(5) Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard, UFC 199
While this card was headlined with possibly the biggest upset in UFC history, with Michael Bisping knocking out then UFC Middleweight Champion Luke Rockhold, this fight was the one that had me on my feet and screaming at my television screen. The people who say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks clearly have never met Dan Henderson. After getting thrown around and knocked down in the first round, Hendo came out in the second and threw a picture perfect head kick followed by an elbow and it was lights out Lombard. That old dog earned himself a title shot with that knockout, and Michael Bisping might regret asking for that rematch. You can bet that I’ll be watching, and definitely not blinking.
(4) T.J. Dillishaw vs. Dominick Cruz, UFN 81
I will admit to having a bias towards the lighter weight classes, but anyone who tries to tell me that this fight wasn’t one of the best displays of technical striking that they have ever seen clearly didn’t watch the fight. Tension was high the entire time, and you had no idea who had won until Bruce Buffer yelled “AND NEW BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION.” Dominick Cruz reclaimed the belt that injuries stole from him, and a new rivalry was formed between Dillishaw and Cruz. I hope that the two of them mix it up in the cage again before Dominick steps into the booth full time, but if they don’t I will feel privileged to have watched them fight.
(3) Jose Aldo vs. Frankie Edgar II, UFC 200
UFC 200 was an amazing card, and without trying to spoil too much, this was without a doubt my second favorite fight on the card. Jose Also lost the title that he had held for so long in a freak knockout loss to Conor McGregor, and I can think of few things less scary than a motivated Jose Aldo. Motivated he was, as he looked the best he has looked inside the UFC Octagon in his second fight with future Hall of Famer Frankie Edgar. He proved that he is likely the greatest 145 pound fighter in the history of MMA, as long as he can get past his biggest rival in the rematch to unify the belts.
(2) Robbie Lawler vs. Carlos Condit, UFC 195
What I personally think makes a great fight is suspense, grit, and two fighters who leave everything that they have in the Octagon. This fight is the personification of those traits. Carlos Condit had been agonizingly close to beating George St. Pierre when he fought him to unify the belts in 2012, and he had another chance at UFC gold in this fight with Lawler. Many, myself included, thought he did enough for the win, but Lawler once again proved that he might be the toughest fighter on the UFC roaster and did enough to get the decision. An unbelievable fight, and second only to one so far in 2016.
(1) Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor I, UFC 196
Some say that because the rematch went five rounds and was an all-out war, it should be considered the better fight between Diaz and McGregor. Those people would be wrong. The only time I was more blown away while I was watching a fight was when Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Diaz took the fight on two weeks notice and, as is expected from a Diaz brother, still came into the fight in better shape than his opponent. He survived the storm, ignored the flashy techniques that McGregor was throwing, and submitted him in the second after dropping him with a punch. The star of the UFC was beaten by the brash mouthed Stockton native in one of the most mind blowing results I have ever seen in 11 years of watching fighting, and even McGregor’s win in the rematch can’t change that fact.
(Jared Dodds of Mississauga, Ontario has been a passionate MMA fan since he was 13 years old after he stumbled upon his dad watching Mintauro Nogueira vs. Frank Mir at UFC 92. He follows UFC, Bellator, Invicta, and even non-MMA productions such as Glory kickboxing. He wrestled in high school and has spent time outside of school learning specific techniques that are important parts of MMA. He hopes to fill the shoes of Jamie Penick, who once helmed the Daily Top Five List, and credits Jamie with helping him acquire more knowledge and passion for the sport of MMA.)