5 UFC fights you need to see if you are a new MMA fan

Here are some UFC fights that new MMA fans should all watch at least once to really see the best of the best the UFC has to offer.
Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robbie Lawler (red gloves) and Rory MacDonald (blue gloves) fight
Jul 11, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Robbie Lawler (red gloves) and Rory MacDonald (blue gloves) fight / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Robbie Lawler vs. Rory MacDonald 2 (UFC 189)

Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald's welterweight title rematch at UFC 189 epitomized the sheer brutality and resilience that exists in MMA.

In what was originally seen as an appetizer to the Conor McGregor-headlined main event, Lawler and MacDonald squashed fight expectations and turned out in an all-time brawl. Both welterweights left a piece of their souls inside the Octagon, and both men had to swim out of deep waters to continue to compete.

After Lawler brutalized MacDonald in the early rounds, MacDonald had his way in Rounds 3 and 4, nearly finishing Lawler with a blitz of strikes. But, Lawler was somehow able to withstand the barrage and had a famous post-round staredown with MacDonald at Round 4's conclusion. Lawler walked away with the fifth-round TKO win after turning MacDonald's face into a bloody mess. Both welterweights went to the hospital immediately after the fight, and the matchup is still talked about by UFC fanatics today.

You won't find many other athletes as tough and resilient as Lawler and MacDonald were in their UFC 189 scrap, and the fight entered the UFC Hall of Fame in 2023.

5. Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson 1 (UFC 165)

Then-UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones got his first taste of in-fight adversity against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165.

Jones, arguably the greatest UFC fighter of all time, defended the light heavyweight belt against Gustafsson, who at the time was a promising talent in the division. Some felt Jones would prove there were significant differences between his and Gustafsson's levels, although it was anything but how some expected. Jones had to dig deep to withstand Gustafsson's attacks throughout the fight. He was nearly finished for the first time in his professional MMA career and pushed to a place he's seldom been inside the Octagon.

After five rounds, Jones narrowly earned a unanimous decision win, despite many feeling Gustafsson did enough to earn the nod. But, Jones proved why he's an all-time great in the later rounds after being down on many scorecards after the first 15 minutes of fight time. Jones and Gustafsson will forever be linked by their gladiator-like war inside the cage. The bout earned a place in the UFC Hall of Fame in 2021.


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