Checking how submissions change through each year can sometimes be a little misleading as the numbers are fairly low and easily produce statistical anomalies, particularly prior to 2005. This page takes a longer term view and examines how submissions in the UFC have change through each 5 year long era. We break these down as follows:
1993 - 1999
2000 - 2004
2005 - 2009
2010 - 2014
2015 - current
The first two eras here are really erratic times, this is when the UFC was first being established and also when it had some really tough times, was sold to Zuffa in 2001 and continued to have many difficulties throughout that second era until finally in 2005 Griffin Vs Bonnar happened and the whole thing exploded.
Take a look at how the volume of fights and submissions changed throughout this time and you'll get a sense of why 2005 marks the start of the modern eras of MMA. So even though the volume of UFC events and fights is far smaller in those first two eras it's still true that there was perhaps the greatest change and acceleration in learning in combat and Martial Arts that has ever been seen.
In this first era we take all the fights that happened before the turn of the century so there are actually 6 and a bit years represented in this first era (UFC 1 was at the end of 1993 and there were no other events that year). In these 20th century fights there were 233 fights and 79 submissions, so that's a submission finishing percentage of 34% and a finishing ratio of 1 in 3 fights.