Top 10 most amazing UFC rematches of all-time
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has had an absurd amount of classic fights:
However, some of those epic clashes were such perfect pairings that the UFC bookers had to do them again.
In celebration of great fighters punching each other in the face a second time around, here are the Top-10 UFC rematches of all time.
Top-10 UFC rematches – 10. Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade II
The narrative heading into Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade’s UFC 251 rematch was about discovering if “Thug” Rose was a concussion inducing slam away from retaining her title in their first fight. Early on, the theory seemed true as Namajunas was too much technically for the Brazilian. And then as the fight progressed, the sheer will of “Bate Estaca” turned dominant vengeance into a split-decision slice of revenge for Namajunas. This terrific scrap showcased why Namajunas is one of the best female strikers in the world, and Andrade being a 115-pound power punching tank of a woman.
9. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II
Love him or hate, Brock Lesnar was a big deal a decade ago. And his UFC 100 triumph over interim-heavyweight champion Frank Mir was the pinnacle of that time. Some odd refereeing decisions, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu naivety, were key in Mir taking the first fight. In the rematch–which took the headlining spot on the promotion’s historic UFC 100 card–The fight played out much like the original.
Except this time “The Next Big Thing” was much better prepared for his opponents grappling excellence, and pummeled Mir with his cement block sized fists from the half guard. It was the moment that solidified Lesnar as the UFC’s biggest box office draw in the pre-McGregor era.
8. Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes II
When Chad Mendes faced off with featherweight superstar Jose Aldo at UFC 142, there was a hope the Team Alpha Male talent could be the man to push the champ to his limits. He didn’t. Instead he was on the wrong end of a highlight reel knee that will be on Aldo’s hall-of-fame induction video. However, the rematch at UFC 179 actually delivered on the original promise.
The rematch version of “Money” was a talented wrestler with power, but also far improved striking. For five rounds, the two battled in a tactical dance that took place in every facet of MMA. It was the first time during Aldo’s dominant run as champion where he found an equal match in a war on the feet. It showcased featherweight action at the highest levels of the sport, and just so happened to be one of the top-10 UFC rematches ever.
7. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes II
When future UFC welterweight legends Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes met at UFC 50, the Canadian upstart simply was not ready for the championship spotlight yet. However, when they ran it back two years later, “Rush” proved why he just needed a smidge more seasoning before beginning his ascension to the top of the division.
On that night in Sacramento, California, he proved more than just having a fighting background based on athleticism and Karate. He helped to usher in an age of well-rounded talents, and elevate what it meant to be a world-class mixed martial artist. Not to mention, it was a major shift in the division’s history. The best welterweight ever–at the time–was dethroned and there was a new superstar from the land of maple leaves and hockey on path to being one of the best UFC champions ever.
6. Quinton Jackson vs. Chuck Liddell II
We didn’t know it at the time, but this fight ended an era. It put Chuck Liddell’s ice cold killer light heavyweight championship run on…well, ice. Quinton Jackson’s 2003 win over “The Iceman” at Pride FC: Final Conflict was often criminally underappreciated. Apologists claimed that “Rampage” didn’t get the best version of Liddell back then. By the time they met up again in 2007, Liddell was on a legendary light run and in the midst of a seven-fight win streak. Which included career defining wins over future hall-of-famers Tito Ortiz (twice) and Randy Couture (also twice).
The fight was built around Liddell defending his title against an import from Pride FC and getting well-deserved vengeance. Neither happened. Instead, Jackson dispatched of the champ inside a round, began an assent to MMA superstardom, and derailed the run of one of the greatest UFC champions fans had known up until that point. it was a historic paradigm shift, and that’s why it is one of the top-10 UFC rematches of all-time.
5. Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn II
The UFC 58 bout between St-Pierre (the only man on this Top-10 UFC rematches list twice) and BJ Penn was a worthwhile welterweight scrap in 2006, but it pales in comparison to their UFC 94 rematch three years later. By then, GSP was firmly entrenched as the best 170 pound fighter on earth, and Penn had quickly become the most dominant lightweight champion in history. Along with Anderson Silva, they were two of the best three MMA fighters alive, and a W could give the victor legit pound-for-pound bragging rights.
In the end, the Canadian showcased strategic brilliance in decimating Penn at his peak. It was a battle of elite stars, a title fight, and Penn’s attempt to at becoming a champ-champ when it was still unheard of . That’s why it’s one of the top-10 UFC best rematches ever.
4. Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor II
When Nate Diaz stepped in as a short-notice replacement to face Conor McGregor at UFC 196, no one expected it to set up the most anticipated rematch in history. But that’s exactly what happened as their main event rematch at UFC 202 became the second best selling pay-per-view in UFC history. Although it did not have the definitive finish of the first, it was a wild affair with Diaz getting knocked down several times, and McGregor turning into Lance Armstrong late to survive. The majority decision victory for McGregor that evened the feud at one a piece has only made fans crave a rubber match even now, five years later.
3. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II
Frankie Edgar’s performance in his rematch versus Gray Maynard at UFC 125 is maybe the most awe inspiring on this list. The first round was one part utter dominance by “The Bully,” and another part legendary survival by “The Answer.” Yet Edgar’s survival is not what makes their title fight so memorable, it was just as much about him going from down on the score cards in a big way, to sweeping the rest of the fight and nearly getting a win despite it all. The bout was highly competitive throughout, an easy inclusion as on of the Top-10 UFC rematches ever, and the moment the New Jersey native truly became a UFC superstar.
2. Dustin Poirier vs. Max Holloway II
Simply put, Dustin Poirier versus Max Holloway at UFC 236 is one of the greatest lightweight fights ever. Both were miles ahead of the fighters they were in their first encounter in 2012. “Blessed” had become the defacto greatest featherweight of all time and was looking to get a second belt at 155, while Poirier sought to show cement his position as an elite level lightweight. This was one of those fights that certainly took a couple months off the careers of both men, as they teared into each other for five championship rounds.
It was the first time in five years that Holloway actually looked human, and in those weakened moments he proved he had the heart of a Hawaiian lion. On the flipside, by out boxing a nightmare of a striker, and a pound-for-pound talent, “Diamond” put a stamp on his career turn from mid-level featherweight to one of the best mixed martial artists in the sport.
1. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II
Rory MacDonald versus Robbie Lawler is not just the best UFC rematch of all time, it’s one of the best fights of all time. While Holloway and Poirier took months off each other in their epic rematch, their is no doubt “Ruthless” and “Red King” carved a couple years off the other in this bloody and ultra violent UFC 189 welterweight title fight. I’m sure it’s no coincident that both men’s win-loss record suffered after this caged melee. Since their legacy defining war, the pair have posted a 6-9-1 combined record. While they never reached these same peaks in their careers again, this fight will forever be etched in fight fan’s mind until the end of time.
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