After about two abounding years abroad from the Octagon, the aboriginal man to anytime authority championship gold in two capacity simultaneously, “The Notorious” Conor McGregor, will end his aperture and acknowledgment to face the unbeaten, unstoppable Khabib Nurmagomedov for the failing appellation in the capital accident of UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
It is a activity that has been brewing aback afore McGregor fabricated his aboriginal UFC actualization in the 155-pound weight chic at UFC 205, area he agape out Eddie Alvarez affirmation his additional title, and the apprehension and activity surrounding this dream bond has alone connected to grow.
When tensions amid the two abandon exploded in April with McGregor’s accomplishments in the belly of Barclays Centermost in beforehand of UFC 223, the catechism confused from would he and Nurmagomedov anytime allotment the cage calm to aback would it happen.
After months of waiting, it will assuredly booty abode aing weekend.
The UFC 229 capital accident is one of the bigger fights in history – an ballsy affray amid a baroque showman who has backed up all of his blowing with his performances central the Octagon and a quiet, unflappable, best fighter who has bedeviled anybody he’s faced to date.
These are the iconic bouts it will be abstinent against.
This is The 10: The Bigger Fights in UFC History.
Note: these are in archival order.
Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock – UFC 40 (November 22, 2002) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
While the acrimony amid these two anachronous aback to UFC 18 and UFC 19 aback Ortiz exhausted Lion’s Den assembly Jerry Bohlander and Guy Mezger in back-to-back appearances, talking debris and donning t-shirts emblazoned with calumniating statements, the duo would aboveboard off for the aboriginal time several years later, as Shamrock alternate to the UFC afterward a aerial contour and almost acknowledged assignment in the WWF.
This activity got the full-court columnist in agreement of media at the time, with Ortiz and Shamrock actualization on The Best Damn Sports Show Period as able-bodied as ESPN and USA Today.
Shamrock was the boilerplate draw because of his time in the WWF, but Ortiz was the above talent, accepting already auspiciously dedicated his UFC ablaze ample appellation four times. Plus, the calefaction amid the two was accessible and it resulted in a massive billow in absorption for the event.
UFC 40 not alone accustomed a new aerial baptize mark for Pay-Per-View buy ante and UFC aboideau receipts at the MGM Grand at the time, but it additionally became the starting point for the three-fight alternation amid Ortiz and Shamrock.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz – UFC 47 (April 2, 2004) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
It took a while to accomplish it happen, but the delays alone concluded up authoritative this ablaze ample affray alike bigger.
Ortiz and Liddell were the two bigger names in the UFC at the time – a brace of awful recognizable, aristocratic talents who had been ambit anniversary added for added than a year. Ortiz initially stalled, suggesting that as accompany and above training partners, he and Liddell fabricated a alliance never to face one another. Liddell refuted the affirmation and accused “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” of bath him.
Finally, on an aboriginal April night at the Mandalay Bay Challenge Center, the two best apparent talents in the UFC stood beyond the cage from anniversary other. Aback the dust settled, Liddell absolved abroad with a second-round abeyance win and the UFC had addition above Pay-Per-View success.
Just a year afterwards Liddell and Ortiz captivated the sport, this additional activity amid Couture and “The Iceman” was alike bigger.
The difference-maker was The Ultimate Fighter</, which debuted beforehand in the year with Liddell and Couture apprenticeship two teams of ambitious UFC fighters and aired on Spike TV.
One anniversary earlier, Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar affianced in an ballsy back-and-forth in ablaze ample finals of the absoluteness TV antagonism that stands as one of the best cogent moments in UFC history. The afterward Saturday, it was time for the allegorical coaches to bandy down, and afterwards Couture came abroad from their aboriginal appointment with a knockout win, the additional concluded with Liddell abiding the favor and blame off his administration as the UFC ablaze ample champion.
Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn – UFC 94 (January 31, 2009) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
This activity was everything.
It was a rematch amid two fighters who had battled to a breach accommodation in a appellation apache affray area the aftereffect is still debated to this day.
It was a affair of two of the complete best fighters on the planet, colliding at the aiguille of their powers, advancing off their best absorbing performances to date.
It was the aboriginal time two UFC champions boxlike off adjoin one another, with St-Pierre’s welterweight appellation blind in the balance.
The apprehension for this activity was off the archive and it was amplified through UFC Primetime, a three-part alternation that abundant anniversary man’s affairs in beforehand of the fight.
St-Pierre becoming a fourth-round abeyance win, added solidifying his continuing as the top welterweight in the world, while Penn would acknowledgment to the failing ranks and aces up appropriate area he larboard off afore venturing up in weight to face his French-Canadian battling for a additional time.
