Top 25 Fights in UFC History: 1-5
Unfortunately we don’t have any UFC action this weekend, but fear not. Let’s revisit Keith Shillan’s top 25 fights in UFC History to get our fix. We’ll countdown through the week until we reach number 1. If you watch all five fights for each day, it’s just like watching a main card!
Now It’s time for 1-5!
#5. Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz 2
August 20th, 2016
Main Event of UFC 202
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
UFC Featherweight Champion, Conor McGregor was supposed to fight for the UFC lightweight title, but 11 days before the fight, champion Raphael Dos Anjos pulled out with an injury, and Nate Diaz stepped up and took a fight with McGregor at 170 lbs. Diaz submitted McGregor in the second round.
Before their rematch, the two trash talked each other like crazy. So bad that they were throwing water bottles at each other at the press conference. The two fighters would square off in one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
The 1st round begins McGregor landing 5 unanswered leg kicks. Diaz lands a 1-2 combination and a leg kick. McGregor lands a left hand, and a leg kick. Diaz responds with a push kick and a leg kick. McGregor lands a left hand that buckles Diaz legs, and then drops him with another left hand. McGregor lets Diaz up and lands a hard leg kick. Diaz lands a right hook and follows it up with a 1-2 combination. McGregor lands a left hook, a straight left, and another leg kick. Diaz responds with a 3 punch combination. McGregor lands another left and a body punch. McGregor lands two leg kicks and a left hand. He lands another leg kick and another left hand. McGregor lands another leg kick and is jabbed by Diaz. McGregor lands a 1-2 combination, and an overhand left as the round ends. 10-9 McGregor
2nd round begins and McGregor goes back to the leg kicks. He lands an overhand right that drops Diaz. Diaz gets up and is hit with another leg kick. McGregor lands a 1-2 combination that drop Diaz again. Diaz gets up and McGregor lands 3 leg kicks. He then lands a 1-2 combination. Diaz counters with a right hook. McGregor lands a right hook and leg kick. He also adds two left hands. Diaz responds with a right hook. McGregor lands a straight left, and Diaz lands another right hook. McGregor hits two more leg kicks. Diaz lands two right hooks, and a straight left. He unloads a 4 punch combination. He follows up with an uppercut and a knee. He lands another right hook, and McGregor responds with a leg kick. Diaz lands 2 straight right hook that stumbles McGregor. He lands back to back 1-2 combinations and unloads a 10 punch combination. He unloads 5 uppercuts and a right hook. Diaz follows up with a 1-2 combination and a right hook as the round end. Extremely close round. Could go either way. 10-9 McGregor.
3rd round begins and McGregor looks tired. Diaz lands a right hand and follows up with a stiff jab. McGregor lands to the body and Diaz lands a hook. Diaz lands another 1-2 combination and a knee The clinch. Once they break, McGregor lands a 3 punch combination. McGregor land a leg kick, a left hook, another leg kick, and a body shot. Diaz starts trash talking while stalking McGregor. McGregor lands a left hook, and Diaz responds with a 3 straight 1-2 combinations. McGregor lands a leg kick, and follows up with a 1-2 combination. McGregor lands a leg kick and a 1-2 combination. Diaz lands a straight left. McGregor lands an uppercut. Diaz responds with a left hook. He follows with a 1-2 combination and a high kick. Diaz lands an uppercut, and follows with another 1-2 combination. Diaz lands a left hand and both guys clinch. Diaz unloads about 20-25 shots made up of hooks, uppercuts, and knees. Big round for Diaz. I score it 10-9, but it could be 10-8.
4th round begins and both fighters exchange left hooks. Diaz lands a straight left, while McGregor lands a leg kick. Diaz hits back to back 1-2 combinations. McGregor lands 2 push kicks and a leg kick. Diaz responds with his own push kick. McGregor lands a 3 punch combination. They clinch. McGregor stops a takedown attempt from Diaz. Both fighters exchange knees. Diaz lands 2 knees and small shots from the clinch. McGregor lands a three punch combination as they break. McGregor lands 2 body shots, and a 1-2 combination. He lands another body shot and follows up with back to back 1-2 combinations. McGregor lands an overhand left and a hard leg kick. Diaz ends the round with 2 left hooks. McGregor wins the round 10-9.
