A superfight in MMA can be viewed in two different contexts: One is when two champions in the same promotion fight each other with a title on the line. Another scenario is having a champion from the same weight class against a champion from a different organization.
Few superfights have taken place because the titleholders used to always look to stay away from each other. Promotions prefer for their fighters to compete in their respective weight class as well. They would always make sure their champions have enough contenders, so the mere thought of the best fighters in different weight classes battling to see who really is the best never made too much sense for them.
But who wouldn’t have wanted to see a prime Anderson Silva, when he ruled the middleweight division with an iron fist, moving up to 205 pounds to take on Jon Jones? Or when Georges St-Pierre was racking up title defenses at welterweight to the point where everyone wanted him to move up to 185 pounds and challenge Silva to determine who is the king of the Octagon. Neither ever came to fruition.
Already in 2018, UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier moved up to face and defeat heavyweight champ, Stipe Miocic, at UFC 226 this past July. And Bellator throws its hat into the fray Saturday, when welterweight champion Rory MacDonald challenges middleweight kingpin Gegard Mousasi.
That being said, Sporting News thinks it’s great timing to take a look at MMA’s top superfights.
3. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier at UFC 226
A fight has an extra big time feel to it when the heavyweight championship of the world is on the line and the top two guys are battling for ultimate supremacy. That was the case at UFC 226 back in July, when Cormier came in as the light heavyweight champion and returned to a weight class where he was 13-0 and the winner of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix in May 2012.
Miocic rolled into the event looking to continue his reign and extend his record-setting title defense streak to four.
Entering the bout, you had Miocic being hailed as “The Baddest Man on the Planet” against the guy, who many felt if he became the champion would be considered an all time great.
Miocic set the tone early in the fight, connecting on combinations and rocking Cormier more than once. But Cormier started to gain momentum by utilizing his jab and bloodying up Miocic.
Ultimately, Cormier dropped Miocic with a short right hand as he stepped out of the clinch. A couple punches later and Cormier had won the title at 4:33 of the first round.
With the win, Cormier became only the second fighter in UFC history (Conor McGregor in 2016 was the first) to hold two belts simultaneously.
2. Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205
Conor McGregor came into the event as the featherweight champion after knocking out long-time titleholder Jose Aldo in 13 seconds at UFC 194. The Irishman wanted to achieve something historic and looked to snatch the lightweight title from Alvarez in UFC 205 in November 2016 during the company’s first ever show at Madison Square Garden.
Alvarez won the 155-pound title stopping Rafael dos Anjos in the first round at UFC Fight Night 90 the previous July. McGregor proclaimed he was going to make history … and he did just that.
It was McGregor from start to finish, as he found a home with his patented left hand to drop Alvarez three times during the first round. During the second round, McGregor landed a short left hand, a right hand, another left and a right hand that knocked out Alvarez to the roar of the crowd inside MSG, as he became the first fighter in UFC history to hold two titles at the same time.
1. Georges St-Pierre vs. BJ Penn at UFC 94
This would be the first time a UFC champion would battle another UFC champion. The match had the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world squaring off with plenty of hardware on the line.
After losing the welterweight title in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history to Matt Serra at UFC 69, “GSP” racked up four consecutive wins, including regaining the belt from Serra at UFC 83.
Penn once again won the lightweight title, running through Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. The Hawaiian then successfully defended the title, beating Sean Sherk to a bloody pulp at UFC 84.
That set the tone for St-Pierre-Penn at UFC 94 in January 2009. Heading into the fight, it felt like Penn had a really good chance of knocking off St-Pierre.
The first round fed into that feeling more, as Penn used his quickness, fast hands and good footwork to win the stanza. But St-Pierre went on to show why he’s one of the greatest to ever compete, giving Penn a beating of epic proportions from one side of the Octagon to the other for the next three rounds. The beating was so bad that after the fourth round, Penn’s corner wouldn’t allow him to continue and St-Pierre retained his championship.