"The belt is just an accessory"
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has bolstered some of the greatest title fights in any mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion the world over. Pride Fighting Championship hardly had title fights and used the 'Grand Prix' as it's signature salute to the divisions best.
Having a world championship makes gives the fight an extra ingredient of why we should even tune in. The best title fight I can recall off the top of my head in the past year or so was Strikeforce Womens Bantamweight title fight between champion Meisha Tate and Ronda Rousey, Rousey would take her arm and belt back to Judo-lore.
Care to chime in?
UFC 51: 'Super Saturday"
Feb. 5th, 2005
Two men who needed a win desperately faced off, Belfort was at a crossroads and afflicted with the burden of his sister' kidnapping. Ortiz, the one poster child of the UFC had fallen after losses to Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell.
After an exciting first round, the cardio woes of the 'Phenom' came around and Ortiz punished backed for a split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29). The emotion of the rebound was evident as Ortiz took his Mexico-USA flag into the crowd and originated what Jose Aldo would later steal at UFC 142.
UFC 60: 'Hughes vs. Gracie'
May 27th, 2006
Sometimes this sport gets 'too serious' for some fans and you cannot have a fun match. Not every main event needs to show who is 'the man' but rather just watching two legends compete. That's exactly what went down at UFC 60 in Anaheim, California.
Brazilian Gracie jujitsu vs. good ol' american wrestling as UFC 1 tournament winner Royce Gracie returned to the UFC Octagon to face Matt Hughes. It was a catchweight of 175-pounds and the reigning welterweight champion obliged for the historic showdown.
It was a beatdown!
For what seemed like an eternity, Hughes used his dominant top control to rag doll and bash in the Gracie legend into history. Hughes did everything right and even stopped an arm bar attempt knowing that Gracie wouldn't tap to no merican'. Hughes rained down blows to the head and face until the ref said that wrestling had won.
America fuck ya!
UFC 78: Validation
November 17th, 2008
Two 'Ultimate Fighter' winners and two undefeated fighters headlined the UFC's latest foray into 'Dirty Jersey'. The home of the devils were about to see a showdown where someones "O had to go".
Michael Bisping was still eating a lot and staying at light heavyweight against his other undersized counterpart and future light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans. The bout proved that 'TUF' could be a success in the early years as it was a huge opportunity.
The bout was back and forth and when you look back you see that Bisping was much better at take down defense than what's expected these days as normal. The two got tired after exchanging take downs and punches but neither could get that momentum wavering in their favor.
It came down to a split decision with future light heavyweight title holder 'Suga' Evans beating 'The Count' after three rounds of a dog fight.
UFC 93: "Franklin vs. Henderson"
January 17th, 2009
Two of the sports most hard-nosed and blue collared fighters engaged in a memorable fight in Ireland. Dublin got the gift of a 195 pound catch-weight bout between former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin and former Pride middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson.
For 15 minutes we saw the two exchange everything but the kitchen sink to earn a spot to coach 'Team USA' on 'The Ultimate Fighter: USA vs. United Kingdom" opposite Michael Bisping.
The fight was close as anyone could get it and the csoring was as weird as ever as well, two judges scored the card 29-28 Henderson and one judge scored it 30-27 Franklin. The two judges gave Henderson the split decision and from the bat, 'Ace' wasn't all that chipper.
Great bout nonetheless.
UFC 139: 'Hendo vs. Shogun'
November 19th 2011
Oh how i wish this was every pay per view main event
This was the card that every fight fan knew would deliver, it featured no titles and was just bouts primed to be absolute barn burners. Urijah Faber vs. Brian Bowles and Wanderlei Silva vs. Cung Le delivered great bouts that both ended in W's for Faber and Silva.
For the first three rounds we saw 'Hendo' put on a clinic of bombs upon 'Shogun' but Rua wouldn't just die. He came back and stronger as Henderson gassed after using Rua's skull as his personal stress ball. Rua would eventually survive the savage beat down to force a 10-8 round in the fifth stanza.
It all cleared, blood every where, oxygen deprived and barely standing were the two as they soaked up a standing ovation. Buffer read the scorecards 48-47, 48-47, 48-47 amd the winner by unanimous decision, DAN 'HENDO' HENDERSON!.