Final round begins. McGregor lands a leg kick and a hook. Both fighters exchange left hooks. McGregor lands a flying knee and Diaz lands a hook. McGregor lands 2 leg kicks, and both fighters land uppercuts. Diaz lands a 3 punch combination. McGregor moves away from Diaz, and Diaz flips him off. McGregor lands a 5 punch combination and then a 2 punch combination. Diaz responds with a 3 punch combination and a knee. He starts landing good shots in the clinch. Diaz lands a huge elboiw, and starts landing some good dirty boxing. McGregor lands a left hand and they clinch. Diaz lands some more dirty boxing, and then trips McGregor to the mat. He finishes the fight with some ground and pound. Diaz wins the round 10-9.
I score the fight 48-47 McGregor, but it could be 48-47 Diaz or a draw.
Results and Notes:
McGregor wins a majority decision. This fight has been called the biggest fight in UFC history. Colin Cowherd called this fight the MMA’s version of Ali vs Frazier. He said it was the best combat fight in 20 years.
#4. Forrest Griffin vs Stephan Bonnar 1
August 9th, 2005
Season 1 of the Ultimate Fighter Light Heavyweight Finale
Cox Pavilion, Las Vegas, Nevada
The Ultimate Fighter Season 1 Finale was the first full UFC event to be televised on cable TV. Griffin and Bonnar reached the finals of the season, with a six figure contract with the UFC on the line.
First round begjns with Bonnar landing a leg kick. Griffin lands a 3 punch combination. Griffin follows up with an uppercut, and lands a right hand and a knee. Both guys exchange right hands. Bonnar lands a right hand. He follows up with a spinning back kick and a high kick. He follows up with 3 rigth hands. Griffin clinches and lands two knees. He follows it up with a right hand. Griffin clinches again and lands 3 knees. Griffin hurts Bonnar and lands 4 straight right hands. Griffin lands an overhand right. He lands an uppercut and a right hand. Griffin shoots in for a takedown and lands on top. Griffin scrambles up and lands two knees. He follows it up with a 1-2 combination. Bonnar lands a right hand. Both exchange right hands. Bonnar lands a right hand, Griffin counters with an overhand right and a straight right. Griffin follows up with a knee and a straight right. Bonnar lands 2 right hands. Both guys sit in the pocket and throw bombs. Griffin clinches and lands a knee and gets a takedown. He lands some ground and pound and takes Bonnar’s back. He starts to slip off and locks in an armbar as the round ends. 10-9 Griffin.
2nd round begins with Bonnar landing a step knee. Bonnar lands 4 straight right hands. Griffin gets a takedown and lands some ground and pound. Bonnar attempts an armbar, but Griffin punches out of it. Bonnar scrambles to his feet and lands an uppercut, while Griffin counters with an uppercut. Bonnar lands a 3 punch combination. They clinch and exchange knees. They break and Bonnar lands 2 stiff jabs. Then he lands a 1-2 combination. They clinch again. Griffin lands 4 knees and 2 short right hands. They break and Bonnar lands a 1-2 combination. Bonnar clinches and lands 3 knees, while Griffin lands a knee. Bonnar lands 3 right hands, and Griffin lands a left hook. Bonnar jabs and they clinch. Griffin lands a knee. As they break, they start landing huge bombs on each other. Bonnar lands a 3 punch combination and then follows up with a right hand. They clinch. As they break Bonnar lands a jab and Griffin lands an uppercut. 10-9 Bonnar.
3rd round begins and the crowd is going crazy. Griffin lands 3 leg kicks and Bonnar lands a left hook and a straight right. Griffin lands 4 knees in the clinch. They break and Bonnar lands a right hand. Both fighters sit on their punches and start landing bombs on each other. Bonnar lands a 5 punch combination. Griffin counters with a 1-2 combination. Griffin lands a right and two leg kicks. Bonnar lands a straight left and follows up with 2 jabs and a right hand. Griffin lands a left hook and both fighters start throwing bombs again. Both fighters exchange right hands. Bonnar lands another right hand and then they exchange right hands again. Griffin lands a stiff jab and Bonnar lands a 1-2 combination and follows it up with a right hand. Griffin lands a left hook and Bonnar counters with a right hand. They clinch and Griffin lands two kneed. Close round but I scored it 10-9 Bonnar. I scored the fight 29-28 Bonnar.
