For the second time in five months, the world leader in mixed martial arts, the UFC, has declared that they’ve assembled the biggest and best card in the promotion’s 23-year history. Let’s put that claim to the test and rank the top five cards in UFC history.
It’s only fair to put the first ever event on this list. But to be fair, it belongs on this list for the Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock semi-final fight. UFC 1 was an eight-man tournament with no weight class, no rounds, and essentially no rules. The 175-pound Gracie won three fights in a total of 4:30. He submitted all three opponents and had officially put Brazilian Jiu Jitsu on the map. It will always be one of the most legendary cards ever.
The main event featured the third fight between Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos. Velasquez won by a TKO slam relatively late in the fifth and final round. This card also featured Daniel Cormier, Roy Nelson, Gilbert Melendez, Diego Sanchez, Gabriel Gonzaga, John Dodson, Hector Lombard, and Tony Ferguson, just to name a few. The card was absolutely stacked and it delivered with seven knockouts and a submission.
Despite the fact that this card took major hits when Conor McGregor was pulled over the “retirement”” situation and then Jon Jones got popped by USADA for a doping violation, the card still wound up being jammed with stars. The main event officially went off as the 135 pound women’s championship between Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes, but the four co-main events featured five former or current champs. Another former champion, TJ Dillashaw was on the undercard, and possible future star Sage Northcutt fought as well. Anderson Silva and Brock Lesnar on the same card, I don’t care how old they were, that was awesome.
The OG “biggest card ever.” Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir was the main event with Georges St. Pierre and Thiago Alves the co-main. It held the record for most PPV buys at 1.6 million until that was broken at UFC 202 (McGregor Diaz II). Jon Jones also fought on the undercard. This card was incredible, but honestly, it’s peanuts compared to 205.
Not only are the UFC being sincere in saying this is the biggest card ever, in reality, assuming everyone stays on the card, it’s the best card in an absolute landslide. Conor McGregor, the sports largest star headlines in a super fight against Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez, there are two other title fights, a couple of spectacular prelims, and it’s at Madison Square Garden. The first card in New York history is an absolute gem, and a can’t miss for anyone who loves fights. Fingers crossed it doesn’t fall victim to 2016’s bad habit of ruining massive fight cards, but even if it takes a few knocks, this card is sure to produce, and in a big way.