Sat 19 March 2022 | 8:30

Best comebacks in UFC history

As long as turning the tide in MMA is concerned, no other organisation has put on show the most breathtaking fightbacks in the history of combat sports more than the UFC. So come along with us to dig deep through some of the best comebacks in UFC history.

Just in any other competition throughout the world, nothing is more spectacular than to watch rising from the lowest point to snatch triumph from the jaws of defeat.

Just imagine in what a surge of exhilaration a UFC fan would be immersed in, by observing a dramatic comeback from a fighter who looks dead and buried; there is not any feeling quite like it.

There has been a raft of fighters who have been crushed to bits and smashed from pillar to post just to pull a knockout strike or a submission out of nowhere, returning from the verge of defeat to a result that was quite unimaginable a moment ago.

When it comes to the best comebacks in UFC history, those fights in which the ultimate winner had been in the worst miserable position before pulling out the coming back tend to be more impressive than the others.

Among the greatest upturns in fortune, some of the best comebacks in UFC history, have been in title fights, whether from a defending champion or a title challenger who showed the heart of a champion to resist and turn things around for a triumph.

The full account of the best comebacks in UFC history

Since comebacks tend to often keep the fans at the edge of their seats, recalling some of the best fighting comebacks would be a true joy to behold. So without further ado, let's delve into the Best comebacks in UFC history.

Jessica Andrade vs. Rose Namajunas (UFC 237)

At the UFC 237 main event that was held in Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Jessica Andrade (20-6 MMA, 11-4 UFC) coped with Rose Namajunas (8-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC), who were at the prime heyday of her career since she has come off an amazing triumph over former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Since Namajunas was utterly prepared to defend her strawweight title in this fight, her opponent went through a terrible start.

That is to say in the first five minutes of round 1, Namajunas had put on show a staggering speed advantage as she landed a raft of striking combinations.

But as soon as Andrade started to close the distance and unleash shots just in the first round, there comes a dismal presentiment of a potential comeback.

In the same round, Andrade endeavoured to employ her signature of lifting her opponent up and slamming her, but Namajunas seemed to be prepared for this throw as she locked onto a Kimura, making her aware of the possible threats of performing that trademark move.

Be that as it may, Andrade did not give up to repeat it again in the second round and much to the surprise of many fans, she managed to pick up Namajunas and slam her down on her neck.

Therefore quite unbelievably, she could dump the champion on her head and neck, so as to grab the strawweight championship at the 2:34 mark, with one of the most impressive finishes in recent memory that went down as the 11th slam KO in UFC history.

In essence, even if Andrade had been outclassed in the first round, her strength was enough to take out Namajunas and etch her name to one of the best MMA comeback knockouts.

Dominick Cruz vs. T.J. Dillashaw (UFC Fight Night 81)

Dominick Cruz confronted T.J. Dillashaw in the Bantamweight title fight of the main event of UFC Fight Night 81 at the TD Garden Arena in Boston while both of them are considered to be among the

most underrated UFC fighters of all time


Following that the former UFC bantamweight champion Cruz underwent a number of knee injuries, and did not compete for a long time since his last triumph against Takeya Mizugaki in just over a minute in 2014, Dillashaw managed to become the bantamweight champion in Cruz absence.

Therefore when Cruz had come back to compete and reclaim his crown, Dillashaw was in an impeccable run, having several knockouts under his belt as he most recently had victories over Renan Barao and Joe Soto.

As soon as the fight began Dillashaw took on the role of the aggressor and did not let Cruz establish a rhythm. Even if he tried his utmost to maintain that for much of the fight, at a times it seemed as though he felt frustrated by Cruz’s trademark elusiveness.

In what was went down as one of the

best comebacks in UFC history

, Cruz footwork and illusiveness, changed the turn of the fight and mounted problems for Dillashaw, making him susceptible to be the receiving end of a number of solid shots over the course of the fight.

After a 5 round back-and-forth battle that lasted 25 minutes, Dillashaw who had a problem landing on his rival, underwent a decision defeat as the judges ruled in Cruz's favour: 48-47, 46-49, 49-46.

In this way, Cruz could regain his bantamweight title in a very close competitive battle that is widely remembered as one of the best comebacks in UFC history.

Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler (UFC 262)

After that Khabib Nurmagomedov made his mind to become retired, the UFC lightweight title was remained vacant until the title fight of UFC 262 in which Charles Oliveira confronted Michael Chandler.

