UFC super fights List 2000-2010
Now when we talk about UFC super fights, we are not necessarily talking about the calibre of the fight itself. As with some huge fights, at least a fraction of them turned out to be duds. No, what we are talking about here are all the elements that went into making a fight special.
Whether that be both fighters entering the fight with a long history of success or championship titles under their belt. The build-up to the fight itself or the post-fight fallout from the event.
Even in hindsight, how important the fight was in terms of historical significance. With who or what happened after the fact. Setting the foundation for a legendary career or perhaps signalling the end of another.
We also have an issue with certain champions being so dominant. That even with the very best challenger in the division, the fight never quite reached super fight status. As the champion was the odds on favourite to once again retain their title and did.
Now the actual result or performance in a fight could be seen as historic. For example when a dominant champion was beaten by a challenger. And in the lead up to the event itself, the challenger was given little to no chance of success.
For this reason, I won’t be considering those, as there simply weren’t enough elements involved for it to be considered UFC superfight worthy.
And not all had a championship belt on the line. But their legacy and importance in MMA history had since stood the test of time. Whether a trilogy or something more! And with that, let’s take a look at those which have shaped the sport of mixed martial arts as we know it today.
Tito Ortiz vs Randy Couture – UFC 44 – Undisputed Sep / 26 / 2003
Entering as the fan favourite, many thought that this was Tito Ortiz’s fight to lose. Facing a forty-year-old Randy Couture, Tito was determined to show he was the better fighter and promised to knock Randy out on his feet.
Tito entered the fight as the defending champion while at the time Couture held the interim belt. And it was that interim title and the fact that Randy had stepped up and beaten Chuck Liddell. Which had left a bad taste in the mouth of Ortiz. And he was eager to show the world he was the number one fighter at 205 lbs.
And from the first bell, Tito looked to impose his will, trying to repeatedly take Randy down. However, it was Couture who turned the tables on the champion. By consistently landing his takedowns and slowly wearing down the champion. As round after round, Randy took the dominant position and made Tito pay.
At one point in the third, Couture managed to secure a crucifix position. Compounding Tito’s frustration as he exerted his dominance. It was the story of the bout as the challenger forced the champion to fight his fight.
The beatdown continued on throughout the fourth and into the fifth round. When in the final minute of the Couture began to spank a grounded Tito in the ultimate form of disrespect. Signalling a total and utter shutout of the now former champion.
Tito Ortiz vs Chuck Liddell – UFC 47 – It’s On Apr / 02 / 2004
The two former training partners squared off in what would become one of the most icon UFC super fights in the sports history. As Chuck Liddell faced off against Tito Ortiz. To put themselves in contention for another shot at the light heavyweight champion Randy Couture.
Both fighters had exchanged several barbs pre-fight as stories of their sparring sessions filled the MMA media’s headlines. With Chuck insinuating he had stopped Tito several times in training. Ortiz, for the most part, dismissed the stories as nonsense. Offering to stand and exchange with the hard-hitting Liddell.
And with tensions running high and electric atmosphere filled the arena like never before. With the crowd switching between chants of Tito and then Chuck. From the outset, it was obvious that both fighters were fan favourites.
The first round was taken by Chuck with some signs of potential from Ortiz. But early in the second, Tito would suffer and eye poke. And Chuck quickly capitalised on his obvious disorientation.
Landing a deadly flurry of punches that sent Ortiz to the ground and out of the fight. With one of the most iconic finishes in the history of UFC super fights.
Matt Hughes vs BJ Penn – UFC 46 – Supernatural Jan / 31 / 2004
The reigning UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes faced a rising BJ Penn. As he sought to defend his championship from the game Hawaiian. Hughes was a fan favourite, while BJ was making his return to the UFC following a successful stint with another promotion.
Hughes had lost just three times in thirty-eight fights and dominated the welterweight division. In contrast, BJ Penn had only eight professional fights losing once.
But what Penn lacked in octagon time, he made up for with years of elite-level Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competition. While having knocked out several of his opponents, BJ had also become known for his MMA boxing.
In a pretty uneventful first round, both men exchanged punches. Before the fight quickly ended up on the ground. With BJ taking top position Matt Hughes was unable to get back to his feet. Spending all of the round fightings off BJ’s ground and pound.
Then in the last minute of the fight, BJ lands a big right hand that stuns Hughes. Penn was able to capitalise and get full mount which in turn forced Matt to offer up his back. And with relative ease, BJ Penn was able to sink in a rear-naked choke forcing Matt Hughes to tap out.
While not being an obvious UFC super fight before the event. This fight signalled the end for one of the most dominant welterweights in the sports history. And the arrival of future legend and fellow Hall of Famer BJ Penn.
Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell – UFC 52 – Couture vs. Liddell 2 Apr / 16 / 2005
With huge respect for one another outside the UFC octagon, inside this pair of iconic MMA fighters went to war. And here in their second fight Chuck Liddell had something to prove against Randy Couture, who had beaten him in their previous fight.
Outstruct in their first fight, Chuck sought to make some adjustments to counter Couture’s somewhat unexpected standup. And from the first buzzer, we could see that he had done exactly that. As Randy looked to advance, Liddell was waiting to strike back to nullify the attack.
Randy continued to push forward and had some success. Clinching up with Chuck and using his dirty boxing, Randy then gets poked in the eye. Nothing major as the fight once again restarted. Couture looked to charge forward and lands some hard shots.
This time Chuck Liddell was waiting as he caught Randy with a hard right hand that sent Couture to the mat. He then followed up with more punches that knocked Randy out cold. Signalling the end of the fight and one of he most iconic celebrations in the history of the sport.
Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg – UFC 52 – Couture vs. Liddell 2 Apr / 16 / 2005
For as long as I can remember, out of all UFC super fights, this was the favourite of UFC President Dana White. The rematch between welterweight champion and challenger Frank Trigg. The pair had previously met at UFC 45 where Huges had exited the winner with a first-round rear-naked choke finish.
Now Trigg was back for more and determined to show that he had what it took to become champion. With plenty of trash talk pre-fight, something Hughes usually tries to avoid. There was plenty of bad blood in the water when the two finally came face to face in the octagon.
Hughes who was predominantly a wrestler and now a product of the Militech Fighting systems camp had become a complete mixed martial artist. Frank Trigg also came from a wrestling background and felt his skills outshone that of the champion.
And getting things underway in the first, the pair exchanged some strikes with Hughes landing a solid high kick. But it wasn’t long before their wrestling kicked in and the pair tied up. Repeatedly switched positions up against the fence.
Then at fifty seconds in Trigg landed a knee to the groin which was not spotted by the referee Mario Yamasaki. And seeing his opportunity, Frank swarmed the hurt Hughes landing significant punches and sending him to the canvas. He then quickly got the mount as Matt turned and tried to escape.
Matt Hughes Was Almost Finished
Trigg then managed to sink in a rear-naked choke in an almost poetic justice for how Hughes had submitted him in their first outing. But unable to finish the choke Hughes escaped and picked Frank upon his shoulder. Marching him across the octagon and slamming him down in front of his corner.
And now it was the turn of Matt Hughes to rain down punches and elbows on his opponent. Trigg now taking significant damage and unable to escape then gives up his back.
And as Matt continues to land punches, he then sank in his own rear-naked choke from which Trigg is unable to escape. In one of the greatest comebacks ever seen inside the octagon and probably still top of the list of Dana White’s UFC super fights.