Bones in the Octagon: The Top Jon Jones Fights

Are you wondering what the top Jon Jones fights of all-time are? Let’s get in to it!

While issues outside of the Octagon have tarnished Jon ‘Bones’ Jones’ legacy in the eyes of some, there is little debating Jones’ place in UFC history as one of the pound-for-pound best fighters of all-time. He has dominated his way through two light-heavyweight title runs, and most recently has obtained heavyweight gold.

The only defeat on Jones’ record comes via disqualification from illegal strikes back in 2009. Currently the record holder for most title defenses, most wins, and longest winning streak in UFC light heavyweight history, here is a look at where Jones’ 21 UFC wins rank in order. 

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21. Jon Jones vs. Andre Gusmao – UFC 87
Unanimous Decision

Jon Jones made his UFC debut at age 21 against Andre Gusmao. While there were some good back and forth moments early in this fight, this was also an incredibly raw version of Jones who was still learning to become a striker on the feet.

Jones used his advantage as a wrestler to take Gusmao down several times. Watching this back is pretty fun to see just how much Jones’ repertoire grew in a short period of time until his reign as champion.

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20. Jon Jones vs. Vladimir Matyushenko – UFC Live
TKO Round 1 (Elbows)

Jones barely broke a sweat securing Matyushenko to the mat before landing vicious elbows in a crucifix position for the first-round stoppage. From this fight going forward, Jones has only fought on UFC PPV events, a span of nearly 13 years.

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19. Jon Jones vs. Jake O’Brien – UFC 100
Submission Round 2 (Guillotine Choke)

At UFC 100, Jones secured his first victory inside the distance in the UFC over Jake O’Brien. Jones displayed good takedown defense in round one with the fight mostly staying on the feet.

In round two, Jones connected on a spinning elbow and locked in a guillotine choke when O’Brien attempted a takedown. Jones switched hands several times before securing it at an odd angle for his first UFC finish and submission. 

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18. Jon Jones vs. Stephan Bonnar – UFC 94
Unanimous Decision

In just his second UFC fight, Jones took on the late Stephan Bonnar. Jones connected on a spinning back elbow early in the fight and would secure seven of his ten takedown attempts to earn a unanimous decision victory over the veteran Bonner. 

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17. Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera – UFC Live
TKO Rd 1 (Elbow)

This was another relatively uneventful fight, as Jones quickly gets Vera on his back and begins to unload ground and pound. The fight ended midway through the first as Jones connected on a nasty elbow, scoring his first TKO victory in the UFC. 

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16. Jon Jones vs. Chael Sonnen – UFC 159
TKO Rd 1 (Punches)

Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter helped build momentum for this one, as Jones took on UFC veteran trash talker Chael Sonnen. Sonnen landed just six significant strikes and was taken down three times in round one. Jones rained down elbows and strikes from top position to earn a first round TKO in this one-sided beatdown. 

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15. Jon Jones vs. Anthony Smith – UFC 235
Unanimous Decision

This fight was controlled by Jones from start to finish, connecting on a staggering 238 of 287 total strikes thrown. Jones was able to use all of his weapons to dominate the fight however he wanted to. Jones mixed in front kicks, spinning body kicks, elbows, and takedowns to make it look easy against Smith. A two-point deduction for an illegal knee at the end of round four was irrelevant as Jones still won 48-44 on all three scorecards. 

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14. Jon Jones vs. Ryan Bader- UFC 126
Round 2 Submission (Guillotine Choke)

With the hype beginning to grow, this was viewed by many as the first difficult test for Jones, taking on an unbeaten Ryan Bader at UFC 126. Jones nearly ended this fight on several occasions in round one via north-south choke and later with elbows and strikes. Bader survived to the bell, but could not escape a round two guillotine choke and was forced to tap.

Jones earned his first title shot following this dominant performance.

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13. Jon Jones vs. Cyril Gane – UFC 285
Round 1 Submission (Guillotine Choke)

This fight may not have been that eventful in terms of action, but the build up following a three year layoff, and a move to the heavyweight division, made this a special fight for Jones and many MMA fans. Jones entered this fight as a betting underdog, but quickly emerged as a favorite as the fight drew closer. J

ones easily finished Gane with a guillotine choke in round one to further his claim as the best pound for pound fighter in the UFC.

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12. Jon Jones vs. Ovince Saint Preux – UFC 197
Unanimous Decision

With over a year out of the octagon, Jones displayed some ring rust while still controlling this fight from start to finish. Jones won all five rounds on each of the judges’ scorecards, keeping Saint Preux at distance while mixing in spinning kicks, elbows, and takedowns.

Saint Preux connected on some right hands throughout the fight, but Jones always had a response and did enough to easily earn the unanimous decision.

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11. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 2 – UFC 232
Round 3 TKO (Punches)

Five years after their epic first fight, Jones and Gustafsson met again with a bit more build up. Jones had clearly gone to school, correcting many of the openings that Gustafsson capitalized on in their first fight.

While this fight lacked the back and forth of their first meeting, this was also a reminder of why Jones is so great. Jones dominated and scored the TKO finish with heavy ground and pound in round three.

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10. Jon Jones vs. Rampage Jackson – UFC 135
Submission Round 4 (Rear naked choke)

This was the first title defense for Jones against UFC legend Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Jones fought a technical fight early, staying at distance and avoiding big shots from Rampage. As Rampage began to slow down, Jones secured a takedown in round 4 which led to a rear naked choke submission for the win.

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9. Jon Jones vs. Dominick Reyes – UFC 247
Unanimous Decision

Dominick Reyes entered this contest as an undefeated fighter and landed more significant strikes than Jones in each of the first three rounds. Reyes was ahead on two of three scorecards after three rounds, but Jones was able to score takedowns and outstrike Reyes in each of the championship rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory.

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8. Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira – UFC 172
Unanimous Decision

It is easy to forget this fight with so many big names on Jones list of title defenses. Glover Teixera was an absolute warrior through five rounds, making this one an instant classic. Teixera absorbed 138 significant strikes, including an uppercut that sent his mouthpiece flying, and three takedowns, to go the distance with Jones.

A bloodied and battered Teixera managed to respond each time he was hit with haymakers of his own all the way through the final bell. Although Jones was never really in danger of losing on the scorecards, Teixera made it an exciting five round fight with his willingness to trade shots while on the losing end of most exchanges. 

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7. Jon Jones vs. Thiago Santos – UFC 239
Split Decision

Thiago Santos displayed a tremendous amount of heart after injuring his knee early in this fight. Described by Jones as a “high level chess match,” both fighters connected on several big leg kicks and punches throughout five rounds. Jones threw only 90 total strikes, shattering his previous low of 163 in any five-round title defense.

While the volume wasn’t there, Jones was accurate and efficient, connecting on 59 of those 90 with knees, elbows and kicks. In spite of one judge giving the fight to Santos, Jones did enough in the championship rounds to secure 48-47 victories on two scorecards for only split decision win of his career. 

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6. Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans – UFC 145
Unanimous Decision

Jones handed Rashad Evans just his second loss in the UFC, in what was Jones’ third title defense. The fight took place primarily standing up with Jones using his ten inch reach advantage to control most of the action. Evans tried to secure a takedown later in the fight but was unsuccessful. Jones staggered Evans on several occasions and landed 116 total strikes to Evans 49 in a dominant display from Jones on the feet.

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5. Jon Jones vs. Mauricio Shogun Rua – UFC 128
TKO Round 3 (Knee)

Jones became the youngest UFC champion in the promotion’s history (23) with his victory over Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua at UFC 128 in 2011. The fight was completely one-sided as Rua landed only 9 significant strikes. Jones thoroughly dominated this fight against a UFC legend, with big moments in round one. By the middle of round three, Rua was slowing down and eating big shots on the ground. Jones connected on a knee to the body and uppercut which backed up Rua to the fence, before a final shot to the body and devastating knee put Rua down just as referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight.

It appeared that Rua was in the process of tapping when he hit the mat due to the accumulation of strikes. A flawless performance and display of greatest from the new 23-year old light-heavyweight champion. 

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4. Jon Jones vs. Daniel Cormier 1 – UFC 182
Unanimous Decision

Jones vs. Cormier moves up the chartsi because of the pure hatred throughout the length of their rivalry. If you are looking for entertainment, go back and watch all of the interviews and press conferences leading up to both fights between these two. Jones would go on to thank Cormier after their second fight (a Jones third round KO) as being his greatest “rival and motivator.” 

While the second fight was eventually overturned after Jones’ positive test for a banned substance, both fights produced moments for each fighter and plenty of excitement. In their first meeting, Jones began to wear down Cormier midway through the fight and slowly took control. Jones controlled Cormier for nearly seven minutes on the ground and landed 34 more significant strikes to win all but one round on each of the three judges’ scorecards. 

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3. Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort – UFC 152
Submission Round 4 (Keylock)

Jones faced true danger for the first time in his UFC career, surviving a first-round scare after Vitor Belfort locked in an arm bar. “I’ve never had my arm popped like that before… I was waiting for it to break. I was not going to tap. I’ve never felt that before,” Jones said after the fight.

Jones bounced back to secure a submission of his own in the first minute of round four and retain his light heavyweight title. 

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2. Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida – UFC 140
Technical Submission Round 2 (Standing Guillotine)

Jones was rocked several times by Machida in round one before opening a cut above Machida’s eye in round two which seemed to swing the fight. Near the end of round two, Jones had Machida against the cage and began working a modified standing guillotine choke.

The awkward angle put Machida out hard, with little that referee John McCarthy could have done to prevent Machida from hitting the canvas face down as Jones dropped him. By far the most brutal finish of Jones’ career.

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1. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 1 – UFC 165
Unanimous Decision

After finishing eight of his previous nine nights via finish, the expectation was a similar fate for Gustafsson heading into Jones’ 7th consecutive title defense. Gustafsson surprised many with his ability to push the pace forward and land strikes on Jones in a way no other fighter had consistently done previously. Jones was cut in round one and even taken down for the first time in his career. Gustaffson was up by one round on two of three scorecards heading into round four.

A theme throughout Jones career in later fights was his ability to win the championship rounds, and his first true back against the wall moment to do that was against Gustaffson. Jones responded in rounds four and five to earn the unanimous decision victory.


Who Are The Current UFC Champions?

Are you wondering who are all of the current UFC champions?

First, let’s dive in to the sport itself. UFC has become a massive global sports brand since its introduction in 1993. They are currently the largest pay-per-view event provider on the planet.

RELATED: Who Have Been the UFC Heavyweight Champions?

UFC is televised in over 165 countries, with more than 60 global broadcast partners, to more than 1.1 billion households worldwide. They also boast the highest concentration of millennials (ages 18-34) in its fan base (40%) compared to other top sports properties.

The explosive growth of the sport has transformed their champions in to worldwide stars, with exciting knockouts and submissions going viral on social media at almost every UFC event.

For new fans and those who may be unaware, here’s a current list of UFC champions according to the official UFC rankings.

The standings are as follows:

  • Heavyweight Champion: Jon Jones (27-1-0 (1 NC))
  • Light-heavyweight Champion: Jamahal Hill (12-1-0)
  • Middleweight Champion: Israel Adesanya (24-2-0)
  • Welterweight Champion: Leon Edwards (20-3-0)
  • Lightweight Champion: Islam Makhachev (24-1-0)
  • Featherweight Champion: Alexander Volkanovski (25-2-0)
  • Bantamweight Champion: Aljamain Sterling (22-3-0)
  • Flyweight Champion: Brandon Moreno (21-6-2)
  • Women’s Featherweight: Amanda Nunes (22-5-0)
  • Bantamweight Champion: Amanda Nunes (22-5-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Champion: Alexa Grasso (16-3-0)
  • Women’s Strawweight Champion: Zhang Weili (23-3-0)
Heavyweight Champion: Jon Jones (27-1-0 (1 NC))
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  • Date won: March 4th 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Following a scarily close fight with Dominick Reyes at UFC 247, Jones eventually vacated the Light Heavyweight title, expressing his desire for big money for a move up to Heavyweight that he had been teasing since 2012. For years, the move was somewhat in limbo, with Jones claiming he was bulking up the entire time.

