What a fight.
As it unfolded, this one had everything. The drama of a high-intensity, high-stakes showdown. The double jolt that comes when an underdog does what only he and his closest supporters thought could be done. The emotional swings that took us from "Wow, Jones could lose" to "Wow, Jones actually pulled it off."
I can't quibble with anyone who thinks this was the best light heavyweight title fight they've seen. Take it a step further, make it the best bout you've seen, period, and I think a case can be made. I, however, won't be the one making it.
For as much as I enjoyed the 25-minute war, which delivered everything we wished it could, I'd have a difficult time placing it above the following contests, without so much as a debate:
Frank Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz, UFC 22, Sept. 24, 1999: Never to be forgotten. One of the top MMA fights of all time, period. Shamrock survived an early onslaught, then mounted a cerebral offense that set him up for a late finish. High drama the entire time.
Randy Couture vs. Chuck Liddell, UFC 43, June 6, 2003: This was for an interim belt while Ortiz waited on the sidelines. A shocking result left Liddell pummeled in the third round. Couture proved he was far from done, though "The Iceman" would have his revenge after TUF 1.
Quinton Jackson vs. Dan Henderson, UFC 75, Sept. 8, 2007: Unification. History. A fight that matched the moment. Jackson-Henderson had all the elements, and drew a major audience to TV despite a tape-delayed broadcast. A terrific tilt.
Wanderlei Silva vs. Quinton Jackson 2, Pride 28, Oct. 31, 2004: Just because it needs to be mentioned, Silva-Jackson 2 was an incredible fight, the best of 2004. Silva maintains the edge, 2-1.
Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, UFC 165, Sept. 21, 2013: This belongs on the list of the best of the best. Should it earn the honor of being mentioned first? Not right now. That's not a knock, just more of an observation after taking time to breathe and acknowledge the division's deep, rich history.
It's easy to imagine them fighting again, and soon, and it turning out to be every bit as enthralling as Saturday's war in Toronto, where Jones-Gustafsson soaked up all the attention.
Here's how they graded out alongside winners and losers from the memorable pay-per-view card.