UFC 202: Diaz v McGregor 2

7 Best Fights in UFC History

The UFC came into existence 25 years ago on November 12, 1993 and ever since then has seen the premier performers in Mixed Martial Arts compete against one another inside the famed Octagon.

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Playing host to fighters possessing an all manner of fighting disciplines such as Kickboxing, Boxing, Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Wrestling, Sambo and many, many more, the UFC has produced an incredible amount of stunning action on its shows.

Extremely difficult to whittle down the classic matches the promotion has offered in the past quarter of a century, this slideshow attempts to counts down seven of the very best in history.


#7 Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva - UFC 79 (December 29, 2007)

This bout was billed as a "dream" match between two of the best Light-Heavyweights in MMA history and it undoubtedly was. It perhaps came two years too late to catch both fighters at the peak of their powers but its placement on this list speaks volumes about the fact that the legends did not disappoint.

This fight marked Wanderlei Silva's return to UFC for the first time in over seven years after he had dominated the Japanese promotion, Pride FC for much of the intervening period.

Although no-one knew it at the time, this match turned out to be Chuck Liddell's final ever MMA victory and the sole win of his final six bouts.

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Both men were coming into this fight having lost their two previous outings but these two warriors turned the clock back in impressive fashion as they looked to cement their legacies at the expense of one another.

Liddell started the stronger with his striking, mainly keeping Silva at bay before the "Axe-Murderer" turned things up in the second, dropping "The Iceman" to the canvas and unleashing impressive flurries of punches before Liddell managed to stem the changing tide by opening a cut above Silva's eye.

Liddell upped the ante in the final round, immediately taking Silva down with an impressive take-down and unleashing solid combinations which proved to be the difference. Liddell won via unanimous decision in a fight that is still revered over a decade on.

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#6 George St. Pierre vs Nick Diaz - UFC 158 (March 16, 2013)

George St. Pierre attempts a right hand to Nick Diaz

Back in 2013, George St. Pierre had already established himself as a legend in UFC, having only ever lost two bouts for the promotion and reigning as Welterweight Champion for five years.

GSP put that belt on the line against Nick Diaz, who despite losing his previous bout against Carlos Condit had prior to that, accrued an impressive 11 consecutive wins.

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Diaz was more than a contender for GSP which made for a thrilling match. Adding to the atmosphere was the fact that Diaz had talked so much trash about GSP in the run up to the fight and had visibly got under the skin of the normally cool, calm and collected Champion.

Such was GSP's reactions to Diaz, it appeared clear that he wanted to beat his opponent up. In a bloody match-up, GSP resisted Diaz's taunting and delivered a masterful display of take-downs and boxing. Diaz for his part landed plenty of impressive shots, rocking the Champion on a couple of occasions with leg kicks and punches.

GSP despite getting cut by Diaz retained the title by unanimous decision after five rounds of classic action.

#5 Junior Dos Santos vs Cain Velasquez 3 - UFC 166 (October 19, 2013)

Cain Velasquez rocks Junior Dos Santos on his way to victory

One of the best feuds in MMA history ever was the trilogy of fights between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez over the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Both fighters saved their best bout of a hugely entertaining rivalry till last.

Dos Santos had defeated Velasquez to win the UFC Heavyweight strap on November 12, 2011 becoming the first man to defeat the American stopping him with a 64 second KO.

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Velasquez bounced back in the sequel at UFC 155 as he outlasted JDS to reclaim the belt by unanimous decision.

The stage was tantalisingly set for a blockbuster rubber match in which both participants left everything in the Octagon as they clashed over Velaquez's UFC Heavyweight Championship.

JDS came out of the blocks, landing some heavy punches before the Champion was able to respond with take-downs.

The fight nearly ended in the third as Velasquez smashed his challenger square in the jaw which saw JDS wobble and crumple to the floor. Somehow he fought on and survived being knocked out.

The contest did come to an end in the final round as a bloodied JDS succumbed to the quick fire punches of Velasquez who retained the belt in impressive fashion.

Both fighters delivered in spades in an all out war which will be forever remembered.

#4 Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard - UFC 125 (January 1, 2011)

Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard exchange blows

Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar and challenger, Gray Maynard began the new year of 2011 with a bang in the second collision of their classic trilogy of bouts.