Finally, Jones fought at Heavyweight at UFC 285 against Cyril Gane, who he took to the ground and tapped in astonishingly rapid fashion, cementing his status as the greatest fighter of all time for many. As it stands, Jones will likely fight former Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July.

Light-heavyweight Champion: Jamahal Hill (12-1-0)
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  • Date won: January 21st 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Jamahal Hill was on a respectable three-fight win streak when he got his Light Heavyweight title opportunity, but it was still an opportunity that came along mainly because of the injury that Jiří Procházka suffered, forcing him to vacate the title and allowing Jamahal Hill to slide in.

He grabbed the chance with both hands, kicking off the new year by winning a decision over former champion Glover Teixera, who retired after the bout.

Middleweight champion: Israel Adesanya (24-2-0)
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  • Date won: April 8th 2023
  • Title defenses: 0 (5 on previous run)

When Israel Adesanya first stepped into the octagon at UFC 221, he mimicked a dog urinating, symbolising that he was marking his territory. That he did. It took him just over a year to pick up 6 wins and have gold wrapped around his waist in the 2019 Fight of the Year against Kelvin Gastelum.

From then on, Adesanya put away the likes of Robert Whittaker, Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier in performances where he was so dominant that he finished his opponent, or so dominant that he was seemingly doing enough to stay ahead and cruise to a decision.

The loss of his title came when he fought former foe Alex Pereira last November, where he was finished with a flurry of punches against the cage. It was a loss that saw him move to 0-3 against the Brazilian. Their immediate rematch would be a crossroads fight for Israel.

When it came in Miam, Florida, it took Adesanya just under 10 minutes to detach Pereira from consciousness, silencing all doubters and regaining his belt once again.

Welterweight Champion: Leon Edwards (21-3-0)
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  • Date won: August 20th 2022
  • Title defenses: 1

Kamaru Usman had the kind of dominant run as UFC Welterweight Champion that had people starting to mention GOAT status. He had multiple title defenses with most of them ending via knockout. Before UFC 278, it looked as though no one in the world could beat Usman… That was until he fought Leon Edwards for the second time.

Edwards was struggling throughout the fight and if the fight had gone 56 seconds longer, he would’ve lost another decision. In the fifth round he faked a jab to force Usman’s head to his right side and met it with a jaw-dropping kick, resulting in a vicious KO. The pair met for their trilogy fight in London in March where despite losing a point for repeated fouls, Leon proved he was the better man across 25 minutes.

Lightweight Champion: Islam Makhachev (23-1-0)
Chris Unger / Contributor Getty Images
  • Date won: October 22nd 2022
  • Title defenses: 1

To those that paid close attention, it felt inevitable that Islam Makhachev would be crowned a world champion one day when he was rising up the ranks. Trained by UFC Lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s wrestling is so exceptional that presents a real danger for any fighter around the same size.

He won the title against Charles Oliveria at UFC 280 in a dominant performance which made it look like a mismatch, with Makhachev getting the victory in the second round after an arm triangle. His one defense to date was against then-P4P #1 Alexander Volkanovski.

Featherweight Champion: Alexander Volkanovski (25-1)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
  • Date won: December 14th 2019
  • Title defenses: 4

The rugby player turned mixed martial artist picked up UFC gold with a victory over Max Holloway at UFC 245. The two fought to another decision in the rematch, albeit a closer one which many felt warranted a trilogy fight. Before that, Volk fought The Korean Zombie at UFC 273 and won via TKO in a fight where he looked superhuman. In his most recent Featherweight battle, Volkanovski took on Holloway for a 3rd time. While the first two fights were remarkably competitive, the third was not. Volkanovski made his mark, and closed the final chapter to the rivalry.

At UFC 284 in February, Alex went up to Lightweight to challenge Islam Makhachev for the title and though he came closer than many anticipated, the judges awarded the decision to Islam and now Volk looks set to fight the Featherweight Interim Champion Yair Rodríguez.

Bantamweight Champion: Aljamain Sterling (21-3-0)
Jeff Bottari / Contributor
  • Date won: March 6th 2021
  • Title defenses: 2

At UFC 259, Aljamain Sterling became the Bantamweight king in bizarre fashion. In the fourth round against Petr Yan, Sterling was hit by a textbook example of an illegal knee strike. Sterling was clearly injured and the referee declared that Yan was to be disqualified, giving Aljo the belt. Prior to the knee, Yan was winning on two of the three scorecards, which meant a second fight was inevitable. Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 for the interim title, after Sterling was forced to pull out due to a serious neck injury. When Sterling did meet back up with Yan, he shocked a lot of fans by defeated Yan in a split decision. Six months later, Sterling met with former champion T.J. Dillashaw and put it on him, stopping him with strikes in the second round.

Flyweight Champion: Brandon Moreno (21-6-2)
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  • Date won: January 21st 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Fights that happen four times are very rare in MMA, but it was warranted when Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo had a win, a loss and a draw each in their first three fights. Moreno won the title in the pair’s second fight, lost it in their third fight and at their most recent fight in January, he won it back after a doctor’s stoppage between the third and fourth rounds.

Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion when he won the title in June of 2021 and will look to defend it later in the year.

Women’s Featherweight Champion: Amanda Nunes (21-4)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
  • Date won: December 19th 2018
  • Title defenses: 2

The Lioness is considered by many to be one of the best fighters in the world. When she was on a win streak that included first round finishes over Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey and a pair of decision wins over Valentina Shevchenko at Bantamweight, she got an opportunity to face 145lb champion Cris Cyborg in Inglewood, California. She silenced any critics, putting away Cyborg in under a minute in one of the best wins in the sport. Since then, the lack of real contenders at Featherweight has meant that she has picked up just two defenses of this belt, one against Felicia Spencer and the other against Megan Anderson.

Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes (22-5)
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  • Date won: July 30th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0 (5 on previous run)

After winning the Bantamweight strap at UFC 200, Amanda Nunes has had an unprecedented title run at 135lbs. In the coming years, she knocked out Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey, the only other women to hold the title, in the first round. She was cruising through title defenses and even went up to Featherweight to win her aforementioned title there. When she met Julianna Peña at UFC 269, many expected a dismal fate for the Venezuelan, but it ended up being one of the bigger upsets in the history of the sport.

Nunes was far from done, though. The two would meet again in July of 2022 and Nunes would have her revenge. The Lioness put on a clinic in the decision victory, showing off her striking from both stances and used her superior strength to secure important takedowns late in the fight.

Women’s Flyweight Champion: Alexa Grasso (16-3-0)
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  • Date won: March 4th 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Coming into UFC 285, very few people gave Alexa Grasso a chance against Valentina Shevchenko, who was basically the entire division’s history at that point, racking up a title win and seven defenses in three years, losing very few rounds in the process. Still though, MMA is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world and all it took was for the Bullet to attempt a spinning attack and Grasso jumped on the back, putting in a choke and tapping Valentina in the fourth round.

Women’s Strawweight Champion: Zhang Weili (23-3-0)
Jeff Bottari / Contributor Getty Images
  • Date won: November 12th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0 (1 on previous run)

Finishing up our list of current UFC Champions is Zhang Weili, who originally won the Strawweight title in the summer of 2019, when she took the belt from Jéssica Andrade in 42 seconds in her home country. She defended the title once in one of the greatest fights in UFC history with Joanna Jędrzejczyk, before falling to Rose Namajunas’s beautiful headkick at UFC 261.

UFC 281 would prove to be Weili’s shining comeback moment, as she defeated Carla Esparza for the title. She dominated the fight and took the victory after a rear-naked choke submission in the second round. She has not defended her title yet but time will tell if Weili can extend her championship reign.

Which of these current UFC Champions are you most excited about? Shoot us a message on Twitter @137pm and let us know!


A Definitive List of UFC Double Champions Across Multiple Weight Classes

Whatever you think about what Conor McGregor holding two different titles at the same time did for MMA, there’s no doubt that it’s been one of the more impactful things to happen to the sport in the past decade.

Since he won the lightweight belt at UFC 205 while holding the featherweight title, a few champions have attempted to win a second simultaneous belt themselves, but even fewer have succeeded.

Below, we’ll give you a rundown of all of the fighters who have held two weight class belts.

First, What Is A Double Champ?

Great question.

Like any combat sport, MMA has had weight divisions for decades now. In the UFC, each weight division has one champion. Over the years, there have been fighters who have been a champion in one division, lose the title, and win the title in a different division. It’s an incredible feat (that we’ll get more into later), but what the term double champion (or champ-champ) is reserved for is fighters who have held belts in two different divisions at the same time.

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1. Amanda Nunes (Bantamweight, Featherweight)

Nunes won the Bantamweight championship at UFC 200 when she choked out Miesha Tate in the first round. She defended it three times before taking the challenge at Featherweight against Cris Cyborg, who she beat in the first round. At UFC 250, she defended her Featherweight title against Felicia Spencer, who she outclassed over the distance.

Amanda is special amongst the names on this list because she has been the only double champion to defend her titles while still holding them both. That’s a kind of dominance we haven’t seen in any of the men’s divisions. Dominance is really the only word to describe Amanda’s entire career. Up to this point, she has beaten every single woman to have ever held the UFC Bantamweight title and both the women who held the UFC Featherweight title. She finished former 135lb champions Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate, and Holly Holm, all in the first round. When they met in 2018, Cris Cyborg hadn’t lost a fight since 2005. It took Amanda all of 51 seconds to dismantle her. Amanda also boasts not one but two wins over the current Women’s Flyweight champion, Valentina Shevchenko. There’s really no reason to debate that Amanda Nunes is the greatest women’s fighter in MMA history, and it will be many years before anyone comes close.

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2. Conor McGregor (Featherweight, Lightweight)

The man who coined the term ‘Champ Champ,’ Conor McGregor, was the first fighter to ever hold UFC belts in two weight divisions at the same time.

Conor’s run at Featherweight was something you’ll never forget if you’re lucky enough to have witnessed it in real-time. He came into the UFC already feeling like a superstar, already a double champion in his former promotion, Cage Warriors. Perhaps we should have been privy to what he was going to attempt all along.

Fight after fight, he would be brash in his attitude leading up to a fight, making bold predictions about what he was going to do to his opponent, then he would do it. He had one of the quickest rises to the top in MMA history. He debuted in the UFC in April of 2013, and just two years and five wins later, he had a fight scheduled with José Aldo, a man who was on an 18-fight win streak. Aldo pulled out, and instead, Conor fought Chad Mendes on short notice. It was supposed to be a nightmare matchup for him, a high-level wrestler with good striking who had gone 5 rounds with Aldo in the “Fight of the Year” the year prior. All of that made no difference to McGregor, who finished Mendes in the second round.

Conor eventually fought Aldo in December of 2015, if a fight is what you even call what happened. The man who was unbeaten in 13 years lost the title in just 13 seconds. We didn’t know it at the time, but it was the last time we’d ever see Conor at 145lb pounds. Almost immediately, he was scheduled to fight then-Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos. Once again, a Brazilian champion got injured and pulled out on Conor, which led to the famous pair of Nate Diaz fights. Legendary in their own right, they were but a detour for the Irishman. By the time Conor actually fought at Lightweight, Eddie Alvarez was the champion, and Conor made him look like an amateur fighter, putting on the performance of a lifetime at UFC 205 to become the promotion’s first dual-champion.

