During the pandemic, we’ve had to get used to the UFC not making the rounds across the country and around the world the way it did before COVID-19 was a thing.
Once fights started back up in May 2020, the UFC has only been to three cities outside Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi. So we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the cities the UFC has been to in the U.S. – but has yet to find a chance to go back to.
Below, we present the one-time-only UFC cities so far.
(Note: Some cities technically qualify for the list – like Albuquerque, N.M., which the UFC went to in 2014. But because the UFC went to Rio Rancho, N.M., a near suburb of Albuquerque, in 2020, we grouped the two together. So Rosemont, Ill., doesn’t make the cut because it’s a near suburb of Chicago, which the UFC has been to several times. Sure, that makes this list slightly arbitrary. But you’ll forgive us.)
* Event: UFC Fight Night 102 * Date: Dec. 9, 2016 * Card notes: After six decisions in eight fights on the prelims, the main card had four stoppages. Current heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou submitted Anthony Hamilton in the co-main event for his first post-fight bonus. And in the headliner, future title challenger Derrick Lewis stopped Shamil Abdurakhimov with a fourth-round TKO. * City notes: Albany is New York's state capital and was the UFC's first event outside of New York City after MMA legislation passed in the state earlier in the year. Just five weeks prior, UFC 205 took place at Madison Square Garden to usher in the promotion's return to New York.
* Event: UFC 172 * Date: April 26, 2014 * Card notes: Jon Jones defended his light heavyweight title with a unanimous decision scorecard sweep of Glover Teixeira in the main event. Future UFC champions Max Holloway and Luke Rockhold also fought on the main card. Both picked up submission wins over Andre Fili and Tim Boetsch, respectively. * City notes: The largest city in Maryland, Baltimore is home to baseball's Orioles and the NFL's Ravens. It has more buildings designated as historic properties than any other city in the country. Ric Ocasek from The Cars and David Byrne from the Talking Heads are Baltimore-area natives. "The Wire," considered one of the greatest TV series of all time, took place in and was filmed in Baltimore.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 47 * Date: Aug. 16, 2014 * Card notes: Bangor got its moment in the spotlight really for just one reason: UFC president Dana White graduated high school in Maine and has a home near Bangor that he visits several times a year. Future Bellator heavyweight and light heavyweight champ Ryan Bader outworked Ovince Saint Preux for a unanimous decision win in the main event. Upcoming women's flyweight title challenger Lauren Murphy lost a decision to Olympic medal winner Sara McMann on the prelims in McMann's first fight back after losing a title shot to Ronda Rousey. * City notes: Bangor features a 31-foot-tall statue of Paul Bunyan, though he's not counted as one of the city's roughly 33,000 people. Former UFC fighter Marcus Davis is from Bangor. But the city's most famous resident by far is author Stephen King, who has sold more than 350 million copies of his books, many of which have been adapted for movies and TV series.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 133 * Date: July 14, 2018 * Card notes: Former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos swept Blagoy Ivanov on the scorecards in the main event in his first fight back after a title fight loss to then-champion Stipe Miocic more than a year prior. Current featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski outworked Darren Elkins for a decision on the prelims. The card also featured wins by Liz Carmouche, Cat Zingano, Chad Mendes and Sage Northcutt. * City notes: The state capital and state's largest city, Boise has been the UFC's only visit so far to Idaho. Although the city has no pro sports teams, Boise State University is a big deal, particularly for its football program. Former UFC and WEC fighter Scott Jorgensen is a Boise native, as is Aaron Paul, known for his role as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad."
* Event: UFC 6 * Date: July 14, 1995 * Card notes: In the early days of the original UFC, Ken Shamrock submitted Dan Severn in the main event to win the superfight title. In the tournament prior to that on the card, Oleg Taktarov submitted Tank Abbott in the final. * City notes: The second largest city in Wyoming after the capital of Cheyenne, Casper got its UFC shot mostly because, well, in those days, there just weren't a lot of places available that were willing to put on the fights. (No offense, Casper.) Former vice president Dick Cheney grew up in Casper.
