Top 10 UFC fights of 2021 ranked, featuring Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier & Justin Gaethje

  • Tom Ward
Ranking the 10 greatest UFC fights of 2021

As another year draws to a close, it’s time to take a look back at the best fights from the world of the UFC.

From Charles Oliveira’s comeback win over Michael Chandler to Dustin Poirier‘s back-to-back victories over Conor McGregor, 2021 had a little bit of everything for every fight fan to enjoy, with Dana White dishing out plenty of performance-related bonuses along the way as well.

Once again, the COVID-19 pandemic cast a dark shadow over much of the year as a whole as new variants started to emerge, but the world’s premier mixed martial arts organisation still somehow managed to find a way to keep on going even in the face of such adversity.

With the New Year fast approaching, GIVEMESPORT thought it’d be a good idea to rank the best fights in order which took place in a year that many will quickly want to forget.  

Check them out below.

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1. Justin Gaethje vs Michael Chandler 

We asked, they delivered. Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler was always going to be a brutal war of attrition and it did not disappoint in the slightest. A deserving winner despite the rest of the competition. 

2. Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega 

Perhaps unfortunate to miss out on top spot, Alexander Volkanovski showed what champions are made of against Brian Ortega in the main event of UFC 266 back in November. The Australian somehow managed to survive not one but TWO submission attempts from ‘T-City’ himself to keep a hold of the featherweight title he won off of Max Holloway

3. Petr Yan vs Cory Sandhagen 

Take a bow, Petr Yan and Cory Sandhagen. If you’re a fan of martial arts, this is as good as it gets. In fact, I’d even go so far as to argue that it is quite possibly the most technical display of martial arts I think I have ever seen – and this is coming from a guy who considers himself a fan of Anderson Silva. Simply breath-taking.  

4. Max Holloway vs Calvin Kattar 

Speaking of the aforementioned Holloway, the Hawaiian also makes his way into the top five with a decision win over Calvin Kattar back in January. It may have been at the start of the year, but that doesn’t mean that fans should forget about it, either. Not that it’s likely they will after Holloway landed a record 445 significant strikes in one of the most lopsided UFC fights in recent memory.

5. Charles Oliveira vs Michael Chandler 

What a journey Charles Oliveira has been on. From being told as a child that he would need a wheelchair to becoming UFC lightweight champion at his first attempt is something truly incredible. The fight itself wasn’t bad, either. A special mention to Chandler, too, for the part he played in it as well.

6. Dustin Poirier vs Conor McGregor 2 

McGregor picked out Poirier for his homecoming party, but few could have predicted what would happen next. To be fair the Notorious did have his moments but the tide soon started to turn once the Diamond began to find a home for his one-two combinations. McGregor, to his credit, did try to stay standing but ended up in a heap on the canvas before referee Herb Dean called a halt to the contest with just over two minutes left in the second round.

7. Max Holloway vs Yair Rodriguez 

The second of two entries featuring Holloway, this one also includes pretty much a one-sided beatdown. At least, that was until Yair Rodriguez finally decided to do something about it. 

8. Edson Barboza vs Shane Burgos 

We’re still not quite exactly sure what happened here but what we do know is Shane Burgos’ body decided to shut itself down after taking more than enough punishment from Edson Barboza.

9. Cory Sandhagen vs TJ Dillashaw 

Like Chandler, Sandhagen can perhaps consider himself unfortunate to have lost both of his fights on the list. It was a valiant effort nevertheless but ultimately he fell short against the returning TJ Dillashaw who underlined his credentials once again as a bona fide contender.  

10. Drew Dober vs Brad Riddell

This one may have flown under the radar for those but a few but boy did it deliver. Drew Dober and Brad Riddell turned in a fight which raised their stock considerably. Dober started the stronger of the two but visibly started to fade as the fight wore on, while Riddell showed true grit and determined to get his hand raised via a unanimous decision victory.

Can you get full marks on this ultimate Conor McGregor quiz? 

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Where was Conor McGregor born?

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