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3. Daniel Cormier (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight)

When DC came over to the UFC from Strikeforce, it was tough to know what we could expect from him. He was a former Olympian that had his first fight at 30-years-old and was clearly talented, but at 11-0, despite an incredible showing in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, fans were waiting to see what he would look like in the UFC.

Of course, after beating Frank Mir and Roy Nelson, he moved down to 205lbs because he refused even to consider the notion of fighting his friend and teammate Cain Velasquez, who was the Heavyweight champion at the time. If there was any doubt about how he would look at Light Heavyweight, he did away with it with his first two performances there. Cormier finished Patrick Cummins early in the first round and threw Dan Henderson around like he owed him money. At 15-0, it was time to see what he could do against Jon Jones.

Jones beat Cormier fairly handily over five rounds, taking down the former Olympian multiple times in the process, and it seemed the rivalry was done for good. Although he was unbeaten in MMA until that point, one of Jones’ many losses outside the cage came after that fight. He was stripped of the title three months later after his infamous hit and run, and suddenly, the UFC needed a new champion at 205lbs. It only made sense that DC would step up to fight Anthony Johnson.

He won the belt that night and went on to defend it against Alexander Gustaffson and Rumble before Jones made his way back to their rematch. Jones finished him the second time around, but the fight was overturned to a no-contest after Jones tested positive for a banned substance. Cormier was once again champion, although he wouldn’t feel like it again until he got another win under his belt, which he did at UFC 220 against Volkan Oezdemir.

With Cain out of the title picture at Heavyweight now, Cormier felt it was time to go back up to his original weight division to try to become a double champion. Poetically, almost a year to the date of the KO loss to Jon Jones, DC finished Stipe Miocic in the first round to become a two-weight champion. It was the stuff of dreams.

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4. Henry Cejudo (Flyweight, Bantamweight)

Both of Henry Cejudo’s title wins come after he reinvented himself in 2017. After winning three fights in the UFC in 2015, he lost a pair of fights in 2016. The first was to Demetrious Johnson, who stopped him in the first round. The second was to Joseph Benavidez, who won a split decision against him. These were two massive steps back for Cejudo at Flyweight, and he needed to make a change.

He took 9 months off before returning against Wilson Reis in September of 2017. He came out with a wider stance and looked far more polished than we’d seen before, winning the Performance of the Night bonus against Reis. Just three months later, he met Sergio Pettis, who he won a unanimous decision against. In a division suffering from the dominant reign of DJ, those two wins were enough to earn him another title shot.

When Cejudo and Johnson met for the second time, Cejudo did enough to take the fight on two judges’ scorecards, bringing an end to DJ’s 13-0 win streak. Next, he wanted to do what DJ never would and fight another UFC champion. 135lb king T.J. Dillashaw dropped down from Bantamweight in his own attempt to become a double champion, but he was humbled in just 32 seconds. Now, it was time for Cejudo to make his own attempt at the same feat. After their fight, Dillashaw tested positive for a banned substance, and as a result, the UFC Bantamweight Championship was vacant. Henry stepped up to fight Marlon Moraes in a star-making performance where he had to persevere beyond belief through a leg injury. He TKO’d Moraes in round three to add the UFC’s Bantamweight title to his collection of gold.

Are there other fighters who have won 2 titles?

Another great question!

Though the term ‘double champion’ is usually reserved for fighters who have held two belts at once, throughout the history of the UFC, there have been fighters who have been champions in two different weight classes but with no overlap between the two reigns. Below, we’ve outlined them for you.

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Jon Jones (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight)

Jonny Bones Jones started his career at Light Heavyweight, where it took him 7 fights to earn a title shot – one where he stepped in for his teammate and future foe Rashad Evans on short notice. At just 23-years-old, going up against Mauricio Rua was a tough task; although you’d never know it from how Jones made it look. He opened the fight in flashy fashion, showing that he wasn’t going to cower to the moment. 3 rounds in, he stopped Shogun with punches and knees to become the youngest UFC champion of all time.

From then on, he went on a tear and one of the greatest runs we’ve ever seen in the sport, coming out victorious over legends like Daniel Cormier, Vitor Belfort and Lyoto Machida. He ended up vacating the title after a close fight with Dominick Reyes, announcing that he intended to move up to heavyweight. Interestingly, he was publicly pondering a move up to heavyweight for his entire run and likely could have become the first ever double-champion years before Conor McGregor even attempted it.

It took him more than a decade to finally move up to heavyweight and contest for gold but when he did so, he did so in the fashion that made fans wonder if he was right to wait all along. Jones fought Cyril Gane in March to win the vacant title in just a few minutes, putting the Frenchman in a guillotine. With that, he added his name to the shortlist of fighters who have won weight class titles in two divisions.

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Georges St-Pierre (Welterweight, Middleweight)

It took GSP three separate title fights to truly become the fighter he was destined to be. In his first shot, he lost to Matt Hughes who tapped him with 1 second left in the 1st round. Over the next few years, he worked his way up to another title shot, besting the likes of Frank Trigg and B.J. Penn to get a chance to even the score with Matt Hughes. He did just that, beating Hughes in even quicker fashion than Hughes beat him to finally become the Welterweight Champion.

Unfortunately, his first defense was up against another man by the name of Matt who beat GSP in one of the biggest upsets in the sport’s history. Georges tapped to strikes in the first round and Serra had done the unthinkable.

This time, it took GSP just two more fights to earn his way back to interim gold, settling the score with Matt Hughes in the meantime. He ended up unifying the title against Serra and going on what we know today to be one of the more memorable streaks in MMA history, proving to be no worse than the 3rd best fighter of all time.

Following a shockingly close fight against Johnny Hendricks, St-Pierre revealed that he was stepping away from the sport for the foreseeable future to take some time for himself. The 170lb title was vacated. The next time he would return was 4 years later against Michael Bisping at middleweight, where he put Bisping to sleep to win his second weight class title in his final MMA fight.

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B.J. Penn (Lightweight, Welterweight)

To newer fans, B.J. Penn might just be the guy who went 1-9-1 in his last eleven fights in the UFC, but it’s truly hard to overstate just how unbeatable he looked in his prime. There’s a reason that Anderson Silva calls B.J. the best fighter he’s ever seen.

Incredibly, despite starting out his career at lightweight in 2001 and getting two separate title shots there, the Hawaiian’s first taste of UFC gold came at welterweight in 2004 when he beat Matt Hughes by submission in the 1st round. Unfortunately, a contract dispute meant that he would leave without ever getting the chance to defend it.

After a slew of fights in K-1, he lost his comeback fights in the UFC at welterweight, which had him move back down to 155lbs. There, he avenged his loss to Jens Pulver and earned a title fight against Joe Stevenson to win the vacant lightweight title, making him a two-weight world champion.

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Randy Couture (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight)

As we outlined in our article about the history of the UFC Heavyweight Championship, Randy Couture holds a record for being a 3-time champion in the division, beating Maurice Smith in 1997, Kevin Randleman in 2000 and Tim Sylvia in 2007.

Between the latter two heavyweight title wins, Couture actually had another title attempt against Ricco Rodriguez that he lost. That loss saw him make a change in his career, going down to light heavyweight where he won the interim title against Chuck Liddell in his debut and unifying it against Tito Ortiz just 3 months later. With that win, he became the first fighter to ever win gold in two different weight divisions.

What might surprise you even further is that along with 3 separate UFC Heavyweight Championship wins, Couture also has 2 separate Light Heavyweight Championship wins. His first was the aforementioned one and his second came against Vitor Belfort at UFC 49.


Your Definitive List of UFC Heavyweight Champions

In combat sports, the title of Heavyweight Champion carries a special mystique. Whether it’s due to exceptional skill or stature or both, heavyweights are magnets for fame. Boxing has its Muhammad Alis and Mike Tysons, wrestling has its Aleksandr Karelins and Bruce Baumgartners. Mixed martial arts is no exception. Below, a complete list of UFC Heavyweight Champions since the inception of the division.

RELATED: Who Are The Current UFC Champions?

1. Jon Jones (27-1-0-1 MMA, 21-1-0-1 UFC)
Chris Graythen via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Cyril Gane at UFC 285
  • Title won: March 4, 2023
  • Defenses: 0

As controversial a figure as he may be, Jon Jones is to many, the greatest fighter to ever compete in MMA.

Despite his father wanting him to preach, Jones became a state champion in Endicott, NY and a NJCAA wrestling national champion Iowa Central Community College which eventually led to him dropping out of college to pursue a career in MMA.

He rose through the ranks quickly and when his teammate Rashad Evans was forced to pull out of a 205lb title opportunity, he slid in against Shogun to become the youngest UFC champion of all time at 23-years-old. He went on a legend-killing spree, dropping Lyoto Machida’s lifeless body after a choke and surviving a vicious armbar from Vitor Belfort to tap him himself, to name a few.

Throughout his light heavyweight run, Jones was always vocal about moving up to heavyweight, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that he made good on his promise, stepping in the cage against Cyril Gane to capture the vacant gold in a couple of minutes. As of now, he is set to defend the title against Stipe Miocic in the summer.

2. Cyril Gane (11-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC)
Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Derrick Lewis at UFC 265
  • Title won: August 7, 2021
  • Defenses: 0

Hailing from La Roche-sur-Yon, France, Ciryl Gane grew up playing soccer and basketball but didn’t pursue either at a higher level. While working at a furniture store, he was introduced to Muay Thai and subsequently made his professional Muay Thai debut in 2016, winning by second round knockout. After winning four more in a row, he faced multiple time WBC Muay Thai champion Yassine Boughanem and won the fight by decision – particularly impressive considering he had only been fighting for a few years.

In 2018, Gane made his professional MMA debut. He won three in a row before signing with the UFC. Under the UFC’s banner, Gane won his first seven fights in a row, including a finish against Derrick Lewis in Houston to capture the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship. Five months later, Gane fought former training partner Francis Ngannou in an attempt to unify the belts, but ultimately came up short in a war of attrition that saw him getting outwrestled – something no-one could have predicted prior to the bout. After Ngannou left the UFC, Gane challenged for the vacant championship, but came up short to Jon Jones who ran through him in just over 2 minutes.

3. Francis Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fight: Defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 260
  • Title won: 27 March, 2021
  • Defenses: 1

One of the most terrifying men to walk this earth, Francis “The Predator” Ngannou is not a man from whom anyone wants to line up across the cage. Born and raised in a village in Cameroon, Francis worked in sand quarries, harboring dreams of pursuing professional boxing. By the age of 22, he started training and by 26, he took off to Paris to pursue professional fighting.

Once he arrived in Paris, he ended up at the MMA factory where he trained and lived at no cost. This is where Fernand Lopez, the MMA Factory’s head coach, convinced Ngannou to pursue MMA instead. In 2013, Francis made his MMA debut. He won five of his first six bouts before garnering the attention of the UFC. Once there, he rattled off six wins in a row, many by landing huge strikes that sent his opponents crumbling. Thus, his title shot had arrived. In his first try at gold, he was tasked with facing Stipe Miocic. Although Ngannou unloaded his full arsenal, he was unable to secure the victory, losing a unanimous decision to Miocic.

He then had one of the most slow-paced, least action-packed fights in the UFC’s history against Derrick Lewis. Both being known for having insane knockout power, neither guy was willing to get too close or do too much in a fight that saw Lewis come out with the win (they should’ve both been given an L). After that, he put together 4 wins in a row, all in the first round, where he connected with brutal punches that no man has been able to handle. Again, he earned an opportunity to challenge Miocic for the title. In this title challenge, we saw Ngannou come out much more measured and calculated. He still threw the big shots, but he was charging forward and throwing less, opting to stay patient and pick his shots, a very scary sight indeed. This time around he was able to find the punch that would put Miocic down and garner him the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Of course, since then, contract disputes meant that Ngannou left the UFC and the title was vacated. He is currently looking to box before returning to MMA.

