Ahead of the UFC’s upcoming milestone event, UFC 300, promotion CEO Dana White reflected on which events stood out among the rest as key moments.

From cards featuring superstar headliners such as Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey to key events that elevated the popularity of the UFC, White named what he believes to be the five most important events in the promotion’s history.

The Ultimate Fighter Finale – April 9, 2005

Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar is arguably the most important single fight in the UFC’s history. The light heavyweight final of the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter” was an absolute thriller of a three-round battle in which both fighters left everything inside the octagon. It put a bow on the inaugural season of the ongoing reality television series that is credited with “saving” the UFC.

UFC 157: Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche – Feb. 23, 2013

The first UFC fight in women’s history took place on Feb. 23, 2013, at UFC 157, and it featured the promotion’s biggest-ever female star, Ronda Rousey. After saying women would never compete in the UFC, White changed his tune when then Olympic bronze medalist Rousey came around, and presented her with the women’s bantamweight title at a press conference.

So, the first women’s fight in UFC history was a title fight, and one in which Rousey successfully defended her title against Liz Carmouche. Rousey slapped on her signature armbar, sparking a women’s revolution in the UFC.

UFC 205: Eddie Alvarez vs. Conor McGregor – Nov. 12, 2016

UFC 205 was an incredibly historic event filled with firsts. It was the first UFC event in New York City and, therefore, the first at Madison Square Garden. The event hosted three title fights, another first in promotion history.

The headliner? “The Notorious” Conor McGregor entered as the featherweight champion, challenging the lightweight champion, Eddie Alvarez. McGregor effortlessly styled on Alvarez to capture a second title, becoming the first to hold two UFC titles simultaneously. The Irishman was already the biggest star in the sport, but the moment elevated him to an unmatched level.

UFC 229: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Conor McGregor – Oct. 6, 2018


The heated Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov rivalry was finally settled at UFC 229 on Oct. 6, 2018.

Bad blood boiled between the two fighters and their camps in the lead-up to this fight, including the infamous Brooklyn bus attack headed by McGregor targeting Nurmagomedov.

A few months after, when the cage door shut at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nurmagomedov got the last laugh by submitting McGregor in Round 4. However, the victorious moment wasn’t enough to squash the beef. A post-fight brawl immediately followed the conclusion of the fight, creating another dangerous incident.

It’s no surprise that White chose an event headlined by two of the biggest stars in UFC history to make his top 5.

UFC 261: Kamaru Usman vs. Jorge Masvidal 2 – April 24, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world in 2020, although the UFC pushed through with events in venues without fans. However, on April 23, 2021, the promotion sold out VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Fla., becoming the first event to do so as the world began to return to normalcy.

The energy in the building was electric from the first fight all the way to the main event, which was a welterweight title rematch between Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal headlined the event. Usman brutally knocked out Masvidal, capping off the event with an incredible highlight.