching in height and almost in weight, but Griffin edged as the fans’ favorite due to his record as the only fighter to trounce Urijah Faber.
However, the small fry, Frankie Edgar, showed much skill within the octagon to defeat Tyson Griffin in the 3rd round by a unanimous decision.
17. Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann
UFC on Versus 3 (2011)
With over 8,000 in attendance in the KFC Yum Centre, Louisville, Kentucky, Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann have the honor to flag-off the 1st fight to be transmitted in 3D.
The fight was voted the 3rd most exciting in the UFC for 2011.
Kampmann started off well and looked like the winner for the early minutes of the bout, but his performances dwindled as he eventually lost the fight to Sanchez.
16. Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
UFC 116 (2010)
Many may match Brock Lesnar to wrestling as he is indeed a successful professional wrestler.
But back in 2010, he took on Shane Carwin for the heavyweight title as an MMA fighter.
In round 1, Carwin was so much in control and had pinned Lesnar against the cage to the point that most of the viewers had envisioned Carwin knocking off Lesnar before the 3rd round.
In an action-packed turn of events, Lesnar somehow found his strength and won the bout by submission when he pinned Carwin in his arm.
15. Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping
UFC 100 (2009)
Established rivalry had been between Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping, and this fight might have been viewed as an opportunity to settle the question “Who is superior?”
In the 3rd minute of the 2nd round, Dan Henderson, who produced the greatest knockout of all-time, emerged the victor.
The fight eventually won the UFC fight of the night award and was voted 3rd in the MMA middleweight fight ranking of all time.
14. Roger Huerta vs. Clay Guida,
TUF 6 Final (2007)
Both Huerta and Guida were notable fighters going into the bout, and it was a fight that was so anticipated.
Guida was in control as the 1st round materialized, but he never emerged the victor.
Instead, just about 30 seconds into the 3rd round, Huerta kicked him hard with his knee and forced him to tap.
It is remembered as one of the fights that tested the skill, endurance, and bounce-back ability of an opposition.
13. Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock
UFC 1 (1993)
In less than 1 minute into the 1st round, Royce Gracie’s aggressive first attack forced Ken Shamrock to tap.
While many spectators must have anticipated a fight stretching into rounds, they were all left in shock upon the result of the bout.
This famous 57-second submission is ranked among the top 20 greatest submissions of all time.
12. Georges St. Pierre vs. BJ Penn I
UFC 58 (2006)
For more than half of the 9,569 in attendance, Georges St. Pierre was the underdog going into this bout, and when it started, the odds were still against him as he sustained a nose injury.
However, he bounced back in the 2nd round and severely dealt his counterpart with blows and strikes and was unanimously voted to victory by the judges in the 3rd round.
The bout is ranked as the 10th greatest MMA welterweight fight in history.
11. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz I
UFC 47 (2004)
Before the match between Liddell and Ortiz took place, a rivalry had already begun, which made it more anticipated.
Although Tito Ortiz was the favorite, Liddell wasted no time to prove that he had been underrated.
In the 2nd round, he won the bout as he ‘iced off’ Ortiz.
10. Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia
UFC 69 (2007)
The skillful Huerta had started the fight in mighty fashion, but Garcia’s determination was a highlight.
Nevertheless, Huerta continued his top-level performances till he was unanimously judged the winner in the 3rd round.
Huerta went on to earn an appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
9. Diego Sanchez vs. Karo Parisyan
UFC 6 (2006)
This bout earned the fight of the year title for 2006 as Sanchez dominated the fight with takedowns, submissions, and strikes.
At some point, the intensity of the fight caused Parisyan to lose a tooth as he was hit brutally on the face by Sanchez’s knee.
However, Parisyan had some highlights which earned recognition as the single best Judo throw in the history of the MMA; this feat wasn’t enough for him to emerge the victor.
Sanchez won the fight via unanimous decision in round 3.
8. Chris Leben vs. Yoshihiro Akiyama
UFC 116 (2010)
Following a bout against Aaron Simpson 2 weeks earlier, Chris Leben decided to fight Japanese Yoshihiro Akiyama and was believed by many to lose the bout considering the circumstances.
Contrary to the expectations of the majority, Chris Leben won the fight by means of submission in round 3.
