The world of UFC has seen its fair share of top battles through the years. As the fighters make their way into the octagon, they know that only one will take the victory and that means that tempers can rise before the fight and during the fight. However, what this does mean for fans is that they get to see a brutal spectacle that delivers plenty of excitement and entertainment.
There might be some element of respect between fighters but ultimately, they want to take each other down. So, through the years we have seen some amazing rivalries, so when the title card has some of these names on it, you know you’re in for a bloody battle like no other. So, what are some of the best UFC rivalries that we have seen through the years?
Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier
This rivalry started back at UFC 121 back in 2010 and it all began when they met for the first time backstage. Jon Jones had a certain arrogance to him and this infuriated Cormier. The feud had started and both men started taking verbal shots at each other. They eventually met at the UFC 178 press conference and security had to step between them to prevent them from going at each other. Eventually, an injury would cause Jones to pull out of UFC 178 although they did meet up twice in UFC 182 and 214 where Jones took the victory both times.
Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov
Conor is considered one of the legends of UFC and his wins and titles will back this. However, these two first crossed paths during the UFC 205 pre-fight weigh-in where they first exchanged words. This then spiralled into a social media war where Khabib was constantly calling McGregor out of his hiatus. Eventually, Khabib slapped McGregor’s trainer which got under the skin of the fighter and this resulted in McGregor and his team throwing objects at Khabib’s bus while calling him out to fight. Finally, the pair got to go head to head in UFC 229 and this became the biggest pay-per-view event at the time. Eventually, Khabib took the victory although the drama didn’t stop there as Khabib hurled himself over the cage to attack his training partner of McGregor.
Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz
This pair were once friends but they soon became enemies, creating a rivalry that really gripped UFC fans. Chuck was getting wins under his belt and was being called to fight for the title but he also took it upon himself to assist Ortiz with his training preparation for his fight against the heavyweight champion Vitor Belford. However, he soon started to distance himself from Ortiz as he started to prepare for a fight with his friend.
A year later, Ortiz lost his belt to Randy Couture in 2002, and so, Chuck was to be his next opponent on his journey to reclaim the title. Their first fight took place in UFC 47 with Lidell taking the win by knock-out and in the 14 months after the fight, Ortiz took time out and Liddell won the championship before turning his sights to Ortiz who was raring to go. They fought again in UFC 66 with Liddell taking the victory and they met again in 2016 where Liddell won for the third time.
Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz
At UFC 19, Rafael Dos Anjos was forced to pull out of defending his lightweight title against Conor McGregor and so, a replacement fighter was needed. In stepped Nate Diaz, who had a chance of fighting The Notorious One and this turned the fight into one that was more appealing than the original. As the fight developed, Diaz took control and eventually took McGregor down. Soon after, McGregor wanted another fight and the second fight took place at UFC 202. Eventually, after five rounds, McGregor was able to take revenge although both fighters have hinted that a third fight could be on the cards.
Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate
This was the battle that really turned attention to Women’s MMA. There was no love lost between these two and their first meeting took place in 2011 in StrikeForce MMA following the purchase by UFC. Once they both made it into the ring, there was a real buzz but Tate did everything possible to take control of the fight but her efforts were thwarted by Rousey who took her to the ground and forced her to submit. They then met again at UFC 168 and Tate was clearly in it to take Rousey further than she had been before. Rousey had never been to the third round in any of her fights but it was in this round that she eventually forced Tate to tap out.
Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture
This is seen to be one of the biggest trilogies in the history of MMA. There was a lot of interest in this pair fighting each other and they eventually came together at UFC 43 although Liddell would not get the victory. After the fight, Liddell won his next two fights and set himself up for another fight with Couture. It was a different fight the second time around at UFC 52 as Liddell took a first-round knockout to take the title while the pair would eventually meet up for a third time at UFC 57 where Liddell won in the third round and brought the trilogy to an end.
Royce Gracie vs Ken Shamrock
This pair had the first trilogy of fights that were widely publicised with the first two fights taking place almost 30 years ago. They first met at UFC 1 when they met at the first event at the Semi-Final of a one-night-open-weight tournament. Gracie took the victory in just 57 seconds but they then met again in UFC 5 where the eventual outcome was a draw. However, they then came together 11 years later in 2016 when both fighters were beyond their best but Gracie took the victory, although this feud surely set the tone and made people aware of what a real rivalry should look like.
UFC has had its fair share of exciting fights through the years but these rivalries have really added to the appeal of the sport. Some of these rivalries have been some of the best seen in any sport and we are sure that we will see many more in the years ahead.