Top 10 Significant UFC Fights

With UFC 100 a week away on July 11, I decided to look back at what got the UFC to this point. Here is my take on what I believe are the 10 most significant fights in UFC history, helping the company become what it is today.

1. Stephan Bonner vs. Forrest Griffin – Ultimate Fighter Finale 1: This fight was not only the most memorable fight to watch, but may also be the fight that really pushed the UFC into the next level of mainstream popularity. Following the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter, a show which UFC President Dana White and co-owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta funded out of their own pocket, the finale took place live on Spike TV, which was airing live fights for the first time in the history of cable television. The UFC knew it needed something big to happen to not only keep a cable television deal, but earn future advertisers, and also prolong its reality show for future seasons. Bonner vs. Griffin delivered just that. The two fought to the very end and both were so even, it was impossible to decide a clear winner for most fans. The fight at one point drew 10 million viewers, which was just what the UFC needed. The back-and-forth, non-stopped action gave the UFC an identity to fans that had never seen it before and got the ball rolling that has allowed the UFC to snowball into what it is today.

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MMA Pound for Pound Rankings

MMA FightersThe Love of Sports ranks the top 10 current pound for pound MMA fighters. The intro explains how the writer, E. Spencer Kyte, compiled the rankings.

1. Much like the BCS, strength of schedule counts. While Anderson Silva made like The Governator and kicked the bejesus out of “The Predator,” he still stands behind Georges St. Pierre, whose performance against Jon Fitch was far more impressive than “The Spider” showed against Patrick Cote.

2. You don’t fight, you don’t get ranked, simple as that. Randy Couture’s undoubtedly one of the best pound for pound practitioners in the business when he’s inside The Octagon. Problem is, he hasn’t set foot inside The Octagon since August 2007. Same rules apply to Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.

3. After those other two, it all comes down to personal preferences.

1. Georges St. Pierre
“Rush” still stands at the top of the heap, primarily for the reason already mentioned above. The secondary reason would fall to #3 – he’s Canadian, I’m Canadian.

2. Anderson Silva
What else is there for this man to do? Regardless of how uninspiring his win at UFC 90 may have been, he’s still won eight fights in a row and doesn’t have a challenger at 185. Maybe Dana White should stop being critical of him and give him the dream fight against Chuck Liddell he’s been asking for.

3. Fedor Emelianenko
The more I think about “The Last Emperor” and his destruction of Tim Sylvia at “Affliction: Banned,” the more I think he deserves top billing on this list. As the fine folks at Fighter! magazine so intelligently said it, Emelianenko did to Sylvia in 36 seconds what it took Randy Couture five rounds to accomplish.

4. B.J. Penn
Personally, I really would’ve liked to see “The Prodigy” take another fight in between waiting for GSP in early-ish 2009. Kenny Florian was willing and waiting, but that’s just the fight fan in me complaining. A win over GSP would not only avenge an earlier loss, but also send Penn to the top of this chart.

5. Urijah Faber
Hurricane Ike could only delay Michael Thomas Brown’s destiny to be added to the roll call of challengers disposed of by “The California Kid.” Words can’t explain how much I’d love to see Faber tack on five or 10 pounds, move up to lightweight and really show if he’s as good as we think he is or simply the big fish in a shallow featherweight pool.

No Kimbo Slice? Oh, I forgot – he’s a fraud.

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