Top 5 UFC Comebacks

Published on 7 December 2023 at 16:00

The UFC has witnessed some of the wildest comebacks in MMA history, making fans go completely mental at any event of which it occurs. Many fighters have looked like it's game over during a fight before a sudden surge of energy and motivation kicks in to defy the odds and take the victory. Here are the Top 5 greatest comebacks to have ever happened in the UFC which have not only had commentators screaming down their microphones, but have completely changed a fighter's career.


5. Matt Schnell vs Su Mudaerji - UFC Long Island

A Flyweight bout that did not have a lot of high expectations turned into one hell of a fight. Both Schnell and Su Mudaerji were ranked Flyweight contenders as the Chinese fighter was hoping to rise up the rankings with a win against 'Danger' at the UBS Arena.

The first round was particularly quiet with Matt taking down 'The Tibetan Eagle' and attempting a few submissions whilst Su Mudaerji was patiently waiting for a ground and pound at any opportunity.

The second round became the wild and probably the most exciting round of MMA to watch in 2022. After mainly out-striking his opponent in the first minute, Su Mudaerji knocked down Schnell with a wicked left-hand before constantly stunning the #8 Flyweight contender with leading elbows.  The #12 Flyweight contender looked like he was going to finish the fight after landing more punches on Matt Schnell.

Just when you thought the fight could not get any better, it took an unexpected turn. Schnell stunned Su Mudaerji with a great one-two combo before hitting a straight right-hand and taking him down. The Mississipi-born fighter would ground and pound after getting into full mount but would shortly be on his back when Su Mudaerji rolled him over.

Schnell managed to lock in a Triangle Choke after a long attempt to lock in the submission. The Chinese fighter was unconscious just before the referee stopped the fight with the New York crowd going completely bonkers at what they had just witnessed.

4. Brock Lesnar vs Shane Carwin - UFC 116

 A Classic striker vs grappler match was set for UFC 116 after Shane Carwin had defeated Frank Mir to become the Interim Heavyweight champion and face the undisputed King of the Heavyweights, Brock Lesnar.

The first round of this highly anticipated fight almost saw a new champion as Carwin stunned Lesnar with a lead uppercut before constantly hitting the undisputed champion with numerous punches. Lesnar eventually went to the ground trying to block any of Shane's punches with the Colorado-born fighter looking to finish the fight.

After Carwin continuously hit the South Dakota fighter on the ground, the two fighters spent a small period of the fight grappling with Lesnar eventually getting back to his feet and clinching the Interim Heavyweight champion against the cage.

After a vicious first round which saw Shane Carwin completely dominate, the second round took a drastic turn. The second round of the Heavyweight bout began with Brock being very cautious of Shane's striking despite the undefeated fighter looking very exhausted. 

The UFC Heavyweight champion timed a very good takedown on Carwin as all of a sudden the underdog of the first round became the favourite in the second. With wrestling being a big strength for Lesnar, he locked in an Arm Triangle Choke which gradually affected Shane as he had no choice but to tap.

Lesnar not only retained his UFC Heavyweight Championship but became the first fighter to defeat Shane Carwin in spectacular comeback fashion. 

3. Cheick Kongo vs Pat Barry - UFC on Versus 4

A Heavyweight bout that has two fighters that favour to finish with a knockout is always a joy to watch. Cheick Kongo and Pat Barry was not originally the main event for UFC on Versus 4 as after Anthony Johnson was ruled out of his fight, due to injury, Barry and Kongo was promoted to headline the card at Pittsburgh.

This fight did not even need one full round as unexpected chaos was about to begin which would give MMA fans their moneys worth. 

The first round started with a plenty of leg kicks from both competitors despite Barry checking the majority of low kicks. 'HD' seemed to have more confidence in the fight as he was pushing Kongo back towards the cage and getting ready to land a powerful punch.

Barry landed a lead-right overhand punch which knocked down the French fighter as Cheick was almost completely out when he tried to get back up to his feet. Once Kongo stood up, Pat Barry landed a vicious right-hook which sent him on the floor once again as the fight was coming very close to stopping.

After a struggle, the Paris-born fighter got back to his feet again but was in a more dangerous position as he backed up towards the cage. Just when you thought Cheick Kongo was going to get knocked out, the opposite would happen as Kongo hit a right-hook which stunned Barry before knocking him out with an uppercut in shocking fashion. 

It would be an understatement to say that the crowd was shocked in the Consol Energy Center as just under 8,000 people witnessed one of the most extraordinary comebacks in MMA history.

2. Anderson Silva vs Chael Sonnen - UFC 117

This fight had witnessed an underdog almost overcome the odds as Chael Sonnen would challenge UFC Middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, in the Oracle Arena. Silva was currently on an 11-fight win streak with seven title wins, proving to be a tough test for the challenger.

The fight began in a shocking and spectacular style as Chael Sonnen managed to catch the champion with multiple punches and wobble him during the first round.

The next three rounds were highly dominant for the Oregon-born fighter as his wrestling became a big strength in the fight. 'The Spider' did catch out Sonnen with a few submission attempts but the challenger for the belt saw no problem as he defended them very well. 

During the fourth round, the Middleweight champion did hurt Chael with a variety of strikes as it looked like he would start to comeback. However, after a bit of grappling between the two, Sonnen ended on top of Silva once again to gain even more ground control time.

As the final round was gradually coming to an end, it was clear that Chael Sonnen was winning the fight as the scorecards were going his way. Anderson Silva needed to finish the fight in order to win the fight and retain UFC gold,

Whilst Sonnen was on top of Silva, gaining more ground control time, the Brazilian fighter attempted a Triangle Choke which completely took Sonnen by surprise. Despite Chael almost getting out of the submission hold, he had no choice but to tap as Anderson Silva remarkably won the fight.

The ending of the fight did seem controversial at first due to the tap looking very unclear from Sonnen but after a few replays later it was very clear that he did submit, allowing Anderson Silva to continue his legacy as champion.

1. Kamaru Usman vs Leon Edwards - UFC 278

A highly anticipated Welterweight bout would occur at UFC 278 as UFC Welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, would take on #2 Welterweight contender, Leon Edwards, for second time against each other in the UFC. Usman won the last bout by Unanimous Decision against Edwards when both fighters were unranked in the Welterweight division.

The fight started with both men being cautious of each other, not risking to hit any powerful shots. Leon managed to take down Usman to the ground and almost found a submission attempt, however, submitting the Welterweight champion was always going to be tough as his big strength in MMA is wrestling.'

The second and third round saw Kamaru Usman apply a lot of pressure to the challenger as the 'Nigerian Nightmare' landed some wicked shots to Edwards and performed a few takedowns, gaining ground control time to make sure he would win the rounds.

Not much had changed in the fourth round as despite 'Rocky' looking for a takedown, Usman would find one of his own before clinching with the Birmingham fighter against cage towards the end of the round.

The Jamaican-born fighter had to finish the fight and preferably by knockout as Kamaru Usman's ground game was just too good. Many of the MMA community believed that the fight would end with a decision win for the champion.

With just over a minute left of the fight, Leon Edwards did the unthinkable and landed a pinpoint accurate head kick to Usman, dropping the Nigerian fighter to the ground and winning by KO with the whole crowd at Salt Lake City going completely mental over the unexpected ending.

Leon Edwards became UFC champion in one of the greatest ways possible after coming back from almost losing a dominant decision to knocking out one of the best Welterweights in the UFC to stand in the Octagon.

Featured Images: Flickr - Esther Lin, Brick and Mortar, mstracylee, Jornal Brasil em FolhasGabriela Pansani Saldanha


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

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Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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