Results and Notes:
Griffin wins a unanimous decision. UFC President, Dana White called this fight “the most important fight in UFC history”. The fight introduced many fans to the UFC.
The would rematch a few years later, with Griffin winning again. Griffin would go on to eventually winning the UFC title. Bonnar had an up and down career.
#3. Dan Henderson vs Mauricio “Shogun” Rua 1
November 19th, 2011
Main Event of UFC 139
HP Pavilion, San Jose, California
Two of the greatest fighters of All-Time clash in a classic fight. Both fighters had legendary careers in both the UFC and Pride FC, but somehow never fought each other before this fight.
The first round begins with Henderson cracking Shogun with a huge right hand, and Shogun shoots in a takedown, and gets a takedown, but Henderson lands in a 5 finger guillotine, when Shogun pops his head out, Henderson unloads about 15 unanswered punches, which cuts Shogun open. Henderson lands another big right that drops Shogun, who shoots in for a single, but gets hit with several hammerfists. Henderson gets double underhooks on Shogun and throws him to the ground, but let’s him get up. Shogun lands a knee and follows up with a right hand. Shogun lands a leg kick and shoots in for a takedown, which Henderson blocks. Henderson lands a right hand. He follows up with a 1-2 combination. Shogun lands two straight right hands, that drops Henderson. Henderson grabs a single, while Shogun is sprawled on top of him. Shogun lands several shots to the side of Henderson’s face.They scramble to the feet and Henderson lands a 1-2 combination. Shogun lands an uppercut. Henderson lands a left hook, and Shogun counters with his own. They clinch and exchange knees and some dirty boxing as the round ends. 10-9 Henderson
The second round begins, and both fighters exchange jabs. They clinch and exchange knees. Shogun lands a right hand, and Henderson follows up with a 3 punch combination. Henderson lands a 4 punch combination that hurts Shogun. Shogun lands a left hook of his own. Henderson lands a jab. Both fighters start throwing bombs on each other. Shogun lands a straight left. They clinch, and Henderson lands 3 punches when they break. They clinch again and exchange shots in the clinch. Shogun lands a straight right, and Henderson lands 3 punch combination. The round ends. 10-9 Henderson
The third round begin with Shogun landing a straight right. Henderson counters with a right hand, and Shogun lands a 1-2 combination. Henderson lands 3 big uppercuts but is stumbled by a Shogun right hand. Shogun lands a body kick, but is tripped down by Henderson. Shogun gets up immediately. Shogun is dropped by a right hand from Henderson. Henderson rains down huge shots from the top. Probable 20-30 in a row. Ref looking close to stopping it. Shogun rolls underneath Henderson and attempts a knee bar. Henderson escapes and both fighters clinch on the feet. Shogun drops down on a single, but Henderson hits him with two downward elbows. They clinch again. Shogun drops down for a double but gets hit with 4 big downward elbows. Shogun gets the takedown and starts unloading some nice ground and pound. Henderson gets up, with Shogun behind him. Both guys clinch. As they break, Shogun lands a 2 punch combination. Very good round. 10-9 Henderson
Fourth round begins with Shogun taking Henderson down. As Henderson gets up, Shogun lands 3 punches. Shogun takes Henderson down with a single, but Henderson lands a crucifix. Henderson uses it to get the mount briefly, but Shogun scrambles to his feet. Henderson shoots in for a double and takes Shogun down. Shogun attempts a sweep but is stopped by a one armed guillotine. Henderson rains down 3 huge right hands, causing Shogun to scramble up Shogun lands an uppercut. They exchange jabs. Shogun lands a huge uppercut. Henderson shoots in for a takedown but can’t get it. Shogun counters with a 4 punch combination. Shogun lands two jabs and a left hook. They clinch and Shogun gets a takedown and mounts Henderson. He rains down some good punches. Henderson gives up his back, and Shogun attempts a rear naked choke. Henderson escapes and lands on top. 10-9 Shogun.