While Chandler was a three-time Bellator lightweight champion and this fight was just his second UFC fight, Oliveira was heading into the fight as he already had a glorious MMA career with impressive recent feats.

In the first round, it seemed as though Chandler was able to establish absolute dominance as he escaped a takedown from Oliveira and terrified him with a barrage of power punches that put him down.

Oliveira who was on the brink of being stopped with Chandler's continuous hammers, was able to eventually endure the first round even if he was previously disparaged for his lack of durability.

But as soon as the start of the second round, a twist of turns occurred as Oliveira blasted Chandler with a huge left hook, leaving him wobbled instantly and he even went on to unleash an outburst of clean punches that earned him knockout victory just 19 seconds into Round 2. After all, he is the holder of one of the

Best UFC Records of All Time


The Brazilian fierce aggression in the second round was so much remarkable that it went down as one of the

best MMA comeback knockouts

and handed Oliveira the UFC Lightweight crown for the first time in his career.

Frank Mir vs Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira I (UFC 140)

Frank Mir coped with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in their rematch at the UFC 140 for the interim UFC heavyweight title while both of the fighters were two of the best grapplers in the history of the heavyweight division.

Exactly as it was expected, Nogueira started the fight outperforming his opponent as he landed a number of short punches, and went on to move in for a takedown attempt.

His attempt ended to clinch, but it was Mir who could get the takedown, still, Nogueira managed to work his way back to his feet, as they went on clinching against the fence.

Then Nogueira unleashed a number of strikes so as to knock down Mir and lead him on the verge of being finished as Nogueira rolled to attempt and get a submission.

While Nogueira was in an absolute mounting position, the neck of his rival was vulnerable for a choke. Still, it was Mir who got the submission as he rolled into a Kimura and broke Nogueira's arm, incurring him one of the

10 worst injuries in MMA history

just at 3:38 of the first round.

With this great scramble for position on the ground, Frank Mir submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to gain the interim UFC heavyweight in a fight that is highly regarded as one of the best comebacks in UFC history.

Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm (UFC 196)

Holly Holm who was the new reigning women's Bantamweight champion clashed with Miesha Tate who had already grabbed UFC gold once before, so as to defend her title for the first time in the UFC 196 co-main event of MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While Tate had been assumed a huge underdog heading into the fight, Holm started the fight showcasing her boxing prowess, maintaining her distance and launching some high kicks to make trouble for Tate.

Even if Tate struggled to launch a takedown and made some ground and pound efforts in the second round, it was Holm that had absolute dominance in the third and fourth round as she exercised crisp boxing technique she honed for years in the squared circle.

She also went on to launch some powerful straight lefts, oblique kicks and wonderful combinations for good measure, even if she stuffed several takedowns by Tate.

Yet, as the fight entered its fifth round, Tate had already enough energy to mount one of the

best comebacks in UFC history

when just more than two minutes were left in the round, so as to etch her name to the winner of one

The Best Women's Fights in UFC History


In other words, Tate went on to fight through the defence of Holm, took her down, got her back, clinched up a rear-naked choke and eventually put her rival to sleep in order to grab the UFC bantamweight title in one of the remarkably best fighting comebacks.

Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II (UFC 125) and III (UFC 136)

While Maynard handed Edgar his first career defeat in 2008, the pair confronted again in their rematch at UFC  125 in January 2011 for the Lightweight championship.

In the first round, Maynard dominated the game as he beat Edgar by dropping him with a left hook, flipping him backward and making him stumble and roll all over the octagon.

He went on to knock him down two more times in the round, yet his shots were not definitive enough to put him down for good.

Moreover, in the second round, a twist of turns occurred as Edgar bopped around as nothing had happened. He managed to pick Maynard up and slammed him so as to swing the momentum his way.

As Edgar went on to circle around, the two fighters went back and forth to land blows and attempt takedowns for the rest of the fight.

Yet, because of the big 10-8 first round for Maynard, the fight was resulted in a draw, as Edgar regained his title in one of the best comebacks in UFC history.

Likewise, their trilogy at UFC 136 in October 2011, is considered to be one of the other best comebacks in UFC history, since Maynard pounded Edgar and knocked him down several times to the point that he underwent a broken nose.

Yet Edgar played the remainder of the bout differently as he gradually won the second and the third round, storming back in the fourth round when he employed an incredible uppercut late in the round, leaving his opponent utterly astonished.

