The best UFC fights of all time

The Ultimate Fighting Championship promotion was organized in 1993 and was originally conceived as a one-time tournament. However, the success of the first event in Denver, USA made the organizers change their minds. In the 20th century, mixed martial arts were only at the beginning of their journey, and tournaments gathered the general public only in Japan and Brazil, which is why the UFC set its sights on conquering the American market.

Until 2006, tournaments were held in the form of official tournament brackets, and fighters often fought three fights per evening. After that, the organization switched to a modern system of events, in which the main battle of the card and several fights in the undercard are announced. Such a scheme allowed the UFC to impose serious competition on professional boxing in paid broadcasts. 

Royce Gracie Vs Gerard Gordo

Event: UFC 1, Fall 1993

The history of the promotion began with this fight. Royce Gracie – one of the brightest representatives of a great family and a pioneer of mixed martial arts – became the first UFC champion in history. The victory was won, as befits a member of the Gracie family, by choke hold.

Image by: Holly Stein/Getty Images

Forrest Griffin Vs Stefan Bonnar

Event:  The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale, Spring 2005

At the beginning of the 21st century, the UFC was going through hard times, and the organization of the reality shows The Ultimate Fighter was one of the last attempts to attract a wide audience to the promotion.

Thanks to the reality show, the public saw the fighters outside the ring, their lives, and their experiences. And the fight between Griffin and Bonnar made a splash – at that time, most people perceived mixed martial arts as fights of savages in a cage. 

Everything turned out largely thanks to the two guys who gave the audience a real massacre in the fight for the light heavyweight title.

Griffin won the fight.

(Photo by Josh Hedges: Zuffa LLC: Zuffa LLC)

Brock Lesnar Vs Shay Kirwin

Event: UFC 116, Summer 2010

The big guy Lesnar got hit in the face the whole fight, including in the supine position, and after the fight, the commentators joked that Brock’s tactic was to wear down the opponent by missing his blows.

Kirvin left a round and a half behind him without any complaints, but in the middle of the second, he got into a chokehold and surrendered. A truly dramatic denouement of a fight between two big guys. 

Dan Henderson vs Mauricio Rua

Event:  UFC 139, November 2011

The meeting of two UFC legends lasted all 25 minutes in a cage, and the fighters took turns holding the initiative. Two uncompromising monsters tried to beat the spirit out of each other for half an hour: no passivity, several knockdowns, a couple of pools of blood, and millions of satisfied fans – the good old feeling of two gentlemen! 

Henderson won that fight by unanimous decision, and a year and a half later a rematch took place, in which Hendo knocked out Rua. 

 (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Jon Jones – Alexander Gustafsson

Event: UFC 165, September 2013

Gustafsson, according to many experts, did not pose any danger to the leader of the pound-for-pound rating, but unexpectedly for everyone, he gave the champion a solid test of strength. In the first two rounds of the fight with Alexander, Jones received more damage than in his entire professional career and was also transferred to the ground for the first time. In the second half of the fight, Jones took his own and brought the fight to victory, but the fight with Gustafsson, perhaps, is still the most difficult in a fighter’s career. 

This fight was included in the UFC Hall of Fame. 

In 2018, the fighters again entered the cage, but that time Jones won by knockout in the third round.


Mark Hunt Vs Antonio Silva

Event: UFC Fight Night 33, December 2013

One of the best fights in heavyweight history was overshadowed by Silva’s positive doping test. But the duel itself went according to a completely Hollywood scenario: a brutal felling of two big men who flooded the entire canvas with blood ended in a draw and friendly hugs. 

image by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Jose Aldo Vs Chad Mendes 2

Event: UFC 179, Fall 2014

The first fight between Aldo and Mendez was not as bright as their rematch. Both athletes showed a high level of professionalism, drawing a gulf between them and the rest of the featherweight division at that time. 

Aldo won by decision.

Image by : Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Robbie Lawler Vs Rory McDonald 2

Event:  UFC 189, July 2015

Dana White himself called the second Lawler-McDonald fight the best fight in UFC history. Whether this is so is a matter of taste, but one thing is certain: it was the most brutal cutting in the history of the promotion. After the fight, the canvas looked like a butcher’s desk, and the faces of both fighters could not be seen.

In the fifth round, McDonald simply could not stand such a pace and fell to the canvas. According to experts, Rory broke down mentally under the pressure of Lawler’s blows, and his career began to decline after the defeat. 

