10 best UFC fights of all-time including Shogun/Henderson
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has reached its status as the preeminent brand in mixed martial arts not only from having some of the best MMA fighters ever but because it’s produced some of the most epic bouts in the history of combat sports. To celebrate that rich history, here are the 10 best UFC fights of all time.
Best UFC fights of all time
10. Cub swanson vs Doo Ho Choi – 2016
Cub Swanson versus Doo Ho Choi at UFC 206 was a battle of a well-established and grizzled vet against a fast-rising upstart that had legit fanfare. The first round of the bout was a solid battle that Choi got the better of. However, the second round unleashed mayhem that ensued over the next two rounds, in a back-and-forth war that was one of the best featherweight fights in UFC history. Because of that fight, Choi went from possibly being the next big thing out of South Korea, to a fighter on a three-fight losing streak that’s never been the same.
9. Mark Hunt vs Antonio ‘Big Foot’ Silva – 2013
Two hallmarks of the UFC heavyweight division are it isn’t a place to go for impressive cardio, and fights are likely to end quicker because of the power all of the sizable athletes in the weight class have. However, in the 2013 brawl between Mark Hunt and Antonio Silva we saw a five-round war where both heavy hitters somehow survived being blasted by the other’s best shots for five straight rounds. The output and durability both men showed put most heavyweights to shame, and the fact that it ended in a draw seemed fitting considering the back-and-forth epic that it turned out to be.
8. Dustin Poirier vs Justin Gaethje – 2018
The April 2018 scrap between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje was a showcase of not only why they are two elite lightweights in UFC history but are some of the toughest fighters in the promotion ever. Over the four-round bout, Gaethje chopped away at Poirier’s legs as “The Diamond” blasted his opponent’s head with thumping punches. Both strategies were effective, it just came against two men that are absurdly strong in the mental side of fighting. In the end, Poirier weathered the kicks and some difficult moments to crack “The Highlight’s” granite chin with a fourth-round technical knockout.
7. Justin Gaethje vs Michael Johnson – 2017
Justin Gaethje’s skills for Octagon mayhem are so nice he gets on this list twice. And in back-to-back slots. Gaethje’s UFC debut versus Michael Johnson was memorable for its non-stop fistic chaos from start to finish. It was high-paced for two rounds with both fighters dealing out damage on the other. However, the future interim champion inflicted much more and got his opponent out of there in less than two, in an easy UFC fight of the year contender in 2017.
6. Kelvin Gastelin vs Adesanya – 2019
Simply put, Israel Adesanya versus Kelvin Gastelum is the best middleweight title fight of all time and arguably the best in division history. For five rounds these two showed outstanding technique as they strategically looked to impose their game plan on the other. But as each man wore away at the other, the fight descended into an epic brawl in the later rounds. To this day, it is still the only time we have seen Adesanya badly hurt and on the brink of being stopped. While Gastelum has one win in just four fights since. This one took months off their careers. It was the best UFC fight in 2019 and is top-10 ever.
5. Diego Sanchez vs Clay Guida – 2009
Diego Sanchez versus Clay Guida from 2009 is one of the few fights in the UFC Hall-of-Fame. What else do I need to write? It’s a wild melee between two cardio machines that will gladly take two or three shots to land one. It doesn’t have the technical mastery of Adesanya and Gastelum, but I’ll be damned if they don’t make up for it with the unbreakable heart. Something they both displayed throughout long careers competing in the UFC. Sanchez got the split decision from the judge’s in a fight people still talk about today.
4. Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson I – 2013
To this day, September 21, 2013, is the only time we have ever seen Jon Jones on the brink of defeat. Alexander Gustafsson showed the world that there was a world of toughness under one of the greatest UFC fighters of the all-time exterior. It too is in the UFC HOF, and certainly the best we have seen in the light heavyweight division. Jones got the decision, but “The Mauler” took his pound of flesh on that night.
3. Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar I – 2005
It is one of the most important fights in UFC and MMA history. We really don’t know where the promotion would be today if Forrest Griffin versus Stephan Bonnar didn’t happen on the first The Ultimate Fighter finale in 2005. Like Sanchez and Guida, it’s not chock full of technical brilliance, but it has heart and guts for days as these two laid into each other to win a UFC contract. It might not be the best UFC fight ever, but it gets the #3 spot for being one of the most influential.
2. Dan Henderson vs Shogun Rua I – 2011
Chalk another one up for the “Fight Wing” of the UFC HOF. Both Dan Henderson and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua were already legends for their various wars in Pride Fighting Championship, but this absolute banger of a fight at UFC 139 in 2011 was a battle of wills. Each is known for the bombs, and h-bombs, they throw and both received a healthy helping of both each. Yet their legendary chins held up (mostly) in a back-and-forth showcase of the mind overruling the body. It’s a fight you can show non-fans to make them understand what the UFC can be at its best.
1. Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II
We all remember it. The stare. That moment in between the fourth and fifth rounds where Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald stared into each other’s souls. Bloodied, battered, and having taken at least a year off the other’s careers and lives. And they still had another round to go. It is an iconic moment that made both an everlasting part of UFC history. The combination of it being one of the best fights of all time, mixed with actual UFC gold being on the line, easily tops our list as the best UFC fight ever.