10 MMA Fights That Were The Beginning Of The End For Legends

The moment that everything changed for these legendary fighters.

Holly Holm, left, and Ronda Rousey exchange their punches during their UFC 193 bantamweight title fight in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015. Holm pulled off a stunning upset victory over Rousey in the fight, knocking out the women's bantamw
Andy Brownbill/AP

Ever since the world of Mixed Martial Arts first really began to come to the fore in the early '90s, the sport has seen some legendary figures step into the cage and crack some skulls.

Like all good things, however, even the most unstoppable, iconic of fighters' time at the top of the tree has to come to an end at some point. Of course, some fighters know when to call time on their careers, while others just go on and on and on and on, falling from one defeat to another as their legacy begins to get tarnished.

For so many of these legends, there's usually a precise moment or fight that can be pointed to as when things truly began to change for these fighters. No longer were they the force they once were, no longer were they invincible, and no longer were they capable of competing at the elite level that they had become accustomed to.

There are those rare exceptions who manage to get out of the fight game before their inevitable decline begins, but those fighters really are just that - an exception.

With all of this in mind, then, here are ten fights that were the beginning of the end for MMA legends.

10. Matt Hughes Vs. Georges St-Pierre - UFC 65

Matt Hughes continued to fight for a further five years after his UFC 65 loss to Georges St-Pierre, yet it was that November 2006 fight that can be pinpointed as the beginning of the end for Hughes.

Before that UFC 65 defeat, Hughes had won 19 of his previous 20 fights across a near-six-year period. This is somebody who was the very definition of a UFC Hall of Famer, yet that Hall of Fame career started to show its first real cracks when Matt matched up with GSP for a second time.

At UFC 50, Hughes submitted St-Pierre in the first round of a contest for the vacant UFC Welterweight Championship. Up until then, Rush had been untouchable, with many predicting him to topple Hughes at UFC 50. Matt Hughes would prove that he still had it as he dominated GSP in that first fight, but the rematch was a passing of the torch as Georges got his revenge with a TKO victory.

To put an exclamation point on all of this, St-Pierre would then submit Hughes in a UFC 79 fight that served as the rubber match between the pair.

Matt Hughes would still show glimpses of his old self up until his retirement in 2011 - in particular in his UFC 98 war against Matt Serra - although the NCAA Division I standout's decline can be traced back to UFC 65.

Ironically, it's that UFC 65 fight that is largely seen as the bout which cemented GSP's own status as a true MMA legend.

Senior Writer
Senior Writer

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