Bleacher Report's "Best Moments" series continues with a look at some of the biggest moments in UFC history.
This stretch of events saw the emergence of some of the sport's biggest stars and put the UFC firmly at the top of the MMA world. Big UFC debuts, fantastic finishes, and several of the greatest moments in company history occurred during this period.
Here is a look at these fantastic moments.
Here are the previous installments of the series:
After being knocked out by Chuck Liddell for the second consecutive time Randy Couture called it a career. Thus, the UFC inducted "Captain America" into its exclusive Hall of Fame.
Couture had already established his legacy. A two division champion, a key component of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter, and being one of the faces of the organization.
Couture would soon transition to the booth for a few events, but it would not be the last we would see of the former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion. His competitive itch would need to be scratched just a little bit down the road.
Michael Bisping was not the favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter's third season, but when Matt Hamill suffered an injury he took over that role.
The brash Brit would take on Josh Haynes to determine who won the six-figure contract.
In a little over nine minutes Bisping took Haynes to the woodshed and picked up the victory. It marked the beginning of a long, successful career inside the Octagon.
Bisping would stick around at light heavyweight for some time, but eventually he would drop to middleweight and establish himself as one of the best fighters on the planet.
Hardcore MMA fans knew Silva was a big signing for the UFC's middleweight division, but nobody envisioned his long run of violent dominance. It all started at Ultimate Fight Night.
Chris Leben was an excellent test for Silva. A well-rounded fighter who loved to brawl, but had an iron chin. His previous brawls made him a popular fighter.
What happened was unexpected. Silva went through Leben in just under a minute. It remains one of the most impressive UFC debuts to this day.
Pinpoint accuracy lit up Leben, and had Silva pounced the first time he hurt Leben the fight may have been stopped even sooner. It would not matter though. Silva sent Leben down with a knee shortly after he got back to his feet and John McCarthy stopped the demolition.
It was the start of something very, very special.
Diego Sanchez vs. Karo Parisyan remains one of the UFC's most exciting fights, but its most memorable moment was a knee from the clinch by Sanchez. When it connected with Parisyan's grill it seen a tooth flying.
The visual was brutal.
The moment still appears on UFC highlight packages today.
It was a great fight. And give Parisyan a lot of credit for being one tough individual—he continued to fight on.
When these two men met at UFC 40, Liddell gave one of the UFC's most memorable celebrations after knocking Sobral out.
He did it again at UFC 62.
It would be the third time Liddell defended his UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and one of the last three victories of his career.
It is hard to replicate success, but Babalu was on the wrong side of Liddell repeating history. The first KO may be more memorable, but the second is right behind it.
Jens Pulver made his long awaited return at UFC 63, and it looked as if the UFC was going to groom him for a shot at the newly returned UFC Lightweight Championship.
Joe Lauzon had other intentions.
The Massachusetts native was a relative unknown and a heavy underdog—47 seconds later everyone knew his name.
Lauzon plastered Pulver with a left and the fight was over.
Pulver would go on to coach The Ultimate Fighter 5, where Lauzon was a cast member, and fight BJ Penn before dropping weight and heading off to the WEC.
Shamrock cried foul after their second encounter, and that inspired the UFC to give the third fight away for free on Spike TV.
The fight would be a ratings success and make it the highest rated UFC broadcast at that time, but just like the first two fights it would not be competitive.
Ortiz quickly ended the bout just 2:24 into the first round. Shamrock was clearly done as a competitive fighter against the top ranked guys in the sport.
Shamrock retired after the fight, but he would return to the MMA world soon after.
The UFC Middleweight Championship was on the line as reigning champion, and No. 1 ranked, Rich Franklin took on Anderson Silva.
The event was appropriately titled "Unstoppable".
Silva earned the shot with just one UFC win, and that was unusual practice by the UFC. Silva would prove they were right in giving him the title shot by absolutely destroying Franklin in the first round.
Silva got the Thai clinch and brutalized Franklin's body with knees. Franklin was worn out by the punishment and consistently looked up at the clock while taking deep breaths. Silva got the clinch once more and delivered a nose crushing knee.
No one had dominated Franklin like that inside the Octagon. Silva was spectacular.
The victory signaled the dawn of a new era that continues on six years later.
In the days before Facebook prelims fans had to wait until the broadcast to see if the UFC would air any of the undercard bouts.
Thankfully for everyone, they did at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale.
Pete Sell landed a great body shot that seemed to put Scott Smith on the brink of defeat. Sensing victory Sell moved in for the finish but was met with a desperation punch that knocked him out on the spot.
The comeback KO shocked everyone and it was instantly one of the craziest moments in UFC history. Moments like this is what helped the UFC grow as one of the world's most exciting and unpredictable sports.
GSP asked for a rematch against Matt Hughes, and he got it.
The French-Canadian was thought to be the next big thing in the welterweight division, and MMA in general, but he would have to get past the most decorated champion in company history.
The fight was one-sided. GSP showcased his incredible skill en route to winning the championship.
He defended Hughes' takedown attempts, set him up with numerous low leg kicks, and stunned Hughes with a Superman punch.
