The first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event, retrospectively renamed ‘UFC 1: The Beginning’, was staged at the now-demolished McNichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado on November 12, 1993. Obviously, the franchise has changed beyond recognition since those early, pioneering days of what would become mixed martial arts (MMA) but, in three decades of full-contact combat, the record for the fastest knockout in UFC history stands at five seconds.
That was the twinkling of an eye that it took American Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal to lay out his opponent, compatriot Ben ‘Funky’ Askren, in a welterweight contest on the main pay-per-view (PPV) card at ‘UFC 239: Jones vs. Santos’ at the T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nevada on July 6, 2019. Masvidal, who was, at the time, the number four ranked welterweight, according to UFC, immediately threw a flying knee, which Askren effectively ducked into, rendering himself instantly unconscious. Gratuitously, Masvidal also struck his motionless opponent with two right-hand punches before the referee intervened to save Askren from any further punishment.
At that stage of his career, Masvidal was a 16-year MMA ‘journeyman’, having previously signed for Bellator and Strikeforce before making his UFC debut in April, 2013. However, he was catapulted to stardom, at least for a while, and headlined ‘UFC: Masvidal vs. Diaz’ at Madison Square Garden, New York on November 2, 2019. He beat Nate Diaz by controversial technical knockout on that occasion, winning the celebratory ‘baddest motherf*cker’ belt, but, following a series of defeats, announced his retirement from MMA in April, 2023.
By contrast, Askren, a former Olympic freestyle wrestler, had won welterweight titles in Bellator and One Championship and was undefeated for over a decade before joining UFC, at the age of 34, in March, 2019. However, his UFC career lasted just three fights; after losing his unbeaten record in spectacular style, he fought just once more, unsuccessfully, before announcing his retirement from MMA in November, 2019.