Since its inception, the UFC has been, not just people fighting in a cage, but people fighting for the legitimacy of mixed martial arts. This decade was a perfect example of that. Everything from network tv deals, uniformed fight attires and various states legalizing the sport inside their borders. The years 2010-2019 have seen, both, historical moments inside the cage, as well as outside of the cage and this list is going to give you the top 10 greatest UFC moments of the decade. I have put links to some of these moments that are highlighted in green.
10. The debut of Conor McGregor(Apr. 6, 2013)
2013 was the year that this decade’s undisputed superstar first step foot in a UFC octagon. In February of 2013, McGregor Stepped foot into the octagon against Marcus Brimage and won the fight by a first-round knockout. This was the first taste of what was to be expected from the trash talking, exuberant, future UFC champion and icon of the sport.
9. UFC sold for $4 Billion Dollars(Jul. 11, 2016)
Some may look at selling your company as a negative thing, but for the UFC, it has only turned into positives for the brand. In 2016, the UFC had reached its peak of popularity. With top stars like Jon Jones, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey taking over, it felt like a good time for Dana White to get the most out of his beloved promotion. Even with the sale of the UFC, White stayed on board as president and the leader of the company. His vision is unmatched and still has the drive to put on the best fights and greatest sports spectacles around.
8. UFC signs TV deal with Fox(Aug. 18, 2011)
The UFC was no stranger to cable TV before the deal with Fox, but they were strangers to network TV. The Fox deal was a step for the UFC to one, get more eyes on the sport and two, a step for more legitimacy to what the UFC brought to the table. This deal led the UFC to getting more and more popularity, which they eventually cashed in on by making a deal with ESPN after the Fox era wrapped up.
7. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald II(Jul. 11, 2015)
Some UFC fights can simply be described as a war between two people. Robbie Lawler versus Rory MacDonald, the second time around, was one of the wars of this decade. When these two squared up the second time around, both men left it all in the cage. MacDonald took Lawler, the then lightweight champion to the limit. After four grueling rounds, Lawler finally did enough to put MacDonald down to retain his title. It is a testament to how good this fight was that it is still hailed as one of the best ever in this decade.
6. Jorge Masvidal knocks out Ben Askren in 5 seconds(Jul. 6, 2019)
Coming in at number 6 is the most recent event of the decade. The meteoric rise of the Miami gangster Jorge Masvidal really started at this moment. Coming into the fight, Masvidal was not a fan of his opponent Ben Askren. Askren is at his best when he is talking trash and Masvidal did not take kindly to that. When the ref called for the fight to start, if you blinked, you missed it. Masvidal knew that Askren, a world class wrestler, was going to go for a takedown and so he took a shot by throwing a flying knee and he connected straight to Askren’s temple and he went out like a light. This moment sent Masvidal straight to the top and would go on to fight Nate Diaz for the BMF belt.
5. Jon Jones Vs Alexander Gustafsson I(Sep. 21, 2013)
At the time of this fight, Jon Jones was in the middle of his dominance of the light-heavyweight division. So when it was announced that Alexander Gustafsson was scheduled to fight him next, there were a lot of questions raised about the reasoning. But as soon as the, relative, nobody stepped into the octagon against Jones, those questions were answered. Everything that Jones threw at Gustaffson, he threw it right back to the champ. Gustafsson was one of the first fighters ever to take Jones down to the ground in the UFC and after five rounds, the fight had to be settled by the judges. Although Jones won the fight, Gustafsson made a name for himself that night and he was the closest person to ever beat Jones at light-heavyweight.
4. UFC purchases the WEC and Strikeforce(2010-2011)
Before both of these deals were made, UFC only had five divisions. But after this deal was made, the full spectrum of divisions, minus the flyweights, were complete. The separate purchases of the WEC and Strikeforce allowed for so many fighters to come into the UFC doors and get even more eyes on them. Guys like Dominick Cruz, Jose Aldo, Urijah Faber, Anthony Pettis, Daniel Cormier and so many more were now under the UFC banner and they all made their mark. But one of the biggest moments of the Strikeforce deal came when it allowed for the female fighters to take place in the UFC.
3. Conor McGregor becomes the first ever UFC double champ(Nov. 12, 2016)
This was the fight that solidified McGregor’s place as one of the greatest fighters ever. McGregor had been a double champ outside of the UFC, but when UFC 205 came around, McGregor was ready to make it happen on the big stage. Going up against lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, McGregor only needed two rounds to make history. He got the KO victory and became the first-ever UFC fighter to simultaneously hold two belts in two different weight classes. Since then, we have seen Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes complete this historic accolade, but nothing beats the original. Regardless of how people feel about him, McGregor will always be considered the original champ champ.
2. The first ever UFC women’s fight takes place(Feb. 23, 2013)
The second spot goes to the first ever women’s UFC fight in history, where Ronda Rousey took out her opponent Liz Carmouche in the first round, which was just the beginning of her dominance. After this moment, Rousey did not just take over the women of the UFC, she took over the entire UFC. She became an absolute mega star and transcended the UFC world. Commercials, TV shows, movies, Rousey was absolutely everywhere. It was because of women like her that the women’s division of the UFC is what is today.
1. Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather(Aug. 26, 2017)
This event did not take place under the UFC banner, but even with that, this moment transcended sports. McGregor versus Mayweather was not just a boxing match, it was a spectacle. Even people who aren’t fans of combat sports watched this fight. This was this decade’s and this generation’s sporting event. Two polarizing figures, in their perspective sports, went to war inside the ring and put on a show that will never be forgotten. If the fight itself wasn’t crazy enough, McGregor, the loser of the fight, walked away with around $85 million for one fight. It will be a long time before the world sees an event of this magnitude.