Due to the aforementioned low leg kicks, GSP was able to go upstairs in the second round and connect with a head kick. Hughes dropped and GSP followed with ground and pound until John McCarthy stopped the bout.
GSP's reign was thought to be a new era, but no one could have envisioned what would happen in his first defense.
The early UFC Fight Nights on Spike TV delivered fun fights.
Sanchez was 5-0 in the UFC and was moving up the rankings steadily. Former title contender Joe Riggs was his next big test.
The Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner looked phenomenal against Riggs. Riggs was switching levels for a takedown as Sanchez ran in and connected with a solid knee to the face. Riggs was out.
In his sixth UFC appearance he captured his third finish. The KO remains a part of Sanchez's highlight reel.
Griffin was 4-1 in the UFC with his only loss coming to Tito Ortiz, who was headlining UFC 66. Griffin was also coming off his second victory over Stephan Bonnar.
Jardine was 3-1 under the UFC banner with a loss to Bonnar. He entered the fight against Griffin as a distinct underdog.
Jardine came forward and swung away. He connected with Griffin and stunned the crowd with a big first round stoppage of first The Ultimate Fighter light heavyweight winner. It was a career moment for Jardine.
The victory made Jardine a household name and a factor in the division.
The main event at UFC 66 brought in over one million PPV buys. Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz were going to fight one more time, but this time for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Ortiz looked good in the first round, and showed he could do what was necessary to at least compete with the champion. Liddell, however, proved he was the better man throughout the fight.
Eventually Ortiz had nothing left to threaten Liddell with and was on the receiving end of a barrage of strikes. Liddell stopped Ortiz in the third and defended his championship for the final time.
Evans had started to develop a reputation for being a boring fighter in spite of stopping his last opponent, Jason Lambert, by KO.
This would be the first time Evans would headline a card, and it caused him quite a bit of nerves.
Salmon won the first round, but that allowed Evans time to calm himself down and establish himself in the second frame. 1:06 in to the second round is when Evans put the stamp down on Salmon.
Evans obliterated Salmon with a highlight reel worthy head kick.
The finish would put Evans on the map in the light heavyweight division.
PRIDE was still hanging on, but quickly dying, and the UFC was able to cherry pick Mirko Cro Cop and Rampage Jackson for UFC 67.
Cro Cop won his bout with Eddie Sanchez, but it was Rampage who made a statement.
UFC fans were not accustomed to Rampage's chain-wearing, wolf-howling entrance. He is a showman.
After a slow first round he would knock Marvin Eastman out in the second round. Rampage had arrived.
Travis Lutter won a title shot by being The Ultimate Fighter Season Four winner. However, after coming in overweight, the bout was switched to a non-title catchweight affair. It would not matter in the end.
Lutter's jiu-jitsu was heavily praised entering the contest and he had Silva on his back in both rounds of the fight. Yet it would be Silva who surprised the fans watching by locking in a triangle and finishing the bout via submission.
Silva locking up the triangle from the bottom was one of his earliest most memorable moments, and it would not be the last time Silva created a memorable triangle finish.
Couture came out of retirement to challenge the giant Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. There are three very memorable moments from that night in Columbus, Ohio.
The first was the challenger's entrance. Aerosmith's "Back in the Saddle" kicked in and blew the roof off of the building. It was a fitting song choice.
Second was the fight altering punch in the opening moments of the fight. Couture faked a leg kick and came over the top and dropped Sylvia. The Columbus crowd went bonkers.
Lastly, after five rounds of dominance, the crowd helped count away the seconds until Couture re-captured the championship. It was an amazing moment in UFC history. Couture proved he was still at the top of his game and one of the best fighters in MMA history.
Roger Huerta and Leonard Garcia put on one hell of a brawl at UFC 69 in Houston.
Garcia was an unknown who entered to take on one of the hottest prospects at the time, and he helped get the crowd on its feet with a back and forth slugfest against Huerta.
Ultimately, Huerta would win a decision.
In the eyes of the fans neither man was a loser on that night. Arguably, it was Garcia who received a bigger benefit in the fight as fans knew who he was.
The fight was exciting and riveted the crowd.
No one saw it coming.
Serra earned his shot at the championship by winning the welterweight portion of The Ultimate Fighter Season Four, but he was never supposed to defeat the newly crowned champion.
One punch altered everything. Landing behind the ear, the strike from Serra sent GSP reeling. With GSP stumbling around, Serra chased and continued to connect until he fell. Then Serra took his time and finished the fight with ground and pound.
Still today, Serra defeating GSP for the championship is the biggest upset in UFC history.
It was the crowning moment in Serra's career, and helped re-motivate GSP into the dominant champion we see today.
Continuing the string of upsets was Gabriel Gonzaga.
Cro Cop was thought to be on the precipice of challenging Randy Couture for the Heavyweight Championship. It was an enticing fight on the horizon, but Gonzaga would spoil the party in a shocking fashion.
Cro Cop was the one known for his head kicks, but Gonzaga landed a heavy one of his own and sent Cro Cop to the canvas. The former PRIDE Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion crumpled in a horrifying heap of flesh and bone.
Gonzaga would earn a title shot with the win and end all the hype that Cro Cop had entered with.