2015 was a great year for the UFC and possibly made up a lot of ground for the past two or three years of bringing not so many great fights or cards in general to the fans. Throughout the year many great things happened, I will be focusing on the major ones that caught the eye of the fans. Another thing to keep in mind is I will try to order them in from least to greatest.
JONES VS. CORMIER
Yes, this is a great fight that the UFC brought us in the year as it was a battle between two of the top Light Heavyweight fighters that surely do not see eye to eye with each other making it that more of an exciting fight. With the anticipation in this fight it was labeled as one of the greatest Light Heavyweights fights to ever take place in the UFC and even one of the best fights ever. Though some will argue that the fight was not near as good as they expected it to be with Jones almost dominating the entire fight. It still helped make 2015 a great year for the UFC. And let’s not forget that they both actually touched gloves at the beginning, which was indeed a major shock. I mean, when do fighters who hate each other’s guts decide to touch gloves at before the fight begins?
THREE OF THE HIGHEST ATTENDED UFC EVENTS IN ONE YEAR
Every year the UFC wants to get at least one really high attendance for the year and Dana White usually does, but what made this year so great is that it provided the fans with three events that made their way onto the top ten in highest UFC attendances (UFC on Fox: Gustafsson vs. Johnson; 30,000, UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum; 21,036, UFC 193: Rousey vs. Holm; 56,214). What was even great about these cards was not only did they contain a line of great matches, but all three were performed outside the U.S. making the fact that the UFC just might be bigger internationally than it is in the U.S. itself. Another thing to point out is that all three of these cards saw the underdog in the main event come out victorious with a finish. What are the coincidences of that?
ROBBIE LAWLER VS. RORY MACDONALD
Of course everyone wants to mention the “Fight of the Year” and which fight would be more deserving of that than Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald for the UFC Welterweight Title at UFC 189. This by far was the best fight of 2015 and the most bloody as both fighters fought more of a war than a fight and was not willing to give in. This made fans more excited to see who would go the distance further in this battle between two gladiators at the top of the leader board. This fight showed that when you put two fighters who are at the same level against each other epic things will happen and this fight proved every word of it.
UNDEFEATED STREAKS COMING TO AN END
All fighters, even the greats must accept defeat some point in their career and in this year there were many unbeaten fighters that had to say goodbye to their streaks and accept a devastating defeat that reshaped their careers. In this year alone fans saw the most undefeated streaks come to end like former champions Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey along with others like: Cat Zingano, Daniel Cormier, Myles Jury, Bethe Correia, Kelvin Gastelum and many others that I do not have time to name. It just goes to show everyone that it does not matter how great you are or how great others think you are, you will one day meet your maker and that will be the true moment of your life as it was for each of these fighters.
TWO EVENTS WITH TWO TITLES CHANGING HANDS
How often can one say that they saw two titles on the same card change hands on the same night or even more astounding who can say that they saw it happen twice in the same year? UFC 185 and 194 had just that as 185 had the women’s strawweight and lightweight change hands where 194 had the middleweight and featherweight change hands showing fans that a lot can happen in a year that can really change the direction of the company. From these wins, fans saw how much Europe became involved in the sport as well as why Brazilians are considered to be some of the best fighters and why American Kickboxing Academy contains some of the best fighters on their team.
TWO QUICK TITLE FIGHTS
The UFC has had its share of quick finishes, but this year fans were given two opportunities in two title fights to see a finish happen before the fifteen second mark in the first round. At UFC 184 fans were not surprised in any way as Ronda Rousey submitted Cat Zingano with her well-known armbar at just 14 seconds breaking her previous record at UFC 175 against Alexis Davis of 16 seconds by TKO. The second quick victory was a major surprise to fans as Conor McGregor knocked out the longtime champion Jose Aldo at UFC 194 in just 13 seconds. A fight that fans were expecting to go the distance ended before anyone could even say “Let’s go.” It just goes to show that fights can end at anytime and sometimes they can even be fights that one would least expect to be over so soon.
The company has been getting new champions almost every year, but what made this year astounding from all others is that the UFC crown not one, not two, not three, but seven new champions. I repeat, “SEVEN NEW CHAMPIONS!” Of these champions we have Women’s Strawweight Champion: Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Women’s Bantamweight Champion: Holly Holm, Featherweight Champion: Conor McGregor, Lightweight Champion: Rafael dos Anjos, Middleweight Champion: Luke Rockhold, Light Heavyweight Champion: Daniel Cormier and Heavyweight Champion: Fabricio Werdum. With all these new title changes more great match ups for the UFC and possibly more stars to help change the company and continue to make it grow into a much larger major sport around the world. And on a side note, fans will get to see which ones can hold onto their new belts the longest and outlast all the others.
HOLLY HOLM KNOCKING OUT RONDA ROUSEY
Every year the UFC has many great upsets, but they always have one that tops them all and is always one of, if not the major topic of the year. Holly Holm’s knockout out victory over Ronda Rousey for the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title was indeed the biggest upset of the year and even labeled as the biggest upset in the history of the UFC and MMA in general. With how dominant of an athlete Rousey is, many believed her to be the fighter that was not only going to retire as champion, but undefeated as well. Rousey just destroyed most of her opponents within seconds of the very first round. Holm’s victory proved to fans around the world that no one is unbeatable and that we will all fall one day no matter how great we think we are. Just think, people forgot that Holm was undefeated as well heading into the fight and contained great knockout power that Rousey had never faced before.
Now that 2015 has come to an end for the UFC, fans can only sit back and wait to see what 2016 brings. There will be plenty of great matchups that everyone has been dying to see for quite some time. Who knows, we may finally get to see the Super Fight between Cain Velasquez and Jon Jones or Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg. Another thing to mention is that with all the high attendances this year Dana White might finally get a UFC card at a major stadium like AT&T, The Florida Citrus Bowl or the University of Phoenix Stadium, which is what he would love to finally do. All I can say is: Let 2016 come to us.