In the wake of one of the most talked about upsets in MMA history, Ronda Rousey being dethroned by underdog Holly Holm, here are my top 5 upsets in MMA – prior to the events at the record-breaking attendance in Melbourne.
Lauzon beats Jens Pulver, UFC 63, September 2006
This event saw the return of former lightweight champion Jens 'Lil Evil' Pulver. Joe Lauzon was a young, up and coming star, but he was making his UFC debut and was basically brought in as a tune-up for the former champion. Lauzon clearly didn't read the script and knocked out Lil Evil in only 48 seconds.
Mike Brown beats Urijah Faber, WEC 36, November 2008
At this point, Urijah 'The California Kid' Faber was the poster boy for the lighter weight classes in MMA. He was on a 13-fight win streak and was coming into this fight off the back of a win against Jens Pulver. Mike Brown, although a credible opponent and a veteran of the sport, was not thought to be much of a threat to the California Kid. However, Brown landed early in the first round and captured the WEC Featherweight Title in Hollywood, Florida.
TJ Dillashaw beats Renan Barao, UFC 173, May 2014
At the time, Renan Barao was the UFC batamweight champion, as well as the owner of one of the most impressive win streaks in MMA. The Brazilian had gone almost a decade without a loss and was fresh off three finishes in UFC title fights. TJ Dillashaw was a high-level wrestler with ever-improving stand up skills. Dillashaw was considered a good, up and coming fighter, but maybe not quite ready for the title shot. This went completely out the window when he outclassed Barao in every round before finishing him after several head kicks in the fifth round.
BJ Penn beats Matt Hughes, UFC 46, January 2004
At the time, the UFC had abandoned the lightweight division. This left former lightweight champion BJ Penn with little options. After sometime out of the UFC, he returned to face the much heavier Matt Hughes for the UFC Welterweight title. When it comes to all-time greats in the welterweight division, Matt Hughes will always be considered one of the best to fight in that weight class. Prior to this particular fight, he was on a 13-fight win streak which included five defences of the UFC Welterweight title. However, BJ Penn defied the odds and submitted Hughes with a rear-naked choke to become one of the very few to be a UFC Champion in two different weight classes.
Matt Serra beats Georges St Pierre, UFC 69, April 2004
The UFC's Welterweight division had seen what they thought was a passing of the torch when Georges St Pierre had beaten Matt Hughes. GSP’s first title defence was against Matt Serra, who had recently won the reality show The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback. At the time, Matt Serra was seen as a journeyman who, at 32, had probably seen his best years. However, the man from Long Island shocked the world when delivered a vicious TKO to the French Canadian GSP to become the UFC Welterweight champion.