by Grant Gordon
Los Angeles – Blood streaming from his eye down across his face, his tooth already projected into the stunned audience, sumo wrestler Teila Tuli became the crimson canvas to which the brutality of the Ultimate Fighting Championship was first conveyed.
On the devastating end of a vicious kick to the face via Gerard Gordeau, Tuli's misfortune concluded the first bout in the roller coaster that has been the UFC. Through all the ups and downs of brutal controversy, financial woes, epic showdowns and the maturation of the world's fastest growing sport, there has been one constant as it relates to the UFC – great fights.
It certainly will not change, as mixed martial arts fans salivate at the promise of upcoming blockbusters such as the heavyweight title bout between UFC Hall of Famer and champion Randy Couture and challenger, Brock Lesnar, the man-beast who made his name in World Wrestling Entertainment or the impending super fight between Georges St. Pierre, the sport's top welterweight, and BJ Penn, the sport's best lightweight.
In the grand scheme of all things sport, mixed martial arts in its current form and its undisputed top dog, the UFC, are still in their infancy, dating back roughly just two decades.
Still, the aforementioned upcoming showdowns will have a lot to measure up to should they hope to one day be mentioned among the greatest fights.
Of course there have been a plethora of engaging battles across the globe in different organizations, but as it relates to mixed martial arts, the UFC is the standard.
What lies ahead are the 10 greatest fights in UFC lore – selected not just for their appeal as entertaining battles, but for their historic significance, the buzz created by the showdown and for the stars they featured and made. These fights have been chosen for their greatness, in every way in which that claim applies.
Grant Gordon is currently the Sports Editor for the Glendale News-Press, a subsidiary of the Los Angeles Times. You can contact him at [email protected]