UFC Title Fights: The 10 Worst Ever
The UFC has the best MMA fighters and the best matches in the world. Nobody else even comes close, and those who have, like Pride and Strikeforce, the UFC has just bought out.
That doesn't mean that they're perfect. Nobody is, especially when there are some dozen-and-a-half events each year, with almost 200 fights going on over those 12 months. Several of those fights are expected to be stinkers.
Though the fans hope that those that suck are the ones never shown on free TV during a live event attended by some 6,500 people, every once in a while, the stinkers will come from the Main Event $50 PPV championship fights between two fighters considered to be the best in the world in their division.
This list will look back and (dis)honor these men.
And, here we go...
No. 10: Pat Miletich vs. André Pederneiras, UFC 21
We start the countdown with a champion with a bad reputation for boring title fights, and the man who earned one of the most undeserved title shots in UFC history.
At UFC 21, the 24-2-2 Welterweight Champion Miletich fought Pederneiras, a 31-yea- old Brazilian who was 1-0 in his MMA career, that one win being a non-UFC victory nine months prior.
Miletich won the fight due to a cut on Pederneiras 2:20 into the Round 2.
No. 9: Chuck Liddell vs. Jeremy Horn, UFC 54
For fans of Chuck Liddell, this was a great fight. For almost anybody else, this was not.
For more than 17 minutes, Liddell stuffed almost all of Horn's offense, while unleashing a lot of his own offense as well.
Midway through the Round 4, Horn informed the referee he could not see, and Liddell won his fourth fight in a row, avenging his first career loss at the hands of Horn six years earlier at UFC 19.
No. 8: Rich Franklin vs. Nate Quarry, UFC 56
This fight makes the list due to Nate Quarry and his path to a title fight.
Entering UFC 56, Rich Franklin was 20-1 in his MMA career, with the one loss coming at the hands of future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida.
Quarry was the 8-1 "TUF 1" alumnus who had posted wins over Lodune Sincaid, Shonie Carter, and Pete Sell, just a notch or eight below Franklin.
Franklin stiffened Quarry with a straight left to the head 2:34 into the fight.
No. 7: Maurice Smith vs. Randy Couture, UFC Japan
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Back in 1997, a ripe, young 34-year-old Randy Couture, 3-0 at the time in his MMA career, took on Maurice Smith, a kickboxer who was 6-7 at the time in his MMA career.
Couture won the fight and retained the heavyweight championship by unanimous decision after 21 minutes,of slow-paced, calculated action that saw neither man do considerable damage to the other.
Smith, a former champion himself, never came close to winning the belt again.
No. 6: Tim Sylvia vs. Jeff Monson, UFC 65
Size-meets-size usually works, but not when it lasts for 25 minutes.
A so-so first four rounds became a fifth round both men would like to forget.
The 5'9", 234-pound Monson tired out during the fifth and final round, and the 6'8", 260-pound Sylvia never went in for the kill, choosing to stay back and earn a dominating decision victory.
No. 5: Dan Severn vs. Ken Shamrock, UFC 9
This fight is considered one of the worst fights of all time, but barely cracks the top five due to the fact that the fight was contested under modified rules that were enforced by the Detroit court system and Senator John McCain.
These modified rules included no closed-fist strikes to the head and no headbutts. These rules were not popular among fans and fighters during the days of the nearly rule-less UFC.
Of the 30-minute superfight championship fight, nearly 20 minutes included the two men circling around each other initiating little to no contact.
Severn eventually defeated Shamrock by unanimous decision to become the new superfight champion.
No. 4: Anderson Silva vs. Patrick Cote, UFC 90
Anderson Silva makes the first of his three appearances on this list in his "best of the worst" match.
Cote responded nicely from his "TUF 4 Finale" loss to Travis Lutter, winning his next five fights, including two by knockout.
This meant nothing to Silva, as he spent most of the fight avoiding contact with Cote, only winning the fight in the third round when Cote blew out his knee while moving around the octagon and was unable to continue.
No. 3: Tim Sylvia vs. Andrei Arlovski III, UFC 61
Coming into the rubber match of this three-fight series, each man had already finished the other.
At UFC 51, Arlovski caught Sylvia with a heel hook just 47 seconds in—almost the exact same amount of time if took Frank Mir to break Sylvia's forearm at UFC 48 while attempting an armbar, just 50 seconds in.
At UFC 59, Sylvia knocked Arlovski down twice in the first round before finishing the then-champion with ground-and-pound punches 2:43 into the fight.
UFC 61 saw two completely different men duke it out once again for the heavyweight championship. Knowing that the other man possessed the skill to not only beat him, but do so in embarrassing fashion, each fighter fought with notable hesitance. The fight went the full five rounds, with Sylvia retaining the belt by unanimous decision.
No. 2: Anderson Silva vs. Demian Maia, UFC 112
By the time UFC 112 rolled around in April 2010, Anderson Silva was considered one of the top fighters in the world, having won all 10 of his UFC fights and his last 11 fights overall, and not having suffered a true loss (he lost a fight by disqualification) since 2004.
Demian Maia came into the fight having been knocked out in 21 seconds by Nate Marquardt the previous August, and the No. 1 contender after Chael Sonnen, the original No. 1 contender, had been held back from competition due to a cut sustained in a previous fight. People still thought that with Maia's world-class submission skills, he might be able to pull a shocker from nowhere.
People thought wrong.
Withing the first few minutes of the first round, Silva showed that Maia had no chance in the fight, and, like Maia, refused to do much fighting. The next four-and-a-half rounds saw Maia remain on the mat, where he felt he could do some damage, and Silva remain standing, dancing around the cage, almost daring Maia to do anything.
Nothing ever happened.
The fight was so bad that UFC President Dana White got up in the middle of the fourth round and presented the UFC Middleweight Championship to Ed Soares, Silva's manager, telling him to put the belt on Silva, as White claimed he was too embarrassed to do so, the first time he had ever done such a thing as president.
No. 1: Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites, UFC 97
If the Silva and Maia fight was the ugly sequel, this was the uglier beginning. Just look at the photo.
Leites earned the opportunity by beating Drew McFedries, Floyd Sword, and Pete Sell, all of whom were out of the UFC by the end of 2009.
Leites was absolutely terrified of standing with Silva. Throughout this five-round snooze-fest, Leites avoided contact with Anderson as much as possible and took every opportunity to fall on his back and try and lure Anderson into his guard, a strategy not unlike that of Maia a year later.