UFC 204 featured Michael Bisping looking to exact revenge on Dan Henderson seven years after their memorable meeting at UFC 100 back in 2009. With that in mind, here are five memorable UFC rematches that had different endings than the first encounter:
5. Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 132 (July 2, 2011)
When Cruz challenged Faber for the WEC featherweight title at WEC 26 in 2007 he quickly got submitted. It remains his first and only loss. The circumstances here were entirely different from the rematch. Faber was the undisputed king of the lighter weight classes while Cruz was an unknown making his WEC debut. The rematch took place in the UFC four years later when the two competed in the 135-pound division. Cruz was defending his bantamweight title against Faber. He utilized his renowned footwork to confound Faber for the duration of the fight winning a clear-cut decision from all three judges. They had a trilogy bout at UFC 199 this summer and Cruz won another even more dominant unanimous decision.
4. Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir at UFC 100 (July 11, 2009)
Lesnar made his UFC debut against former champion Frank Mir and got kneebarred in 90 seconds. This was Lesnar’s second professional MMA contest and his inexperience showed when he became too aggressive and got exploited by the ever-crafty jiu-jitsu expert. The rematch headlined UFC 100 and it was clear Lesnar was a different animal compared to when they first fought. Lesnar was the defending heavyweight champion comping off wins over Heath Herring and Randy Couture. He was more patient against the Mir the second time around. After a close first round, Lesnar pinned Mir to the ground in the second and unloaded a brutal beating that forced a stoppage. To add insult to injury, Lesnar taunted Mir immediately following the fight.
3. Georges St. Pierre vs Matt Hughes II, UFC 50 (Oct. 22, 2004)
GSP-Hughes is one of the UFC’s all-time greatest rivalries and represented a passing of the torch in a sense. Hughes became the first fighter to defeat St-Pierre when he submitted him at UFC 50 for the vacant welterweight title in St-Pierre’s third UFC fight. GSP admitted he made a mistake and respected Hughes too much. Following five consecutive victories, St-Pierre earned his anticipated rematch with Hughes. This time he beat him down viciously landing a superman punch that rocked Hughes in the first round and finishing him off with a head kick and punches in the second to finally capture the UFC title.
2. Cain Velasquez vs Junior dos Santos, UFC 188 (June 13, 2015)
The first fight between Velasquez and JDS was memorable for many reasons. It was the UFC’s debut on network television and was watched by nearly nine million viewers, a UFC record. Dos Santos knocked Velasquez out in 64 seconds to become the new heavyweight champion. Thirteen months later the two met at UFC 155 and despite getting hurt by dos Santos a few times, Velasquez put on a five-round beat down to win back his belt. It was one of the UFC’s most brutal and lopsided fights and the trilogy fight at UFC 166 the following year was more of the same.
1. Michael Bisping vs Luke Rockhold, UFC 199 (June 4, 2016)
When Bisping took on Rockhold for the middleweight title on short notice at UFC 199, few gave Bisping a chance and even fewer predicted how he would end it. Rockhold finished Bisping in spectacular fashion the first time around in 2014 with a swift head kick followed by a one-arm guillotine choke.
Rockhold had been scheduled to fight Chris Weidman and underestimated Bisping. Rockhold felt Bisping was beneath him though Bisping insisted every fight is different. Oddsmakers had Bisping as much as a 6-1 underdog at one point but none of that mattered when Bisping cold-cocked Rockhold and finished him in one round. Bisping cheered gleefully, clutching his shiny new belt and proved his point that every fight is indeed different.
Honourable mentions: Matt Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre II, Lyoto Machida vs. Shogun Rua II, Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell II, Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez II, B.J. Penn vs. Jens Pulver II, Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson II, Andrei Arlovski vs. Tim Sylvia II