9 Biggest MMA Upsets in History | Easily Explained
There have been countless of amazing MMA moments throughout the years, but none are more memorable than when the underdog shocks the world.
In this page, we will cover the biggest MMA upsets in history, what the situation was leading up to the fight and how the upset actually happened.
Table of Contents
- Bisping vs Rockhold 2
- Holm vs Rousey
- Weidman vs Silva
- Serra vs GSP
- Werdum vs Emelianenko
- Namajunas vs Jedrzejczyk
- Dillashaw vs Barao
- Diaz vs McGregor
- Couture vs Sylvia
1. Michael Bisping vs Luke Rockhold 2
Bisping and Rockhold had faced off once before, and after dropping Bisping with a head kick, Rockhold was able to impose his dominant submission game to submit Bisping.
There was a lot of bad blood leading up to the first fight, as they simply just did not like each other and rubbed each other the wrong way.
Later on, Rockhold defeated Chris Weidman to become the UFC Middleweight champion and a rematch was scheduled.
However, Weidman pulled out last minute and in order to save the card, UFC President Dana White chose on Michael Bisping to step up on short notice to fight for the belt.
Due to having already lost to Rockhold before with a full camp to prepare, nobody thought that Bisping stood a chance especially on short notice.
Michael Bisping made good on his promise early in the fight. He knocked out Luke Rockhold & became the UFC Middleweight Champion. pic.twitter.com/tS5xsjoSr2— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) June 4, 2018
However, Bisping had other plans.
Bisping would end up knocking Luke Rockhold out in dramatic fashion and capturing the UFC Middleweight championship to everyone's surprise leading to one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
2. Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey
Holly Holm would face an undefeated Rousey at the UFC's biggest most attended event in history at the time.
Up until that point, Rousey was knocking out or submitting every single opponent that she faced.
In fact, all 12 of her wins in her MMA career were all finishes.
Nobody looked like they had a fighting chance against here.
Now Holly Holm comes into the picture, with a background of being a multiple world champion in boxing.
Five years ago today, @HollyHolm shocked the world by knocking out Ronda Rousey with a picture-perfect head kick at UFC 193 ⚡️🌏— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 14, 2020
Holm was a big underdog against Rousey, who had never lost to that point in her career. pic.twitter.com/hE6iDqDmCQ
Regardless of that, she was still a massive underdog leading up to their fight.
Holm would use her footwork, and precise striking to pick apart Rousey until eventually landing a headkick that would put the finishing touches to this massive upset.
3. Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva was riding one of the most dominant runs in UFC history, as he was undefeated for a period of 7 years and destroying almost every opponent thrown at him.
Chris Weidman although undefeated, was just in the beginning stages of his career sporting a 9-0 record.
Silva was known for getting inside of opponents' heads during matches as he would constantly taunt them and encourage them to do uncharacteristic actions.
Once they committed, he would use his precise counter-striking to take advantage.
Weidman's knockout of Anderson Silva shook up the world— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) June 16, 2016
No one could have imagined Silva's reign ending like this pic.twitter.com/wSysNyfnM9
Up until that point, that strategy had worked. However, in this fight it did not.
Weidman would go on to catch Silva with several punches in the middle of his taunts, and shock the world with a KO.
4. Matt Serra vs George St-Pierre
George St-Pierre is widely regarded as one of the best Mixed Martial Artists of all time, if not the best.
Known as a very complete fighter with elite striking, elite clinching, and elite ground game, there was no known weakness.
He had only lost 1 time to future hall of famer, Matt Hughes, and had already avenged that lost in brutal fashion.
Matt Serra on the other hand held a 9-4 record and was also the smaller fighter.
Serra was an underdog of 11-1 going into this fight.
Serra would go on to score a TKO in the first round of the fight, to mark one of the biggest upsets in MMA history.
Matt Serra & Georges St-Pierre first competed at UFC 69. GSP was the reigning Welterweight Champion, & Matt Serra was an 11-1 underdog.— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) April 20, 2019
Serra shocked the world at UFC 69, when he knocked out GSP to become the Welterweight Champion. Perhaps the biggest upset in UFC history. pic.twitter.com/R1SOdLXUFv
5. Fabricio Werdum vs Fedor Emelianenko
Featuring a monster 31-1 record going into this fight, Emelianenko was a massive favorite.
He had not only defeated the most dangerous opponents thrown his way, he had also been able to defeat skilled submission fighters as well.
Despite being a top 10 heavyweight, Werdum would be a massive underdog into this fight.
He would go on to catch Emelianenko in a triangle armbar and scoring a massive upset in the MMA history books.
6. Rose Namajunas vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jedrzejczyk was on an undefeated run of 14-0, running through the division.
Rose Namajunas on the other hand was only 6-3 and had recently lost as well.
There weren't many people giving Namajunas a chance, however it did not matter to her.
She would TKO Jedrzejczyk in dramatic fashion in the first round to strap the gold belt around her waist.
Fun fact: She would also go on to defeat the same opponent again in the next fight over a 5 round affair, further legitimizing that her win wasn't a fluke.
7. TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao
Renan Barao at the time was one of the most dominant Bantamweights carrying a 32-1 record.
He had also just knocked out Urijah Faber the fight before, who was another fantastic Bantamweight.
Insert little known TJ Dillashaw into the mix, who had also recently lost and only had 11 fights in his professional career, and it's a recipe for an underdog.
Dillashaw would go on to not only TKO Barao, but to dominate the entire 5 round fight as well in order to become the UFC Bantamweight Champion.
May24.2014— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) May 24, 2019
TJ Dillashaw shocks the world when he finishes Renan Barao by knockout,
& becomes the new UFC Bantamweight Champion pic.twitter.com/MTN87c8ygL
8. Nate Diaz vs Conor McGregor
Conor McGregor was in the middle of his undefeated UFC run and fresh off of defeating Jose Aldo, the greatest featherweight of all time in only 13 seconds.
McGregor expressed interest in moving up to the Lightweight class to capture that belt as well.
It looked like he had his wish as he was scheduled to fight current Lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos, until a foot injury forced RDA out of the matchup.
On 13 days notice, the only fighter who would step up to fight would be Nate Diaz.
Diaz would go on to submit McGregor in the second round of the fight, scoring one of the biggest upsets in MMA history in front of a giant audience in Las Vegas.
9. Randy Couture vs Tim Sylvia
Sylvia carried a 6'8" frame and was a true Heavyweight who had just closed the door on his rivalry vs Andrei Arlovski.
Randy Couture on the other hand had recently retired, was 43 years old, and was only 6'1", sizing up at a massive disadvantage.
Couture would start the fight dominantly, immediately dropping his much larger opponent with a right hand, and would dominate the rest of the 5 round fight as well to become the heavyweight champion.
Couture dropped Sylvia 7 seconds into the 1st round, & dominated the entire fight. Against all odds, Randy Couture put on a performances for the ages.— MMA History Today (@MMAHistoryToday) March 3, 2018
This was one of the most memorable fights of its era. pic.twitter.com/da9Qje3XEi