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Exactly 23 years after the very first UFC event, the Octagon will, for the first time, be set up in New York City, as UFC 205 goes live from Madison Square Garden, the most famous arena in sports, on November 12, 2016. UFC 205 is a massive unveiling for the sport of mixed martial arts. With brand new ownership in the form of Hollywood talent agency WME-IMG and a list of celebrity investors, the UFC is now preparing to take MMA to the next stratosphere, presenting a trio of title fights and a cast of many of MMA’s greatest fighters and former champions. Pegged as an event to propel the UFC to the forefront of the contemporary sports and entertainment milieu, UFC 205 is set to be an historic night. Mixed martial arts will never be the same.

It’s gone now, but not forgotten, that span of time in New York where to fight like they did on TV – in the Octagon, in the UFC – was the stuff of outlaws. You could of course go to New Jersey, which was a short ride across the Hudson, or take a bus up to one of the casinos in Connecticut and do it there, where it was legal and regulated and safe. But a fight in New Jersey or Connecticut wasn’t a fight in New York, and to a New Yorker, that was all that really mattered. That's all a thing of the past now that mixed martial arts has been legalized in New York. And in celebration, the UFC will honor the city that never sleeps with the finest display of MMA the world has ever seen: UFC 205. But looking back, even the biggest card in history can not erase the years it took to make it here, to the pinnacle of MMA.

It's the experiences of New York's local fighters, the one's who did it underground, before it was legal, that will one day be remembered as things of legend. For Jerome Mickle, that meant a secret gathering in a mosque nestled below the 6 Train, fistfighting a kid from Brooklyn on a foam mat. No doctors, no judges, just a handful of people hooting and hollering and the promoter acting as referee. Mixed martial arts wasn’t quite legal then, but it was getting there, and it was a drag to know that New York would stubbornly remain in the Dark Ages for as long as it could. Jerome won that night, and he went on to win so many more over the years, in rings set up in storied boxing gyms in the Bronx and in cages erected in too-loud nightclubs in Queens.

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Though it has seen a handful of incarnations in the 130-plus years since its doors first opened, Madison Square Garden has transcended the earthly confines of its brick and mortar foundation to become nothing short of a global, cultural institution. Hosting some of the most important, famous, and memorable fights in combat sports history, the Garden has long been a staple in the boxing world. And, on November 12, it will welcome UFC 205 into its hallowed halls; it's a pairing of the greatest arena on earth with the biggest mixed martial arts event, ever. Forty-five years ago, Madison Square Garden was the backdrop for "The Fight of the Century," an all-time classic between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier. 

The worlds of politics, celebrity culture, and boxing collided on March 8, 1971, when Frazier outpaced Ali for the lineal, WBA, and WBC heavyweight titles. Ali and Frazier would meet three years later, again at MSG; this time Ali would earn his revenge, taking a unanimous decision, before finishing the trilogy in 1975 with the Thrilla in Manila. Twenty years before Ali and Frazier, on October 26, 1951, heavyweight boxing legend Joe Louis made his final appearance inside the ring, taking on undefeated slugger Rocky Marciano. The bout at MSG was dubbed "The End of an Era."

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UFC 205, the greatest event in the history of mixed martial arts is just days away. Can you dig it? Fighters from far and wide will convene at Madison Square Garden, transforming New York City, the capital of the world, into the center of the MMA universe. The turf is theirs, finally. And while this story of the UFC and its MMA warriors will culminate in a massive celebration on November 12, the 23rd anniversary of the promotion, the victory party will also signify the end of 19 barren years without professional mixed martial arts in New York. A truce has been called, and MMA is finally free to take its place as the premiere combat sport in the world. But these 26 fighters, the ones named McGregor and Alvarez, Woodley and Thompson, and Jędrzejczyk and Kowalkiewicz, are no mere boppers, roaming the streets in pursuit of violence.

They’re a collection of some of the finest athletic specimens on planet Earth, expertly trained in boxing and wrestling, karate and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai and judo. These six champions and challengers atop the UFC 205 card have also always been free to compete in their respective hometowns. So while these athletes will fight for the most coveted titles in MMA, former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman truly understands how the event is not only a dream come true, but also a miracle for the entire state of New York. A native of Baldwin, a small town of 24,000 in nearby Long Island, Weidman will drive just 28 miles from his suburban home to the Garden, the most famous arena in combat sports. 

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Current champions
on UFC 205:

  • Conor McGregor
  • Eddie Alvarez
  • Tyron Woodley
  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Former Champions
on UFC 205:

  • Chris Weidman
  • Rashad Evans
  • Frankie Edgar
  • Miesha Tate

Total number of
UFC Finishes: 2,198

  • Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone - 12
  • Jim Miller - 9
  • Thiago Alves - 9 
  • Conor McGregor, Chris Weidman, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans, Jeremy Stephens - 6

Total NUMBER of
UFC Submissions: 904

  • Jim Miller - 6 
  • Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone - 5 
  • Chris Weidman, Kelvin Gastelum, Raquel Pennington, Frankie Edgar, Vicente Luque - 2

Total number of
UFC KO/TKO: 1,294

  • Thiago Alves - 8 
  • Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone - 7
  • Conor McGregor, Jeremy Stephens, Rashad Evans - 6 

UFC ALL-TIME FINISHING RATE: 56.2%

  • Tyron Woodley - 83.3%
  • Conor McGregor - 75% 
  • Yoel Romero - 71.4% 
  • Thiago Alves - 69.2% 
  • Chris Weidman - 66.7% 
  • Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone - 66.7%

Total NUMBER of UFC
Octagon miles: 1,546,262

  • Frankie Edgar - 106,972 
  • Thiago Alves - 98,878 
  • Khabib Nurmagomedov - 98, 094 
  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk - 66,199 
  • Rashad Evans - 64,429

Number of
UFC events:

  • 377

UFC All-Time
Attendance:

  • 3,807,947+
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