Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez: Was It the Greatest Fight of All Time?

Matthew Ryder@@matthewjryderFeatured ColumnistOctober 20, 2013

Oct 19, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Gilbert Melendez (red gloves) fights against Diego Sanchez (blue gloves) in their lightweight bout during UFC 166 at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Sports
Andrew Richardson-USA TODAY Spor

On Saturday night in Houston, UFC 166 gave us fireworks not often seen in MMA. Not in any sport, really.

Everything is bigger in Texas, and that rule apparently applies to back-and-forth donnybrooks as well, because Diego Sanchez and Gilbert Melendez put on one of the greatest fights in the history of the UFC.

For three rounds, the two men exchanged blows without taking a backward step, with the slightly more controlled approach of Melendez pleasing the judges enough to get the win.

Before he had hit the cage to interview the bloodied, battered participants, Joe Rogan was already hailing it as the greatest fight of all time. And before the broadcast was over, the statement had the endorsement of UFC president Dana White as well.

Only it's not. At least not yet, not while the world is still coming down off the adrenaline high the fight provided.

Countless wars have featured two men standing in the center of the cage and throwing punches until one went down.

There have been plenty of back-and-forth fights where it seemed like the world itself had stopped to take notice.

Different Saturday nights in different parts of the world have provided lots of shocking happenings in the Octagon.

And Melendez vs. Sanchez is another one of those, and it's pushed to the front of our memories because it happened most recently.

Just last month at UFC 165, Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson was being hailed as the greatest fight ever. Was it really? If it was, could it possibly have lost its crown at the next big event?

What we have here is a classic case of something great happening, people going crazy with wild proclamations in the moment (certainly aided by social media, as having a thought doesn't even count anymore unless you share it with the world), Rogan's considerable influence pushing an idea even further and that idea exploding as a result.

Was the fight truly better than the UFC 165 headliner? Or the legendary bout between Dan Henderson and Shogun Rua?

How about Anderson Silva's insane comeback against Chael Sonnen the first time?

Or the second fight between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard?

Or the first Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar meeting?

There might even be an argument that this wasn't the best fight Sanchez has been in, considering his bout with Clay Guida.

These are just a few examples, but they're examples that have some historical context. These fights are remembered because they were great, not because they were great and happened last night so they're easiest to talk about.

Make no mistake about it: Melendez and Sanchez put on an incredible show at UFC 166. It was an undeniably great fight that dropped jaws and sent hearts racing, and it's destined to be on 2013 Fight of the Year lists across the board.

And maybe, just maybe, it's in the conversation for the best fight of all time. But let's wait until the dust settles before starting that debate. You can't make that call while the blood is still wet on the canvas.