The last decade in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has been an explosive one. With the meteoric rise of some amazing fighters, we have also seen UFC rise up as the biggest franchise on the planet. The last ten years have given us some stunning moments, and here are the top ten moments of the decade.
Back in August, Stipe Miocic took on Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier at UFC 241 for the heavyweight championship in a fight that was shrouded in controversy. When the two fighters had clashed in their first fight before this event, some fans pointed out that there were clear eye pokes from DC which was the main reason Stipe lost the fight.
At UFC 241 however, Stipe was able to counter DC’s cheating with some brutal blows to the liver and reclaimed the belt, making him arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time.
In the main event of UFC 128, a 23-year old Jon Jones demolished Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and claimed the light heavyweight belt. The beating was so intense that Shogun was seen tapping to Jones’ body shots just before the referee stopped the fight. Jones became the youngest champion in the UFC history in the process.
Back in 2011, Anderson Silva did something that had never been seen before. In a fiery build-up to the fight with Vitor Belfort, both fighters made it pretty clear they hated each other’s guts. After a soft first round with exchanges far and few in between, Anderson Silva unleashed a vicious front kick to Belfort’s face and proceeded to finish him off with two more punches.
Before her fight against Holly Holm, Rhonda Rousey was flying with a 12-0 record. She seemed invincible. Holm, the underdog, was touted to lose the fight. After a few initial exchanges, it seemed that Rhonda was getting desperate to reach out. In the process, she received a vicious left hand from Holm, followed by a thunderous kick that knocked her out cold.
It all began when a young Jon Jones told Daniel Cormier, an Olympic wrestler, that he would be able to take him down. This sparked off one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history. Jones eventually came out on top as he defeated DC by unanimous decision at UFC 182.
This fight drew a lot of new fans to the UFC thanks to Conor’s masterful trash talking leading up to the event. After staying invincible for ten years, Jose Aldo was scheduled to fight Conor at UFC 194. The fight was over in just 13 seconds, with McGregor knocking out Aldo with a sweet left hook.
Two relentless welterweights faced off against each other at UFC 189 in what became the fight of the decade. Rory McDonald and Robbie Lawler weren’t ready to give each other even a second to rest in a fight that featured visceral violence.
After ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor flawlessly defeated Eddie Alvarez for the UFC Lightweight Championship at UFC 205, he became the first fighter to hold titles in two different weight divisions simultaneously.
The moment of reckoning finally came for Anderson Silva as his cockiness finally caught up with him during his fight with Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Known for dancing and ducking when fighters came at him, Silva had never lost a fight in his first seven years. Everything changed when he was knocked out by Weidman in the middle of showboating. Silva was never the same after the fight.
Conor’s rise to fame brought a lot of new fans to the UFC. His fall from grace was even more popular. McGregor usually gets inside his opponents’ head with his ingenious trash-talking and has a psychological advantage before stepping foot in the octagon. against Khabib, the trash-talking seemed to have an inverse impact. In typical Khabib fashion, the Dagestani wrestler dominated Conor and made him tap in the fourth round.