While most fans keep their eyes glued to the television during a UFC event for that one-punch knockout or a clever combination TKO, it is often a clinically executed submission that takes center stage. The cage becomes a battlefield of grappling brilliance, where every limb, joint, and ligament becomes a weapon that can be wielded.
From Royce Gracie's Brazilian jiu-jitsu to Daniel Cormier's freestyle American wrestling to Khabib Nurmagomedov's Dagestani Midas touch, a fighter's skill on the mat has often been the pivotal aspect of their MMA legacy.
The very first tournament that the promotion hosted, now titled UFC 1: The Beginning, was won via submission. Royce Gracie held Gerard Gordeau in a rear-naked choke hold till the latter tapped out. The tournament saw four more submissions as well, two of them by Gracie, one by Ken Shamrock, and the other by Jason DeLucia.
For the uninitiated, a submission is when a fighter yields by tapping - either on the mat or on the opponent's body - to declare that they are no longer able to continue the fight. A technical submission, meanwhile, occurs when the referee has to step in and stop the fight because a fighter has gone unconscious without tapping or has sustained an injury while being under a hold.
A submission victory is earned by putting the opponent in a submission hold.
The most common forms of submission holds are joint locks, which include armbar, kneebar, banana split, Kimura, toe hold, omoplata, Americana, etc., and choke holds, which cover rear-naked chokes, D'Arce chokes, guillotine, arm-triangle choke, neck crank, etc.
In 2024, the UFC octagon witnessed a multitude of submission masterclasses. From slick takedowns to jaw-dropping chokeholds, the submissions this year often earned a bigger applause from the crowd than the blistering knockouts.
Here are all the UFC submissions that took place in 2024.
This story will be updated throughout the year, please check back often.