As a result, as the fight had been stopped at 3:54 of the fourth round, Edgar managed to show his absolute superiority by defending his title for the third time in one of the

best fighting comebacks


Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg II (UFC 52)

While the first fight between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg was a quick first-round submission for Hughes at UFC 45, in which he made his fifth successive welterweight title defences, their rematch at UFC 52 was not easy at all for him since even though he won the game, he earned this victory in one of the

best comebacks in UFC history


Precisely as saying, the first round of the fight was a true nightmare for Hughes, as Trigg struck him below the belt in the clinch, and even if he was hit in the groin, referee Mario Yamasaki did not bring the fight into a halt.

Then Trigg went on to capitalise and knock his opponent down with a flurry of strikes, transitioning into the full mount so as to take Hughes’ back and sink in a rear-naked choke.

But Hughes survived all of these and showed the heart of a champion as he turned out of the choke, reversed his position, picked his opponent up, and slammed him on the other side of the octagon.

In this way, as he eventually managed to take Trigg’s back and just under 60 seconds left in the first round, he sunk in the rear-naked choke to grab triumph and retain his title, in a fight that proved to be not only the best comebacks in UFC history but also it has been Dana White's favourite fight as it was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier II (UFC 241)

In their first match, Daniel Cormier who had moved up in weight managed to beat Stipe Miocic just in the first round to take his UFC heavyweight title.

Two of the

Greatest MMA Fighters of All-time

met again at UFC 241 in which Cormier was provided with the opportunity to prove that it wasn’t just a lucky punch in their first fight. Yet in a mind-blowing twist of turns, one of the best UFC fighters of all time, Miocic proved him absolutely wrong.

The fight was started as Cormier launched some solid kicks and hard punches on his opponent and went on to slam him to the floor and into the half-mount position so as to establish dominance in the rest of the first round.

Then as Miocic tried to land some solid shots from the outside, Cormier went on to march him down, and the two exchanged blows, but it was evident that Cormier was more consistent in the first three rounds, making his opponent defenceless against his swarming tactic.

While Miocic got another poke to the eye, his strikes appeared to be more consistent in round 3 to the point that when they entered the fourth round, he started to land hard left shots to his opponent's body leading Cormier cringing in pain.

Miocic went on to pour his opponents with a barrage of punches and combinations to his body and head until he landed a terribly definitive right hand that sent Cormier to the ground so as to gain the UFC heavyweight championship in one of the best MMA comeback knockouts.

Brock Lesnar vs. Shane Carwin (UFC 116)

Following that Carwin had beaten Frank Mir to become the Interim Heavyweight Champion, he confronted one of

the most overrated UFC fighters of all time

, Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title.

Even if UFC 116 did not last for more than two rounds, it entertained fans a lot and is widely remembered as one of the best comebacks in UFC history.

Carwin was determined to grab triumph so he smashed down Brock Lesnar in the first round, as he established dominance by unleashing heavy punches to his opponents with absolute aggression.

Carwin who had beaten all of his rivals within the first round went on to hit Lesnar with a brutal uppercut and launched a knee, rushing his opponent against the fence, putting all of his effort to smash him just in the first round.

Yet he failed to finish off Lesnar in the first round. After all WWE champion had beaten one of the

best UFC fighters of all time

, Randy Couture to gain heavyweight and had went on to defend his title against Frank Mir before heading into this fight.

Thereby Lesnar could survive the first round, getting better of his opponent in the second round and when fatigue had overwhelmed Carwin, he capitalised by establishing dominance with landing takedown and then transitioning to an arm-triangle choke.

In this way, he could submit Carwin so as to defend his title for the second time in an outstanding come-from-behind fashion.

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen I (UFC 117)

Chael Sonnen who is arguably one of the

greatest trash talkers in MMA history

was on the verge of dethroning one of the

best UFC fighters of all time

, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

This is while Silva who is also considered to be among the

most athletic fighters in MMA history

, was at the prime of his career, beating all of his rivals quite easily and as a result, Sonnen was assumed to be another easy victim for him.

Be that as it may, much to the world surprise, in the light of wrestling techniques, Sonnen established dominance early in their first fight at UFC 117 and was about to pull out the biggest upset in UFC history.

Instead, The Spider turned the fight into one of the best comebacks in UFC history as he wrapped his legs around his rival's neck and managed to submit him with a Hail Mary triangle choke when less than two minutes were left in the fifth round so as to eventually regain his title. Yet this time, it was not as easy as it was expected to be.


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