He had amazed the viewers in his manner of attack, skill, consistency, and determination.
Most excitingly was the way he forced Akiyama to tap out regardless of his reputation as a KO artist.
The fight was named the UFC 116 fight of the night.
7. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II
UFC 52 (2005)
Matt Hughes was the welterweight champion at the time of this spectacular fight.
Frank Trigg had challenged Hughes for a rematch as he was defeated in a fight two years before this.
It looked so much like Trigg had gotten his revenge as he slammed blows and strikes on the champion before sending him to the ground.
In opposition, Hughes found his feet, and out of anger and pride, overcame Trigg.
In about 4 minutes, Trigg could contend no more with Hughes’ intensity and was forced to tap out.
This match is recognized as one of the most notable round-1 comebacks, and due to its suspense, one of the most exciting as well.
6. Minotauro Nogueira vs. Randy Couture
UFC 102 (2009)
In the Moda Center, Oregon, The 47-year-old Randy Couture faced 34-year-old Minotauro Nogueira in a clash of titans.
Experience, strength, balance, and skill were evenly shared between them, but only one would emerge the victor.
For the three rounds the fight lasted, both fighters had their positives as well as negatives.
In the end, Nogueira, who had served Couture with stinging punches and chokes, was unanimously decided the winner of the bout.
It is ranked as the 42nd greatest MMA fight of all time and the 3rd best MMA fight for 2009.
5. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
UFC 117 (2010)
With 12,971 people in attendance, Chael Sonnen was clearly the small fry because of Silva’s reputation for victories.
Against all odds, he consistently outclassed Silva for five rounds.
Like an injured lion, Silva roared back and forced him to tap out in the final round.
Due to the surprise and suspense during the course of this fight, it is remembered as one of the biggest comebacks and most iconic fight in UFC history.
4. Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida
TUF 9 Final (2009)
Both of these fighters were well known for their offensive abilities before the bout.
For fans that supported one or the other, it was an opportunity to prove their superiority.
Guida had a sloppy start, and a much active Sanchez dished him a head kick.
But it seemed the head kick helped Guida regain his consciousness as he became active in the 2nd round whilst also dominating the stat figures.
The rest of the rounds were shared evenly between them, but Sanchez edged Guida with just a couple of strikes.
The judges’ decision was split but came out in Sanchez’s favor.
However, its competitiveness earned it the UFC fight of the night award and the best fight of 2009.
3. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II
UFC 125 (2011)
This was a lightweight championship fight between Frankie Edgar, who was the current champion, and Gray Maynard II, who challenged him.
Hungry for the championship, Gray Maynard had been quick and offensive early in the fight and was looking so close to being named champion.
But to prove why he had been the champion, Edgar retorted with a good combo of strikes, takedowns, and punches to retain his spot as lightweight champion.
This fight is regarded as the best MMA lightweight fight in history and the 2nd best MMA fight of the year in 2011.
It also won the UFC fight of the night award.
2. Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva
UFC 79 (2007)
When fighters are known for the same style of play meet, it may be difficult to presume who will win.
Both Lidell and Silva were powerful punchers and dictators within the octagon.
The battle was fierce, and both parties were equally matched.
However, Liddell’s finishing had wowed the fans as he astounded Silva with a whirling back fist before slamming him to the ground as hard as he could.
Lindell went on to win the fight of the night award, and that encounter is considered as one of the most iconic and unforgettable in MMA history.
1. Stephan Bonnar vs. Forrest Griffin I
TUF 1 Finale (2005)
Prior to this time, MMA had not been as popular as many other sports in many countries.
However, this super iconic fight brought MMA to prominence as it featured two competent fighters that battled to be the 1st ever Ultimate fighter.
Both had fought with intensity as much as they could, and their skills and tactics were noteworthy.
Although both fighters are celebrated, the fight ended as Forrest Griffin triumphed over Stephen Bonnar.
MMA supporters were in awe after the fight, and it is considered the greatest UFC fight in MMA history, one that brought the UFC to the limelight.
Topics that center around the ‘best-ever are always hotspots for argumentative conversations.
What are your thoughts on our top-30 best UFC fights ever?
Please share your opinion in the comment section below.
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