What an amazing weekend we just witnessed in MMA. The Ultimate Fighter Finale and UFC on Fox 13 were both amazing cards with great main events. Eyes were on both of these cards because advertisements aired during all of the previous week’s NFL games on Fox. The UFC’s signing a television deal with Fox is still one of the biggest moments in the history of MMA. Say what you will about the sport’s capacity to go mainstream, but being on Fox and leading off Fox Sports 1’s nightly highlight show does more to legitimize the sport more than being on Spike ever could.

We started with a one fight card over three years ago when this partnership started. We have since expanded to seeing four cards on quarterly Saturday nights on the broadcast network. The UFC really pulls no punches when putting together exciting fight cards for these events and it has shown. But which fights are the best? For this week’s list we look back at the first 13 UFC on Fox events and rank the ten best battles. This list will only include main card fights that aired on big Fox, so unfortunately stellar bouts like Benson Henderson vs. Clay Guida are not eligible for The List.

Here we go.

<strong>10. Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos — UFC on Fox 1</strong>

This is where it all started. This was a preview and the first UFC fight to air on Fox. The fight only lasted just over one minute, but it was captivating from start to finish. When two first-class heavyweights are in the cage, you know that the fight can end at any second. A star was born that evening in dos Santos and the UFC giving away a heavyweight title fight for free showed the commitment to the relationship with FOX. There is a reason why this is still the most watched MMA fight in history.

<strong>9. Josh Thomson vs. Nate Diaz — UFC on Fox 7</strong>

This wasn’t a super-competitive barn burner, but it was an amazing performance by one fighter. Josh Thomson, who was finally getting a shot on the biggest stage and on his home turf, had the best performance of his career. Many know how hard it is to finish a Diaz, Thomson did it when most thought he would lose the fight. That second round headkick could very well be the best knockout we have seen on Fox.

<strong>8. Donald Cerrone vs. Edson Barboza — UFC on Fox 11</strong>

This is another fight that didn’t last very long, but was extremely compelling while it did. Barbs was battering Cerrone’s legs and it looked like we might be seeing the next big thing in the lightweight division. Then Cerrone dropped the Brazilian. Cerrone pounced with a submission and the Amway Center went nuts.

<strong>7. Benson Henderson vs. Gilbert Melendez — UFC on Fox 7</strong>

This fight was one of the most anticipated lightweight title fights in history. After years of wondering how the Strikeforce champion, Melendez, would do in the UFC we finally got to see what happened. Melendez proved he more than belonged in the UFC cage and he took Benson Henderson to the limit in a fight that was competitive till the final bill. Henderson won a razor thin decision, but the fight itself was the true story that night.

<strong>6. Shogun Rua vs. Brandon Vera — UFC on Fox 4</strong>

This was by far the most criticized main event the UFC aired on Fox. Vera definitely wasn’t on the the best streak of his career and Rua was coming off of one of the best fights of all time against Dan Henderson. While wasn’t the Henderson fight, both fighters did their best to live up to that. Vera had some impressive knockouts early in his career, but he earned more respect in this loss than he did in any other fight.

<strong>5. Matt Brown vs. Jordan Mein — UFC on Fox 7</strong>

This was a classic Matt Brown fight. Brown took tons of damage from Mein in the first round and it looked like the UFC might have made this matchup to highlight Mein and his rise to the top. In the second round, Brown changed those plans. Brown came back and scored a TKO in a fashion that only he could do. This is where Brown truly became Mr. Fox.

<strong>4. Robbie Lawler vs. Matt Brown — UFC on Fox 12</strong>

Now the Vera-Shogun fight might have been the most criticized main event that the UFC gave us on Fox. This one might have been the most praised, with two welterweight fan favorites slugging it out for a welterweight title shot. The fight certainly lived up to the hype. Many people still doubted Brown coming into this one; Brown proved them wrong once again. He lost for the first time in a very long time, but he was competitive in every round against the now welterweight champion.

<strong>3. Demetrious Johnson vs. John Dodson — UFC on Fox 6</strong>

With fighters like Rampage Jackson and Glover Teixiera on the main card, these two flyweights weren’t the marquee names on this fight card, but they certainly stole the show. To this day, Dodson has still given Johnson the toughest fight he has had as flyweight champion. The champ was rocked early and often, but he came back to win a decision and show us that he could be champion for a very long time.

<strong>2. Joe Lauzon vs. Jamie Varner- —UFC on FOX 4</strong>

Most of you have probably forgotten about this fight. Do yourself a favor and go on UFC Fight Pass and watch it. This fight was a true Fight of the Year contender in 2012. These two lightweights went nonstop, back and forth, and any other word you can use to describe an amazing brawl. In the end, Lauzon submitted Varner in the third round, but this fight was one that truly reminds us why we love this sport.

<strong>1. Junior dos Santos vs. Stipe Miocic — UFC on Fox 13</strong>

How ironic is it that the last fight we saw on Fox is the best? This fight is what inspired me to make this list. These two heavyweights went in there and put on a classic war for twenty five minutes. Miocic was winning in the early going, but when dos Santos dropped him in the third round, the entire complection of the bout changed. dos Santos won the final two rounds as well. Both fighters showed the wounds of war and the heart of a champion, making this fight #1.

About The Author

Trey Downey
Staff Writer

A Central Florida native, Trey Downey's interest in MMA came after a trip to Blockbuster and the rental of UFC 47 on VHS. He has been blogging about the sport since 2011 and hosted a podcast called The TD Experience focusing on football and MMA (touchdowns and takedowns). Trey studied radio and television at the University of Central Florida and will soon be attending the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Trey enjoys watching sports, pro wrestling and is an avid runner.