UFC had another year worth recognizing for its accomplishments setting inspirations for 2019. Like many before, it had its highs and lows, but still a pretty decent year. There was a long list of recognizable moments, but I have narrowed it down to a few major ones. Let us begin.
HENRY CEJUDO BECOMES THE FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL CHAMPION
For years the UFC has strived to receive an Olympic Gold Medalist as champion. In Cejudo’s first meeting with Demetrious Johnson, he was quickly defeated in the first round. The dream of him becoming champion appeared to have turned to ashes. In his rematch, he revealed just how much he improved and pushed the flyweight king to the limits. In one of the closest title fights to ever go down, Cejudo made history with a split decision victory. Now that he holds gold we will see how long he can keep it.
ROBERT WHITTAKER VERSUS YOEL ROMERO 2
Like their first fight, Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero put on a show for the fans. This time it went to greater lengths with both exposing their best techniques. The fight was a back-and-forth brawl that could have gone either way in the end. Once it was all said and done Whittaker remained champion via split decision. Very close fight and one we will all be talking about for a while. It might even be the greatest fight in the middleweight division to ever take place.
TONY FERGUSON VERSUS ANTHONY PETTIS
Another epic fight worthy of recognition. Ferguson and Pettis put on a head-turning fight which neither was willing to back down from. The fight was proof of their will to fight and earn a shot at the belt. Though it didn’t end how we all were hoping for, it still pushed limits. Not to mention, we got to see the old Anthony Pettis we have been striving to see return. It was even nice to see Ferguson’s confidence skyrocket to demand a title shot. I say he’s earned it.
DANIEL CORMIER BECOMES THE SECOND FIGHTER TO HOLD TWO BELTS AT ONCE
Daniel Cormier has always been one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the sport. He proved it once again by capturing gold against Stipe Miocic at UFC 226. Though he has suffered defeat at light heavyweight he continues to remain undefeated at heavyweight. By becoming the heavyweight champion now opens doors to potential fights with Brock Lesnar or re-matching Stipe Miocic. There is also the chance to see him face Jon Jones at heavyweight.
AMANDA NUNES BECOMES FIRST FEMALE TWO-DIVISION CHAMPION
Nothing like a big upset especially when it’s against Cris Cyborg. Amanda Nunes has always been an underrated fighter and never receives the respect she deserves. It all changed when she became the first female fighter to become a two-division champion. To make it more memorable she only needed 51 seconds to get the job done. With wins over Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg there is no question she is the Baddest Woman on the Planet.
MAX HOLLOWAY SETS A SIGNIFICANT STRIKE RECORD
It’s always fun to see a brawl inside the octagon. Well, this might not have been a back-and-forth brawl─still was entertaining. Max Holloway came into his title defense against Brian Ortega as the underdog. Despite underdog status, his striking was too fast and powerful for Ortega to keep up with. In the process, Holloway scored over 300 significant strikes, more than the four winners on the main card combined. Don’t forget, over 120 took place in the fourth round; proves now just how dangerous Holloway is.
THE RETURN OF JON JONES
Yes, Jon Jones has made several returns due to his troubles both in and outside the cage. However, whenever he returns you know it will be big and his return against Alexander Gustafsson is more proof. Heading into the fight he was the heavy favorite and did what he does best─win. He always proves why he is the best no matter what has become of his personal image. He now will continue his legacy to greater lengths; maybe we will see him and Daniel Cormier one last time.
KHABIB NURMAGOMEDOV VERSUS CONOR MCGREGOR SETS RECORD
This was the most anticipated matchup of the year and possibly ever to happen. Both are at the top of the lightweight division and always put on a show. From their athleticism, they were able to bring in numbers beyond any the UFC has seen. Over 2.4 million buys and more than 17 million in the gate this event was by far the biggest. It even had a high viewership in Europe and Russia reaching global success. Regardless of the post-fight brawl this fight is one fans will never forget, neither will the UFC.
Now that 2019 is here, fans can only sit back and wait for what the year has to offer.