Qualities Of A Great Fight

An age old axiom is that “All roads lead to Rome”. However, the roads are all different and a traveller might elect to take one road over another and simply, because they prefer one road’s topography, view or the time required to traverse it, over that of any another road.

As a metaphor the adage can be extended and in this case, it can be extended to MMA.

In doing so, Rome becomes victory and the path to it, a fighter’s performance in the Octagon. However and as we know, there are different performances and some are considered to be more preferable to others. More to the point, these performances are witnessed by adoring and paying crowds (both live and by broadcast) and the crowds have varying opinions as to what qualifies as a great performance and subsequently a great fight.

So, what does make a great fight?

Anderson Silva fans would tell you that his fight with Chris Weidman was a not a great fight, where Weidman fans would completely disagree. GSP fans would tell you that his bouts with Fitch, Penn, Condit and Diaz (for example) were all great fights, where many fans and not just those of the fighter’s named, would tell you that all of his fights are boring.

Many fans, including myself, would tell you that Ryan Jimmo’s KO of Anthony Perosh in 7 seconds (UFC 149) was a great fight (thrill). However, many fans don’t like flash KO’s and wouldn’t want a steady diet of it.

Some fans like nothing but stand-up, where others love to see a good ground war and Jiu Jitsu match, while (still) others love a good mix of both.

For me, I think a great fight can be any one of a number of things and it doesn’t always need 2 great performances to achieve it. Sometimes, it’s amazing to watch how one fighter can completely own another fighter and render the other fighter’s performance a moot point; Anderson Silva and Jon Jones being the best examples of this type of dominance.

Then there’s the back-and-forth brawl, those Edgar / Maynard, Edgar / Henderson, Sanchez / Guida, Silva / Sonnen I fights, that give fans so much to chew on and so much value for their dollar; lengthy, gutty, gritty performances from both combatants that make other fights pale, by comparison.

I’d have to say that for my money, those are the types of fights I love the most and that (for me) hold the greatest number of “great fight” qualities. Of them, they combined KO’s, submissions, split-decisions, amazing come-backs, drama, great performances from both fighters and significant numbers of rounds fought.

If every fight could be as those, then most fans (if not all) would be happy. That said though, there’s nothing like seeing “your guy” go out and put a pounding on the “other guy”.

What are the qualities of a great fight, to you?


  1. Profile photo of Entity


    July 18, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    It didnt have to be Silva, but seeing someone showboating and disrespecting an opponent, then getting KTFO is pretty darn entertaining,
    Or seeing an underdog pull the upset…….darn I just described the Silva fight again.

    Ok, seeing a guy relatively new to the sport takeout a champ……aww forget it

  2. Profile photo of G3ARHEAD


    July 18, 2013 at 11:02 pm

    The best fights are the ones where we get to see both fighters doing everything in their power to win. You can tell most of the time when someone is coasting, and that never makes a good fight. Grice-Bermudez is my favorite recent example of both men willing to do everything and anything to hurt the other guy, even if it's not his forte. That's a real fight.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      July 19, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Yeah, there's nothing worse than seeing fighters killing a clock or not having enough cardio to go the full fight; 3 or 5.

    • Profile photo of darejz00


      July 19, 2013 at 3:16 am

      I think the key ingredient is seeing fighters really go for it and make the fight happen. There needs to be competition and heart from both sides, the skillset required is secondary. Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a fighter give up on himself.
      Then of course there are the occasions where we get to see rare skill and a more technical approach. Whether it be BJJ, Judo or boxing, it's always extremely enjoyable to watch someone perform at their technical best.

      One of my fairly recent favorite is Lauzon vs Miller, both boasted with very technical striking and definitely no quitting on either side. Cherry on top is the genuine mutual respect before, during and after the fight.

  3. Profile photo of grandslam


    July 18, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    Not sure why did you not mention Dan Henderson vs Shogun Rua as one of the great fights. In my opinion a great fight is where the fans get to witness the fighter within the fighter.

    For example, Condit's head kick in the 3rd round was probably the best part of his fight with GSP as it put GSP completely off balance. That was a great fight because it proves that Condit is one guy who remains dangerous no matter how much punishment he takes early on in the fight.

    My view is that It is the spirit of the fighter that makes great fights and not so much the outcome of the fight.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      July 18, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      Grand, you are so right about Henderson vs. Shogun, yet, how could I name all the great fights? As such, I just pulled a couple of examples from what I loved, but you are absolutely right on Henderson / Rua.

      I agree with you, the outcome is not always a quality in-and-of-itself. One thing I forgot to mention regarding the fights that I did note, was a "draw" between Edgar / Maynard.

      I think it's safe to say, that a great fight is different things to different people, but you are right on spirit. That's probably a quality that every fight fan would agree on.

      • Profile photo of grandslam


        July 19, 2013 at 1:59 am

        I agree Brian, it is not easy to pull all the great fights especially when you are just stating examples. The problem is that, to me, Henderson vs Rua was the greatest of all time. It could be because i am a relatively new MMA fan and chances are that I may not have seen the fights that you have stated above. Besides it's always fun to point out something that you miss in your articles.

  4. Profile photo of enjoylife321


    July 18, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Some of the best fights are those that show more than just fists. Heart, endurance, respect and no quit.

    1. Mirko Cro cop vs Pat Barry
    2.Joe Lauzon vs Miller
    3. Shogun vs Henderson 5 rounder.

  5. Profile photo of Brian Cox

    Brian Cox

    July 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    I'm a sucker for a come-back. There's nothing better than seeing a guy who was hit with everything, but the kitchen sink and have him turn it around and win. Check Kongo beating Pat Berry, not the best example, but not a bad one either.

    Frankie Edgar in both of his Maynard fights.

    Ya, just have to love the come-back.

  6. Profile photo of Cookie77


    July 19, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Griffin Vs Bonnar finals of TUF 1

  7. Profile photo of BjjFan


    July 19, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Dude you bang on about the Silva fight like Walter goes on about Nam! Are you going to shoe-horn the fact that Silva lost into every article you write? Horse **** journalism.

    • Profile photo of Brian Cox

      Brian Cox

      July 19, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Bjj, I don't feel that I shoe-horned Silva into this article. It was the most recent and relevant example to use, in terms of what I was talking about.

      Also, the fight and it's aftermath are still resonating and will resonate until the night of their re-match. It's news and fans enjoy discussing it. The fact that Silva lost is simply part of the story.

      I regret that I upset you in terms of referencing the fight, but in deference to that I cannot avoid the subject. However, I appreciate your concerns on the matter and thank you for letting me know.



    • Profile photo of Entity


      July 19, 2013 at 11:48 pm

      I shoe horned the shiit out of him 8))

  8. Profile photo of TheRealDeal


    July 19, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    A fighter who's ego is larger than the moon being brought down to earth with one punch…..AKA Weidman/Silva, and Bisping/Hendo fights…….. Priceless…

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