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Long considered one of the most competitive divisions in the UFC, year in and year out, lightweight also has produced some of the most sensational knockouts in the promotion’s history.
The UFC put together a highlight video of what it says are the 10 best KOs in the history of its 155-pound division, and the honorees go back all the way to UFC 34 more than 20 years ago.
There are three names who land on the list twice – but only one of them is on there for two wins. Take a look at the full list below, followed by the highlight video. Then make sure to vote in our poll for which of the top seven is your favorite.
Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor | UFC 257
Date: Jan. 24, 2021
Location: Fight Island, Abu Dhabi
Result: Dustin Poirier def. Conor McGregor via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:32
Notes: The fight was a rematch from a 2014 bout that McGregor won by TKO on his way to an eventual featherweight title and lightweight title. But Poirier avenged the loss with relative ease to win a $50,000 performance bonus, then went on to beat McGregor a second consecutive time later in 2021 with a TKO when a doctor stopped the fight due to a McGregor injured leg.
Sam Stout def. Yves Edwards | UFC 131
Date: June 11, 2011
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Result: Sam Stout def. Yves Edwards via knockout (punch) – Round 1, 3:52
Notes: Stout won his first Knockout of the Night bonus in the UFC. It was worth an extra $70,000 in front of his home country’s fans. The knockout was his first in nearly four years after going to the judges for seven straight fights and a 4-3 record over that stretch.
Edson Barboza def. Beneil Dariush | UFC Fight Night 106
Date: March 11, 2017
Location: Fortaleza, Brazil
Result: Edson Barboza def. Beneil Dariush via knockout (flying knee) – Round 2, 3:35
Notes: Barboza won a $50,000 performance award, which was his eighth post-fight bonus award in the UFC. The win was Barboza’s third straight after wins over former UFC and WEC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and former Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez and put him in line for a top contenders fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
B.J. Penn def. Caol Uno | UFC 34
Date: Nov. 2, 2001
Location: Las Vegas
Result: B.J. Penn def. Caol Uno via knockout (punches) – Round 1, 0:11
Notes: Uno tried a flying knee that turned into a side kick attempt right out of the gate, but a few seconds after Penn dodge it, the future champion and UFC Hall of Famer put Uno out with a flurry of punches in just 11 seconds. The fight was a lightweight title eliminator and got Penn a fight with Jens Pulver for the belt, which he lost by majority decision. Penn and Uno fought in a rematch 13 months later for the vacant 155-pound belt in a tournament final, but fought to a split draw.
Yves Edwards def. Josh Thomson | UFC 49
Date: Aug. 21, 2004
Location: Las Vegas
Result: Yves Edwards def. Josh Thomson via knockout (head kick, punches) – Round 1, 4:32
Notes: Thomas was a perfect 7-0 to start his career, including wins in his first two UFC bouts, when he was caught by Edwards. Edwards had five times as much cage experience as Thomson at the time of the fight. The win was Edwards’ eighth in nine fights.
Ignacio Bahamondes def. Roosevelt Roberts | UFC on ESPN 29
Date: Aug. 21, 2021
Location: Las Vegas
Result: Ignacio Bahamondes def. Roosevelt Roberts via knockout (wheel kick) – Round 3, 4:55
Notes: Bahamondes got back in the win column in a major way with a spinning wheel kick knockout that came with just five seconds left in the fight. The Chilean was on his way to a decision win, the scorecards later showed, since he had won the first two rounds from two of the three judges. But he left no doubt with his ninth career knockout, which got him a $50,000 performance bonus and his first win in the UFC.
Kevin Lee def. Gregor Gillespie | UFC 244
Date: Nov. 2, 2019
Location: New York
Result: Kevin Lee def. Gregor Gillespie via knockout (head kick) – Round 1, 2:47
Notes: Former interim lightweight title challenger Lee was in near desperate need of a win with losses in three of his past four fights heading into his bout with Gillespie. The one win he had in a stretch of losses to Tony Ferguson, Al Iaquinta and Rafael dos Anjos came against Edson Barboza in a bout he missed weight for. But after a one-fight stint at welterweight against dos Anjos, Lee moved back to lightweight and took out Gillespie with a bonus-winning highlight. The loss was the first, and thus far still only of Gillespie’s career.
Lando Vannata def. John Makdessi | UFC 206
Date: Dec. 10, 2016
Result: Lando Vannata def. John Makdessi via knockout (wheel kick) – Round 1, 1:40
Notes: Vannata won a $50,000 performance bonus on the heels of his Fight of the Night promotional debut five months earlier, a submission loss to Tony Ferguson on short notice in South Dakota. Vannata went on to win bonuses in his next two fights, as well, giving him four $50,000 post-fight awards, though his record was just 1-2-1 in that stretch.
Conor McGregor def. Eddie Alvarez | UFC 205
Date: Nov. 12, 2016
Location: New York
Result: Conor McGregor def. Eddie Alvarez via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 3:04
Notes: McGregor came into the fight the featherweight champion and added the lightweight belt to his resume with a dominant win over Alvarez. McGregor became the first fighter in UFC history to hold belts in two divisions at the same time. Later that month, he was stripped of the featherweight title due to inactivity, and in April 2018 he was stripped of the lightweight belt for the same reason. McGregor never defended either title. His win over Alvarez got him his ninth overall post-fight bonus and eighth straight.
Edson Barboza def. Terry Etim | UFC 142
Date: Jan. 14, 2012
Location: Rio de Janeiro
Result: Edson Barboza def. Terry Etim via knockout (spinning wheel kick) – Round 3, 2:02
Notes: Barboza won a $65,000 bonus for Knockout of the Night – and double-dipped with another $65,000 for Fight of the Night to get him to four post-fight bonuses in his first four UFC fights. He stayed unbeaten at 10-0 with the win. Barboza’s KO of Etim is considered one of the best knockouts in UFC history.
Top 10 lightweight knockouts in UFC history
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