* Event: UFC 203 * Date: Sept. 10, 2016 * Card notes: Cleveland-area native Stipe Miocic defended his heavyweight title in the main event with a first-round knockout of Alistair Overeem. The back-and-forth fight saw Miocic in trouble early and nearly finished, only to rally and put Overeem away in a "Fight of the Night" winner in front of Miocic's home fans. Future women's strawweight champ Jessica Andrade submitted Joanne Calderwood to open the main card. * City notes: The Cleveland area is in the top 20 in the U.S. in terms of metro populations, so the fact it's only played host to the UFC one time comes as a bit of a surprise. The city is home to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, Cleveland Browns in the NFL and baseball's Cleveland Indians (Guardians after this season). The city also is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a thriving restaurant scene, and was the filming location for much of "A Christmas Story." Along with LeBron James, famous Clevelanders include Halle Berry, Bob Hope, Paul Newman, Drew Carey and "The King," Jerry Lawler.
* Event: UFC 12 * Date: Feb. 7, 1997 * Card notes: UFC 12 was the first event to feature weight classes instead of open-weight fights. It was Vitor Belfort's promotional debut, and he won the one-night heavyweight tournament with a TKO over Scott Ferrozzo. Mark Coleman beat Dan Severn to win the heavyweight title on the card, as well. UFC 12 originally was set for Niagara Falls, N.Y., then Oregon – but had to move to Alabama when both states refused to sanction MMA. * City notes: Dothan practically is a stone's throw away from both Florida and Georgia. "The Peanut Capital of the World" holds the annual National Peanut Festival at – wait for it … wait for it … – the Peanut Festival Fairgrounds.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 16 * Date: Dec. 10, 2008 * Card notes: The UFC's visit to Fayetteville was the first of several "Fight for the Troops" events. (Although technically speaking, future troops shows like ones in Fort Campbell, Ky., and Fort Hood, Texas, were one-time-only visits to those locations, we're leaving them off this list because they weren't able to be attended by the public.) In the second fight of the night, Corey Hill broke his leg in what was up to that point arguably the most gruesome injury in UFC history. * City notes: Fayetteville is home to the Fort Bragg area, which explains the UFC's visit to what only is the sixth largest city in North Carolina. Fort Bragg is the area's largest employer. Oft-troubled former UFC fighter Jason Miller is from Fayetteville, as is Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 123 * Date: Dec. 9, 2017 * Card notes: Strikeforce held several events in Fresno, but all prior to the UFC's merger with the promotion. Brian Ortega headlined a UFC show for the first time and submitted Cub Swanson in the second round. He won dual bonuses for both "Performance of the Night" and "Fight of the Night" and stayed unbeaten on his way to an eventual title shot. Current bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling was knocked out by Marlon Moraes in 67 seconds on the main card. * City notes: Fresno is pretty much smack-dab in the middle of California, both north-south and west-east. For pepper lovers, the Fresno chile pepper was named after the city; they're grown throughout the region. Timmy T, who sang "One More Try," one of the greatest songs of the 1990s – nay, one of the greatest songs in history – is from Fresno. So is the legendary Warren Zevon and Jason Von Flue, for whom the Von Flue choke is named.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 154 * Date: June 22, 2019 * Card notes: The event was the UFC's first visit to South Carolina. "The Korean Zombie," Chan Sung Jung, picked up a performance bonus for his 58-second TKO of Renato Moicano in the main event. It was Jung's seventh post-fight bonus in seven UFC fights. * City notes: Greenville is the sixth largest city in South Carolina, but its thriving arts scene typically makes the Bon Secours Wellness Arena a popular venue for national tours. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Pearl Jam played the arena multiple times. The venue also has played host to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, namesake of the MMA walkout music curse Eminem, and the inimitable queen herself, Britney Spears.
State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas
* Event: UFC Fight Night 94 * Date: Sept. 17, 2016 * Card notes: Michael Johnson currently holds a 19-17 record and has lost four straight and seven of his past nine. But in the main event, he upset Dustin Poirier with a knockout in just 95 seconds. Poirier went on to win eight of his next nine, including two finishes of Conor McGregor and stoppages of Justin Gaethje and former champions Eddie Alvarez and Anthony Pettis. His only loss since the setback to Johnson came in a title fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov. * City notes: With a population around 14,000, Hidalgo barely qualifies as a city. It is just across the Rio Grande from Mexico. It's one of the smallest cities the UFC has ever played to. But there's a Jack-in-the-Box, a Whataburger, and some pretty decent barbecue. What more do you need?
Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City, Mo.
