5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (2023)

There’s nothing better than a lengthy war in the UFC’s octagon, such as the recent clash between Michael Chandler and Justin Gaethje. However there's also something to be said for a great fight that doesn’t last that long.

Over the years, we’ve seen a number of tremendous fights inside the UFC that somehow ended in the first round, usually with some serious violence.

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Until this day, UFC President @DanaWhite references the rematch between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg as his favorite fight of all time.A bout that took place 13 years ago today.

Sometimes these fights featured wild exchanges while others saw insane comebacks, but either way, they were among the most entertaining clashes in UFC history.

With this in mind, here are five of the best one-round fights in UFC history.

#5: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Frank Mir – UFC 140

5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (1)

Frank Mir’s first clash with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92 in December 2008, was a memorable one for a number of reasons.

It represented the culmination of Mir’s comeback following a serious leg injury, and it was also the first time Nogueira had ever been stopped by strikes.

However, for as good as that fight was, their second one, which took place in December 2011 at UFC 140, was far superior. A decade on, it remains one of the UFC’s greatest-ever one-round fights.

(Video) Top 5 One Round Fights In MMA

Early on, the fight looked like it would belong to Nogueira. Unlike in their first bout, ‘Minotauro’ looked sharper than Mir on the feet, and when he rocked his opponent with a stiff jab, it looked like the beginning of the end.

However, rather than attempt to finish Mir off standing, Nogueira decided to drop for a guillotine to look for a submission.

It turned out to be a huge mistake. Mir was somehow able to scramble free of the hold, and after a wild exchange of positions, he rolled through and locked Nogueira’s arm up in a tight kimura.

What is the Greatest Submission of All-Time?#7 Seed: Frank Mir and Minotauro Nogueira met in a clash of BJJ heavyweights for an unforgettable back-and-forth ground war that ended in a win by Kimura for Frank Mir - and a painful loss for Big Nog. https://t.co/4ZHqnpDbz3

‘Minotauro’ attempted to fight the hold, only for Mir to apply more torque, snapping his arm entirely in a sick visual. The stoppage was academic, making Mir the first man to submit Nogueira in a fight too.

Featuring a wild comeback and one of the best grappling exchanges in UFC heavyweight history, this was a stone-cold one-round classic.

#4: Travis Browne vs. Andrei Arlovski – UFC 187

5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (2)

UFC fans were treated to one of the promotion’s all-time great events at UFC 187, but despite featuring two title fights, the show’s standout clash was a heavyweight battle between Travis Browne and Andrei Arlovski.

The fight featured an insane number of knockdowns and near finishes, as the momentum between the two big men swung like a pendulum until Arlovski eventually picked up a TKO win.

The fact that the whole thing only lasted for one round only made this fight even more remarkable.

Five years ago today, one of the craziest fights in UFC history 🤯Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne traded knockdowns before a big knockout ended the fight in the first round 🔥 https://t.co/i3rkPfUyly

Arlovski and Browne looked happy to exchange from the opening moments of the fight, and it didn’t take long for one of them to get hurt. In this case, ‘The Pitbull’ staggered ‘Hapa’ with a trio of right hands, forcing him to stumble backwards. However, he was quickly able to recover.

From there, the Hawaiian fired back, only to find himself badly hurt again, this time by a wild backfist strike. Arlovski continued to look for the finish, and with Browne incredibly shaky, the former UFC heavyweight champ stunned him with a second backfist before dropping him with a right.

The fight appeared to be over, but when ‘The Pitbull’ closed in for the finish, somehow Browne fired back with a right hook, sending him crashing to the ground.

(Video) Wildest One-Round Wars | 2022 UFC Awards

Suddenly, it looked like ‘Hapa’ would pull off the win. Only for Arlovski to somehow rise back to his feet, where he continued to open up, hurting Browne all over again.

This time, there would be no miraculous comeback. Browne had simply absorbed too much punishment, and ended up wilting under the fire of ‘The Pitbull’, with referee Mark Smith being forced to step in.

It’d be hard to claim that this fight was a technical classic, but in terms of two fighters showing insanely heavy hands and even bigger hearts, it doesn’t get much better than this one.

#3: Donald Cerrone vs. Melvin Guillard – UFC 150

5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (3)

Coming into their lightweight clash at UFC 150, there were some unsubstantiated fears that Melvin Guillard and Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone might hold back a little. After all, they’d trained together for a lengthy period and were known to be close friends outside the octagon.

That idea couldn’t have been further from the truth. The two 155lbers threw literally everything they had at one another in one of the wildest one-round fights in UFC history, and produced a classic in just over a minute.

In the early going, the fight looked like Guillard’s to lose. Capitalizing on Cerrone’s well-deserved reputation as a slow starter, ‘The Young Assassin’ was on the attack from the off, hurting ‘Cowboy’ with a left hand and then swarming him to look for the finish.

