Most shocking debuts In UFC history

We talk a lot about the iconic matches the UFC puts together – when they make current champions fight past champions or when they put two fighters with perfect records against each other. By making the most of MMA betting odds you can have a lot of fun predicting the results of these matches.

Today, however, we wanted to talk about something a little different. We are going to be looking at the debut fights that put past and current champions on the map for the first time.

Frank Mir vs Roberto Traven (UFC 34)

Mir holds two UFC records – (1) most wins via submission in the Heavyweight division, and (2) longest uninterrupted tenure with the UFC, 2001-2016. He was a Heavyweight Championship holder.

Could this have been predicted by watching his debut fight? We think so.

Mir’s debut took place against Roberto Traven at UFC 34. At the time, Traven was a UFC tournament champion. No one expected Mir to win the fight. However, in 1:05 he had Traven in an armbar and his opponent submitted.

Ronda Rousey vs Liz Carmouche (UFC 157)

Anyone who knows a little bit about the history of the UFC will not be surprised to see this fight on this list.

Not only was this the UFC debut for both fighters, but it was the debut of women’s fighting in the UFC.

Many had believed that the pair would be fairly evenly matched and that this fight was going to be quite boring. It was much the opposite.

Rousey forced Carmouche to submit in the first round, taking only 4:59. This was the first of many victories for Rousey in the UFC.

Marcus Brimage vs Conor McGregor (UFC on FUEL TV 9)

In both 2020 and 2021, McGregor was named the highest-paid sports star in the world. This may seem odd to many as he is not currently a UFC champion and he lost his last match. However, McGregor has a huge brand and many spectacular wins under his belt that helped to build this reputation.

His debut was no different.

McGregor knocked Brimage out in 1:08. That night he won “knockout of the night” and took home his first big UFC paycheck. No one had even expected him to be able to compete against Brimage.

Nick Diaz vs Jeremy Jackson (UFC 44)

Diaz had been building a reputation for himself outside of the UFC. He had won his first two professional MMA matches by submission and many were excited to hear that he would be joining the UFC.

Many fighters were dismissive of this reputation and said he would get a real challenge until he fought in the UFC.

Diaz proved them wrong. His fight with Jackson went until the final round. However, Diaz eventually won via submission after he got Jackson in an armbar.

Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir (UFC 81)

Having been an amateur wrestling champion in college, Lenser was determined to prove to the world outside the WWE that he could actually fight. So, he joined the world of MMA and eventually got signed by the UFC.

Mir had upset on his debut fight, so it only seems fair that he would be at the receiving end of the same kind of upset eventually.

The fight lasted through all the rounds and eventually went to the judges. They unanimously crowned Lesner the champion. Unanimous decisions were very rare at the time – so, the win was a huge deal.

Luis Ramos vs. Erick Silva (UFC 134)

Silva was not meant to fight Ramos originally, but his first opponent broke their knee during training and had to pull out.

Silva was instead scheduled to fight fellow Brazilian Luis Ramos. Most expected this to be a quick fight and that Ramos would knock Silva out in the first round.

However, Silva came out swinging and won the fight via knockout in 1:08 minutes.

Silva went on to win the UFC Welterweight title, and his younger brother is also a titleholder in the UFC.

All of these debuts were so iconic that it is hard to pick the best. We do have a soft spot for Ronda Rousey’s debut though. This fight opened up the door for many other female fighters and she created a place for women in the UFC. And, in that fight, Rousey put in an incredible performance.

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