* Event: UFC on FOX 24 * Date: April 15, 2017 * Card notes: Despite being a decent MMA hotbed and home to two pro sports franchises, UFC on FOX 24 was the first time the UFC was in Kansas City, and the first time it was in Missouri in general. Demetrious Johnson defended his flyweight title with a third-round submission of Wilson Reis in the main event. Future women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas punched her ticket to a title shot (and win) later that year with a submission of Michelle Waterson in the co-feature. And Robert Whittaker knocked out Ronaldo Souza on the main card, then went on to win the interim middleweight title in his next fight. * City notes: Kansas City straddles the state line between Kansas and Missouri, but the Missouri side of the city is where most of the action is. The city has its own style of barbecue with plenty of legendary options, and is also a famous steak city. The NFL's Chiefs are one of the league's hottest franchises, and the Royals are a baseball mainstay. The nearby Glory MMA is run by the UFC's James Krause.
* Event: UFC on VERSUS 3 * Date: March 3, 2011 * Card notes: The show was the first time the UFC set up shop in the state of Kentucky. In the main event, Diego Sanchez took a unanimous decision from Martin Kampmann. Future UFC champion Chris Weidman stepped up on short notice for his promotional debut and took a unanimous decision from Alessio Sakara on the main card. * City notes: Louisville is a city of iconic brands, so it seems truly odd the UFC has only touched down here once, and more than 10 years ago. Boxing GOAT Muhammad Ali was from Louisville. It's the home of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby, Louisville Slugger, a major university and, of course, Kentucky Fried Chicken. The arena UFC on VERSUS 3 took place in was, in fact, the KFC Yum! Center.
* Event: UFC 107 * Date: Dec. 12, 2007 * Card notes: B.J. Penn defended his lightweight title with a fifth-round doctor's stoppage TKO of Diego Sanchez in the main event. Other main card winners were former heavyweight champ Frank Mir, Jon Fitch, Kenny Florian and Stefan Struve. Future welterweight champ Johny Hendricks won on the prelims. Rashad Evans was supposed to fight Quinton Jackson on the card, but when "Rampage" was cast in "The A-Team" movie, the fight was delayed to UFC 114. * City notes: Situated along the Mississippi River in southern Tennessee, Memphis is one of America's iconic and most historic cities. Famous for its music, particularly the blues, it was the home of Elvis Presley and his Graceland mansion. It also was, tragically, the site of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Memphis is highly regarded for its barbecue, and the largest barbecue competition in the world happens there every year. We haven't even mentioned Beale Street yet, or Stax Records, or Sun Studio, or the Peabody Hotel and the Peabody Ducks …
* Event: UFC 17 * Date: May 15, 1998 * Card notes: UFC 17 was the MMA debut for Chuck Liddell, who went on to become light heavyweight champion and one of the most popular fighters in UFC history. Dan Henderson also made his UFC debut on the card and won the one-night middleweight tournament against Carlos Newton. In the main event, Frank Shamrock submitted Jeremy Horn to retain his middleweight title. * City notes: Mobile is the third largest city in Alabama and just a few miles from Florida's western panhandle border. The city has one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations in the country outside of New Orleans. Apple CEO Tim Cook is a Mobile native, as is NFL legend Bart Starr. If you want to be mad at Mobile for one thing, you can blame it for Jimmy Buffett.