4. Daniel Cormier (22-3-0-1 MMA, 11-3-0-1 UFC)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fight: Defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 226
  • Title won: July 7, 2018
  • Defenses: 1

Daniel Cormier’s successful career was tied heavily to two individuals: Stipe Miocic and Jon Jones, the only two men to defeat DC over the course of his 11-year, 26-fight career. The last of his kind on this list, DC was an elite wrestler coming out of Lafayette, Louisiana. He started at Colby Community College, going 61-0, before transferring to Oklahoma State University. There he finished second in the country, losing in the NCAA finals to wrestling legend, Cael Sanderson. His final record at OSU was 53-10.

After college, Cormier competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, finding success as an Olympic level wrestler. Following his Olympic achievements, he turned to training MMA. Though he finished his career as a heavyweight, he fought most of his career at light heavyweight. Cormier dominated nearly everybody in his early MMA career, starting in Strikeforce and compiling an 11-0 record before getting called to the UFC. Even then, he faced little adversity in his first four fights with the UFC. Then came Jon Jones. If you’ve made it this far, chances are you know who Jon Jones is and the ups and downs that come with one of MMA’s most outstanding and chaotic fighters.

In this first title challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, we saw DC lose a unanimous decision to the undefeated Jones. Months later, Jones was stripped of the title due to a felony hit-and-run and DC was set to challenge for the title once again, this time against the late Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (23-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC). After defeating Johnson by rear-naked choke, DC went on to defend his title three times, including a second time against Rumble. In between came another heartbreaking loss to Jon Jones, which was overturned to a no-contest, because Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. As such, the title stayed in DC’s hands.

After such a dominant reign at LHW, DC wanted to move up and challenge Stipe for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. In their first meeting, DC was able to capitalize on that short right hand when leaving the clinch to put down Miocic and secure the victory to win Heavyweight gold. Soon after, he defended his title successfully against “The Black Beast”, Derrick Lewis, winning by rear-naked choke in a fight that headlined a big Madison Square Garden card. Then came the final two fights against Stipe that resulted in two subsequent losses and the retirement of one Daniel Cormier.

DC had a storied and successful career, one marked by being on the other side of two extremely dominant champions. This does not denote his achievements, but many will remember him by being the other side of Jon Jones – and in my opinion, that’s a lot better than being Jon Jones.

5. Stipe Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fights: Defeated Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 and defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 241
  • Title won: May 14, 2016 and August 17, 2019
  • Defenses: 4

Stipe Miocic is widely considered the greatest UFC Heavyweight of all time. He’s not only captured the title twice, but also defended it a record four times, including a record three in-a-row. No heavyweight in the world has dominated the top of the UFC Heavyweight division quite like Miocic.

Born in Euclid, OH, Miocic grew up a multi-sport athlete between football, baseball and wrestling. He went on to play baseball and wrestle between Cleveland State, Trevecca Nazarene and Coker College. He was initially brought into Strong Style MMA to wrestle with former UFC contender Dan Bobish, and soon began training himself. After becoming a Golden Gloves Champion and competing at nationals, the former NCAA Division I wrestler developed the tools to dominate those at his level, making his debut in 2006 and winning his first six fights by KO.

Such a run earned him a shot in the UFC. Between his UFC debut in 2011 and 2016, Miocic fought 10 times, winning eight fights, five of which were finished with strikes. This was enough to earn him a shot against the current champion, Fabricio Werdum. The fight was set in Werdum’s home country of Brazil and was attended by a notably hostile crowd that was eager to watch the challenger fall. Unfortunately for them, Miocic had other plans. Early in the fight, Werdum blitzed forward, leaving himself exposed. Miocic saw the opening and put Werdum out cold with one precise punch. A new champion was crowned and Stipe brought a championship back to the city of Cleveland for the first time since 1964.

After defeating Werdum, Miocic defended his title three times against the often challenging Alistair Oveerm, future champion Francis Ngannou and former champion Junior dos Santos. He then met UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. Late in the first round, while escaping the clinch, Miocic exited with his hands low and caught a short shot that put him on the ground. The fight was over and Daniel Cormier was crowned champion. More than a year later, the two fought a second time, with this fight being one of the toughest in Miocic’s career. Although he was outmatched for much of the fight, Miocic found an opening by way of body shots late into the fourth round. By taking advantage and hammering Cormier’s body, he was able to land some ferocious shots to the head and put Cormier to the canvas for the win and the championship. Since both fighters had just traded wins, the UFC booked the trilogy, a third fight between the two that was billed to be the fight which would decide the GOAT heavyweight. This time, in a much less damaging fight for both men, we saw Miocic grind out a very tactical, hard-fought win, coming by way of unanimous decision. This fight marked Miocic’s record-setting 6th win in UFC Heavyweight Title fights and cemented him in the record books.

He later lost the belt in a rematch to Ngannou and is expected to get the opportunity to win it for a third time this summer against current champion Jon Jones.

6. Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1 MMA, 12-6 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 180
  • Title won: November 15, 2014
  • Defenses: 0

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum’s venture into combat sports is unlike any others on this list; it started only after he was choked out in a triangle choke by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

Ouch. Talk about a blow to the ego. Luckily for Werdum, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s way more successful than Mr. Steal Ya Girl today.

Werdum made his professional debut in 2002, winning six of his first seven fights, the one blemish being a draw. At this time, Fabricio was competing in PRIDE, facing top competition pre-UFC (Alistair Overeem, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira). Notably, in PRIDE, he was the man to end Fedor’s legendary win streak. In 2007, Vai Cavalo made his UFC debut against Andrei Arlovski, losing by unanimous decision to the former UFC Heavyweight champ. Over the next seven years, Werdum would fight 11 times between the UFC and Strikeforce before putting together a four-fight win streak to earn the opportunity at the Heavyweight belt. Due to the fact that then-champion Cain Velasquez was injured, Werdum instead fought Mark Hunt for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Title. Werdum finished Hunt halfway through the second round, throwing a long knee from range, connecting perfectly to send him to the canvas.

Finally, on June 13th of 2015, Werdum challenged for the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Championship, defeating Velasquez by guillotine choke in the third round, and was declared the unquestioned champion of the heavyweight division. In his first and only title defense opportunity, he faced first-time title challenger, Stipe Miocic. While charging forward and throwing a flurry, Werdum was caught with a counter right-hand that sent him crashing into the canvas. He was out cold.

Since then, Werdum traded wins and losses through his final contract with the UFC and in 2021 decided to go fight for the PFL (Professional Fighters League). His first and only fight with them was met with controversy as it seemed his opponent tapped to a choke prior to a fight ending sequence that left Werdum on the losing end. The fight has since been reviewed and overturned to a no-contest.

7. Junior dos Santos (21-10 MMA, 15-8 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fight: Defeated Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos
  • Title won: November 12, 2011
  • Defenses: 1

“Cigano”, Junior dos Santos or JDS for short, grew up in Brazil training in capoeira before committing to BJJ at the age of 21. He turned pro just one year later (2006), winning his first 5 fights in little over a year’s time. After winning 6 of his first 7 fights, he made his debut for the UFC as a clear underdog against Fabricio Werdum. In a stunning turn of events, JDS knocked Werdum out in under two-minutes, earning him the knockout of the year for the UFC.

To follow the impressive start, Cigano followed with six wins in a row to fight for the title against the aforementioned Cain Velasquez. It was a massive overhand that sent Velasquez tumbling and earned JDS his first UFC Heavyweight Championship. Six months later, he successfully defended his title against perennial contender, Frank Mir, defeating him with superior boxing and finishing the fight in the second round.

Seven months later, JDS faced Velasquez for a second time and lost his title by unanimous decision. Though he would go on to challenge for the title a few more times throughout his career, dos Santos was yet to capture it again, ending his UFC tenure riding a four-fight losing streak against a row of killers (Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane).

In March of 2021, it was announced that JDS was being released from the UFC and we have since seen him also compete in professional wrestling, but for an organization called All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Last year, he fought for Eagle FC against Yorgan De Castro and was winning until he suffered a shoulder injury in round three.

8. Cain Velasquez (14-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 and defeated Junor dos Santos at UFC 166
  • Title won: October 23, 2010 and December 29, 2012
  • Defenses: 2

Cain Velasquez stands as one of the most intimidating forces to ever compete inside a UFC octagon. Sure, he has some blemishes to his record, but he remains one of the most gifted and awe-inspiring heavyweight fighters who ever was.

After a high school career that saw him compile a record of 110-10, Velasquez went on to win an NJCAA National Championship for Iowa Central Community College before transferring to Arizona State University. There, he secured 5th and 4th place finishes at the NCAA tournament in his final two years (2005-06).

Right after college, Velasquez joined American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and began training to take his first fight. That same year, he fought twice, winning his first two bouts within the first round due to strikes. That was enough to earn him a shot at the UFC, where his domination continued as he rattled off eight wins in a row, including one over “Big Nog”, with only one of them not coming by KO/TKO.

Enter “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar. Though Brock started strong by landing a takedown, Velasquez eventually made it back to his feet and ended the fight with elite striking. Not only did he derail the Lesnar hype train, he captured UFC gold! Unfortunately, he tore his rotator cuff in the midst of the fight and was sidelined for a year before making his first title defense, which was against a Brazilian up-and-comer named Junior dos Santos. This fight was billed as an exciting clash but many expected Velasquez to dominate in retaining his title. Just one minute into the skirmish, it was a sweeping overhand by dos Santos that connected, put Velasquez down and led to the finishing sequence of punches.

Though his title reign ended quickly, it wasn’t long before he was fighting for gold once again, defeating Antonio Silva 6 months later to earn another shot at JDS. This time, the fight went much more as expected, seeing Velasquez dominate dos Santos for all five rounds on his way to a unanimous decision win, where he landed double digit takedowns, and triple digit significant strikes. Once again, one of the most imposing forces in MMA was the UFC Heavyweight Champion.

After capturing the title for a second time, Velasquez was back to his finishing ways, defending the title against Antonio Silva and JDS, winning both before the bell thanks to his heavy hands. Then came Fabricio Werdum. Werdum had won the Interim title a few months before, as Velasquez had gotten injured in preparation for their initial title fight. Once they finally met in the octagon, Werdum was able to finish Cain by guillotine choke in the third round, marking the first time he had lost via submission in his nearly 10-year career.

A rematch was scheduled for February of 2016, but both fighters needed more time as injuries arose. Upon his return, Velasquez faced and defeated Travis Browne (18-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC), but in another attempt to face Werdum, he was not cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to bone spurs in his back.

Velasquez took one last fight in February 2019 against Francis Ngannou, where, in 26 short seconds, a short uppercut dropped him and led to him to being finished by ground and pound.

Since fighting in MMA, he is currently competing as a professional wrestler for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and has made appearances in the WWE. He seems to be moving on from real fighting to opt more for entertainment, and good on him for continuing to use his athletic skills to bring something worth watching to the world.

9. Shane Carwin (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC)
Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Frank Mir at UFC 111
  • Title won: March 27, 2010
  • Defenses: 0

A lot of heavyweight champions have a wrestling background but unlike his wrestling counterparts, ,”The Engineer ” Shane Carwin has a college degree and worked in mechanical engineering alongside his MMA career.

At Western State College, Shane pursued his degree while competing in both wrestling and football, becoming a NCAA D2 Heavyweight Champion and participating in the Senior Bowl in 1997. This guy can handle a lot at once!