To this day, it adeptness be the best activity anytime put calm by the UFC. Others accept been added absorbing already the Octagon aperture was bankrupt and bound and the activity commenced, but in agreement of area the participants were at in their careers, in their able-bodied capabilities and their all-embracing accomplishment sets, you’d be hard-pressed to acquisition a bigger pairing.
Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir – UFC 100 (July 11, 2009) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
Rivalries generally bearing absolutely big fights and at the time, there was no bigger acrimony than the altercation amid Lesnar and Mir, and the additional affair amid the bike ample titleholders that bankrupt out the UFC’s bazaar anniversary in Las Vegas was enormous.
Mir baffled Lesnar in his promotional debut, borer out the UFC abecedarian in beneath than two minutes, but not afore the above WWE superstar showed flashes of alarming potential. The accident – and Mir’s comments afterward in the months afterward the activity – ashore in Lesnar’s craw and aback the two men anniversary concluded up with a ample appellation in their possession, a bender to arrange the belts and achieve this altercation was an automatic.
UFC 100 featured the best activity agenda the advance had anytime put together, with TUF coaches Dan Henderson and Michael Bisping affair in the average activity of the capital agenda and St-Pierre arresting his welterweight appellation adjoin Thiago Alves in the penultimate activity of the night.
But the capital allure was the rematch amid Lesnar and Mir and it exceeded expectations, with Lesnar accepting a admeasurement of animus by atrociously finishing Mir in the additional annular in one of the best iconic challenge of all-time.
There aren’t abounding bodies who would disagree if you appropriate that the middleweight appellation affray amid Silva and Sonnen was the best advancing activity in UFC history at the time.
Sonnen acclimated a solid, but unspectacular, three-fight acceptable band accumulated with his adorable adeptness to command absorption whenever he had a microphone in his duke to about-face a activity that abounding beheld as a foregone cessation into one of the bigger fights of all-time. The adept middleweight waged a attack of exact warfare on Silva, his teammates, his training partners, and the absolute country of Brazil, carrying damaging animadversion every adventitious he got in hopes of accepting beneath the Brazilian standout’s bark and animadversion him off his game.
He promised to boss Silva in the Octagon and arrest his diffuse acceptable streak, a affirmation that was amusing advancing from the career journeyman, appropriate up until the point area he about pulled it off.
Through four rounds, bodies sat transfixed, their aperture on the attic as Sonnen wrestled his way to a advantageous advance on the scorecards, abrogation Silva in allegation of a fifth-round accomplishment in adjustment to absorb his title.
What transpired in the final two account of the anatomy is categorical in the memories of activity admirers the apple over, and the UFC 117 capital accident will always accustomed as one of the bigger fights of all-time.
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos – UFC on FOX (November 12, 2011) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
It feels like this one gets absent in the drag because it concluded so abruptly, but accomplish no aberration about it: this was one of the bigger fights in UFC history.
The ample appellation was actuality dedicated in the first-ever UFC bender to be advertisement on arrangement TV; a little on-air appetizer afore the UFC’s multi-year advertisement affiliation with FOX kicked off in ardent in 2012.
In one bend stood Velasquez, the unbeaten, reigning, defending, acknowledged ample best of the world; 9-0 and a year removed from acquisition Lesnar in their headlining affray at UFC 121.
In the added bend was Dos Santos, who had akin Velasquez win-for-win as they ascended the ample rankings, beginning off a baking accomplishment adjoin Shane Carwin at UFC 131 in Vancouver.
These were the two best heavyweights on the planet and they were throwing bottomward live, on arrangement television.
The advertisement averaged 5.7 actor admirers and ailing with 8.8 actor bodies affability in to see Dos Santos degrade Velasquez aloof 64 abnormal into the fight.
With numbers like that, there is no allowance for debate; this one actually deserves as a abode on this list.
Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor – UFC 194 (December 12, 2015) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
If you were to rank these fights – or your own selections for the bigger fights in UFC history – you would accept to put this one at the top of the list.
There has artlessly never been a bigger activity than this.
The anatomy started in ardent in the summer of 2014, in Dublin, Ireland, aback McGregor alternate to activity and beatific the arranged abode at the O2 Arena into agitation by sparking Diego Brandao in the actual aboriginal round. Two months later, he’d do the aforementioned to Dustin Poirier at UFC 178 and four months afterwards that, McGregor felled Dennis Siver in Boston, jumping over the cage bank to get in the face of the one and alone agile best in UFC history, Jose Aldo, ambience the date for an ballsy summer showdown.
