The first fight of one of UFC’s greatest trilogies, Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture met for the interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship in the town of Paradise, Nevada, in June of 2003. Slumping in the heavyweight division at the time, Couture cut down to 205 pounds for this clash, which many thought would put “The Natural” at a disadvantage. Instead, the wrestling specialist surprised many by out-punching “The Iceman” before ground-and-pounding his lights out. With the victory, Couture became the first man to knockout “The Iceman” and the first UFC fighter to win a title in two different weight classes. Liddell would get his revenge, though, smashing Couture in both of their following fights.
5. Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida — The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale
Celebrated as two of the most exciting fighters on Dana White’s roster, brawlers Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida did not disappoint the UFC faithful when they finally clashed in June of 2009. Immediately physical, this violent bout saw both lightweights trading serious bombs in the opening minutes before Sanchez connected with a head kick that nearly removed Guida’s trademark curly locks. Down but not out, “The Carpenter” rallied and saw to it that the fight went the distance. In the end, Sanchez claimed the victory by split-decision, but both warriors shared “Fight of the Night” honors and effusive praise from Dana White and MMA fans worldwide.
4. Randy Couture vs. Tim Sylvia — UFC 68
This is the UFC’s “Rocky” moment. Forty-three years of age at the time, Randy Couture returned to the cage a year after a brutal knockout loss to Chuck Liddell to face the massive Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Title. A proud, but plodding champion, Sylvia was younger, bigger and stronger than “The Natural,” but this was Couture’s night. Knocking his 6-foot-8 opponent down as soon as the fight began, Couture controlled the fight from there, outmaneuvering Sylvia for five rounds before winning the fight by a unanimous decision. “Captain America” claimed a record third UFC Heavyweight Championship that March night and another spot in the MMA history books.