* Event: UFC 117 * Date: Aug. 7, 2010 * Card notes: In the main event, Anderson Silva pulled off one of the biggest comebacks in MMA history when he submitted Chael Sonnen late in the fifth round after being dominated for roughly 22 minutes. He defended his middleweight title and set up an eventual rematch. Former champ Matt Hughes submitted Ricardo Almeida on the card, and future heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos and future welterweight champ Johny Hendricks also won their fights. * City notes: Situated east of San Francisco in the Bay Area, Oakland is California's eighth largest city. It's home to the Oakland A's; the former home of the Raiders, now in Las Vegas; and still the sort-of home of the Golden State Warriors, even though they play home games outside of Oakland now. The city always has been a hotbed of future stars in the world of entertainment. Notably, Oakland has produced Green Day, Oscar winner Mahershala, Oscar winner Clint Eastwood, Bruce Lee, Luke Skywalker himself – Mark Hamill, and one of the greatest actors in history, Tom Hanks, was raised there.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 166 * Date: Jan. 25, 2020 * Card notes: Curtis Blaydes knocked out former heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos in the main event. In the co-feature, Michael Chiesa picked up perhaps the biggest win of his career with a decision over former lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos. * City notes: Raleigh is North Carolina's state capital and second largest city in the state after Charlotte. It's the home of North Carolina State University and not far from Duke and the University of North Carolina as part of the famed Research Triangle. The NHL's Carolina Hurricanes play at PNC Arena, where UFC Fight Night 166 took place. Evan Rachel Wood of "Westworld" fame and Michael C. Hall from "Dexter" were born in Raleigh. And … ahem … adult film star Brandi Love lives in the area. Or so we read somewhere.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 152 * Date: May 18, 2019 * Card notes: Former lightweight champion snapped a two-fight skid at welterweight with a submission of Kevin Lee in the main event. Current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira knocked out Nik Lentz on his run to the title. And former Invicta FC women's featherweight champs Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson fought; Spencer won with a first-round submission. * City notes: The UFC continued its tour around upstate New York with its first stop in Rochester, the fourth largest city in the state. Kodak's home is here, along with a museum housing the oldest photography collection in the world. There's a big annual jazz festival. There's an incredible cemetery, Mount Hope, if that's your thing, where Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass are buried. And there's an insane local dish called the Garbage Plate at Nick Tahou Hots. It's a base of fries, macaroni salad or baked beans, all of the above, topped typically with hamburger and dressed with mustard, chopped onions and hot sauce. Just don't eat it right before you go in for six hours of MMA fights, if you get our meaning.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 124 * Date: Jan. 14, 2018 * Card notes: While Strikeforce made a few visits to St. Louis in the pre-Zuffa era, the UFC had never touched down there for some reason. In the headliner, Jeremy Stephens knocked out Doo Ho Choi. In the co-main event, Jessica-Rose Clark upset Paige VanZant. Also on the main card, Kamaru Usman picked up another win on his way to an eventual welterweight title reign. * City notes: The second largest city in Missouri after Kansas City, the St. Louis metro area has nearly 3 million people. Along with the famed Gateway Arch, St. Louis has a number of highly rated museums and a rabid fanbase for its Cardinals baseball team and the NHL's St. Louis Blues. Actor Jon Hamm was born in St. Louis, as was John Goodman, Redd Foxx, Linda Blair and rapper Akon.
Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City
* Event: UFC Fight Night 92 * Date: Aug. 6, 2016 * Card notes: The card was the first event for the UFC in the state of Utah. The UFC had planned a 2010 event there, but eventually moved it to San Diego when ticket sales lagged way behind expectations. Yair Rodriguez headlined a UFC show for the first time and took a split decision from Alex Caceres, which gave him five straight wins to open his UFC tenure. * City notes: SLC is Utah's capital and largest city. It hosted the 2002 Winter Olympics and is a major hotbed for snow skiing in the winter months. The NBA's Utah Jazz have been in Salt Lake City for more than 40 years. Stevie Nicks, Robert Redford, Ken Jennings and Post Malone are just a few people who call Salt Lake home.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Sioux Falls, S.D.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 91 * Date: July 13, 2016 * Card notes: The card was the first for the UFC after the purchase of the promotion by Endeavor, as well as the first UFC show in South Dakota. John Lineker knocked out Michael McDonald in the bantamweight main event. And in the co-feature, Tony Ferguson submmitted Lando Vannata, a short-notice replacement for Michael Chiesa, to win "Fight of the Night." * City notes: Sioux Falls is South Dakota's largest city and the area makes up more than 30 percent of the state's total population. The city regularly ranks high on lists of the healthiest cities in the country and best places to live. January Jones, who played Don Draper's wife on "Mad Men," was both there and graduated high school there.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 131 * Date: June 1, 2018 * Card notes: The UFC continued its tour of major New York cities outside NYC with its first stop in Utica. In the main event, Marlon Moraes needed just 33 seconds to knock out Jimmie Rivera with a head kick and follow-up punches. * City notes: With a population around 62,000, Utica just makes the top 10 for most populous New York cities. It sits at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains. Dick Clark started his TV career in Utica, and Las Vegas-based casino mogul Steve Wynn is from there.
* Event: UFC Fight Night 146 * Date: March 9, 2019 * Card notes: The event was the UFC's first in the state of Kansas. Former heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos knocked out Derrick Lewis in the second round in the "Fight of the Night" main event. * City notes: Kansas' largest city, Wichita is famed for Wichita State University and its Shockers nickname and mascot. It's also the home city of White Castle and Pizza Hut, so suddenly the Shockers thing seems very tolerable as a trade-off. Plus, "Seven Nation Army" by the White Stripes mentions the city prominently.