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At the time of this fight, Maynard was the only man to have ever defeated Edgar and the anticipation was at a fever pitch for this re-match with the title on the line.

It looked as though a new Champion was set to be crowned within the very first round as Maynard rocked Edgar again and again with right hand after right hand leaving Edgar staggering around the Octagon like a zombie.

Impressively, the Champion managed to soldier on to survive into the second, wherein he landed more shots than Maynard and took his challenger down with a big take-down as he finally began to gain some momentum.

The third and fourth were both insanely close to score as the two fighters went to war exchanging strikes to a sickening degree.

The last round saw both men once again exchange strikes as both attempted take-downs to secure the victory. However, after the clock ran out, the judges scored the bout a draw, which was probably a fair result.

An all out fiery collision that showed off both men at their very best and remains the in-ring highlight of both fighter's careers.

#3 Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor 2 - UFC 202 (August 20, 2016)

Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor show respect following their bloody encounter
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In the most heavily hyped re-match in UFC history, the "Notorious One" Conor McGregor sought to avenge his earlier defeat to Nate Diaz at UFC 202.

The pair has originally met in March 2016, where Diaz defeated McGregor with a rear naked choke in the closing stages of the second round.

It was McGregor's first loss in UFC and the colourful Irishman was desperate for revenge.

The re-match was a much more closely contested and even more thrilling fight.

McGregor proved his doubters wrong by demonstrating improved cardiovascular conditioning to push Diaz all the way through five rounds of pulsating action.

McGregor began as the aggressor as he usually does and kept Diaz at bay with leg kicks and punches, clearly winning the opening two rounds. However, Diaz took over on a tiring McGregor and smashed the Irishman with flurry after flurry of strikes that McGregor did well to survive.

The topsy-turvy fight took another twist as McGregor busted Diaz open early in the fourth and put together some excellent combinations to put Diaz back on the back foot.

In the tale of the fight, Diaz found form in the last round, clearly winning it as he kept McGregor in the clinch and secured a late take-down.

McGregor ultimately edged the bout on a majority decision; one judge scored it a draw as the classic bout concluded.

The main event broke the UFC pay per view record set by UFC 100, drawing 1.65 million orders.

#2 Forest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar - The Ultimate Fighter Finale (April 9, 2005)

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Both fighters claim victory in the Ultimate Fighter finale

A fight that made stars of it's two combatants? Check? A bout that was the first ever to be enshrined in the UFC Hall of Fame? Check. A contest that put UFC firmly in the mainstream of public consciousness? Check.

The finale of the inaugural Ultimate Fighter reality show pitted it's two finalists, Forrest Griffin and the "American Psycho" Stephan Bonnar versus each other in what is perhaps the most famous match UFC has ever promoted.

This is a fight that has to be seen to be believed. Both men just fired away punch after punch with each other in a contest that more resembled a bar room brawl in places than an MMA encounter.

The two fighters exchanged vicious strikes and wildly threw bombs at each other as the crowd lapped up every single second.

Both men's faces were an absolute mess as the buzzer sounded and in truth the fight could have gone either way. Griffin won a decision to become the Ultimate Fighter Light-Heavyweight Champion.

There were no losers in this bout, however, as Bonnar was also rewarded with a UFC contract due to his incredible performance.

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An instant classic.

#1 Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald - UFC 189 (July 11, 2015)

Rory MacDonald and Robbie Lawler deliver a classic

The finest fight in UFC history may never be bettered for thrilling back and forth action and unbridled brutality and drama.

Competing for Robbie Lawler's Welterweight Championship, he and Rory MacDonald contested the greatest MMA fight of all time.

Lawler dominated the early rounds with his trademark punching power, finding his range at will as he steadily dismantled his challenger's face with ease until it more closely resembled something out of a horror movie.

It looked like the fight was a mere formality at that point, then somehow, MacDonald fired back in round three with a crushing head kick which knocked Lawler silly. MacDonald then unloaded with a series of vicious elbows and punches that nearly earned him the fight and busted Lawler open too.

The rest of the fight ebbed and flowed with stunning striking combinations as both men wore each other down before finally in the final round, Lawler punched MacDonald straight in the nose where an audible crunch could be heard as it broke. Finally, MacDonald was done and Lawler was victorious.

The massacre was over and the finest bout in the sport's history was in the books.

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Edited by
Shiven Sachdeva
 
 
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