We often feel that BJJ doesn’t get the credit it’s due when it comes to MMA – a lot of casual fans don’t appreciate the sheer technical ability that goes into submissions and how difficult it can be to secure the tap, especially when the person you’re trying to control is trying to punch you in the face.
However, over the years there have been some truly spectacular submissions performed in the octagon and to highlight the some of the best uses of the gentle art in the UFC we’ve put together a list of five of the best submissions in UFC history for you to enjoy!
Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg 2
In their first matchup Hughes had submitted Trigg via standing rear naked choke in the first round, but the second fight is far more historic. Hughes was accidently hit in the groin in the first round, which the ref failed to see. Capitalising on Hughes looking to the referee for assistance Trigg landed a barrage of punches and staggered the champ. Quickly moving to the ground Trigg cinched up a rear naked choke after some ground and pound. It looked to be all over when Hughes began to turn purple, but he broke free, carried Trigg clear across the Octagon and slammed him. Trigg found himself on the wrong end of the ground and pound this time, but secured the tap with his own rear naked choke in what’s widely considered one of the greatest comebacks in MMA.
Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor
This submission is arguably not that spectacular; a fighter got beaten down after gassing out, shot for a ill advised takedown against a highly skilled ground fighter and when he gave up his back to avoid ground and pound he got caught in a deep choke and tapped out. The reason we’ve included this as one of the best submissions in UFC history is that the person getting tapped out was Conor McGregor when he seemed untouchable. The hype train was well and truly rolling at full speed, but got derailed as it came through Stockton. The significance of Diaz’s choke was felt around the MMA world and the rematch and potential of a trilogy could make the rivalry the biggest in all of MMA.
Frank Mir vs Brock Lesnar
When Frank Mir welcomed Lesnar to the octagon all eyes were on the WWE star. It took ten seconds for the Pro-Wrestler to take the UFC vet and former heavyweight champion down and Lesnar began to upload on him. Controversially referee Steve Mazzagatti stood the pair up and took a point, deeming some of Lesnar’s ground and pound to be illegal strikes to the back of the head. Once the fight was restarted Lesnar again dropped Mir with a huge punch, landing more ground and pound and avoiding an armbar attempt. Moving to Mir to a stacked guard proved to be a huge mistake as Mir caught Lesnar in a kneebar and got the tap. Despite the mass of action that made up this fight the tap came just 1:30 into round one.
Demetrious Johnson vs Ray Borg
Until this Saturday (UFC 227) Mighty Mouse winning a fight was no surprise at all. He won by all different methods, but one of the best submissions he got was against Ray Borg on UFC 216. DJ was dominating the fight when he clinched up with Borg and launched him through the air. By the time Borg hit the canvas Mighty Mouse had already taken his arm and the was cranking for the submission in what can only be described as a flying armbar. A flying armbar. Enough said.
Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen
The first time Anderson Silva faced Chael Sonnen was at UFC 117 and the Middleweight strap was on the line. Silva had had a few shakey fights but everyone was expecting him to put on another dominate performance. What actually happened was Silva came extremely close to losing his belt. It started in round one, when Chael stunned Silva with a punch and then took control of the round from top position, landing plenty of ground and pound. The next three rounds went by in much the same way and it looked pretty certain that Sonnen was going to be leaving with the strap. With just two minutes left in the final round Silva was once again on his back when he found a way to throw up a triangle armbar which caught Sonnen and secured the tap.
If you enjoyed this article, why not check out our other articles, such as Everyone Loves An Underdog – 5 Huge UFC Fight Upsets.