The fifth round begins, and both guys are exhausted. Henderson lands a right hand, and shoots in for a takedown, but Shogun lands on top. Shogun mounts Henderson and lands shots from on top. Henderson pulls him into his chest, but Shogun pulls his head out and lands more shots until Henderson is able to scramble o half guard, but Shogun gets back to full mount and lands more shots. Henderson is able to pull him down again, but Shogun sits up again and rains down more punches. Henderson is completely gassed. Shogun lands more shots, but Henderson works to half guard. The round ends with Shogun on top. Big round for Shogun, 10-8.
. I scored it a 47-47 draw.
Results and Notes:
Henderson wins a unanimous decision. Crazy as it sounds, this might not have even been the best MMA fight of the night. Eddie Alvarez vs Michael Chandler 1 was also the same night in Bellator.
They would rematch 3 years later, with Henderson winning by 3rd round KO. Both fighters made my top 25 fighters of All-Time list that I did in July. Henderson came in at 5, and Shogun at 14.
#2. Robbie Lawler vs Rory McDonald 2
July 11th, 2015
Co-Main Event of UFC 189
MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
Lawler defends his UFC welterweight belt against McDonald as the co-main event, which was headlined by Conor McGregor vs Chad Mendes. It is not often that McGregor gets the show stolen from him, but this fight stole the show. They fought 2 years earlier with Lawler winning by split decision.
The first round begins with both guys circling, trying to find range. McDonla lands three kicks to the body, and a right hands. Lawler lands a right hand, and an inside leg kick. Both guys being patient and hand fighting. McDonald lands a jab and a right hand. Lawler lands a left hook. McDonald misses a shot, and Lawler hits him with a knee. Lawler lands an uppercut. McDonlad lands two push kicks to the body. Lawler lands a hook and a right hand. Very close round. 10-9 Lawler.
Second round begins and Lawler lands two jabs. McDonald lands his own jab. Lawler lands a straight left, and McDonald lands a 3 punch combination. McDonald lands a front kick to the face and a push kick to the body. McDonald lands a straight right to the body, and Lawler counters with a stiff jab. McDonald lands a high kick, but is blasted with a left land. McDonald lands 2 body kicks and follows with a straight right to body. Lawler lands a 1-2 combination. And then both fighters land 1-2 combinations. Lawler lands another 1-2 combination but is blasted by a straight left. McDonald lands another 1-2 combination and Lawler counters with two straight left hands that cuts McDonald open. Lawler follows with another clean 1-2 combination. Both fighters sit in the pocket and exchange bombs, but Lawler got the best of them. Good round. Lawler 10-9
The third round begins, with Lawler landing a straight right. Lawler lands two jabs, and McDonald counters with his own. They exchange clean right hands. McDonald lands a 1-2 combination but is hit with a 3 punch combination from Lawler. McDonald lands a 1-2 combination and Lawler responds with 2 stiff jabs. Lawler stuffs a takedown attempt from McDonald lands a huge left hand. McDonald lands high kick, and follows up with a straight right. Lawler counters with an uppercut. McDonald lands back to back 1-2 combination. McDonald hurts Lawler with a high kick. He follows up with a kick to the body and a right hand that hurts Lawler again. He lands a high kick, and Lawler lands a 1-2 combination. McDonald lands a flying knee and follows up with about 10 unanswered elbows. Lawler lands a left hook, but is hit by a huge uppercut and left hook. Hugh round for McDonald. 10-9 McDonald. Could even be 10-8.
