Topps has been producing UFC cards for a few years now, with every line topping the last one. Whether it be special inserts, contests, or just re-designing the ordinary cards, Topps has proven why they are the leading trading card manufacturer in the industry. I got my hands on an early release of the company’s next batch of UFC cards, titled “UFC Knockout”, and am sharing with you what I saw to see if the cards still live up to the hype or not.
This year, the cards are not packaged in shiny wrappers, but come in small cardboard boxes shaped like a long octagon. This parallelogram packaging makes these cards stand out on shelves, and they look pretty cool too. Each pack contains only five cards, which is the smallest amount ever seen with this line. The reasoning behind that is that the paper stock of the cards is now a much thicker stock, twice the size of the older cards, and every pack guarantees either a signature or memorabilia card, which were rare in the previous releases.
Inside the box, the cards are still wrapped up in a silver package to prevent people from peeking into the cardboard to see what they are getting before purchasing. If you buy these in stores, make sure your boxes are sealed to prevent yourself from scooping up a pack that was rummaged through, or worst off, cards were removed and you get screwed.
Let’s tear into a few packs and see what the cards look like!
As I mentioned, the cards are all on very heavy stock, and remind me of the Marvel cards that Flair released in the mid ’90’s. This heavier card allows for some fancy new printing techniques, with some of the best resolution photos of fighters we have seen in this line. No pixelation or grain, these pictures are crystal clear and the printing helps make that possible.
Below are a few other cards I got, including a horizontally aligned card so you can see what that looks like.
Here is the back of the cards, which feature succinct bios and stats for the fighter on the card. There are 100 cards total in this line, not counting the special inserts or the sub-lines, which are also included in each pack and are numbered (something that still puzzles me to this day). So, the breakdown for each pack is three normal cards, one numbered normal card, and one special insert – guaranteed for every pack.
And below are some of the special cards I got!
These are the memorabilia cards AKA relic cards, which include either a piece of fight-worn gear or a piece of the cage the fighters battled in. I lucked out and got a GSP card, which made me extremely happy. Back in the older lines, the super thick card stock was used solely for these specialty cards, but now they are all thick (although Soa’s card was a bit thicker because of the material from the mats).
And above are two types of signature cards, one of which includes some fight-worn gear. The signatures are all hand-signed, and every card is individually numbered to drive hardcore collectors insane. Worth noting, in the four packs that I got, I only got single fighter cards and these special cards. Gone are the famous fights cards that featured a fight in action rather than a shot focused solely on one fighter, as well as all other special cards. The focus has now become the signature or memorabilia cards, and since I got no other types of cards, it’s safe to assume that those other types have been cut from the line. There are some other rarer special inserts, but I can not comment on those since the luck of the draw gave me what you saw above.
A big part of the new launch will be the 2014 UFC Knockout Golden Ticket Promotion. There will be ten Golden Tickets randomly inserted into boxes of these cards. Those ten will have a chance to be selected for a meet-and-greet session with UFC Ambassador, Chael Sonnen, and a chance to train with him, while the nine runner-ups will receive a piece of training equipment signed by Sonnen.
This is definitely Topps’ strongest line in terms of targeting card collectors or very serious UFC fans. However, because of this, these cards are not really the type or card just anyone is going to pick up. With a sealed box of these holding eight mini-boxes costing around 80 on Amazon.com
, that means a single mini-box will cost around $20. That is a HUGE price to pay for only five cards, but you are guaranteed a signature or a relic card, which makes them worth the price if you are an autograph hound.
The cards are all extremely nice and great to look at, made from some high quality paper, and the special cards are definitely some of the best Topps has made, so if you can afford them, dive in and pick them up today.