Image by: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Carlos Condit Vs Robbie Lawler

Event:  UFC 195, January 2016

Lawler’s second brawler fight on our list, but this one ended in a judge’s decision and ensuing scandal. The victory was awarded to Robbie, but even Dana White himself counted Condit’s victory.

If we disregard the judges and experts, then in the ring there was a classic confrontation between two old-school fighters – a bunch of thrown punches, uncompromising and pure aggression.

Image by: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor – Nate Diaz 2

Event: UFC 202, August 2016

After the defeat in the first fight, McGregor descended from heaven to earth and prepared properly for the second fight, but the presence of any of the Diaz brothers in the ring promises an uncompromising confrontation. 

And so it happened – five rounds of hard exchanges, in which, according to the judges, McGregor looked a little better. Needless to say, the fight was one of the best-selling in the history of the promotion.

Image by: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Cub Swanson Vs Doo Ho Choi

Event: UFC 206 Winter 2016

Swanson and Choi took turns sending each other to standing knockdowns, and both fighters were on the verge of losing at some point in the fight. Everyone showed his character, and the audience enjoyed one of the most exciting fights of the 21st century.

The judges counted the victory Swanson, but the “Killer with the face of a child,” as Doo Ho is called, can also safely take the fight to his asset.

Image : Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov Vs Conor McGregor

Event:  UFC 229, Fall 2018

The Nurmagomedov-McGregor fight should be on this list for two reasons: it’s the biggest martial arts event of recent years and it’s the best-selling fight in MMA history. Before the fight, the audience was waiting for a lot of trash talk and McGregor’s outrageous antics, and after the fight, there was a massive brawl between the teams of fighters, which overshadowed the confrontation in the ring itself.

The victory was won by a chokehold by Nurmagomedov, who in a few years left professional sports undefeated.

Khabib Nurmagomedov Vs Conor McGregor

Kamaru Usman Vs Colby Covington

Event: UFC 245 Winter 2019

If you try to remember the best UFC fights of 2019, the confrontation between Usman and Covington will come to mind first. Fighters without buildup immediately went into action, which does not often happen in title fights in recent years.

Usman held the initiative most of the time, but Covington snapped back at times. However, in the fifth round, Kamaru knocked out Colby. 

image by :Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports

Weili Jan as Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Event: UFC 248, Spring 2020

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “UFC’s best female fights”? After the battle of Jedrzejczyk – Can, the list of the best fights of the fair sex was replenished with a real bloody feeling.

The girls threw 351 significant hits for two – this is one of the best results of the promotion, even if we take into account the fights between men. Joanna and Weili went through the entire five-round distance at the highest pace, inflicting terrible damage on each other.

Can win by decision. 

image by: Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Max Holloway Vs Calvin Kattar

Event: UFC on ABC, January 2021

Perhaps the best UFC fights of 2021 are yet to come, but Holloway and Kattar staged the hottest felling in the history of the tournament, as the statistics speak eloquently: 445 accented punches per fight! (For reference, the Holloway-Ortega fight ranks second in terms of the number of punches, in which only 290 punches were thrown).

Of course, the main credit for this belongs to Max, who in the middle of the fight proclaimed himself “the best boxer in the UFC” and immediately began to prove it.

Holloway won by the decision of the judges, and the fight will definitely go down in the history of the promotion. 

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

Best fights in UFC history by PPV sales: McGregor’s greatness

In addition to subjective assessment, which relies only on the preferences of experts, it is possible to objectively determine the best UFC fights in history – these are pay-per-view sales. Type of broadcast when a subscriber buys a specific show/event/match/tournament. . 

The rating does not show the sports component but reflects the state of affairs in the media sphere. It is significant that the first five fights of the rating took place with the participation of McGregor, and in total there are seven of his fights were in the top 10. The links in the table lead to the official video of the fight (if the promotion posted it).

PlaceThe battleEventPPV
oneNurmagomedov – McGregorUFC 2292.4 million
2Poirier – McGregorUFC 2571.6 million
3Diaz – McGregorUFC 2021.6 million
fourMcGregor – CerroneUFC 2461.35 million
5McGregor – DiazUFC 1961.3 million
6Usman — MasvidalUFC 2511.3 million
7Alvarez – MaggregorUFC 2051.3 million
eightAldo – McGregorUFC 1941.2 million
9Lesnar – CarvinUFC 1161.16 million
tenRosie – The HillUFC 1391.1 million

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