The duo boarded on a 12-day, eight-city, five-country apple bender announcement the bout, which was positioned as the capital accident at UFC 189, but a little over two weeks afore the July 11 activity agenda in Las Vegas, Aldo was affected to abjure afterwards adversity an abrasion during training camp.
McGregor backward on the agenda and chock-full Chad Mendes to affirmation the acting agile appellation in advanced of a absonant army at the MGM Grand, which alone added added the apprehension for his showdown with Aldo.
When the two assuredly met at UFC 194, it somehow managed to beat expectations, not alone in agreement of the fizz and electricity that coursed through Las Vegas throughout activity anniversary and the record-breaking numbers the accident delivered at the box office, but in agreement of the bender itself as well.
Just 13 abnormal afterwards it started, McGregor accomplished it and annihilation has been the aforementioned since.
Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz II – UFC 202 (August 20, 2016) (Watch on UFC FIGHT PASS)
Five months earlier, a activity cobbled calm from the ashes of a scuttled “Champion vs. Champion” affray captivated the MMA apple and became a massive success.
Filling in on abbreviate apprehension for the afflicted Rafael Dos Anjos, Diaz agreed to accommodated McGregor at welterweight at UFC 196 and afterwards an absorbing columnist conference, they met in the Octagon and Stockton’s admired son did the unthinkable.
After demography a annular to get apart and actuality on the amiss end of the exchanges through the aboriginal bisected of the additional round, Diaz tagged McGregor and confused the drive in his favor. And aback the activity hit the canvas, he affected the Irish superstar to tap out in the centermost of the Octagon.
McGregor anon requested a rematch and afterwards some delays, the duo was commutual off for a additional time in the capital accident of UFC 202 in Las Vegas.
The aftereffect of their aboriginal activity accumulated with the absurd acceptance of the two fighters angry this into the best advancing activity in UFC history.
In the cage, McGregor drew level, actual addition Diaz assemblage to leave the cage with a majority accommodation win afterwards addition berserk absorbing clash.
With the account alike at 1-1 and both men set to acknowledgment to the Octagon in the advancing weeks, could a elastic bout be on the horizon?
A rematch, a acrimony bout and a action of arguably the top two fighters in the sport, aftermost summer’s additional affair amid Cormier and Jones additionally agitated a ton of questions and amazing amounts of anticipation.
Jones won the aboriginal meeting, earning the accepted accommodation achievement at UFC 182 and handing Cormier his aboriginal loss. Anon after, he was bare of the ablaze ample appellation and suspended, with Cormier claiming the abandoned belt, abacus addition band of acrimony to this assuredly alive rivalry. Jones took shots at “DC” from the sidelines and Cormier accursed aback at “Bones,” the two consistently abacus ammunition to the blaze for the rematch anybody knew was inevitable.
The apocryphal starts forth the way alone added the activity surrounding the fight.
First, it was Cormier who was affected to abjure aloof a few weeks afore UFC 197, area Jones alternate and claimed an acting appellation with a safe, solid achievement over Ovince Saint Preux. Then it was Jones who would account a delay, as canicule afore the duo was set to accommodated at UFC 200, he was pulled from the activity for a abeyant anti-doping violation. Cormier was crestfallen, but agitated on, earning two added victories and continuing to barter exact jabs with Jones every adventitious he got.
Finally, the two faced off for a additional time at UFC 214.
Could Cormier get the achievement he bare to draw akin with his arch rival? Would Jones acknowledgment from addition diffuse blow to aces up area he larboard off? Would they coffin the hatchet, behindhand of the outcome?
After two aing circuit to alpha the activity area Cormier was the aggressor and Jones formed the body, Jones bent Cormier with a aerial bang that beatific him barrier backwards and brought about the end of the fight. “DC” was bargain to tears in the cage and Jones gave acclaim to his antagonist for bringing the best out of him.
Easily the bigger activity of 2017, it’s still a above affair of altercation today because of what happened in the aftermath.
A ages afterwards the contest, Jones was notified of addition abeyant anti-doping abuse and the aftereffect was overturned. Cormier was reinstalled as ablaze ample best and has aback gone on to add the ample appellation to his mantle, while Jones has been sidelined, aggravating to acquisition a way aback to the cage.
Just two weeks ago, it was appear that Jones would be acceptable to acknowledgment at the end of October and as anon as the account was official, allocution of a third activity started, with Jones arch the allegation through amusing media and Cormier responding in kind.
As big as their additional affair was – and it was massive – a third affair amid the two could be alike bigger.
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