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Most historically significant fights in MMA history?

Discussion in 'UFC Discussion' started by blacknblue104, May 13, 2021.

  1. blacknblue104 Blue Belt

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    Which fights carried the highest stakes when it came to the history of MMA, or which were significant when it came to the evolution of the sport?

    My top 5:

    Sakuraba vs Royce Gracie, Pride Openweight Grand Prix 2000-

    [​IMG]

    IMO this is the most important fight in MMA history, with significant repercussions in the history of martial arts. Royce was the most famous martial artist in the world at the time, undefeated and the king of the UFC.

    Sakuraba was MMA's next big star and Pride's golden boy. Sakuraba was the first man to beat a Gracie in a professional fight in decades when he defeated Royler, and the Gracie's wanted to avenge the loss at all costs.

    No time limit, winner can only win by KO, submission or corner stoppage. 90 minute classic that will probably never be replicated.

    This fight was basically the modern day Gracie vs Kimura, a fight that shaped the martial arts world for decades to come.


    2. Maurice Smith vs Mark Coleman, UFC 17, 1997

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    The first fight in UFC history where a striker beat a grappler. Coleman was viewed as the next step in the evolution of MMA- 250+ pounds, Olympic wrestler who could take down opponents and pound them out at will. The first great ground and pound fighter in the sports history.

    Maurice Smith was a world class kickboxer, but nobody believed back then that a striker could defeat a wrestler, especially one like Coleman.

    Smith does the impossible and wins the UFC Heavyweight Title by defending Coleman's ground attack, wearing him down, and regaining the standing position and beating him down. Smith basically wrote the blueprint on a how a striker can defeat a powerful wrestler in this fight.

    3. Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock, UFC 40, 2002

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    This was the fight that saved the UFC. The UFC's first true major star in Tito Ortiz vs the first American MMA star, Ken Shamrock. This was also the UFC's first major feud, Ortiz vs the Lion's Den.

    Tito was running through the Lion's Den and Ken was the guy he was building towards for years. What ensued was the most hyped and the most well promoted event in UFC history.

    Without this fight, the UFC does not make it out of the early 2000s and the sport never makes it to the Spike TV boom era. Both Tito and Ken deserve massive amounts of credit for this event.


    4. Griffin vs Bonnar, TUF 1 Finale, 2005

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    This fight helped create the TUF boom era. Without that season, that finale and this fight, the UFC never makes it to cable TV. The perfect storm.

    This fight turned the UFC from what was becoming a failed investment into helping MMA become the fastest growing sport in the world. The UFC has carried the momentum created from this fight for the past 15 years, going from Spike to Fox to now ESPN. An idea that was deemed impossible before this season and fight happened.


    5. Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen, UFC 117, 2010

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    The buildup for this fight planted the seeds for how MMA would be promoted for the next decade. Chael's approach has been imitated (often very poorly) by countless fighters.

    It was also significant for another reason- Sonnen's failed post fight test was the first time that TRT had gotten significant focus in the press.

    You could say this fight ended up leading to the USADA era, due to the amount of fighters that were approved for TRT exemptions afterwards and the controversy surrounding it. USADA has dramatically changed and shaped the sport since it's presence has entered the UFC.

    Oh, and it was a fantastic fight as well.
     
  2. HHJ GOATchazka

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    GSP vs Penn II
    Fedor vs Crocop
    Khabib vs Conor
    Zhang vs Joanna
    Rousey vs Tate I
     
  3. Reign009 Not sure if serious.

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    <mma4>


    Good list, good write up.
     
    felmmando likes this.
  4. GoldenSnitch Banned Banned

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    excellent post regardless of opinions

    some key details in there youve been a long time fan and have followed closely.


    <mma4>
     
    Reign009 likes this.
  5. Reign009 Not sure if serious.

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    Excellent post complimenting TS's post regardless of opinions

    some key details in there you read and followed the entire OP closely.


    <mma4>
     
    cade187 and Iroh like this.
  6. GoldenSnitch Banned Banned

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    [​IMG]
     
    Patof likes this.
  7. Reign009 Not sure if serious.

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    <escalate99>

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2021
  8. TheNinja Gold Belt

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    I’d say Bonnar be Griffin is #1. Took UFC from total niche sport to mainstream.
     
    felmmando likes this.
  9. DoctorStoppage The Ether

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    Conor vs Khabib
     
  10. Klaavical Red Belt

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  11. XThe GreatestX Silver Belt

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    I do think Conor-Aldo for better and worse was pretty historically significant
     
    SecondToNone and justalurker like this.
  12. Bend NvR Break Order to Chaos. Chaos to Order.

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    McGregor vs Alvarez - messed up the entire LW landscape. Pushed Khabib's and Tony's title shots back years.

    Rockhold vs Bisping 2 - turned MW into a joke for a while. Jacare, Romero, Mousasi, Whittaker all have to wait while Bisping fights Hendo and GSP plus GSP immediately vacates and Bisping gets wrecked by Gas 3 weeks later.
     
    Azyy likes this.
  13. Bend NvR Break Order to Chaos. Chaos to Order.

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    I'll say took it from an underground sport to a niche sport.

    It's still not truly mainstream even today imo.
     
    Canned Tuna and TheNinja like this.
  14. mjfan23 Gold Belt

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    Conor vs Cowboy
    Conor vs Khabib
    Conor vs Dustin
    Conor vs Eddie
    Timmeh vs AA
     
  15. Hellowhosthat Gold Belt

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    1. Griffin Vs Bonnar - made the UFC what it is today.

    2. Gracie Vs Gordeau - small Royce winning the first UFC got a lot of people interested in the sport in the first place and set the stall out for BJJ to be the dominant grappling art of MMA

    3. Rousey Vs Carmouche - Whatever you think of WMMA it's hard to deny the historical significance of this fight.
     
  16. BROWNPRIDE Yellow Card

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    Rampage vs chuck 2 to show pride was better than ufc at the time.
     
  17. Bamboozled Banned Banned

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    1. Fedor vs Cro Cop
    2. Pick whatever you want
     
    justalurker likes this.
  18. daPROFESSOR Green Belt

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    Definitely rose

    thug rose made us all cry because she’s the specialist person ever to grace the octagon
     
  19. Sweater of AV Gold Belt

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    Royce UFC 1
    Saku-Royce 1
    Fedor-Big Nog 1
    Big Nog-Mirko
    Fedor-Mirko
     
  20. blacknblue104 Blue Belt

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    Disagree. The sport is being heavily promoted on ESPN all the time, the biggest sports network in the world.

    The thing is that most older sports journalists don't know much about the sport. That's what's skewing perception. Guys like Stephen A Smith and Skip Bayless are the ones who the current networks are built around. Once those spots start to be occupied by younger personalities there will be more in depth talk about MMA.

    Talk to any sports fan under the age of 35, most are familiar with the sport on some level. Especially younger people know, every male I talk to under the age of 20 follows the sport to some extent. Women are familiar with the female stars but there really hasn't been one since Ronda Rousey. Once there are more, they will be familiar with them just like they were with Rousey and Holly Holm.
     

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