Top 10 Best UFC Knockouts Which Changed the Era

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In the history of MMA, there have several UFC knockouts which advanced or shifted the era. These UFC knockouts may have changed the era due to one great falling, or one new great rising, or sometimes both may be happening. On this list, we have the top 10 UFC knockouts which changed the era.

Top 10 UFC Knockouts Which Changed the Era

Anderson Silva vs Chris Leben

Anderson Silva was a former PRIDE fighter who entered the UFC in 2006. He made his debut against the Ultimate Fighter season 1 alum Chris Leben. At this point, Leben was on a six-fight win streak in the UFC Middleweight division and was on the path to a title shot.

Instead, Silva made a statement in his UFC debut fight. He dispatched the head-strong, tough Leben in just 49 seconds. It is one of the great UFC knockouts in history.

This fight began the Anderson Silva era. After knocking out Leben, Silva went on to take the UFC middleweight title and had a 15-fight win streak.

Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock I

Ken Shamrock was a representative of the earliest UFC. Shamrock was a trailblazer and competed under all early rule sets between the UFC, PRIDE, and Pancrase. He was a finalist at UFC 1 in 1993 and would face Tito Ortiz for a UFC title in 2002.

Ortiz battered and controlled Shamrock at UFC 40. Ortiz was merely 27 years old and with this win, he figuratively buried the early UFC era. This UFC knockout was the beginning of a new era.

T.J. Dillashaw vs Renan Barão I

Renan Barão was destined for greatness. He was a pound-for-pound top-3 fighter, had not lost in over 30 fights, and was dominant in his three successful title defenses.

T.J. Dillashaw, in 2014, was a fighter on a one-fight win streak. Dillashaw dominated this fight landing 170 strikes to Barão’s 65. This fight was UFC’s knockout of the night with Dillashaw gaining a 4th round TKO.

This fight ended the Barão era. He would never reclaim his title and after this fight, he would go 2-7 in his UFC career.

Cain Velasquez vs Brock Lesnar

Cain Velasquez was in the business of ending the old-man heavyweight era. The old guard of heavyweights Frank MirRandy Couture, and Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, had all been pummeled between the young Velasquez and the UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar was a whirlwind who won the UFC championship in only his third fight and defended it against two interim champions. Velasquez ended this era.

In 2010 Velasquez would earn a knockout against Lesnar in the first round. The old-man heavyweight division era would not recover; Mir, Couture, Nogueira, and Lesnar would never challenge for a title in the UFC again.

Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Hughes II

At UFC 65 a young Georges St-Pierre landed a head kick and ground and pound which ended the Matt Hughes welterweight era.

Matt Hughes was a welterweight king who had seven title defenses overall. Hughes made his mark as one of the pound-for-pound all-time greats. In the history of UFC knockouts, this one became a torch-passing moment as St-Pierre then became the next great, 9 title defenses, and is now considered the all-time greatest.

Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva I

After setting records for 10 successful title defenses, the longest win streak in UFC history with 16, the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days, the era and reign of Anderson Silva would end with a second-round knockout against the American-born wrestler Chris Weidman.

Weidman had done the impossible in this fight. A knockout which ended the reign of an all-time great, and he did it by out-striking him on the feet. One of the most amazing UFC knockouts which ended the reign of Silva.

Holly Holm vs Ronda Rousey

Strikeforce Champion, UFC Champion, six title defenses, 9 submission wins, and undefeated; Ronda Rousey could not be stopped. In addition to being a multi-time UFC champion, she was defeating her top contenders without taking damage and barely getting hit. She won five of her title defenses in the first round.

‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holly Holm put a stop to this era. Nearly no one gave a chance to Holm who was a heavy betting underdog going into the fight. In only her third UFC fight Holm would end the Rousey title reign with a second-round knockout via headkick.

This is one of the most memorable UFC knockouts in history, and is a great highlight head kick.

Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson vs Chuck Liddell II

The UFC was riding high after their marquee event at UFC 66. UFC 66 was the highest-selling pay-per-view to that point. Having Chuck Liddell knockout his rival Tito Ortiz as the headliner caused Liddell to be their biggest star. Liddell was the UFC’s poster-boy.

Headlining at UFC 71 in 2007, former PRIDE fighter with just one fight in the UFC, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson made quick work of the champion Liddell. Jackson knocked out Liddell in the very first round. One of the most important of the UFC knockouts in history.

This fight ended the Liddell era and caused the UFC light heavyweight title to become a revolving door up until…

Jon Jones vs Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua

Brazilian Muay Thai striker Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua was called a Supernova for good reason. At age 24 in 2005, he went on a five-fight streak and won the PRIDE Grand Prix, thus becoming the number one-ranked light heavyweight in the world. He became a promise of future greatness.

‘Shogun’ Rua had some struggles on his path but in 2010 captured a UFC championship knocking out Lyoto Machida in round 1 of their rematch, another of the great UFC knockouts.

And in 2011 a 23-year-old Jon Jones got his title shot. Jones dominated the fight and battered the UFC and PRIDE champion. Jones took Shogun’s torch of future greatness. And also ended the revolving door of light heavyweight champions.

After Jones‘ 2011 win he would never lose the championship belt in a fight and had 11 successful title defenses. This was the Jon Jones era.

Conor McGregor vs Jose Aldo

WEC Champion, UFC Champion, Pound-for-Pound great, 9 total title defenses between 2009 to 2015; Jose Aldo could not be stopped. In 18 consecutive fights, great fighters attempted to stop Aldo but none could. He dispatched all challengers such as Mike Thomas Brown, Urijah Faber, Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Chan Sung Jung, and others.

The young Irishman Conor McGregor ended this era in just 13 seconds, marking one of the greatest highlight-reel finishes in UFC history. It seemed impossible that a champion of this long, this many defenses, could be stopped. And McGregor did it in merely 13 seconds.

This was one of the most memorable UFC knockouts and moments in the history of MMA.

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Tim Wheaton has been with the sport of MMA since 2005. MMA & Boxing training and fight experience. From Canada, now in Scotland.
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