That being the case, Carwin took his time and eventually made his debut in MMA in 2005. He took 8 fights over the course of two years, winning them all and earning his shot in the UFC. Between 2008-09, The Engineer fought Christain Wellisch, Neil Wain and Gabriel Gonzaga, winning each fight in the first round and demonstrating spectacular punching power. This led to him having the opportunity to compete for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Frank Mir.

Carwin’s punching power reigned supreme in a fight where he smashed Mir against the fence and proceeded to hammer him with short punches before falling to the ground and being finished off with ground and pound from the back. Carwin captured a piece of UFC gold and was set to unify the title in a bout against Brock Lesnar. This unification didn’t go Carwin’s way, and he lost his following bout to Junior dos Santos, but he remains as one of the more powerful punchers in UFC history.

Shane Carwin never fought MMA again, but did fight a modified rules boxing match against skateboarder Jason Ellis in 2016, where he had his right arm duct taped to his body. Nonetheless – surprise, surprise – he still won by knockout.

10. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-10-1 MMA, 5-6 UFC)
Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 81
  • Title won: February 2, 2008
  • Defenses: 0

“Big Nog” Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira practiced judo, boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his time growing up in Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil. By the age of 25, he was set to make his mixed martial arts debut. Most of his early career was spent fighting for PRIDE, where he faced quite a few of MMA’s top contenders, notching wins over Dan Henderson (32-15 MMA, 9-9 UFC) and former UFC champs Ricco Rodriguez and Fabricio Werdum.

In 2008, nine years and 35 fights into his MMA career, Antônio met and defeated Tim Sylvia to capture the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship in comeback fashion, pulling off a guillotine choke shortly after being knocked down with strikes late in the third round. After winning the title, Nog and former UFC Champion Frank Mir appeared as coaches on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. After the season, Nogueira and Mir fought for the interim title where Mir won the lopsided affair by TKO in the second round. 

From then on, Big Nog traded wins for losses until hitting a three-fight skid that led to his retirement. Nogueira’s career was marked with him being a dominant force on the ground, with skills exceeding that of any other fighters at the time – and that’s how he should be remembered.

11. Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 91
  • Title won: November 15, 2008
  • Defenses: 2

Our next champion is the WWE’s long-tenured bad boy, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar, like many before and after him, grew up an amateur wrestler. He went on to compete at Bismarck State College, winning a national junior college title (NJCAA) in his sophomore year before transferring to the University of Minnesota. There, Lesnar became a two-time Big Ten Champion and a one-time NCAA Champion. After college, Lesnar transitioned into professional wrestling where he made his debut for the WWE in 2002, just two years into his career.

Lesnar rose to stardom quickly, defeating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson later that year to become the youngest WWE champion at age 25. Lesnar would spend five more years headlining WWE events before eventually making and winning his MMA debut in 2007.

In just his 2nd MMA fight, Lesnar faced former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir, in a test he would not pass, losing by kneebar. Next, he had a scheduled bout with Mark Coleman that unfortunately never happened due to a Coleman injury (can you imagine how insane those two would look fighting one another??). His replacement, Heath Herring (28-16 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was a formidable opponent, but undoubtedly a step down from Mir. This fight managed to go the distance with Lesnar taking the win by unanimous decision, and was more than enough evidence for the UFC that they could put the WWE star in a fight for the title (plus, dollar signs…)

In a fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, we saw the sports most heralded heavyweight champion of the time, Randy Couture, fall in the second round to MMA newbie Lesnar. Brock was able to keep the fight standing and after knocking down Couture with strikes, was able to capitalize and finish the fight by raining down punches. Through 2010, we saw Brock defend his title in two unification bouts, one avenging a loss against Frank Mir with punches, and another by finishing Shane Carwin with an arm-triangle choke.

Though starting his career incredibly strong, Lesnar went on to lose his title to then-up-and-comer Cain Valezquez by first round TKO. After battling a bout of diverticulitis that required surgery, Lesnar returned to face Alistair Overeem and lost in the first round after taking multiple body shots. In his last fight with the UFC, he faced the storied Mark Hunt in a fight that he dominated, but was later overturned to a no-contest after Lesnar tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Though a comeback has been discussed at various points, nothing has come to fruition and at this point, that’s likely a good thing. Lesnar’s time in the UFC was short lived, but nothing less than massively entertaining. With his showmanship and the experience he attained as a top WWE athlete, Lesnar certainly added some fun wrinkles to the UFC history books in the late 2000s.

12. Andrei Arlovski (32-21 MMA, 23-15 UFC)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 51
  • Title won: February 5, 2005
  • Defenses: 2

“The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski is the oldest fighter on this list who’s still actively competing in the UFC. At 44, Arlovski has won 4 of his last 5 fights, most recently notching a victory in April, 2022.

Bullied as a kid, Arlovski started Sambo, Judo, and Kickboxing at the age of 16, eventually winning the European Youth Sambo Championships. Shortly after his success in Sambo, Arlovski developed an interest in MMA, which inspired him to develop other skills and become a more well-rounded martial artist.

Winning 7 of his first 10 fights, Arlovski matched up against Sylvia in 2005 to fight for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship that was created following Frank Mir’s motorcycle accident. In this fight, Arlovski faced Tim Sylvia and finished him with a straight ankle lock after dropping him with a vicious right hand. Arlovski now had gold around his waist!

While waiting for a unification bout against Mir, Arlovski defended his title twice, TKO-ing Justin Eilers (19-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) in the first round and then doing the same to Paul Buentello (35-17 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the second. As a result of these dominant performances and Mir’s continued absence, Arlovski was promoted and became the undisputed champion.

By this point, though, Sylvia had rebounded from his earlier loss to Arlovski, winning three consecutive fights and setting up a rematch between the two rivals. Ultimately, Sylvia would seize the belt by beating Arlovski in consecutive fights. Although Arlovski has remained a strong presence on the circuit after those losses to Sylvia and undoubtedly still has gas left in the tank (he wants to fight until at least 45), he hasn’t participated in any championship fights since he last lost to Sylvia in 2006. Let’s hope he can keep up his strong form and avoid a downward spiral to round out his career as many before him have.

13. Frank Mir (19-13 MMA, 16-11 UFC)
Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 and defeated Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92
  • Title won: June 19, 2004 and December 27, 2008
  • Defenses: 0

Like Randy Couture, Frank Mir is a recognizable name, fighting in the UFC 26 times over 16 years.

A 16-year vet of the UFC, Mir got his start training at the American Kenpo school that his parents owned and then later turned to wrestling as a way to improve his American Kenpo performance. After high school, Frank met UFC matchmaker Joe Silva while training BJJ, who convinced Mir to try out MMA. Two fights and two wins later, Mir earned a shot with the UFC. 

After 6 UFC fights spanning 3 years (2001-04), he got a chance at gold in 2004, squaring off against Tim Sylvia for the vacant UFC Heavyweight title. Mir broke Sylvia arm in the first round. Yes, you read that right. Even though Mir had Sylvia locked up in a straight armbar, Sylvia refused to tap; for his troubles, Sylvia had his arm snapped into four pieces. F*ck that! Unfortunately, Mir broke his femur and torn multiple ligaments in his leg. Unable to unify and defend his interim title, Mir was stripped of his belt.

When he finally came back a year and a half later in February 2006, Mir was upset by BJJ blackbelt Marcio Cruz (8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC), losing by TKO in the first round. After a turbulent two years, Mir spoiled Brock Lesnar’s UFC debut in 2008, earning him a chance to once again fight for the Heavyweight belt. Battling for the interim title against Antônio Rodrigo Noguiera, Mir knocked out the Brazilian with a flurry of punches. Sadly, Mir’s second attempt at defending his title only went marginally better than his first, with Brock Lesnar ground-and-pounding him during their rematch.

Mir again fought for the interim title (2010), and then the undisputed title (2011), losing both bouts to Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos respectively. Since then, Mir is 3-7 in MMA and 0-2 in boxing (kinda – see Triad Combat).

14. Tim Sylvia (31-10 MMA, 9-4 UFC)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 and defeated Andrei Arlovski at UFC 59
  • Title won: February 28, 2003 and April 15, 2006
  • Defenses: 3

Two fights and three rounds. That is all it took for “The Maine-iac” Tim Sylvia to capture UFC gold.

Well, kind of… While it only took him the first round of his second UFC event, Sylvia had fought 16 times before joining the promotion. Originally a Karate kid who wrestled in high school, Sylvia played semi-pro football upon graduation until he fully committed himself to MMA.

After a brief three-fight stint on the amateur circuit, Sylvia won his first 16 professional fights, with 10 of those victories coming either via TKO/KO or a submission. In his 15th pro fight, he KO’d Ricco Rodriguez to become the Heavyweight Champion and managed to successfully defend the title against Gan McGee in February 2003. Unfortunately for Sylvia, he lost his belt to Frank Mir in his next fight, submitting after being put in an armbar in the first round.

In 2005, Sylvia faced off against Andrei Arlovski for the vacant belt, but succumbed to an Achilles lock. However, Sylvia got his revenge against Arlovski the next year, knocking out the Belrusian in a rematch and reclaiming the title. Sylvia defended his throne against Arlovski (the final installment of their trilogy) and Jeff Monson, but eventually lost a unanimous decision to Randy Couture, who captured his fifth UFC Championship in a unanimous decision.

After his departure from the UFC, Tim fought another 14 times against varying competition, including another fight against Arlovski and one against Fedor Emelianenko (40-7 MMA). 

In 2015, Sylvia was denied medical clearance to fight and announced his retirement in the cage alongside his potential opponent. Although Sylvia hadn’t had enough, the doctors had.

15. Ricco Rodriguez (54-27-0-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 39
  • Title won: September 27, 2002
  • Defenses: 0

Ricco “Suave” Rodriguiez had his first fight in 1999 with his last coming in 2019. Yep. Astonishingly, he’s successfully fought in three separate decades.

After growing up between New Jersey and Staten Island, Ricco later relocated to California to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After a few years of competing in BJJ tournaments, he made his MMA debut in 1999. Within two years of starting in MMA, Rodriguez amassed a 9-1 record before joining the chance to join the UFC. In his early UFC fights, Rodriguez took out perennial warriors Andrei Arlovski, Pete Williams and Tsuyoshi Kosaka, earning the right to challenge for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship against none other than the legendary Randy Couture.

Despite being dominated by Couture for the bulk of the fight, Ricco Suave secured an early takedown with three minutes left in the fifth round, breaking Couture’s orbital bone with vicious elbows and forcing Couture to verbally tap.

Rodriguez was now a champion, but not for long – after defeating Randy Couture, Rodriguez lost his title less than 6-months later when he faced an undefeated Tim Sylvia. Sylvia KO’d him in the first round and Rodriguez’s time in the UFC came to an end shortly thereafter once his contract expired in 2004. For the next 16 years, Rodriguez bounced around a variety of smaller circuits (even briefly transitioning to boxing), before retiring.

16. Josh Barnett (35-8 MMA, 7-3 UFC)
Photo by Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 36
  • Title won: March 22, 2002
  • Defenses: 0

Josh Barnett has been wildly successful in his time as a martial artist, but his career has been marred by controversy.

With 29 of his 35 wins coming by KO/TKO or submission, Barnett has been able to put away most of his opponents, including a TKO of Randy Couture to claim the title belt in March of 2002. Still, Barnett would be stripped of the title a few months after the fight after flunking his second steroid test of that year.

This would be a common occurrence for Barnett throughout his career as he would go on to fail several more times. Although Barnett was one of the most prominent fighters to be caught juicing, he was hardly an anomaly; the UFC had rampant steroid usage problems during its early years, which has since necessitated the intervention of USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

In 2009, Barnett, now on the Affliction circuit, again tested positive for steroids, spoiling a prospective fight against Fedor Emelianenko.

