10 Best UFC Matches Featuring Non-UFC Talent

The most famous mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world is generally referred to as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)

Connor McGregor in a File Photo[Image Credit Twitter@TheNotoriousMMA]
By Mohit | May 22, 2023 | 4 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

The most famous mixed martial arts (MMA) organization in the world is generally referred to as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). However, the UFC has often broadcast fights involving individuals who are not affiliated with the organization throughout its existence. These games frequently included outstanding talent from other teams and had a long-lasting effect on the sport.

Best UFC matches featuring Non-UFC talent

While the UFC primarily showcases its own roster of fighters, there have been a few instances where non-UFC talent has stepped into the Octagon for special fights or crossover events. Here are 10 of the best UFC matches featuring non-UFC talent:

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10. Alistair Overeem vs. Mirko Cro Cop

In a highly anticipated heavyweight bout, Alistair Overeem, who was competing for Strikeforce at the time, faced legendary Croatian striker Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović at UFC 119. Overeem showcased his striking skills and defeated Cro Cop via TKO in the third round, cementing his reputation as a top heavyweight contender.

9. Dan Henderson vs. Fedor Emelianenko

While both Dan Henderson and Fedor Emelianenko had established themselves as MMA legends, this fight took place under the Strikeforce banner. The heavyweight clash between two highly skilled fighters ended in dramatic fashion when Henderson delivered a powerful right-hand knockout in the first round, securing his victory over Emelianenko.

8. Jose Canseco vs. Hong Man Choi

Former Major League Baseball player Jose Canseco stepped into the MMA world to face Korean kickboxer Hong Man Choi in a special exhibition match at Dream 9. Despite the significant size difference, Choi dominated the fight, defeating Canseco via TKO in the first round.

7. Kimbo Slice vs. Houston Alexander

Street-fighting sensation Kimbo Slice transitioned to professional mixed martial arts and faced Houston Alexander at The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights Finale. The fight was highly anticipated, and both fighters exchanged heavy blows. In the end, Kimbo Slice won via unanimous decision, solidifying his popularity and drawing attention to his career.

6. Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes

In a special attraction bout at UFC 60, legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner Royce Gracie, who had achieved great success in the early days of the UFC, returned to the Octagon to face former welterweight champion, Matt Hughes. Gracie displayed his exceptional grappling skills, but Hughes’ superior strength and wrestling abilities ultimately led him to victory via TKO in the first round.

5. Herschel Walker vs. Greg Nagy

Former NFL running back Herschel Walker, known for his incredible athleticism, made his professional MMA debut against Greg Nagy at Strikeforce: Miami. Despite his age, Walker displayed impressive speed and agility, overpowering Nagy and winning the fight via TKO in the third round.

4. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir

WWE superstar and former NCAA Division I wrestler Brock Lesnar entered the UFC heavyweight division and faced Frank Mir at UFC 81. Lesnar showcased his immense strength and wrestling skills, overwhelming Mir and securing a TKO victory in the second round. This match established Lesnar as a dominant force in the UFC heavyweight division.

3. CM Punk vs. Mickey Gall

Former professional wrestler CM Punk, whose real name is Phil Brooks, signed with the UFC and made his MMA debut against Mickey Gall. The fight occurred at UFC 203 in Cleveland, Ohio. Despite Punk’s passion and dedication to MMA, Gall proved to be the more experienced fighter and secured a quick submission victory in the first round.

2. James Toney vs. Randy Couture

James Toney, a former professional boxer and multiple weight class champion, made his UFC debut against Randy Couture, a legendary MMA fighter. Despite Toney’s striking prowess, Couture utilized his wrestling skills and secured a quick takedown, eventually winning the fight via submission in the first round.

1. Conor McGregor vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Conor McGregor, a star of the UFC, and Floyd Mayweather Jr. competed in this highly anticipated boxing bout at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. McGregor, known for his mixed martial arts skills, entered the boxing ring to face Mayweather, who retired with an undefeated record. Although McGregor’s performance demonstrated his boxing skills and attracted attention from both the UFC and boxing circles, Mayweather ultimately won by TKO in the tenth round.

These matches feature notable instances where non-UFC talent stepped into the Octagon, either through special events, crossover fights, or signings from other combat sports.

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