The fourth round begins with McDonald landing a high kick and a straight left that hurts Lawler. Lawler attempts to cover up, and McDonald unloads about 10 unanswered punches including a huge knee the head. Lawler covers up again and is hit with about 10 more punches followed up with a push kick. McDonald lands a high kick and follows with 3 elbow. McDonald lands another head kick and another straight right. McDonald lands another high kick and follows with a superman punch. Lawler lands 3 hooks and follows with a 1-2 combination. McDonald lands a uppercut. Lawler lands a jab and follows up with a hard elbow. McDonald lands a grazing high kick and Lawler responds with a 1-2 punch.They exchange jabs. Lawler stuffs a takedown and lands a 1-2 combination. Lawler lands a left hand. McDonald lands a body kick and they exchange straight left. McDonald lands a right hand. Lawler lands an uppercut, and McDonald lands another grazing high kick. McDonald wins the round 10-9
The fifth round begins with McDonald landing a superman punch and Lawler landing a stiff jab. Both guys start throwing huge haymakers and kicks. They both land big. They break and Lawler lands a 1-2 punch. He lands a left hook and a straight right. Lawler crumbles McDonald with a straight right that shatters McDonald nose. McDonald falls to the ground. Big John McCarthy jumps in and stops the fight. Lawler’s nose is shattered and Lawler’s front lip is destroyed.
Results and Notes:
Lawler wins by 5th round TKO. How is it possible that after a very boring first round, these two guys would put on ones of the greatest fights in history?
Lawler would defend his title on more time against Carlos Condit, before losing it to Tyron Woodley.
McDonald now fights for Bellator.
#1. Cub Swanson vs Dooho Choi
December 10th, 2016
Main Card of UFC 206
Air Canada Center, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
This UFC card lost a lot of buzz coming off of the historic UFC 205 due to outside circumstances. The UFC was hoping that the historic night from UFC would help build the PPV numbers of this card, which was also the lead in to the return of Ronda Rousey at UFC 207, later in the month. The card seemed cursed though. First, the main event of Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson got cancelled due under two weeks for the card, due to an injury to Daniel Cormier. To make matters worst, the main card fight of Tim Kennedy and Rashad Evans was cancelled due to Evans not receiving a fight license. Lastly, just to make matters worst, Anthony Pettis and Max Holloway was bumped to the main event with the interim featherweight title on the line, but Pettis missed weight, and was unable to win the title.
Swanson entered the fight on a 2 fight winning streak and ranked #5 in the world, but was actually the underdog to Choi, who was a perfect 3-0 in the octagon with 3 first round knockouts.
The entire card was thought to be a disappointment and this fight didn’t receive much buzz.
There is no feeling out in this fight. Both guys come out throwing. Choi opens the fight by cracking Swanson with a right hand and then he grabs a Muay Thai clinch and lands three hard knees to the body and a briefly trips Swanson to the ground. Choi holds on to a front headock and blasts 4 hards knees to Swanson’s head because Swanson escapes. Swanson lands three hard leg kicks but is hit by a right hand. Choi lands a 1-2 combination. Swanson lands an overhand right that briefly backs Choi up. Choi steps forwards but Swanson cracks him with an overhand right and follows it up with a leaping left uppercut and kick to the body. Both fighters exchange shots in the pocket with Swanson getting the better of the action. Choi tries to clinch but is caught by 2 Swanson uppercuts. Choi lands an uppercut and right hand as the break the clinch but Swanson lands his own right hand. Choi lands a 1-2 combination but Swanson follows up with a huge overhand right. Swanson lands a 1-2 combination but the Asian fight lands a big right hand. They clinch and Choi pushes Swanson against the cage. Swanson lands a knee to the body with his back to the cage and is able to turn Choi against the cage. Swanson lands solid knees in the clinch. As they break, Swanson lands an overhand right and a kick to the body. He follows up with a inside leg kick and another overhand right. Choi lands back to back right hands while Swanson lands two kicks and another overhand right. Swanson attempts a snatch single on Choi, who defends the takedown and lands a knee as the round ends. Close round, which I scored 10-9 Swanson
