The Best Non-Title Fights of All Time
BJPenn.com takes a look at the fights that may not have had a championship on the line, but the fighters fought like there was. Here are some of the best non-title fights of all time.
Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar – The Ultimate Fighter Season One Finale
If you were living under a rock you heard about this one. In the finale of the first season of the reality show called the Ultimate Fighter, Stephan Bonnar squared off against future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and eventual season one winner Forrest Griffin. For three rounds these two young fighters slugged it out in what was the most exciting fight of all time – until Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua squared off years later. At the time the UFC was not the juggernaut they are today. As a matter of fact the company’s fate rested in the hands of The Ultimate Fighter contestants and its two coaches UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and top contender Chuck Liddell. If it was not for the heart, determination, and willingness to stand in the pocket and trade punches the UFC would almost certainly not be as popular as it is today. For a long time Forrest Griffin was known in casual circles as the best fighter alive because of that show. The last statement may not be true, but Forrest was certainly the most popular for a long time.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell
This is the fight that hardcore fans wanted to see more than anything else in the world when these two ruled the light heavyweight division. Wanderlei was the king of Pride’s middleweight division and Liddell was emperor of the UFC’s 205 pound pack. The pair possessed explosive knockout power and great takedown defense. Unfortunately it wasn’t until years later that they would meet in the in the midst of career decline and weakened chins. Chuck and Silva stepped in to the Octagon at UFC 79 and went to work creating a masterpiece. Each fighter was hurt by power shots, staggered, kneed, kicked, and just brutalized in general, but in the end it was Liddell with his takedowns and staying on the better side of the exchanges that got the job done and the judges awarded the fight to him. It lived up to the hype and finally gave many fans, including me, what we wanted.
Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez
This fight started off with one of the most intense staredowns in UFC history. Guida, with his epilepsy inducing quirky movements, and Diego, with his patented mean mugging. The fight was a blur for the most part and both fighters put their endless supply of energy on full display. TUF 9’s finale ticket holders were probably exhausted after watching this fight. Sanchez had an amazing flurry of uppercuts and a head kick and Guida answered. This one went Diego’s way, but the fans were the winners.
Randy Couture vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
It was a longtime argument between forum dwellers as to who really was the best between the two. Randy was much like Nogueira in the fact that he would win when he probably shouldn’t have. Both fighters had a good ground game, but were not afraid to stand and trade punches. The fight saw Nogueira drop Randy several times, but Randy kept coming. The fight was a testament to the skillsets of both fighters and their resilience. It received Fight of the Night honors and the