10 Greatest Come-from-Behind Wins in UFC History
All MMA fighters find themselves behind at one point or another.
Even active UFC legend Anderson Silva has had to come back to get his hand raised in multiple fights. And he's far from the only champion who has had to dig his way out of a hole in the clutch.
In MMA, either fighter can end a bout at any time regardless of what has occurred throughout the contest. That is one of many things that has helped the sport grow so quickly in popularity.
With that in mind, here are the 10 greatest come-from-behind wins in UFC history.
When it comes to comebacks across all UFC history, the honorable mentions could have honorable mentions. So many great come-from-behind wins didn't make the top 10, but here are the five that missed it most narrowly.
Tim Boetsch vs. Yushin Okami
At UFC 144, Tim Boetsch traveled to Yushin Okami's home country.
When he seemingly lost the first two rounds, Boetsch came out swinging in the third stanza. Less than one minute in, Boetsch stopped Okami with brutal uppercuts along the fence and silenced the Japanese crowd.
Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua II
In a rematch of their epic bout at UFC 139, Dan Henderson and Mauricio Rua recently met again in March.
Despite winning the first matchup, Henderson found himself in big trouble in his second bout with Shogun. The Brazilian knocked Henderson down in each of the first two rounds, but he wasn't able to finish. Showcasing his ridiculous toughness, Henderson caught Rua with a right hook in the third round, breaking his adversary's nose and adding another amazing win to his resume.
Mike Russow vs. Todd Duffee
The differing physiques in this matchup were hard to ignore, and it came as little surprise that a shredded Todd Duffee was picking Mike Russow apart through two rounds.
Landing only 10 significant strikes in the first 10 minutes, Russow looked to be on his way to a clear decision loss. Then, with less than three minutes remaining, Russow clipped Duffee and caused everyone's jaw to drop.
Antonio Silva vs. Alistair Overeem
Following a win over Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut, Alistair Overeem looked to take another step toward the heavyweight championship against Silva.
A confident Overem cruised through the first two rounds, absorbing only seven significant strikes over 10 minutes. However, Overeem's brash approach came back to bite him, as he got caught with his hands down in the third round and saw an 11-bout winning streak come to an end.
Stefan Struve vs. Christian Morecraft
In his first UFC outing, Christian Morecraft started out extremely strong.
Morecraft nearly finished Stefan Struve in the first round and didn't allow Skyscraper to attempt one significant strike in the opening stanza. However, only 22 seconds into the second frame, Struve stormed back and handed Morecraft a knockout loss.
10. Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
At UFC 140, Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira met for a second time in a matchup featuring two of the best heavyweight grapplers in MMA history.
Though Mir won the first bout by knockout, it was Nogueira who struck first in the second clash. The Brazilian rocked Mir early on and looked to capitalize with a guillotine choke, which proved to be a costly decision.
When the fight went to the ground, Mir cleared his head and locked up a kimura that ultimately snapped Nogueira's arm.
9. Don Frye vs. Tank Abbott
At Ultimate Ultimate 1996, Don Frye and Tank Abbott met in the main event and tournament finals.
Frye earned his spot in the bout with wins over Gary Goodridge and Mark Hall. Abbott, meanwhile, found himself in the finals by beating Cal Worsham and Steve Nelmark.
In the opening seconds, the heavy-hitting Abbott dropped Frye and had The Predator on wobbly legs. Frye recovered quickly, though, and locked up a rear-naked choke to win the Ultimate Ultimate 1996 tournament, which also featured Ken Shamrock and Kimo Leopoldo.
8. Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry
A bout between Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo promised some striking fireworks, and it certainly delivered.
In around two minutes, Barry knocked Kongo down two times. There were multiple points where it appeared the fight was about to be stopped, but Kongo somehow kept moving and somehow returned to a standing position again.
Despite staggering around the Octagon, Kongo somehow planted his feet and cracked Barry. The punch knocked Barry out cold in one of the more stunning turnarounds in UFC history.
7. Scott Smith vs. Pete Sell
For the most part, Scott Smith and Pete Sell were in a competitive matchup at The Ultimate Fighter 4 finale in November 2006.