Despite being on painfully wobbly legs, Cerrone was able to survive, clinching and retreating just enough to slow Guillard down somewhat.

Incredibly, that was all the opening that ‘Cowboy’ needed. Despite still being on wobbly legs, he capitalized on a momentary pause from Guillard by cracking him with a kick that clanged right off the side of his head.

Seemingly frozen in time, Guillard didn’t respond – allowing Cerrone to rush in and drop him with a brutal right hand that knocked him completely unconscious.

Whoa! Talk about a wild fight. @CowboyCerrone survives an early onslaught and KOs Guillard in style.

The crowd in Denver, Colorado were quite rightfully blown away by the performance, as Cerrone had proven once again that he was one of the toughest fighters in UFC history.

However, to play down Guillard’s role in this one-round classic would be unfair, as on another night, he could easily have picked up the win.

Despite lasting literally just over a minute, this was probably the most memorable UFC fight of 2012.

(Video) 5th Round Title Finishes From 2022 👊

#2: Cheick Kongo vs. Pat Barry – UFC on Versus 4

5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (4)

It seems hard to believe now, but the heavyweight clash between Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry was never supposed to have been a headline fight.

Initially, the UFC’s fourth show on the Versus network would’ve been main evented by a welterweight bout between Nate Marquardt and Rick Story, but when that one went down the slot, the promotion bumped up Kongo vs. Barry into the headlining spot.

It was a decision they certainly didn’t forget, as the two big men treated UFC fans to a genuinely wild brawl that is still looked upon as a true classic today.

Nine years ago today, Pat Barry and Cheick Kongo produced the craziest 30 seconds of action in UFC history 🤯*automatically retweets* https://t.co/aRoH94pPDO

Both men were renowned for their striking, but it was Barry who seemed to have the edge as the fight began. After the two men traded low kicks, Barry countered one with an overhand right, folding Kongo up like a bad poker hand.

The Frenchman looked done as ‘HD’ closed in to finish him off, but somehow, he was able to roll and get back to his feet.

His legs looked thoroughly gone, though, and it came as no surprise when another right hand from Barry sent him crashing back down. This time, the fight definitely looked over. To the shock of everyone watching, Kongo somehow got up again.

This time he appeared to be on roller skates, sliding all over the place like a drunkard on ice. However, when Barry closed in for the kill, somehow the Frenchman found it within him to land a right hook and a follow-up uppercut that dropped ‘HD’, knocking him out.

After the fight, it quickly became clear just how close Kongo was to being stopped himself; a replay of the finish showed that he literally collapsed onto the fallen Barry seconds after knocking him out, as his legs simply couldn’t hold him up.

The whole fight lasted just 2:39, but instantly became part of UFC legend, and while neither man saw real success in the octagon, they were immortalized through this one-round classic.

#1: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg – UFC 52

5 of the best one-round fights in UFC history (5)

UFC President Dana White has naturally seen hundreds of fights during his tenure with the promotion, but he has always pointed out one clash as his favorite, the UFC welterweight title bout between Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg at UFC 52.

It isn’t hard to understand why White reveres this fight above all of the other classics in UFC history, even if it only lasted for a single round.

UFC full fight video: Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg face off in dramatic rematch mmafighting.com/2020/4/21/2122… https://t.co/XyXFxpEXUT
(Video) Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald 2 Highlights (Best Championship Fight Ever) #ufc #robbielawler #mma

The two men had a major rivalry coming into the fight, with reigning champion Hughes having choked out Trigg in a previous encounter two years beforehand.

However, it looked like ‘Twinkle Toes’ would claim a slice of revenge – as well as Hughes’ title when he dropped him with a combination after first stunning him with a low blow missed by referee Mario Yamasaki.

Hughes appeared to be in deep trouble, and that trouble only got deeper when Trigg took his back and applied what looked like a tight rear naked choke.

The champion began to turn purple, but rather than tap, he showed a ludicrous amount of heart, and somehow wriggled free of the hold at the last possible second.

From there, Hughes turned the tables on his foe, lifting him into the air before planting him back down with a running bodyslam. With ‘Twinkle Toes’ clearly spent from his own onslaught, Hughes then returned the favor with some violent ground-and-pound before taking his back.

Where Trigg failed to apply a fight-ending choke, Hughes succeeded. Strangling ‘Twinkle Toes’ and forcing him to tap out at the 4:05 mark.

Everyone watching the clash, including White, was stunned by the action. Most notably Hughes’ incredible comeback, and the win cemented the champion as the UFC’s greatest-ever welterweight to that point.

That title has now been taken from him, but this clash remains arguably the UFC’s greatest-ever one-round fight, meaning Hughes and Trigg will never lose their place in UFC history.

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