Everyone loves an underdog. It’s the basis of hundreds of ‘one man against an army’ style movies, and is especially relevant for fighting. Who doesn’t like stories about the guy who’s already been written off coming out of nowhere and stealing the show? Fight Quality always roots for the underdog, and for exactly this reason we’ve listed five of our favourite upsets from UFC history for you to enjoy:
1. Matt Serra getting the finish against Georges St-Pierre
Matt Serra was the typical underdog. His record in the UFC stood at 5-4 going into his fight with GSP, widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time. Serra had won his chance at the welterweight title by winning Season Four of The Ultimate Fighter, but GSP was the huge favourite to win – it should have been a walk in the park. That is, until Serra connected with a right just a couple of minutes before the final, hurting GSP before ultimately finishing him off with ground strikes.
2. Nate Diaz Choking Out Conor McGregor
Nate Diaz earns a place on this list by being the first person to derail the hype train that is Conor McGregor. We know that The Notorious has avenged the loss, making them 1-1 and paving the way for a trilogy fight (if the terms can ever be decided). The reason Diaz gets his place on the list is because he stepped in on 11 days notice, against the fighter who was the face of the UFC. He outboxed McGregor and then made him pay for a desperate takedown shot by taking his back and getting the choke.
3. TJ Dillashaw taking Renan Barao apart
Similar to Matt Serra against GSP, TJ Dillashaw was a HUGE underdog going into his matchup against Renan Barao. Barao lost his first professional fight in 2005, and had proceeded to go on a 32 fight win streak. He was meant to run through Dillashaw like it was nothing, but the footwork and movement of Dillashaw lead to a dominant performance where he outworked Barao, securing the win in the fifth round via strikes on the ground.
4. Holly Holm Knocking out Ronda Rousey
This one goes without saying. Ronda had so much hype behind her, she was unbeaten and appeared unbeatable, like Tyson in his prime. No one thought Holly Holm was going to be anything more than a speed bump. Apart from Holly, who’s game plan made her more of a road block. She played the perfect game against Rousey, moving well, countering the Judokas rushes, and finally delivered a high kick from hell in the second round that put Rowdy out before she hit the floor.
5. Royce Gracie Winning UFC 1
There aren’t many upset victory stories better than David vs Goliath, and that was more or less what we got back at UFC 1. There were some serious contenders at UFC 1 and then there was Royce Gracie. The ‘Just Bleed’ fight fans looked at the 170 pound guy running around in pyjamas and wrote him off as a novelty that was going to be crushed by these giants. But they hadn’t really heard of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (much less the family that made it famous – as we’ve written about previously), and one by one Royce took down and submitted his opponents, eventually winning the inaugural UFC tournament – and proving that you didn’t have shit if you don’t have a ground game.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our other articles, such as The Best Kickboxers in the UFC.