The 9 Biggest Mistakes Ever Made In UFC Fighting


  • UFC fighters must handle immense pressure in the Octagon, where one mistake can destroy dreams and alter careers forever.
  • Some fighters have lost titles or achieved improbable victories due to errors in judgment, which has affected their legacy in the brutal world of MMA.
  • Mistakes like bragging, illegal knees, and underestimating opponents have led to monumental upsets and iconic moments in UFC history.

The thrill and agony of a UFC fight is one of the most fascinating phenomena in sports. Fans of fighters on both sides feel all the emotions and react to the glaring mistakes that are made in a big fight.

Fans will never understand the immense pressure of being in the Octagon at a big moment, when one wrong move can cost a fighter his dreams. Some of the biggest mistakes in UFC fights have seen stars lose titles and underdogs walk away with unexpected wins.


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9 Jalin Turner looks for a knockout at UFC 300

But “Money Moicano” can’t afford to lose!



Result of the fight

UFC 300

Renato Moicano by technical knockout in the second round

Turner dropped Moicano in the first round and clearly gave the Brazilian fan favorite a concussion. Instead of following Moicano to the ground and finishing the fight with follow-up punches, Turner turned and walked away, assuming the fight was over.

Many UFC fans have different opinions on this misjudgment by Jalin Turner at UFC 300. Was he looking for a knockout win that would make him stand out and secure a $100,000 bonus that night? Or was he a bit scarred by an earlier performance against Bobby Green, where he inflicted much more punishment on Green than he needed due to a late stoppage? The positive is that this led to an iconic post-fight octagon moment for Moicano.

8 Andre Soukhamthath wrestling with Sean O’Malley

O’Malley suffered a Lisfranc fracture and was unable to stand.

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Result of the fight

UFC 222

Sean O’Malley via UD

At UFC 222 in 2018, a highly touted prospect in Sean O’Malley was given the spotlight on a pay-per-view card in just his second UFC appearance. Andre Soukhamthath wasn’t on the same level as O’Malley, but he had a chance to steal a win from the popular prospect because O’Malley suffered a brutal foot injury that took away his ability to stand on one of his feet.

Instead of acknowledging this injury and having the injured fighter get back to his feet and try to continue while severely affected, Soukhamthath decided to attempt multiple takedowns and finish the third round on the ground, while being threatened by submissions from O’Malley. This victory could have significantly altered the careers of both men, which MMA fans know went in opposite directions.

7 Jose Aldo gives McGregor some space in his head

The overly emotional featherweight champion was caught early

© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Result of the fight

UFC 194

Conor McGregor by knockout in the first round

There aren’t many pre-fight moments that can compare to UFC 194, when the fastest-rising star in combat sports was using mental warfare against arguably the greatest featherweight of all time. McGregor used incredible verbal sparring to anger Aldo like no one had ever seen. The attacks on Aldo’s culture, legacy, and constant disrespect led to a fight night that was filled with excitement and tension in Aldo’s corner.

In the opening seconds of the biggest fight in UFC featherweight history, Aldo did what McGregor predicted and overextended himself with a punch in an attempt to knock him out. This led to the most memorable counterpunches in UFC history, with a 13-second KO victory for McGregor. The calm and stoic UFC Hall of Famer has never made such a mistake in his legendary career.

6 Luke Rockhold underestimates Michael Bisping

With no respect for Bisping’s abilities, Rockhold found out the hard way in the first round.

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Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports


Result of the fight

UFC 199

Michael Bisping by knockout in the first round

Rockhold’s arrogance and disdain for Bisping’s skills and ability to beat him led to one of the most remarkable underdog stories in UFC history. Bisping, with one working eye, knocked out Rockhold in the first round with power the champion said he didn’t possess.


