With a large group of mixed martial arts (MMA) fans (including B.J. Penn) claiming that the epic, five-round war between Mauricio Rua vs. Dan Henderson, which took place at UFC 139 from the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., on Nov. 19, 2011, is among the best battles ever, now is the perfect time to debate its competition.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White gushed that the 205-pound clash between "Shogun" and "Hendo" was "top three best fights ever in MMA, without a doubt." That's, unsurprisingly, a bold statement, but arguably inaccurate, considering that there have been countless MMA matches taking place across the globe for more than two decades now.
In fact, on the same night as UFC 139, Bellator's Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler, put on a show for the ages, a back-and-forth brawl that was arguably more exciting than the Rua-Henderson knock-down, drag-out brawl. However, it just didn't get the same love and attention because, well, it's not the UFC.
Regardless, there have been several amazing UFC fights in the past decade and the UFC 139 main event is certainly one of the very best. But, which other fights deserve to be ranked right up there with it?
My top five best UFC fights ever after the jump:
#5: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, which saw Sonnen lay a beating on the pound-for-pound king only to lose it all with less than 2.5 minutes to go in an epic five-round title fight.
#4: Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard 3 at UFC 136, during which "The Answer" showed the heart of champion in a fight that Hollywood scripted for the big screen in the 1980's starring Sylvester Stallone as "Rocky."
#2: Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79: "Nemesis," which was a fight that was years in the making and managed to eclipse the main event. If there was ever a fight that had more pressure to match the hype surrounding it this was the one and it lived up to all the expectations. Two of the sports biggest stars competing on the biggest stage put it all on the line
And drumroll please ...
#1: Mauricio Rua vs Dan Henderson, the best of the best where viewers witnessed a bout for the ages that showcased awesome transitions, willing strikers who know only to move forward and fight, submission attempts, scrambles, grappling exchanges, knees, incredible heart, recovery, never quit mentalities -- you name it, this fight had it. Only two legends who have already cemented their mark on the sport could achieved such a masterpiece. The efforts of both men (not just men, but men of men), culminating to become the best fight in UFC history.