The Best Fights of 2011 Included the Most Vicious 25 Minutes In MMA History

2011 was a great year for MMA! There were countless ‘fight of the year’ candidates which helped make this list even more interesting than it already was to begin with. Every fight fan's cravings were satisfied in 2011 as MMA's popularity continued its rapid ascent and began to raid the mainstream. Simply put, 2011 was definitely a year to remember and these were the top fights.
1. Dan Henderson vs. Mauricio Rua (UFC 139) November 19, 2011
There is absolutely no doubt that this was the top fight in 2011. This fight defined MMA in 2011. It was a classic slugfest between two future Hall of Fame fighters and any hard core MMA fan could watch this fight multiple times and not get tired of it. There were so many swings of momentum and big shots landed in this fight with the first half belonging to Henderson and the second half belonging toRua. Rua was coming off of a loss to Jon Jones and many were expecting a big performance versus the cagey veteran Henderson. Henderson, 41, was not expected to win the fight; but nobody told him that. These two men came out with complete respect for one another but then punches started flying and a classic was born. Henderson's infamous, deadly right hand buckled Rua the first two times it landed. Round two saw some incredible exchanges that made the MMA world smile with Henderson winning almost every single exchange. Every punch thrown had bad intentions and the thudding sound of them landing was music to every fan's ear. At the start of round three the ref said, "Last round" and Henderson looked at him, threw up three fingers and said, "no, three more." He knew something that we all could not foresee at the moment because of the bout's frenetic pace. Then Henderson landed a devastating right hand that would have ended any other fighter's night. Rua went down and Henderson mounted him and seemingly beat the life out of him. It was a complete pounding and the ref was as close as it gets to stopping the fight as Rua bled profusely. Somehow Rua weathered the hurricane (it was too much to just call a storm) and ended up on his feet. The round ended with Rua having Henderson pinned against the fence. The momentum shifted in round four and Rua began to take over. Henderson was showing signs of fatigue and Rua took advantage. Suddenly Rua was winning all of the exchanges. The fifth and final round was a culmination of a complete 180 as Rua completely dominated from start to finish. It was his turn to beat the life out of a completely gassed Henderson and he did. He won every second of the round and finished strong answering all doubts about his cardio. Epic! Henderson was awarded the decision. Although the fight ended with him getting his butt handed to him for the last two rounds he did win the first three. MMA at its finest here!
2. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard II & III (UFC 125 & UFC 136)
Edgar has a knack for being in great fights. The kid is just exciting and thrives in these grueling battles. 2011 was no different as he fought Maynard twice (their second and third fights). The first was on New Year’s Day and ended in a draw as both men had their moments in the five round affair. The second fight was just as competitive but ended much more conclusively. Edgar left no doubts and did not let the judges decide the winner as he KO'd Maynard in the fourth round to put an end to the thrilling trilogy.
3. Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann (UFC Live) March 3, 2011
It is rare that you get out landed and ended up a bloody mess but still win a decision in MMA (that is a boxing fad), but that is exactly what happened in this controversial decision. Sanchez was the aggressor and controlled the pace but the aggression was ineffective. Kampmann countered beautifully and ruined Sanchez's face as he seemingly landed at will. You literally have to watch this a few times in order to understand why Sanchez won the decision. Regardless this was a war and both men landed their fair share of big shots. Although the decision left a sour taste in many fan's mouths, the fight was as good as it gets.
4. MarloesCoenen vs. Liz Carmouche (Strikeforce) March 5, 2011
Something about two girls fighting is just always exciting! Carmouche was dominating the majority of the fight and pounding Coenen constantly (she out landed Coenen 221 to 48). It seemed like an inevitable stoppage win for Carmouche. But Coenen's determination and persistence paid off when she stunningly put Carmouche in a triangle choke that subsequently ended the fight in the fourth round. It was a shocking turn of events that reminded everyone why MMA is such an unpredictable sport.
5. Jose Aldo vs. Mark Hominick (UFC 129) April 30, 2011
This was supposed to be a massacre! Aldo was expected to knock Hominick out within one round. Most experts questioned the credibility of the matchup, citing that Hominick had not faced any competition that was near the elite level of Aldo, and yet this turned into a real fight! Hominick pushed Aldo to the limit in a five-round decision loss. Nobody was questioning the matchup after the fight. As a matter of fact Hominick, was the aggressor when that final bell sounded. This fight will always be remembered for the surprising performance put on by Hominick.


There were numerous great MMA cards in 2011 and momentum was mounting as the sport was starting to reach new heights. Fights like these are the reason the sport continues to expand and will maintain that expansion. These are the Top 5 MMA Fights of 2011. Wouldn't you agree?

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