UFC heavyweights Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum throw down in one of the most anticipated rematches in recent memory. Werdum choked Velasquez out in their first matchup at UFC 188 to win the heavyweight title but has since lost the belt. That doesn’t make this fight any less exciting, as the winner will walk away with bragging rights and a likely shot at the heavyweight title.
In honor of this epic rematch, let’s take a look at the 10 best rematches in UFC history. (In no particular order)
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UFC 189: Lawler v MacDonald 2
When you steal the show from Conor McGregor, you know you’re doing something right.
Then-welterweight champion Robbie Lawler made his first title defense against Rory MacDonald, a man he’d beaten two years prior by ridiculously close split decision. Their second fight played out differently than the first, as MacDonald was likely up on the cards headed into the championship rounds thanks to his diverse striking skillset.
But the ever resilient Lawler began to pour it on in the fourth round, where he battered MacDonald’s nose and left him a bloody mess heading to his corner. MacDonald didn’t last much longer in the fifth as he fell victim to Lawler’s relentless attack.
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UFC 179: Aldo v Mendes 2
Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo brought some well-deserved extra attention to the featherweight division after their rematch at UFC 179 in what many considered the 2014 Fight of the Year.
Aldo finished Mendes with a beautiful knee to the head in their first fight just two years earlier, but the “Team Alpha Male” product proved to be much more of a challenge the second time around. Over five full rounds, Aldo and Mendes exchanges combination after combination as each fighter gained and lost momentum at various times throughout the bout.
At the end, however, it was Aldo who would pull away in the championship rounds for his seventh straight title defense.
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UFC Fight Night: Spencer Fisher vs Sam Stout 2
The brawl between Spencer Fisher and Sam Stout is the only rematch on this list not for a title nor featuring Hall of Famers. Yet it still ranks high because of just how exciting the bout was.
Some lauded their first fight, which Fisher took on short notice, as the best fight of 2006 and their second fight lived up to that hype. The pair of lightweights fought at a frenetic pace with tons of fan-friendly exchanges, only taking breaks between rounds.
Spencer landed at will the first half of the opening round but Stout stole momentum in the final two minutes. That trend continued in the second and third rounds as Spencer built a 88-76 advantage in significant strikes, indicative of Stout’s late surges, which in the judges eyes, were too little, too late.
UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Shogun 2
Dan Henderson beat Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in one of the greatest fights ever at UFC 139, so expectations were high for the rematch in Brazil, despite the fact that Hendo had lost his three previous bouts.
Those expectations quickly dissipated as Rua punished Hendo over the first 10 minutes, outstriking the veteran 73-21 in the first two rounds. However, one can never underestimate the power in Henderson’s right hand.
Midway through the third round, Henderson uncorked a vicious desperation H-bomb that landed flush on Rua’s chin and sent that Brazilian crashing to the mat like a ton of bricks.
UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2
In their first bout Chael Sonnen was seemingly minutes away from dethroning Anderson Silva as the undisputed middleweight champion of the world as he’d suffocated Silva with his ground game and unloaded with punches from the top position. But just as the fight was winding down, Silva caught Sonnen in an arm triangle and squeezed his way to victory.
Sonnen began the second fight the same way he started the first fight -- with a takedown -- and many thought he’d manhandle Silva again. Ahead on the cards after a dominant first round, Sonnen threw an ill-advised spinning-back fist in the second round, which Silva slipped as Sonnen fell crashing on to the canvas. Silva followed up with a flying knee and a couple punches and that was all she wrote for the Sonnen-Silva rivalry.
UFC 63: Matt Hughes vs. BJ Penn 2
Entering UFC 63 his matchup with Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes had only lost once in his previous 20 fights -- a first-round submission to BJ Penn. So when GSP dropped out with an injury and Penn was subbed in, Hughes couldn’t be happier at the change to avenge the title-fight loss.
Penn started fast, hurting Hughes twice in the first round with his heavy hands. In the second round, Penn was close to stopping Hughes with an arm triangle, but the third round was all Hughes. The champion would finish “The Prodigy” with punches to hand Penn his second straight loss.
UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2
Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz own one of the best rivalries in UFC history and for good reason. Faber made quick work of Cruz during their featherweight title fight at WEC 26, submitting him in the first round. But Cruz promised to get it back and their feud leading up to UFC 132 set up one of the more contentious rematches in company history.
Cruz would, indeed, go on to avenge his only loss and even the series 1-1 after a Fight of the Night brawl with Faber at UFC 132. He was able to edge “The California Kid” in all facets of the fight, but the hostility between these two bantamweight stars was far from over.
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UFC 125: Edgar vs. Maynard 2
After getting blanked 30-27 on all judges’ scorecards in his first fight against Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar knew he needed to make some serious changes if he ever wanted to become UFC champion. Two years later -- and with a new fight camp helping him prepare -- Edgar had won the lightweight title and was ready to take on top contender Maynard in his second title defense.
What ensued was an absurd back-and-forth battle that saw both fighters hurt and almost finished at various points in the bout. At the end judges ruled the bout a draw after five furious rounds. The fans were the only winners that night.
UFC 52: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg 2
Matt Hughes makes his second appearance on this list, this time in one of the greatest comebacks in UFC history.
Hughes finished Frank Trigg in their first battle via a brutal standing rear-naked choke, so he was understandably confident headed into the rematch. That is, until he accidentally took a groin shot that the referee didn’t see and began eating a barrage of punches before almost succumbing to a rear-naked choke himself.
But Hughes survived, however, grabbed Trigg by the waist, carried him across the Octagon and slammed the former WFA champion on his back. Hughes, feeding off the roaring crowd, immediately mounted Trigg and began raining down punches before taking Trigg’s back and finishing with a RNC … again.
UFC 202: Diaz v McGregor 2
Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor followed up one of the best upsets of the year with one of the best rematches of all time at UFC 202.
Diaz stepped in on two weeks notice to submit McGregor via rear-naked choke at UFC 196. The loss rubbed McGregor the wrong way, so he devoted the next few months to preparing for Diaz and the rematch.
What ensued at UFC 202 arguably the best fight of 2016 and one of the greatest fights in the promotion’s history. McGregor dropped Diaz three times in the now-infamous bout, but also was close to being finished in the third round.
McGregor would go on to earn a majority decision, evening the score between two brash fighters at one apiece.