However, midway through the second stanza, Sell hit Smith with a left hook to the body. Smith retreated, covered his abdomen and looked to be near finished. When Sell rushed in to finish, something unthinkable happened, though.
Smith came back to life and countered Sell with a right hand. Although he was clearly in serious pain, Smith finished Sell with that punch, earning a victory at the doorstep of a loss.
6. Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz
The original UFC light heavyweight champion, Shamrock looked for his fourth title defense against Tito Ortiz at UFC 22.
An up-and-coming Ortiz looked to be on his way toward dethroning Shamrock, with eight takedowns in four rounds. Running short on time, Shamrock needed a finish to keep his title reign going.
With less than one minute remaining in the fourth stanza, Shamrock blasted Ortiz with an elbow and finished The Huntington Beach Bad Boy with punches. Months later, Shamrock vacated his title and temporarily retired, while Ortiz claimed the belt and went on to break Shamrock's record for consecutive light heavyweight title defenses.
5. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard III
When talking about one of the greatest trilogies in UFC history, the bouts in this matchup are bound to be considered great in other categories.
In his second fight with Gray Maynard, Frankie Edgar battled back from a brutal first round to earn a draw, which was enough for The Answer to retain his lightweight championship. Nine months later, Maynard was granted an immediate rematch with Edgar and started strong again.
Maynard rocked Edgar again in the opening round of the third meeting. However, Edgar once again survived and thrived in the later rounds. In the fourth round, Edgar put Maynard away with punches, ending his rivalry with The Bully in victory.
4. Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin
Battling diverticulitis, Brock Lesnar was out 12 months prior to his highly anticipated clash with Shane Carwin in July 2010.
So, it didn't come as a surprise when the WWE star started slow. Bludgeoned by Carwin in the first round, Lesnar barely made it out of the opening stanza, and many felt the bout should have been stopped.
It wasn't stopped, though, and Lesnar took advantage of the fact that Carwin did not have experience competing outside the first round. Lesnar took a gassed Carwin down early in the second frame and locked up an arm triangle to keep his memorable heavyweight title reign rolling.
3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Tim Sylvia
After picking up a win over Heath Herring in his UFC debut, Pride FC veteran Nogueira was awarded an opportunity to fight Tim Sylvia for an interim heavyweight championship.
Early on, it wasn't going well for Nogueira. The Brazilian was rocked by Sylvia and decisively lost the first round on the scorecards. The second round didn't go much better for Nogueira, who landed fewer significant strikes than his opponent in the first two stanzas.
Long considered the most dangerous submission artist in the heavyweight division, Nogueira swung the fight quickly in the third round, though. Nogueira locked up a guillotine choke and became the only fighter to earn UFC and Pride FC championships.
2. Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II
After reclaiming the welterweight title with a win over Georges St-Pierre, Matt Hughes found himself in a rematch with Frank Trigg.
The first meeting between Hughes and Trigg ended in a submission win for the former. Many expected Hughes to run through Trigg again at UFC 52, but the champion ran into some problems in the first round.
A low blow went unnoticed by the referee, leaving Hughes defenseless against Trigg, who rocked his opponent and appeared to be on his way to a controversial victory. Hughes was able to recover, though, and before the clock ticked down on the first stanza, he secured another rear-naked choke on Trigg.
1. Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen
Heading into UFC 117, Silva had six UFC title defenses under his belt. The Brazilian was already considered one of the best in UFC history and was being viewed as a massive favorite over Chael Sonnen.
Sonnen was extremely confident going into the matchup, though. That confidence proved justified, as Sonnen repeatedly took Silva down and ground-and-pounded his way to round wins.
With less than two minutes remaining in the fifth and final round, Sonnen appeared to be closing in on the biggest upset in UFC history, a win that would have ended a legendary title reign. Instead, Silva did what great fighters do and found a way to win.
Securing a triangle choke out of nowhere, Silva held on to his belt and took another step toward becoming the best fighter MMA has ever seen.
Statistics via FightMetric.com.