ByDan Shapiro, writer at
Senior Editor, Champions
Dan Shapiro

As we continue our Champions "Best of 2016" Awards, we take a look at those who needed to dig deep to pull out a victory. And comebacks are nothing new for .

MMA Comeback of the Year Nominees

  • Miesha Tate vs. Holly Holm - UFC 196
  • Dan Henderson vs. Hector Lombard - UFC 199
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Gadelha - The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale
  • Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor - UFC 196
  • Michael Bisping vs. Anderson Silva - UFC Fight Night 84
  • Neil Magny vs. Hector Lombard - UFC Fight Night 85

Winner: Miesha Tate Submits Holly Holm

A veteran of 22 MMA bouts heading into 2016, Tate began her UFC career with a pair of losses. But, following her UFC 168 armbar submission at the hands of , Tate put together an impeccable two-year stretch that saw her collect four-straight wins inside the Octagon, setting up her second UFC title shot, this time against champion .

With Holm heavily favored going into their UFC 196 co-main event, Tate used the biggest platform of her career to record her most memorable victory. And, fittingly, the most important win of Tate’s career came via fifth-round stoppage, after heading into the final frame down on all three judges scorecards.

Tate struggled early on against Holm, who masterfully used her footwork and striking to keep “Cupcake” at a distance. In the second round, Tate found her opening, smothering Holm in the clinch before bringing the bout to the mat and controlling from the top position.

But Holm would regain her form in the third and fourth rounds, picking Tate apart with precision strikes, evading the clinch and the ground altogether.

Needing a stoppage to earn the win, and the title, Tate summoned her finest, forcing Holm to the cage wall, before slithering into position to take the champion’s back. Fully entangled around Holm, Tate slid her arms into place, around the neck, forcing Holm to desperately dive to the ground. Tate never relinquished.

Unwilling to tapout, Holm squirmed and struggled under the power of Tate’s airtight grip. Holm would eventually go to sleep, forcing referee John McCarthy to pull Tate off of the unconscious champion. The Hail Mary, come-from-behind win earned Tate the UFC women’s bantamweight title.

Runner Up: Dan Henderson KOs Hector Lombard

Aging like a fine wine, former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson summoned one of his finest career moments at the ripe age of 45, coming from behind to destroy an unsuspecting Hector Lombard at UFC 199.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

With Lombard up early in the bout, Henderson made a seemingly improbable comeback in the second, unloading a right head kick, which was caught by the shorter Lombard. Managing to maintain his balance, Henderson improvised a scenario that is likely never seen in any gym or training room, delivering a back elbow that landed flush on Lombard’s temple, sending the Cuban Olympian to the canvas. From there, Henderson finished the fight with stunning elbow on the ground.


Latest from our Creators