MMA fans have enjoyed a surging bantamweight class over the last decade.
If you told today's MMA fans that the smaller weight classes were not well received, they would probably call you crazy. MMA was growing rapidly during the PRIDE FC and UFC era, which lead to the UFC buying PRIDE and bringing their fighters to North America. Another promotion under the UFC's banner by the end of 2010 was WEC.
WEC featured the lower weight classes below the UFC's lightweight division. It was the birthplace of Jose Aldo's reign at 145 pounds and Dominick Cruz's remarkable run as WEC's bantamweight champion and the first ever in the UFC. Unfortunately, Cruz would vacate the title in 2012, starting a new era at 135 pounds with Renan Barao.
Before 2012, Cruz was the big name in the bantamweight division and the following list of greatest fights at 135 pounds shows that. While the division has seen plenty of incredible fights before and after Cruz's reign, his legacy and dedication to the weight class should not be ignored.
First off, here are some honorable mentions that made the top 10:
- Dominick Cruz vs. Brian Bowles - WEC 47, March 2010
- Dominick Cruz vs. Joe Benavidez 2- WEC 50, August 2010
- Joe Benevidez vs. Miguel Torres WEC 47, March 2010
- Urijah Faber vs. Takeya Mizugaki WEC 52, November 2010
- Dillashaw vs. Garbrandt 1 & 2 (UFC 217, November 2017 and UFC 227, August 2018):
Now let's take a look at the top five fights the bantamweight division has ever seen.