The Biggest Questions in UFC History

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Despite mma with fans consistently getting the best fights with the greatest fighters week after week, we can’t help but always wonder. This question comes in the form of “what if?” questions, which normally elicit intense arguments from die-hard MMA fans. Hypotheses such as “What if PRIDE never stopped?” are topics that MMA fans regularly think about.

RELATED: 10 Best Flyweight Fighters In UFC History, Ranked

However, we’re going to divert the focus from PRIDE and instead put it on the UFC. The biggest MMA promotion in the world has more than enough simulations to beat any other type of company. Mostly due to their illustrious history and questionable decision-making

ten Brock Lesnar fought earlier


Brock-Lesnar-UFC-226-Cropped
Stephen R. Sylvanie – USA Today Network

Although Brock Lesnar was nearing the age of 30 when he made his MMA debut, he quickly became one of the best fighters on the planet. He was accelerated by the UFC and got no easy fights as he finished with a 5-3-1 record.

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His record is deceptive, as he became UFC heavyweight champion and had multiple title defenses. However, Lesnar was clearly lacking in skills outside of his wrestling. Many fans couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened if he had trained in MMA earlier, rather than jumping into it after already being beaten by wrestling.

9 Ken Shamrock never left the UFC


Ken Shamrock in the cropped cage

Ken Shamrock was at the height of his powers in 1996 when he decided to leave the UFC. He was one fight away from being UFC Super Fight Champion when he decided to return to his pro wrestling roots and join WWE.

When Shamrock returned to MMA four years later, he was a shell of himself. He never seemed to fit in, mostly because he had spent his early years struggling. It’s not hard to wonder how his career would have ended if he hadn’t left in 1996.

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8 Chris Weidman fought at UFC 199


Chris Wiedman at UFC 261 weigh-ins
Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

An underrated pick in this discussion is Chris Weidman pulling out of UFC 199. Weidman pulled out of his fight with Luke Rockhold at UFC 199, which led to Michael Bisping stepping in and becoming champion of the middleweights.

If Weidman hadn’t retired, Bisping probably never would have been champion, which means Georges St-Pierre may not have come out of retirement. On top of that, it’s hard not to imagine how a Weidman vs. Rockhold II fight would have gone to the former champion, considering their first fight was competitive.


seven Conor McGregor never fought Nate Diaz


Nate Diaz
Credit: USA Today Network

Conor McGregor fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 196 shot both men into the stratosphere. After Rafael Dos Anjos pulled out of his showdown with The Notorious, Diaz stepped in on short notice and picked up the win to become a star.

However, it was Diaz’s rivalry with McGregor that propelled both men to stardom. If the two had never fought, where would their careers be today?

6 The career of TJ Grant


TJ Grant flexes

TJ Grant’s entire career is one huge simulation. Grant was a UFC middle welterweight until he dropped to 155 pounds in 2011. Following the weight change, he quickly became a contender.

He scored a knockout over Gray Maynard to receive a shot at the UFC lightweight title, however, he was never able to challenge for gold. Grant suffered a serious concussion in practice and could not be cleared. As a result, he never returned to MMA.

5 The Ultimate Fighter Failed


Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The story is well known by now, but The Ultimate Fighter apparently saved the UFC. The promotion was massively in debt, but the first season combined with the show’s finale helped boost UFC popularity and ratings.

However, what if the show failed? Would the UFC have been sold? Would the UFC still be around in any capacity today? It’s a dark thought, but one that was about to happen.


4 Vince McMahon bought the UFC


Vince McMahon returns in 2015

Yes, believe it or not, Vince McMahon almost bought the UFC. His son Shane urged the WWE CEO to buy the company, seeing it had a lot of potential. McMahon went so far as to meet with the owners of the promotion in 2001, but talks went no further.

Ultimately, it would be the Fertitta brothers who would buy out the promotion and install Dana White as president. Vince McMahon has played sports like football before, so we know what it’s like for him to try and lead a “real” sport. Nonetheless, it would have been a strange universe to see the McMahons leading the UFC.


3 Conor McGregor never fought Floyd Mayweather


Mayweather vs. McGregor (2)
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

It’s easy to forget, but Conor McGregor was arguably the greatest fighter on the planet in 2017. He was a two-weight champion in the UFC, in arguably the promotion’s two toughest divisions. He picked up victories over names like Jose Aldo, Eddie Alvarez, Chad Mendes and Max Holloway before winning a boxing match against Floyd Mayweather.

While The Notorious earned a huge payday for fighting Money, it’s hard not to imagine how his legacy might have been had he remained active in MMA.

2 Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson


003_Tony_Ferguson.0
via mmafighting.com

The one that got away. The UFC has missed massive fights over the years, however, none worse than Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson. Two contestants who were the best fighters on the planet at the time, they were to face each other five times.

RELATED: 10 UFC Dream Fights That Were Planned (But Never Happened)

In the end, they never fought in the cage. With Nurmagomedov retired now and Ferguson on a losing streak, this one will have to live on in fans’ imaginations.

1 Fedor signed to the UFC


Fedor Bellator 198
Dave Mandel – USA TODAY Sports

Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest fighter to ever compete in the UFC. While Emelianenko’s bounty went to top promotion PRIDE, most fans wanted to see him compete in the UFC octagon one day.

The closest he came was in 2009 when he nearly signed to fight Brock Lesnar. However, negotiations fell through and fans will be left wondering how this dream fight and many more could have turned out.


10 Best Flyweight Fighters In UFC History, Ranked
10 Best Flyweight Fighters In UFC History, Ranked

While the UFC’s flyweight division is a weight class that has been consistently overlooked, flyweight fighters have grown in popularity.

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