Josh Barnett is a great fighter, there’s no debating that. He has defeated the likes of Mark Hunt (13-14-1-1 MMA, 8-8-1-1 UFC), and former champions Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir. The dude can fight, but he never had the chance to fully live up to his potential because he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stay clean.

17. Kevin Randleman (17-16 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Susumu Nagao/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Pete Williams at UFC 23
  • Title won: November 19, 1999
  • Defenses: 1

Cue DJ Khalad. It’s time for “another one” with our next wrestler-turned-UFC Heavyweight Champion, Kevin “The Monster” Randleman. Like his mentor, former UFC heavyweight champ Mark Coleman, Randleman was a high school state champion in Ohio who then won two NCAA titles at The Ohio State University. Under Coleman’s tutelage at Team Hammer House, Randleman quickly climbed the ladder after making his UFC debut in 1999.

After defeating former champ Maurice Smith in his debut and taking the controversial loss to Bas Rutten in his first attempt at gold, Randleman was awarded a second chance to fight for the crown once Rutten abdicated the throne. In his second attempt for the title, Randleman decisively defeated Pete Williams in five rounds.

As champion, Randleman successfully defended the belt against Pedro Rizzo (unanimous decision) before losing to multiple time champ, Randy Couture by TKO. Over the next 10 years he fought for the UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce before retiring at the age of 39. In 2016, he tragically passed away due to heart failure, but his legacy as one of the UFC’s toughest fighters lives on.

18. Bas Rutten (28-4-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Josh Hedges / Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Kevin Randleman at UFC 20
  • Title won: May 7, 1999
  • Defenses: 0

If you’re a fan of MMA, there’s a very good chance you’ve seen an ad with this incredibly spirited gentleman beating the shit out of this crazy-looking pad covered machine. If you haven’t seen it, you’re welcome (see Body Action System).

Bas Rutten’s UFC career may have been short lived, but he was an astute veteran of combat having had 30 professional fights (all with Pancrase) going into his debut. After he battered Tsuyoshi Kosaka (42-33-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), Bas got a title shot against Kevin Randleman. In a fight where position was dominated by Randleman, it was the accumulation of strikes that won the fight for Rutten who was fighting off his back nearly the entire fight. This split decision was met with heated controversy and resulted in the change of the judges’ official scoring system.

Bas vacated the title to drop to middleweight (now light heavyweight) to challenge to be the UFC’s first double champ. However, multiple injuries in preparation for his return led to the end of his UFC career.

His stint in the UFC was short, but his impact on the sport is still felt today as he was recognized as one of the sports first great technicians and was regarded for a time as the world’s greatest martial artist.

19. Randy Couture (19-11 MMA, 16-8 UFC)
Josh Hedges / Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Maurice Smith at UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan, defeated Kevin Randleman at UFC 28 and defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 68
  • Title won: December 2, 1997, November 17, 2000 and March 3, 2007
  • Defenses: 3

“The Natural” Randy Couture captured the UFC heavyweight strap three times over his 14-year career and also defended it three times. Since August 2007, only one other heavyweight has reigned victorious in six title bouts, none more than that.


Randy’s style was reminiscent of Mark Coleman’s, albeit with Couture being much more well-rounded and technical than the “smash heavy” Coleman. Couture became champion for the first time by defeating Maurice Smith in a close, slow-paced fight, but didn’t hold the title for very long.

In January 1998, Couture signed with Vale Tudo Japan and was stripped of his UFC title. In his return nearly three years later, Couture faced and defeated storied wrestler, Kevin Randleman. After defeating Randleman, Couture successfully defended his title against Pedro Rizzo (20-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) not once, but twice in a row, as Rizzo was awarded an immediate rematch after a tightly contested first fight. After losing the title to Josh Barnett in March 2002, Couture regained the belt five years later for the third and final time, defeating Tim Sylvia. Couture managed to successfully defend his title for the last time against Gabriel Gonzaga (17-12 MMA, 12-10 UFC), but Couture’s title reign finally reached its end when he faced the ultimate hype train that is Brock Lesnar.

Though he never fought for a title again, Randy Couture remains one of the most legendary and successful heavyweights in the short history of the UFC.

20. Maurice Smith (14-17 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Mark Coleman at UFC 14
  • Title won: July 27, 1997
  • Defenses: 1

Maurcie Smith‘s title reign lasted just a little bit longer than his predecessor Mark Coleman’s, as Smith notched one title defense against fan-favorite, Tank Abbott (10-15 MMA, 8-10 UFC).

Prior to joining the UFC, “Mo” was an avid kickboxer. Although he didn’t officially make his kickboxing debut until he was 30 years old, Smith began training at 18. After 9 kickboxing matches, a little Pancrase and a stint on the regional MMA scene, Smith defeated Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman in his UFC debut, taking the title belt from Coleman and handing him the first loss of his UFC career in the process. Though he ended his career with more losses than wins, Smith etched his name into the history books by delivering one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Another (not so favorable) reason he’s going to be remembered is for his controversial loss to Randy Couture in his second title defense.

21. Mark Coleman (16-10 MMA, 7-5 UFC)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Dan Severn at UFC 12
  • Title won: February 7, 1997
  • Defenses: 0

Mark Coleman was – is – a maniac! (I mean that in the best way; I’ve met him and he’s awesome). After an accomplished amateur career that included two Ohio high school state titles, an NCAA championship and an appearance in the 1992 Summer Olympics, Coleman devoted himself to the then-new sport of MMA after stumbling onto a broadcast of UFC 1. 

Coleman started his combat sports career in his teens as a wrestler for Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School. After winning two state championships, he went on to wrestle at Miami University, in Ohio, before transferring to The Ohio State University and winning an NCAA championship. After placing 7th at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Mark happened to see the broadcast of UFC 1. From there, he dove headfirst into this new sport of MMA.

From the outset, Coleman dominated, thanks to a style that earned him the nickname, “The Godfather of Ground and Pound”. It was clear from the start of every fight that Coleman’s one goal was to take the action to the ground and strike his opponent unconscious or until they submitted. Thanks to his elite wrestling and ground and pound ability, he earned the first ever UFC Heavyweight Championship belt by defeating Dan Severn (101-19-7 MMA, 9-4 UFC) in a fight to unify the UFC Superfight Champion and UFC Tournament Champion titles.

Though he was dominant early, his reign was short; Coleman lost his first and only title defense to the aforementioned kickboxer Maurice Smith. His stay may have been short-lived, but his impact is still felt to this day as one of the OG’s of MMA and one of the sport’s tactical trailblazers.


Israel Adesanya’s 5 Best Fights

This Saturday at UFC 276, Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will attempt to defend his title for the fifth official* time against Jared Cannonier, who’s coming off of a vicious finish of Derek Brunson. In anticipation of the headline bout, we decided to take a look back at Israel’s five best fights so far in his UFC career.

* Israel would argue that his unification bout against Robert Whittaker in 2019 counted as a defence, which would make Saturday’s fight his sixth defence.

5. Robert Whittaker at UFC 271
MMA Fighting

Perhaps you’re a little confused about this fight making this list. For many, it was shunned as a boring fight with little to sway judges, but for anyone who understands who nuanced MMA is for either of these fighters, this was a nail-biter.

For Robert, vengeance was on his mind. For Israel, he had the tough task of having to outdo his own impressive performance against Whittaker a few years earlier. In the end, neither man fully completed their task, but that’s only a credit to their opponent.

Israel was careful about when to strike due to Robert’s explosive tendencies and Robert was timid about when to step in, the grey cloud of the first fight hanging over him. It made for an incredible spectacle and one that doesn’t make it unlikely that we see a trilogy fight between these two in the near future.

4. Paulo Costa at UFC 253
The Sporting News

Before their headlining title bout at UFC 253, both men were coming off of polar opposite performances against the Cuban Muscle Crisis, Yoel Romero. Costa and Romero had a war which left both men a little lesser than they came in. Adesanya and Romero however, was a fight that disappointed many with its inactivity.

Anyone who thought that might have an effect on the result of Adesanya and Costa’s fight at the UFC Apex was doing MMA math though, which rarely adds up. Styles make fights and Adesanya had to remind fans exactly who he was.

For the 9 minutes that the fight lasted, the Nigerian-born fighter had his way with Paulo, using lateral movement, feints and well-timed leg kicks to freeze the Brazilian. The fight was a masterclass and a swift reminder that Adesanya was in his own league when it came to kickboxing.

3. Robert Whittaker at UFC 243
MMA Fighting

Whittaker and Adesanya’s rematch from earlier this year made the cut for this list, but it’s their first meeting from 2019 that remains in fans’ minds the most.

The setting was perfect. An Australian champion fighting in Melbourne against a fighter from New Zealand, in front of a crowd of nearly 60,000. That crowd was roaring from the get-go, hearts racing because of Robert’s fiercely focused walkout and Adesanya’s dance routine before his.

Learning from Kelvin Gastelum’s success against Israel earlier that year, Whittaker had no qualms about rushing in with a barrage of punches, ending combinations with his signature high kicks. Unfortunately for him, Israel had learnt from his prior mistakes and seen what Whittaker had to offer before. He was smooth as ever, leaning out of the way of strikes that had finishes fighters in the past.

The end sequence from this fight is one that can’t help but stick in your mind. Israel was confident on the inside and used Whittaker’s own momentum against him, dropping him with a short left hook, the opening for which he had seen minutes ago. It was a star-making performance and a night to remember for both men.

2. Anderson Silva at UFC 234
The Body Lock

This fight isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s impossible to deny the optics.

Anderson and Israel were toe to toe with their vintage styles, the younger man coming out on top most of the time. Watching the two trade strikes was a moment that’s hard to describe, a true passing of the torch.

Much of this fight’s technical aspects needs rewatches to fully appreciate, but even on a more surface level, watching the pair embrace after 15 minutes of fighting was beautiful and only ages more and more gracefully as the pair see their own versions of success over time.

1. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236
Bloody Elbow

This is a no-brainer. Adesanya and Gastelum’s war in Atlanta, Georgia was heralded as the Fight of the Year by most outlets who compiled a list and there wasn’t much to argue about. The interim title fight was made because of Adesanya’s aforementioned win over Anderson Silva and Whittaker pulling out of his fight with Gastelum on the same card.

Some fans predicted that Kelvin’s wrestling could give Izzy a look he hadn’t seen before, but in reality it was his lunging strikes which caused the most problems, doing all but dropping Stylebender. The pair fought tooth and nail over five rounds with Israel getting his hand raised at the end of the fight and rightfully so.

It was the kind of performance that no fighter ever wants to have to put on, but was welcomed by both men anyway.


UFC STRIKE: How the UFC Is Doing NFTs

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For those of you familiar with sports NFTs, UFC STRIKE is the MMA version of NBA Top Shot—collectable moments of your favorite fighters. Newbies, here is a deeper breakdown that I will keep very simple.

Take a sports card. Now make that sports card virtual. Then, add a video highlight to it instead of just a photo, assign a particular rarity to it based on the fighter, how crazy the highlight is, or the number of them that exist, and what you’re left with is a UFC STRIKE moment.

How Does It Work?

The UFC has partnered with Dapper Labs, a platform helping them create and distribute these moments as NFTs. UFC STRIKE will announce a “drop” date and time where they will be releasing the packs to the public. 

First, you need to create a Dapper account, which is very simple, requiring only an email, password, and a card/bank account connection to make purchases. Once that’s done, all you’ll need to do is be on the UFC STRIKE website pack page at the time of the drop (the earlier the better) to be randomly placed in line to receive one of the X amount of packs that they release; for the inaugural drop, they released 100,000.

