LAST year was arguably the toughest period the UFC has endured since the company nearly went bankrupt in 2001.
Covid-19 forced mixed martial arts' premier promotion to shut up shop for two months and to miss out on millions of pounds of revenue.
The UFC, however, adapted quickly to the new global climate and bounced back by staging fights behind closed doors at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, Fight Island in Abu Dhabi and their Apex facility in Las Vegas,
With 2020 now firmly a thing of the past, SunSport thought it'd only be right to recap five of the best fights to take place in a year many will want to put behind them.
Check them out below.
Weili Zhang vs Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The eagerly-anticipated battle of strawweight strikers at UFC 248 well and truly lived up to it's billing.
In fact, I'd go as far as to say that defending champion Weili Zhang and the division's former ruler, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, put on the greatest fight in the history of women's mixed martial arts.
The bout was well and truly a back-and-forth affair, with Zhang dominating the early rounds before fatigue allowed Jedrzejczyk back into the contest.
Both women were left with disfigured faces, although Poland's Jedrzejczyk was definitely the worse of the two.
Zhang ultimately ended up retaining her title via split decision, a verdict which is more than enough of a justification for her to run it back with JJ.
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Dustin Poirier vs Dan Hooker
Kiwi lightweight Dan Hooker called for a showdown with Dustin Poirier for the best part of six months.
And he didn't hold back one bit when he finally shared the Octagon with the former interim lightweight champ last July.
Poirier and Hooker went to war for five straight rounds in the main event of UFC on ESPN 12 and were left with gruesome facial injuries for their efforts.
The fight will live long in the memory as both men – who showed championship heart – came close to finishing the other in brutal fashion.
Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje
MMA fans around the world were left salivating as soon Tony Ferguson vs Justin Gaethje was announced for UFC 249.
The excitement for the interim lightweight title fight stemmed from the pair's respective pressure-based styles, although Gaethje somewhat strayed from that approach in his previous two outings.
And the fight well and truly lived up to the hype, although nobody expected it to turn out how it did.
Fan favourite Gaethje dominated Ferguson on the feet and punished him with crisp and perfectly-executed punches that seemed to land at will.
Ferguson, to his credit, hung in there but ended up sustaining horrific lacerations on his face before referee Herb Dean called a halt to the contest with just over a minute left in the fifth round.
Gaethje's virtuoso performance against El Cucucy – who entered the fight riding a 12-fight win streak – was undoubtedly the best display of his professional career.
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Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier III
The final chapter of Stipe Miocic's rivalry with Daniel Cormier played out at the UFC's Apex facility in Las Vegas. And the heavyweight duo turned in a fight worthy of capping off their trilogy.
Much like their second meeting at UFC 241, the bout was a back-and-forth brawl.
Cormier had success in round one but found himself in trouble in the closing stages of the second stanza when Miocic dropped him and went in for the kill.
That proved to be the moment the tide turned as Miocic continued to assert his dominance in round three.
Cormier – who was on the receiving end of a nasty eye poke – battled back in the fourth and fifth rounds but failed to do enough to reclaim the heavyweight title, which Miocic retained via a unanimous decision victory.
Deveison Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno
The final pay-per-view fight of 2020 saw both defending flyweight champion Deveison Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno raise their stock considerably.
This fight had everything. Well not everything as there were no knockdowns, but it had all the drama you'd associate with a championship bout.
The explosive and hard-hitting Figueiredo started strong but was soon met with stern resistance from a game Moreno, who had no intention of being just another name on the Brazilian's victim list.
After taking the God of War's best shots, Moreno came close to finishing the fight in the fourth when he rocked the champion with a picture-perfect head kick.
The Mexican's cardio, however, betrayed him in the fifth and allowed the champ to recover and dictate the pace of round – which ultimately led to the fight being scored a draw.
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