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UFC 229 is the best UFC fight card ever: Here’s why

Jason Burgos

What is the best UFC fight card ever is a question MMA fans have debated for years. With 270 pay-per-view cards and a cornucopia of “Fight Night” events in the books, surely one of those events had to stand above the rest as the greatest card in the organization’s history.

Although many of the promotion’s events have been unforgettable, only a certain few are in the discussion for the greatest ever, and just one truly can be the best UFC fight card of all time.

Related: UFC tonight – Fight card, betting odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC card

UFC 47 and UFC 92: The best UFC fight card ever runners up

As the UFC closes in on 30 years in existence, there have been so many great fight cards. And although they may not be the best ever, UFC 47 and UFC 92 are two cards that deserve honorable mentions.

UFC 47 took place in April of 2004 and was headlined by the biggest fight in promotion history at that point. In the main event, future UFC Hall-of-Famers Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz faced off in a long-awaited grudge for “The Huntington Beach Badboy’s” light heavyweight title. It was a scrap featuring the only mainstream stars in the sport and the very best 205-pound fighters on earth. It didn’t disappoint either when “The Iceman” dethroned Ortiz with a highlight-reel second-round knockout.

The event also featured a KO victory for another sure-fire HOFer in Andrei Arlovski, and the now fabled first clash between welterweight greats Nick Diaz and Robbie Lawler. A fight that would get its rematch 17 years later in 2021. Of the eight bouts on the card, all but one ended in a finish, and five of them by KO.

UFC 92 in December 2008 was a special night in UFC history by presenting not one but two title fights, and a highly anticipated trilogy bout between two hated rivals.

In the headliner, Rashad Evans laid claim to the light heavyweight crown when he beat fan-favorite Forrest Griffin by technical knockout, in their battle of former The Ultimate Fighter winners. Not to be outdone, the co-main event featured an interim heavyweight title bout with two of the best heavyweight grapplers of all time. Shockingly, the matchup between Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira devolved into a stand-up battle that ended with Mir handing “Big Nog” the first KO loss of his long and storied career.

UFC 92 also included the third and final scrap between blood enemies Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva. After two previous bouts where the Brazilian turned his American foes lights out with filthy knees to his face, “Rampage” earned ice-cold revenge by putting “The Axe Murderer” to sleep in the first round.

UFC 229: The best UFC fight card of all time

As memorable as UFC 47 and UFC 92 were, they can’t touch the level of pomp, circumstance, importance, and controversy of UFC 229.

The organization’s October 2018 card had the most anticipated lightweight bout in UFC and MMA history. In the main event, the two most famous cage fighters then, now, and maybe ever, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov faced off for the 155-pound champion title, and to settle their red hot rivalry in the Octagon.

After four rounds, “Eagle” solidified his place as the division GOAT when he made “Notorious” tap out to a rear-naked choke. The victory led to a now-infamous T-Mobile Arena melee as the Russian jumped over the cage and leaped into the crowd to attack McGregor’s cornerman, Dillon Danis. Then members of Team Khabib came out of the crowd, got into the Octagon, and went after the Irishman. Showing how deep the hate was between both fighters and their posse.

best ufc fight card ever
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UFC 229 also included a great co-main event between former lightweight champions Tony Ferguson and Anthony Pettis and Derrick Lewis’ unforgettable KO win over Alexander Volkov with 10 seconds left in a fight he was losing. Of the 12 action-packed bouts on the card, only four went the distance, and seven featured concussion-inducing KOs.

The event was a massive success for the organization as it pulled in 2.4 million buys on PPV and $17 million in ticket sales. Both still records for the UFC today, and likely may never be topped.