There’s a counter that shows how many users are ahead of you and approximately how long it will take. Once it’s your turn, you’re redirected to a page to complete your purchase and BOOM, you are now the owner of a UFC STRIKE pack containing three moments. You click a button to open them and the moments you get are revealed to you, stored in your “collection” that sits on their platform under your account tab. It’s not too much different from buying something off of eBay besides the counter and waiting for it to be your turn.

My Experience With the UFC STRIKE First Drop

Scene – 1:30 p.m. on drop day, approximately 30 minutes before the drop starts. I have the UFC STRIKE pack link pulled up waiting to be entered into the queue and see my place in line. Thoughts begin to flood my mind: “What place am I going to be in line?”, “I hope I can get more than 1 pack,” and, “Wait, am I even going to get one at all?” My palms start sweating…

Gotcha! It wasn’t that stressful, outside of my friends in Discord making COD callouts and acting like they somehow got a pack early. Once 2 p.m. rolled around, I was placed in line: 11,546. Sounds big and scary, but considering that there were 100,000 packs being released, I’m more than happy with being in the first 12 percent. Approximate wait time: 55 minutes.

I proceeded to hop into Rainbow Six Siege to play a few rounds as the boys and I waited. There was a slight pause in the queue for about 15 minutes as Dapper ensured that they were able to get ahead of any transaction processing issues, and other than that, 55 minutes passed and it was my turn.

I claim my pack, confirm the purchase, and the time has come. I stream the pack opening to Discord so that everybody can see what I pull. I click to open the pack and some music starts playing. It’s very cinematic and exhilarating, building up as the digital UFC STRIKE pack is ripped open and three icons fly out and smash the screen. Luke Sanders and two Ian Garrys appear (play the Pokémon battle sound). I go through and play each moment: the intro, music, and commentary all leading to the knockdowns/knockouts are stellar. This is a very cool thing to own as a fellow MMA fighter and fan of the sport. Time to hop back in line for pack number two.

30 minutes later I can now purchase my second pack, and I do, where I pull a Derrick Lewis, Robbie Lawler, and Alessio Di Chirico; finally some vets to join the young guns I pulled in the first rip. None of my pulls were of insane value from a rarity standpoint, but they are a first of their kind and I’m very satisfied with my experience.

Why You Should Care

If you are an MMA fighter, have a friend or family member fighting, are a fan of the sport, or are merely a casual viewer that wants to see these warriors being recognized and compensated for their intense line of work, you should take the small amount of effort needed to be involved in what UFC STRIKE is doing. 

The incentive for you at the onset is owning a moment of history created by your favorite fighters. It’s bragging about and showing it off to your friends and being able to relive a time that got you off your feet and had you erupting with an intense joy for something you care about. 

There is also utility long term—some known and some unknown. What we know is that UFC STRIKE will be launching a secondary marketplace where users can list and sell their moments for whatever price the market demands. Maybe you pull a championship tier card but don’t have much of a connection to the fighter or moment and it happens to be worth $100, $1000, or $10,000. That’s straight cash back in your bank.

What we don’t know—and what excites me—is that the UFC can add further utility to these digital cards, even physical utilities. A meet and greet with a fighter? Tickets to a UFC Fight Night? $100 worth of UFC gear? There are a ton of different directions that they can take to make the moments you love and cherish even more valuable and worth holding onto.

What you do is up to you. Head over to UFC Strike now to sign up and be a part of the beginning stages of the future of UFC collectables.


The Five Things We Learned Most About Sports In 2021

Sports tend to teach us incredible lessons on any occasion throughout a year, but what we learned in 2021 may have been the most taught to us in a long time. If there’s anything I took away from sports this year, it’s that not everything is what it seems, and anything is beyond possible. Below are the five things we learned most from watching sports in 2021.

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Dominance comes in different shapes and sizes

At the beginning of our relationship with sports, we were constantly presented with images of what dominant athletes looked like– all in great shape and deemed “perfect.” But in 2021, the likes of Tyson Fury and Nikola Jokic showed you could achieve dominance in your field even if that weren’t the case.

Fury, the undefeated world heavyweight boxing champion, and Jokic, the reigning NBA MVP, dominated their opponents with their unique blend of size, mental toughness, and intelligence despite lacking in other areas that some fans, and even their peers, believe are the most important to have.

Sports is now positionless

While positions in team sports will always exist, this past year really proved there are simply labels for the identification of players. In sports such as basketball and soccer, we watch everyone possess a similar skillset and push the boundaries for where the game is going next– a reality that was incomprehensible for some even a decade ago.

The Olympics allowed every country to have their moment

Despite the Tokyo Olympics being delayed a year because of the initial start to this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the world’s most significant athletic competition was back in action this past summer. And among the various things we witnessed, it was the dominance a multitude of countries had in any sport.

As the United States maintained its lead in sports such as basketball, Great Britain excelled in boxing, and China shined the most in diving, with an extensive trail of countries putting the world on notice in their respective sports.

Women’s athletics is the home of trail blazers

While naysayers will continue to hate women’s athletics in any way possible wrongfully, this was an excellent year for women’s athletics. Sports such as basketball, gymnastics, and tennis saw their talent level get advanced on every level. A new wave of exciting talent got introduced in mixed martial arts and softball.

But most importantly, a majority of women’s athletics utilized their platforms to highlight issues in race relations, pay disparity, and equal rights.

Age is nothing but a number if you’re Tom Brady or LeBron James

Earlier this year, sports fans marveled (or groaned) at the sight of quarterback Tom Brady winning his seventh Super Bowl title. At the age of 44-years-old, Brady is balancing the act of dominating his competition and still improving, a situation 37-year-old LeBron James is going through in the NBA.

This is a massive development as the narrative around an athlete’s prime and longevity is revised. It will get accepted that their “prime” is much longer than everybody else for some players.


3 Fighters To Watch at UFC 267

UFC 267 is set to bring chaos to your screen on a Saturday morning/afternoon on Oct. 30th, with the prelims kicking off at 10:30 AM EST and the main event following at 2:00 PM EST. 

This card is headlined by two resurgent warriors, with current Light Heavyweight Champion, Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) taking on Glover Teixeira (32-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC). Although neither Blachowicz nor Teixeira offer the mainstream appeal of a Conor McGregor or Israel Adesanya, both men have won their previous five fights and have the talent to cap off a talent-packed card featuring veterans and newcomers alike. 

There are many fighters to be excited about, but these are three fighters you need to watch this weekend:

1) Islam Makhachev (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC)
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Islam Makhachev has had no problem finding praise or hype when it comes to his fighting career; in fact, he’s often dubbed “Little Khabib” because of his resemblance to newly retired, former undefeated UFC Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Beyond the superficial reasons for the comparison (Makhachev and Nurmagomedov are both Dagestani), Makhachev displays a discipline and willingness to expand his skill set outside of fight camp that’s similar to that of his more famous compatriot.  In a recent interview, legendary coach Javier Mendez, the founder of the MMA gym AKA (American Kickboxing Academy), offered some insight into Makhachev’s work ethic. “[Makhachev goes] home and [finds] other guys to teach him how to strike,” Mendez said. “I’d tell him to train with this guy, train with that guy and find somebody that’s a good striking guy and learn from them.”

Even if Makhachev has already proven his bona fides as a fighter, a victory in his upcoming matchup with Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (the sixth-ranked light heavyweight who boasts eye-catching wins over Paul Felder, Gilbert Burns, and Jim Miller) would cement Makhachev’s place amongst the elite. Keep an eye on Islam Makhachev this weekend and moving forward, lest you miss moments like this:

2) Khamzat Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)
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For our second fighter to watch, we’re keeping it in Dagestan with the king of “smeshing”, Khamzat Chimaev. This man is a FORCE. Khamzat burst onto the scene in 2020, making waves for taking two fights in 10 days for the UFC and winning them both in dominant fashion, finishing both John Phillips and Rhys McKee with ease. One more time – two fights, TEN DAYS. Observe the carnage:

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I know what you’re thinking, “Who could doubt this man after that!?” But despite this, Chimaev received criticism from many who claimed that his profile had been propped up by victories against underwhelming fighters. During the run-up to Chimaev’s fight against UFC vet Gerald Meerschaert in September 2020, Meerschaert crowed about Chimaev’s weak quality of competition—and then got silenced by Chimaev a mere 17 seconds into their bout the next day. I don’t know what most people can do in only 17 seconds, but here’s what he can:

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Since that victory, though, it’s been a tough 13 months for Chimaev as he struggled against a case of COVID-19 that was so severe it forced him to contemplate retirement. In an article by Brett Okamoto at ESPN, Khamzat stated, “I was never scared about my life. I’m scared about what my mom is going to do after I die. My mom, my brothers— was thinking, ‘What are they gonna do after I die?’ I start with this MMA shit because of my family. I want to make some good life with them.”

Thankfully, Chimaev recovered and UFC 267 represents his much-anticipated return to the sport. Making Chimaev’s return even more exciting, though, is that he’s matched up against Li Jinliang (18-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC), a very dangerous and stylistically interesting opponent for Chimaev; Jinliang (also known as “The Leech”) looks to move forward and impose his will on his opponents, which may cause Chimaev trouble. Still, if Chimaev can rediscover his pre-Covid form and control the center of the octagon, this could be an exciting affair that re-establishes Chimaev as one of the most dangerous prospects tearing through the welterweight division.

3) Lerone Murphy (10-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 in UFC)
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What better way to end this than with a red-hot prospect boasting an undefeated record with 60% of his wins coming by first-round KO/TKO!? This weekend, the world will formally meet Lerone “The Miracle” Murphy. 

On his way to the UFC, “The Miracle” chose violence, finishing 5 of 7 fights spectacularly. What’s even more spectacular is what led him to the sport in the first place.

As reported by Joe Coleman at talkSPORT, at the age of 21 Murphy was shot twice in the face. After being shot, he reportedly spit out the bullets that had hit him in the chin and neck, and was rushed to the hospital. It was at this point he decided to begin training MMA, and in 6-months he had his first amateur fight. In just 5 years he was able to make his way through the ranks and to the UFC, where he fought arguably his toughest fight in a split decision draw against mainstay Zubaira Tukhugov. While Murphy was dropped early in the first round, he demonstrated incredible resilience by battling back and showing the judges nearly enough to win the fight.  

Murphy went on to win his next two fights to remain undefeated, including this one against Ricardo Ramos via merciless ground-and-pound:

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His opponent at UFC 267 is “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani (16-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) who began his UFC career by scoring an 8-second TKO via flying knee.

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Amirkhani is certainly a quality opponent that provides a true test to Mr. Murphy’s “0,” but one that he’s one that Murphy can handle breezily, nonetheless. 

Be sure to tune in to UFC 267 on Saturday, Oct. 30th, and remember, the prelims begin at 10:30AM EST with the main card following at 2PM EST.


Tyson Fury Knocks Out Deontay Wilder, All Hail The Gypsy King

This past weekend, two of the best heavyweight boxers in the world, Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder put on one of the greatest title fıghts in boxing history. Consider the stats: 

  • Five knockdowns (two for Wilder, three for Fury)
  • Round 3: Fury knocks down Wilder 
  • Round 4: Wilder responds with 2 vicious knockdowns with his patented right hand 
  • Fury gets up and dominates the rest of the next six rounds outlanding Wılder 150-72 (BoxScene, October 10, 2021)
  • Which leads to Wilder gettıng knocked down twice in the 11th round and the eventual TKO victory for the Gypsy King Tyson Fury.
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Even if this marked the third act of a trilogy between two boxing titans, the run-up to this fight lacked the pomp and circumstance that usually accompanies a heavyweight title bout. Whereas most third acts function as rubber-matches between two evenly-matched fighters, Fury outboxed Wilder in their first fight which ended in a tie and then thoroughly dismantled Wilder in their February 2020 match-up. Wilder may have proven his bonafides as a champion, but most fans thought he didn’t deserve another title shot. Still, due to issues caused by promoters and convoluted politics, Fury was forced to fight Wilder for a third time. Accordingly, Wilder was largely underestimated because he didn’t seem capable of executing a game plan that could trouble Fury.  

