With each event that passes, the history of the UFC grows more and more. Yet as new fans hop on board, in a sports world affected by recency bias, it’s hard to find a young fan with a strong attachment to the roots of the UFC.
As fighters like Chase Hooper and Kay Hansen continue to emerge, it’s becoming more and more common for revisiting the “Diaz vs McGregor Era” to be considered “going way back.”
Week two of Dana White’s Contender Series will feature a rare breed in Daniel Swain. Since his introduction to the sport at UFC 34, his life was changed and molded to combat sports. With 30 professional fights along with almost 20 years of UFC appreciation, it’s officially cool to be a “student of the game” again.
Curious about who molded Swain’s brain the most before he takes to the Contender Series Octagon? Check out Swain’s top five MMA bouts of all time.
5. Donald Cerrone vs Rob McCullough – WEC 36: “That was the first time I ever watched Donald Cerrone. When me and my brother dove in, we dove in. We watched the TapouT show and we ordered Versus with my mom’s credit card. We went full bore into MMA. Donald Cerrone in that fight, oh boy. I became a Donald Cerrone fight after that fight, so we can make that number five, but really, any Donald Cerrone fight could be number five.
Donald Cerrone vs Rob McCullough here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/32025
Donald Cerrone’s Anthology here: https://ufcfightpass.com/playlist/3132
4. Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos II – UFC 155: That was like when I realized big boys can have cardio and if they do, they’re a monster to deal with. Cain Velasquez was a hero of mine for a long time and still is. He was a champion who was respectable. He didn’t have to talk and run his mouth.
Watch Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos II here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/29922
3. Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum – UFC 236: The heart in Gastelum and the technical side of it from Izzy. Izzy is such a technical fighter. I watch guys like him and say, “That’s the guy I need to be like.”
Watch Israel Adesanya vs Kelvin Gastelum here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/95785
2. Matt Hughes vs Carlos Newton – UFC 34: That’s the fight that started it all for me. Still to this day when I watch that video, I get goosebumps. That was one of the best fights to ever happen and it started this whole journey for me.
Watch Matt Hughes vs Carlos Newton here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/28829
1. Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II – UFC 189: That’s the epitome of testing yourself. That’s why I love this sport. It’s one on one, you versus your opponent, but it’s also you against yourself. Those guys both pushed themselves to their breaking point.
Watch Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald II here: https://ufcfightpass.com/video/36841
Image via @swain_mma on Instagram