The second round actions starts immediately. Choi opens with two right hands. They exchange blocked high kicks. Swanson lands a left hook a Choi lands his own. They step in the pocket and briefly exchange bombs. They clinch and Swanson lands a hard knee and two hard body shots. Choi lands a jab and a left hook, but is backed up by a Swanson kick. Swanson unloads a 6 punch combination that has Choi hurt bad. Choi briefly falls down and is hit by about 10 punches from Swanson. He lands two huge left hands that drops Choi. Choi cracks Swanson with a big shot. Crazy action. Swanson replies with a 3 punch combination. Choi is trying to retreat but is cracked by two more overhand rights and a hard body kick. They start exchange in the pocket with Choi landing two big shots. Swanson is hurt bad and Choi unloads about 10 big shots on him. Really, really insane action. Swanson backs up to the cage, and Choi is throwing everything he has at him.. He lands some big body shots and a killer right hand that buckles Swanson’s knees. Somehow Swanson survives and hip throws Choi. While on top, Swanson lands some ground and pound. Swanson lands a big shot from on top as Choi escapes. Both guys land bombs again. Swanson connects with a three punch combination. He follows up with a big left hook and then lands a cart wheel kick to Choi’s chin. Swanson smiles and then lands a look away left jab. Choi lands a left hand and a high kick. He then lands a 1-2 combination. Swanson leaps and and hurt Choi with a right hook. Then he swarms Choi by landing a series of hooks. He lands a big right hand. Then a spinning back fist and unloads another combination of big shots. Choi is hurt bad and Swanson lands two more big shots on him. They exchange some bombs in the pocket as the round ends. One of the craziest rounds in all MMA. Could go either way. 10-9 Swanson.
The crowd is going crazy as the round begins. Both guys throw bombs immediately. The action is insane again. Swanson lands a hard elbow and several body kicks and Choi responds with a 1-2 combination. Choi stuffs a single leg takedown attempt by Swanson and hurt him with a right hand. He stuffs another takedown attempt by Swanson and lands a hard knee to the body and a right hand.Choi unloads 3 unanswered right hands to Swanson’s chin. He gets behind Swanson and lands more right hands. He briefly takes Swanson down and tries to put in the hooks, but Swanson reverses him. Choi almost sweeps him over, but as they scramble Swanson regains the top position. Choi lands 3 hard elbows from the bottom to the top of Swanson’s head. Swanson postures up and lands a hard right. Choi scrambles to the feet but is cracked by a 3 punch combination by the American which buckles Choi’s legs. He starts to unload a 1-00 punch combination. Choi tries to grab Swanson but is hit by a perfect Freestyle wrestling headlock toss.They scramble to the feet and Choi lands a hard knee to the body and unloads a right hand right uppercut combination. The both sit in the pocket and unload big shots on each other. Unbelievable action. They just stay in the pocket and unload shots. You can’t describe this. Choi grabs Swanson and briefly gets his back. He takes Swanson down, who quickly Grambie rolls to his feet. One minute left and both guys are bloody. They exchange in the pocket again landing hard shots. They clinch and Choi briefly trips Swanson down. They get back to the feet and exchange knees. Crowd is going crazy. The exchange crazy big shots in the pocket again. Swanson hurts Choi bad with a right hand and follows it up with about 20 punches trying to take Choi out. Swanson finsihes the combination with another cart wheel kick, and a spinning back hand that drops Choi. Swanson finishes the fight with hard shots from on top. 10-9 for Swanson.
I scored it 30-27 Swanson but the fight was much closer than my score card suggests.
Mike Goldberg summed up the fight perfectly when he said, “What a fight, unlike anything we have ever seen”.
Results and Notes:
Swanson wins the fight by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).
When we originally did this countdown countdown from December 1st to December 25th of 2016, this fight wasn’t allowed to be on the list because we started the countdown before it happened. I am worried that I might be living in the moment because this is the most recent fight on the list. However, besides being the greatest fight in history, it turned what was considered to be a disappointing card on paper to the best event of 2016 and one of the best fights cards ever. The UFC was so pumped about this fight, they reshowed the event on Fox Sports 1 just two weeks later and got huge ratings (On Christmas Eve too).
Neither fighter has fought again yet. Swanson is currently scheduled to return at UFC Fight Night 108 on April 22 in the main event against Artem Lobov. Choi hasn’t been scheduled for a fight yet.
Let’s hope that the damage they took from this fight doesn’t ruin their chins like other fighters that have been in similar wars. Regardless, for the time being, they are part of the greatest fight in UFC history
We hope you enjoyed our list!