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5 Oz. of Pain on The biggest fights in UFC history

It’s being called the “biggest fight in UFC history.” But is it? In his weekly article for, founder and publisher Sam Caplan takes a look at what he considers the biggest fights in UFC history.

How does Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar stack up? Click here to see and decide for yourself. Fights such as Royce Gracie vs. Ken Shamrock from UFC 5, Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie from UFC 60, and Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva from UFC 79 all made the cut. Did your favorite fight make it? There’s only one way to find out.

Also available on is a UFC 91 head-to-head preview with picks from MMA contributors such as Denny Burkholder, Todd Martin, as well as Sam.

  • KTru says:

    Lesnar versus Couture on the list of all time. I wouldnt say so until a few years past and we see the fallout of where each individual will stand.
    A couple of the fights on that list surprise me, not because of good they were but putting them in such a prestigious category. Liddell versus Silva was anticipated but has done nothing in terms of where the sport has evolved.
    If you want to talk about revenue from that fight, then I will agree in saying tonights fight will not only be one of the biggest fights in UFC history. But IT WILL be the biggest fight in UFC history.

  • Sam says:

    You left out UFC 66, Ortiz and Liddell 2.

    Set the PPV record for the UFC it did.

  • Jerry MacWire says:

    The biggest fights of all time? Depending on what criteria you are judging. If you mean spectacle, sure it is. It has WWE hype. Brock Lesnar plays into the villain part perfectly.

    Biggest fight meaning a proven MMA champion taking on an equal opponent? Definitely not.

    This fight is a dangerous double edged sword for the UFC. If Couture wins, he was supposed to. He has years of experience and is a brilliant tactician. If Lesnar wins, in the short term Dana White has with the exposure and the big bucks he makes from the event.

    Long term, people will equate the UFC with WWE wrestling. Is it fixed? How difficult can it be when a former pro wrestler becomes the world champion in a few fights. MMA will be equated with the entertainment spectacle the WWE is not as a sporting event. From the declaration that Lesnar was a bum a year ago to promoting him as the next greatest, what credibility does Dana White have. Will he be the next Don King/Vince MacMahon of professional sports/entertainment?

    I pass on this PPV tonight. It’s simply not the same as GSP vs. BJ. That is sport. Lesnar/Couture is entertainment.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    Cry me a river, Jerry.

    You wouldn’t be complaining if Brock had never stepped into a WWE ring. You’d cream yourself over this “blue-chip prospect” with NCAA wrestling title under his belt who looked and moved like a complete beast.

  • HexRei says:

    June 6, 2003, Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture at UFC 43: If there was a poll conducted to determine the two most recognizable fighters in UFC history, odds are strong that Liddell and Couture would win. The thing that I remember about this match is that even back then, Couture was still at a crossroads. After competing almost exclusively as a heavyweight up until the “Meltdown” event, Couture acknowledged that he just wasn’t a match for bigger fighters such as Ricco Rodriguez and Josh Barnett. The 205 division was Couture’s new home, but standing in his way was the seemingly invincible Liddell, who had never lost a UFC fight. In typical Couture fashion, he defied the odds and out-punched the puncher.

    These guys needs to check their facts: Chuck had lost a fight prior to fighting Randy. Jeremy Horn choked him out cold with that sweet guillotine at UFC 19.

  • HexRei says:

    Oh and Sergio, totally agreed.

  • HexRei says:

    By “these guys”, I guess I meant Sam. for shame sam, for shame!

  • Grappo says:

    I think a case can be made for the Griffin-Bonnar fight of the TUF 1 Finale making the list.

  • HexRei says:

    no way, that fight is so overrated.

  • Stan the Caddy says:

    As someone else already mentioned, Liddell vs. Ortiz 2 is the biggest fight ever in the history of the UFC and arguably MMA. Kind of laughable that it’s not included on your list.

  • Sergio Hernandez says:

    “no way, that fight is so overrated.”

    From a technical standpoint, yes.

    I wouldn’t say it is one the biggest fights ever, though. Sam’s list consists of fights that were hyped up leading up to the event.

    Bonnar/Griffin I wasn’t expected to be as much of a watershed moment as it turned out to be. Like Hex said, it may be overrated but that’s when you view the technical aspect of it. Otherwise, it’s two young guys fighting their hearts out and ushering in a new era for MMA.

    And watching that fight then, who would have thought that the winner of that fight would end up becoming the uncontested light heavyweight champion of the world?

  • Grappo says:


    Exactly. That fight was the introduction to the sport for a lot of MMA fans, and the fact that it was just gutsy, swinging for the fences made it exciting to the casual viewer and probably prompted them to watch more in the future. In terms of what it did for the UFC (and MMA) I would place it higher on the list than a few of the listed fights. Not hyped much before the fight, but definitely hyped later (not that I care about hype anyway.)

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Grappo, thank you. You’re exactly right. Bonnar vs. Griffin was a pivotal fight for the UFC but the article clearly clarifies in the intro that the listing wasn’t about the best fights or the most pivotal/important.

    Also, Liddell vs. Ortiz most definitely should have been there. I dropped the ball in that regard. It was a busy week for us here, as you can see by the content. Lots of articles to write, radio shows to do, phone calls, etc. There are also some big business deals we’re working on so we’re working on a lot of things in which our effort cannot be measured through public appearance.

    But I did bust my ass on the CBS column. It’s not something I rush through. It just slipped through the cracks. But I do appreciate everyone who took the time out to read the article.

  • Grappo says:

    Ah sorry Sam, I skipped over the intro and went right to the picks.

    Anyway, good article. It brought on waves of drunken nostalgia.


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