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From the opening bell, Wilder came out looking like a different fighter–at least for the fırst three rounds. At 238 pounds, Wilder was 25 pounds heavier than he was in the trilogy’s second installment back in February 2020. Already one of the hardest hitters in boxing history, Wilder doubled down on his power at the cost of some stamina and endurance, realizing that his best shot to win would be via knockout.

Despite packing on extra weight and strength, Wilder adopted a surprisingly measured approach during the first three rounds, peppering Fury with body blows in an attempt to lower Fury’s hands and set up a knockout blow. Moreover, Wilder established himself as the aggressor and controlled the fight, consistently pinning Fury against the ropes. 

After a knockdown in the fourth by Fury, Wilder went back to his roots and started headhuntıng. Even if Wilder’s aggression allowed him to knock Fury down twice in the fifth round, this undisciplined approach caused Wilder to lose the ability to control the ring. 

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As such, after getting knocked down twice in the fifth, Tyson Fury slowly took over the fight, using his lightnıng-quıck 1-2 combinations and his own sheer mass to methodically drain Wilder of any power or energy. At 277 pounds, Fury possesses a rare combination of size and agility. Last February, Fury outclassed Wilder with his footwork, technical brilliance and tactical wherewithal, frustrating the Alabama native by dancing around the cage like a British Muhammad Ali. This time, though, Fury relied on his gigantitude, leaning on Wilder throughout the fight. In doing so, Fury revealed the fatal flaw of the bulked-up Wilder’s plan of attack, exploiting Wilder’s lack of stamina and leading to the eventual TKO. This diversity of boxing ability and technique is what makes the Gypsy King the greatest heavyweight of the generation. 

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While fight #3 initially seemed less interesting than the previous two, it was by far the best. With his heart and newfound stylistic diversity, Deontay Wilder proved that he’s more than a one-handed knockout merchant; by lasting 11 rounds against the hulking Fury, he demonstrated incredible resilience and even managed to deliver damage in the later rounds. This talent—the potential to end a fight at any moment, no matter how woozy or hobbled he may be—is what makes Wilder such a special fighter.

As for Fury’s next move, Oleksandr Usyk is the clear fight, since this would offer the opportunity to unify the heavyweight titles. By beatıng Anthony Joshua last month, Usyk proved that he can compete with bigger heavyweights after moving up from the cruiserweight division. If Fury can overwhelm Usyk the same way he did Wilder, he would not only become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, but etch his name in the history books as one of the greatest boxers of all time.


What is the Best Season Of ‘The Ultimate Fighter?’

The 29th season of The Ultimate Fighter wrapped itself up at UFC on ESPN 30 and it saw Bryan Battle and Ricky Turcios go home with the UFC contracts in the middleweight and bantamweight divisions, respectively.

The coaches for the season were current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega. That choice was met with some criticism initially, with other choices like Masvidal and Covington seemingly being the preference from fans. In the end it worked out well enough, with the featherweights developing a rivalry that wouldn’t have been there had it not been for the show.

After UFC on ESPN 30, Dana confirmed that the show will return next year and will always be around. What better time to look back on the seasons than now? We did just that, ranking them from worst to best.

29. Season 6 (2007)
Winner: Mac Danzig

The coaches for this season were former TUF winner Matt Serra and Matt Hughes. On paper, perhaps it should have been one of the better seasons with two Mt. Rushmore welterweights, but it just didn’t come to fruition, largely due to a lack of talent.

28. Season 26 (2017)
Winner: Nicco Montaño
MMA Junkie

The only reason this season doesn’t fall to last place is the fact that there was a new champion crowned. Although, many felt the women’s flyweight division was created purely for Valentina to get a title and Nicco Montaño ended up having a lacklustre UFC career, never defending the belt and missing weight multiple times.

27. Season 16 (2012)
Winner: Colton Smith

This season’s fighters lacked star power, with the fighter that most would know being Neil Magny, who got finished in the semi-finals. Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin as coaches was disappointing too, not to mention the fact that they never ended up fighting each other.

26. Season 19 (2014)
Winners: Eddie Gordon & Corey Anderson
Fight Booth

On paper, this one sounded like it was special because it boasted lightweight greats Frankie Edgar and B.J. Penn as coaches. However, by this point, Frankie had already beaten B.J. twice before. In hindsight, B.J. was already into his 7-fight losing streak here.

25. Season 25 (2017)
Winner: Jesse Taylor
MMA Weekly

This season featured the drama between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt which was entertaining but felt monotonous by the end. The premise of this season was former contestants getting redemption and just felt like the UFC banking on nostalgia.

24. Season 28 (2018)
Winners: Juan Espino & Macy Chiasson
MMA Junkie

Had former champion Robert Whittaker and former TUF winner Kelvin Gastelum not been the coaches for this season, it would be even lower on the list. The coaches’ challenges were the main source of entertainment here. Whittaker even criticised his own team for being lazy after the show.

23. Season 29 (2021)
Winners: Ricky Turcios & Bryan Battle

It was a pleasant surprise to see some back and forth jawing from Volkanovski and Ortega on the show, but even then, some of the pranks felt a little childish. Ricky Turcios came out of the show with the most memorable moments, with Dana comparing him to TUF 1 winner Diego Sanchez.

22. Season 8 (2008)
Winners: Efrain Escudero & Ryan Bader
MMA Full Contact

The show deserves credit for producing pro-wrestling star Tom Lawlor and of course, current Bellator heavyweight champion Ryan Bader. It also had some funny coaching moments from Mir and Nogueira, the former knocking out the latter to win the interim UFC title.

21. Season 7 (2008)
Winner: Amir Sadollah

This season is perhaps most well-known today for being the one where Rampage smashed a door to pieces, but that doesn’t quite do it justice. It produced big names like Matt Brown and WWE superstar Matt Riddle.

20. Season 22 (2015)
Winner: Ryan Hall

With the line-up of coaches, TUF 22 was always going to be one of its most popular. It featured Conor McGregor, fresh off of his win over Chad Mendes, going up against Urijah Faber. Ryan Hall was undefeated until his last fight in July.

19. Season 14 (2011)
Winners: John Dodson & Diego Brandão
MMA Mania

Looking back, this season was a gem and has aged very well. Bisping and Mayhem Miller were coaches and some of the fighters included T.J. Dillashaw, Jimmie Rivera, Dennis Burmedez and John Dodson. Miller also brought in current champ Kamaru Usman as a wrestling coach, before he even had his first professional MMA fight.

18. Season 13 (2011)
Winner: Tony Ferguson
SB Nation

Funnily enough, this season wasn’t as well received by fans as you’d think after it aired, but it has aged well, producing a top 5 lightweight of all time in Tony Ferguson. That could have had it higher, but there weren’t enough memorable moments despite the coaches beig Lesnar and JDS.

17. Season 11 (2010)
Winner: Court McGee
Bleacher Report

While it was airing weekly, the show was on pace to become one of the better seasons ever, but it drops slightly on our list because of a string of bad luck. Tito Ortiz was forced into neck surgery meaning he couldn’t finish the show and Ortiz’s first pick Nick Ring also got injured.

16. Season 3 (2006)
Winners: Kendall Grove & Michael Bisping

Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock being on the show was a real treat for MMA fans and some hilarity ensued. The third season of TUF also produced legend and UFC hall of famer Michael Bisping.

15. Season 9 (2009)
Winners: Ross Pearson & James Wilks

Just a few years after winning TUF, Bisping found himself back on the show as a coach, going up against Dan Henderson in the United States vs. United Kingdom version of the show. The fighters were mostly unmemorable, with Team U.K. winning in both weight divisions, but Henderson ultimately KOing Bisping at UFC 100.

14. Season 2 (2005)
Winners: Joe Stevenson & Rashad Evans

The second season of TUF was coached by Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin, who were the welterweight and middleweight champions respectively. Today, there’d be no doubt that they’d be in a super fight, but unfortunately they didn’t fight each other at all. The show gave us Rashad Evans and the late great Keith Jardine.

13. Season 23 (2016)
Winners: Andrew Sanchez & Tatiana Suarez

This season’s highlights were undoubtedly the tension between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Cláudia Gadelha, which led to some famous moments. It felt like a fight could break out between the pair at any moment.

12. Season 21 (2015)
Winner: Kamaru Usman
MMA Junkie

TUF 21 was interesting because it pitted American Top Team against the Blackzillians, specifically Dan Lambert and the late Greg Robinson. The two gyms have had so many great rivalries over the years. Usman ended up winning the show and is arguably the best fighter in the world right now.

11. Season 27 (2018)
Winners: Brad Katona & Michael Trizano
MMA Junkie

The catch for this season was that every prospect on the show was undefeated. It’s an interesting one to look back on now because of how turbulent Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic’s relationship got and how cool they were at this point.

10. Season 24 (2016)
Winner: Tim Elliott
MMA Junkie

Although the concept for this season was cool – bringing together regional champions to compete for a UFC contract – I’m sure fans would have preferred it to happen in a different division.

9. Season 12 (2010)
Winner: Jonathan Brookins

TUF 12 created some of the best moments in the history of the show, namely GSP bringing in the unique Jean-Charles Skarbowsky to beat up the fighters and GSP baiting Josh Koscheck to pick Marc Stevens so that he could pick Michael Johnson.

8. Season 15 (2012)
Winner: Michael Chiesa
MMA Mania

TUF 15 was the first and only live edition of the show and fans enjoyed it. It saw rivals Cruz and Faber going back and forth for some fun drama, but the fights were very entertaining. It also brought us Raging Al and Michael Chiesa.

7. Season 17 (2013)
Winner: Kelvin Gastelum
MMA Mania

This show was made for someone like Chael Sonnen and he stepped up for his moment. He went head-to-head against Jon Jones, who of course ended up winning their fight. This was the season that featured that classic Uriah Hall KO.

6. Season 10 (2009)
Winner: Roy Nelson

This season had it all. Rampage and Rashad had a bitter feud going on which got extremely heated and nearly came to blows once. It also featured the surprising inclusion of the late legend Kimbo Slice.

5. Season 4 (2006)
Winners: Matt Serra & Travis Lutter
Bleacher Report

The concept for this season was that the fighters were made up of UFC fighters that had not had the career they wanted. It’s famous for producing Matt Serra who ended up with the biggest upset in MMA history when he beat GSP, an advisor on the show.

4. Season 20 (2014)
Winner: Carla Esparza
MMA Freak

TUF 20 produced arguably the most big names in one division in a single year. On the show were Rose Namajunas, Joanne Calderwod, Felice Herrig, Tecia Torres, Carlpa Esparza, Angela Hill and Bec Rawlings, amongst others. Pettis and Melendez coached.

3. Season 18 (2013)
Winners: Chris Holdsworth & Julianna Peña

This season was set to be coached by Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano, but Zingano got injured late into the process, which gave us the great moment of seeing Rousey realise her rival Miesha Tate was going to coach alongside her.

2. Season 5 (2007)
Winner: Nate Diaz
MMA Mania

The appeal of this season was initially B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver finally fighting but looking back in 2021, it’s impossible not to notice the early days of Nate Diaz, back when he was mostly known for being Nick’s young brother.

1. Season 1 (2005)
Winners: Diego Sanchez & Forrest Griffin
The Athletic

Coached by Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, TUF 1 introduced us to superstars like Forrest Griffin, Josh Koscheck, Diego Sanchez, Kenny Florian, Nate Quarry, Chris Leben and Mike Swick. It ended with the classic fight between Griffin and Bonnar which saw both getting the contract because of the performance they put on.