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5 Glover Teixeira jumps the guillotine in the fifth round against Prochazka

After a great performance, the champion gives up at the end of the fight

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Result of the fight

UFC 275

Jiri Prochazka via SUB 5th round

For new UFC fans, this light heavyweight title fight is one of the best of this decade. A UFC veteran defending his new UFC belt against a scheming modern-day Samurai looking to take over the sport. The fight went back and forth for most of the 5 rounds, but Teixeira controlled the fight and led the judges’ scorecards. Teixeira seemingly only had to survive the 5th round to win a title and potentially retire as a champion.

Teixeira opened the fifth round by hurting Prochazka badly, but instead of continuing to land clean shots on a wobbly challenger, Teixeira attempted a guillotine and lost position. Even with that egregious mistake, he remained in control until his position was reversed in the final minute and he lost by submission.

4 Chris Weidman loses his belt after an unusual wheel kick

Luke Rockhold took advantage of the mistake

© Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


Result of the fight

UFC 194

Luke Rockhold via technical knockout in the fourth round

Coming into UFC 194, Chris Weidman was the most dominant middleweight in the world, having beaten Anderson Silva twice, as well as defending his title against Loyota Machida and Vitor Belfort. In a fairly competitive fight, Weidman was still in control until he threw a spinning back kick. The technique was sloppy, out of proper range and not what the All-American fighter is known for.

That mistake led to Rockhold gaining the dominant position and inflicting serious damage en route to a TKO victory a round later. Some UFC fans say that this mistake is a clear sign of the downfall of Weidman’s career. Since that point, Weidman has a 3-7 record in the UFC and has fought just 10 times in 9 years.

3 Chael Sonnen’s spinning backfist against arguably the greatest striker in UFC history

The error in judgment allowed Anderson Silva to quickly take control of the fight

Chael Sonnen
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Result of the fight

UFC 148

Anderson Silva by technical knockout in the second round

Much like the Weidman decision mentioned above, Chael Sonnen decided to throw an off-kilter spinning backhand against one of the most talented strikers in UFC history, Anderson Silva. In a rematch of an already heartbreaking loss to Silva via triangle in the final moments of a dominant performance on his part, Sonnen went from dominating to losing once again.

Sonnen was dominating with his elite wrestling and dragging Silva around the Octagon, then in the second round, Sonnen threw a wild spinning back fist. That technique dropped him to the ground, and he was then hit with a tremendous knee to the body, signaling that the end was near. Silva finished him off by technical knockout seconds later.

These two will continue their combat sports rivalry in the summer of 2024 with a boxing match.

2 Petr Yan’s illegal knee strike on Aljamain Sterling

A flagrant foul causes the downfall of the most feared bantamweight in the world

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Photograph by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC


Result of the fight

UFC 259

Aljamain Sterling via DQ (illegal knee)

This is another fight for newer UFC fans. A great fight in the bantamweight division was when new contender Aljamain Sterling showed a unique skill set against the dominant striking of Petr Yan, who was the champion at the time in 2021.

The fight started off fast and action-packed, but it was clear that Yan was pulling away with each passing minute as Sterling was getting exhausted. After a dominant start to the fourth round, Yan let Sterling free with a knee to the head while he was on the ground. This led to a disqualification win for Sterling, crowning him champion.

This mistake put Yan’s UFC career on a wild detour, losing 3 of his next 4 fights and falling out of title contention in 2024.

1 Anderson Silva shows off against Chris Weidman

The untouchable champion’s title reign ended in seconds due to his fun

Anderson Silva Chris Weidman
© Jayne Kamin-Oncea – USA Today Sports


Result of the fight

UFC 162

Chris Weidman by technical knockout in the second round

This mistake in the UFC Octagon is the most memorable because of the unbeatable aura surrounding Anderson Silva and the rivalry between the two at the time. Weidman was a highly touted prospect who was now a legitimate contender for Silva’s dominance, but Silva wasn’t too worried about the danger that loomed over him.

Silva, who from the beginning of the fight was constantly showing his hands down and his chin on a plate in an attempt to taunt the young contender, finally received a clean left hook while leaning back. This was the beginning of the downfall of Silva’s career, proving that he was capable of losing inside the Octagon.


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