The Night where three new ufc champions were crowned

Published on 20 March 2024 at 13:00

Madison Square Garden has hosted some of the most iconic events in UFC history which include Conor McGregor becoming the first simultaneous two-division champion at UFC 205, Jorge Masvidal winning the BMF belt against Nate Diaz at UFC 244 and Alex Pereira becoming the first man to defeat Israel Adesanya in the Middleweight division, capturing the UFC Middleweight title.

But the most historic event came at UFC 217 as on November 4, 2017, three new champions were crowned. One fight saw an incredible underdog victory, the second saw a a fiery rivalry end in entertaining fashion, and the third saw a UFC legend return after four years to dethrone a British warrior. Here is what happened in the three extraordinary championship bouts


Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs rose namajunas

Joanna Jedrzejczyk was on a six-fight title winning streak heading into Madison Square Garden after winning her previous championship bout against Jessica Andrade by unanimous decision at UFC 211. Jedrzejczyk had never been defeated in her career and looking to have a more iconic career in MMA compared to the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, Ronda Rousey.

Rose Namajunas was one of the two first fighters to challenge for the inaugural UFC Strawweight Championship but lost to Carla Esparza on The Ultimate Fighter 20 Finale. Thug Rose's next five fights would put her in position for a title shot as despite losing one of the five fights by split decision, she earned three submission wins and an unanimous decision victory.

The Polish fighter looked to be very confident heading into the Strawweight title fight, making intimidating face-offs before the fight and using plenty of trash talk to her advantage. Namajunas aimed to be calm and composed as the time got closer to UFC 217, not showing any sign of fear from Jedrzejczyk's intimidation.

The fight would not last long as Namajunas proved to be the better fighter, knocking Jedrzejczyk down in the first round before hitting her with more punches on the ground to win the fight and become the new UFC Strawweight Champion. 

The two fighters would face each other in a rematch at UFC 223 where Namajunas would be successful again, defeating The Boogeywoman by unanimous decision.

The championship bout would be voted as 2017 Upset of the Year with fight fans seeing this as an ultimate underdog victory and possibly Namajunas' greatest win of her MMA career. Not only did she become champion but became the first fighter to defeat Joanna Jedrzejczyk, all in the same night.

Cody Garbrandt vs T.J. Dillashaw

Cody Garbrandt recently became champion before his first title defence at UFC 217 as he defeated Dominick Cruz by unanimous decision to win the UFC Bantamweight Championship at UFC 207. No Love was undefeated with 11 fights as nine of those victories ended by knockout, proving that Garbrandt was an incredible knockout artist.

T.J. Dillashaw was the former champion heading into the title fight at MSG after he lost the 135-pound belt to Dominick Cruz by split decision at the TD Garden in early January 2016. Following the same year he lost the title, Dillashaw earned two unanimous decision victories to earn his way back to title contention, one against Raphael Assuncao at UFC 200 and one against John Lineker at UFC 207.

Both men would be opposing coaches for season 25 of The Ultimate Fighter which is what made this rivalry so heated, building up to an anticipating championship fight. 

The fight would become more exciting when the UFC 217 pre-fight press conference took place as both men did not hold back, trash talking constantly at any opportunity when a question was asked.

The entertaining Bantamweight title fight started off with not much action, however, towards the end of the round, Garbrandt knocked down Dillashaw and completely stunned the Sonora-born fighter as he was a bit wobbly heading back to his corner. The fight would take a turn in the second round as Dillashaw would knock down Garbrandt with a head kick before knocking down the champion again in an incredible exchange of punches before finishing the fight by TKO.

Just like Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas, Dillashaw and Garbrandt would be set for a rematch as they headlined UFC 227. The two-time UFC Bantamweight Champion would be successful again, knocking down Garbrandt twice before stopping him in the first round.

Because the build-up was so intense and the fight was action-packed in just two rounds, both men would be recipients for 2017 Rivalry of the Year. A rare occurrence to see as two new champions would be crowned in the same event with the main event still to come.

Michael Bisping vs Georges st-pierre

Michael Bisping became UFC Middleweight Champion 17 months before his second title defence as he defeated Luke Rockhold, on 17 days' notice, by first-round knockout at UFC 199. The Count would then avenge a KO loss which occurred at UFC 100 when he defeated Dan Henderson by unanimous decision at UFC 204. Bisping would be a very experienced fighter in the Middleweight division, having a record for the most fights and wins in the UFC 185-pound division as he currently stood on a five-fight winning streak heading into UFC 217.

It was a surprise to hear when Georges St-Pierre would return to the Octagon after announcing his retirement four years ago when he defeated Johnny Hendricks by split decision at UFC 167. GSP is very well-known for being the greatest Welterweight in MMA history with a total of 12 title wins in the UFC. The Canadian fighter would return with a 12-fight winning streak as Bisping had the chance to be the third fighter to defeat St-Pierre. GSP would also compete in a Middleweight bout for the first time in his career as well.

What became unexpected was a rivalry which got heated up at the press conference. Michael Bisping was always known to be a trash talker to his opponent whenever he got the chance whilst St-Pierre would give a few digs to the champion which is what made this fight more anticipating.

The start of the fight had both men exchange strikes carefully and GSP proving he had not lost it after stunning Bisping just before the end of the first round. St-Pierre would successfully take down the British fighter in the second round, however, Bisping would land some slicing elbows whilst on his back, leaving a few cuts on the former UFC Welterweight Champion.

The fight would come to a spectacular end in the third round when GSP knocked down Bisping before finishing the fight with a rear-naked choke to win the UFC Middleweight Championship. St-Pierre would become one of few fighters to win a title in two divisions as his legacy would become more iconic in his MMA career.

St-Pierre would confirm his retirement after the three-round war as he would not compete in the UFC again. Bisping would have one more fight in the promotion before retiring from the sport after a knockout loss to Kelvin Gastelum at Shanghai. Both men to this day are seen as legends of the UFC through all the sacrifice they have made with the sport.

Which fight did you enjoy the most? Who deserved to be champion by the end of UFC 217?


Featured Images: Flickr - Alecksander Torrez, photo_x, Arlindo Orlando, Myumyun Myumyun, Myumyun Myumyun Photo 2, Alex Robert, Endless Loop, UFC 217 live, Andrew Cowan, Andrew Cowan Photo 2, Andrew Cowan Photo 3.


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


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Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

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