The Top 10 UFC Events of 2014
2014 was a year marred by injuries and last-minute replacements on many major UFC cards. Despite that, it was also a year that delivered some all-time great fights on some excellent cards.
Here are our top ten events, in ascending order. Check them out and let us know your favorites in the comments section and on Twitter!
UFC 170 was stacked with Olympians as Ronda Rousey, Sara McMann, and Daniel Cormier topped off the main card. In the main event, Rousey made quick work of the woman most assumed would be her athletic equal and toughest test to date, McMann.
In the co-main event, Cormier showed the debuting Patrick Cummins why it’s sometimes better to keep one’s mouth shut. Also, Rory MacDonald bounced back and proved that he can fight anywhere, against anybody, by surviving being dominated on the ground by Demian Maia in the first round, and battering him for the next two to score the come-from-behind win.
The UFC on FOX card July 26 was headlined by one of the very best fights of the year, Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown. These two left it all out there for a shot at the UFC welterweight title, with Lawler coming out ahead but Brown showing that he’s also world-class.
Anthony "Rumble" Johnson made easy work of the legendary Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira in the co-main event, and Bobby Green proved himself a top contender at lightweight with a controlling win over Josh Thomson.
UFC 173 will definitely always be remembered as the night TJ Dillashaw shocked the world, upset Renan Barao and became the new bantamweight world champion. Before that amazing main event, however, we also saw Daniel Cormier dominate Dan Henderson like no one ever had before, Jamie Varner show incredible heart to fight through gruesome injury, and Robbie Lawler get one step closer to the welterweight title he’d earn by year’s end, with an impressive finish of Jake Ellenberger.
Let’s be real – if UFC 179 had consisted of just one fight, and that one fight was the main event featherweight title rematch between champion Jose Aldo and challenger Chad Mendes, it still would have been one of the best UFC cards of 2014. Aldo vs. Mendes II was quite simply one of the best fights in UFC history.
The two rivals separated themselves from the rest of the division, and after five brutal rounds, Aldo continued his reign as the UFC’s most dominant and longest-reigning champion. Mendes may not yet have Aldo’s number, but he made clear that he has more for "Scarface" than anyone else in the division does.
There were a lot of decisions at UFC 182, but just about every fight was solid. Sure, this pick is cheating a little bit, as it technically came a few days into 2015, but Jones vs. Cormier was one of the biggest stories of 2014, and we spent all year waiting for it.
Hector Lombard looked great in hurting Josh Burkman, but the returning TUF veteran would not go down and kept swinging until the final horn.
Brad Tavares snapped a losing streak by soundly beating former world title challenger Nate Marquardt. Donald Cerrone proved that, other than champion Anthony Pettis, he is the man to beat in the lightweight division, by handily beating the previously unbeaten Myles Jury.
And then, of course, there was the main event between bitter enemies Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. For all their heated talk, and pre-fight brawling, the fight itself between the light heavyweight champ Jones and challenger Daniel Cormier managed to exceed expectations.
Cormier fought Jones more closely than perhaps anyone else ever has, while never himself looking to be in danger of being hurt or finished. For his part, the champion out-wrestled the two-time Olympic wrestler Cormier, and held onto his championship belt.
After the final horn, the two kept swinging at each other, and hours later, Jones was still taunting Cormier. There seems to be no reason why these two won’t meet again, soon, and we can’t wait.
We’re a sucker for cards that have more than one world title on the line, like UFC 181 did. This year-end pay per view was one of the most stacked and biggest of the year, for the UFC.
In the main event, Robbie Lawler rematched Johny Hendricks for the welterweight title. We got another close fight, and a new champion. In the co-main event, champion Anthony Pettis survived an early storm from lightweight title challenger Gilbert Melendez, and looked better than ever in submitting "El Nino," holding onto his title, and coming back from over a year’s absence due to injuries.
Travis Browne also dominated Brendan Schaub, and Todd Duffee made a triumphant return to the Octagon with a quick KO win.
UFC 175 was huge on paper, simply because it featured two world title bouts on one card. Each title fight played out in almost opposite ways from one another, but both were exciting in their own ways.
In the main event, Lyoto Machida provided middleweight champion Chris Weidman with the toughest fight of his career, and the elder former champ even looked to get stronger as the fight wore on. In the co-main event, bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey looked scarier than ever, dispatching Alexis Davis in just sixteen seconds, with strikes on the feet, a Judo toss, and more strikes on the ground.
Rob Font also scored a nasty KO win in his UFC debut, Urijah Faber scored another submission win, and Marcus Brimage and Russell Doane fought to a very close decision.
Last March’s UFC 171 was headlined by what turned out to be one of the closest, and nastiest blood and guts fights in UFC history, as Johny Hendricks battled Robbie Lawler for the vacant welterweight world title. Hendricks fought through torn biceps to win a decision, but Lawler showed a glimpse of what he’d bring months later in their rematch, when he took the title for himself.
Hector Lombard dominated Jake Shields in a way no one ever had before, including Georges St. Pierre, Tyron Woodley crashed through to the top ten with a TKO over former title-holder Carlos Condit, and Kelvin Gastelum scored his biggest win to date, by beating Rick Story.
The main card of UFC 172 saw three crazy good submissions, and two major statement decision wins. In the main event, Jon Jones kept a very dangerous and game Glover Teixeira at bay, en route to a dominating decision win.
In the co-main event, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson proved that he’s a top light heavyweight by winning a lopsided decision over the excellent Phil Davis. Below those two bouts, Luke Rockhold showed major ground game with a submission win over Tim Boetsch, and Jim Miller and Max Holloway both snatched up sweet submission wins of their own.
The UFC Fight Night on September 5 may have been the most action-packed card of the year. Six out of the event’s nine fights didn’t see the final horn, and were finished by submission or TKO/KO.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza made a statement that he’s ready for the elite of the middleweight division by submitting the very tough and good Gegard Mousasi in their rematch.
Joe Lauzon butchered Michael Chiesa, and Chiesa wanted more and never stopped swinging, himself, despite losing by a cut. Ben Rothwell was the latest to shut the boastful Alistair Overeem’s mouth (temporarily) with a brutal KO.
Plus, Matt Mitrione, Al Iaquinta and John Moraga all impressed with nasty KO’s or submissions. This event was thrilling and violent, from top to bottom, and proved that huge names or titles are not needed for a great night of MMA.