The UFC is marked by great rivalries. No wonder, all the major events in pay-per-view sales in MMA history were captained by pairs of great rivals: Conor McGregor vs. Nate Diaz, Conor McGregor vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, to name the bestsellers.
It can be said that the genesis of MMA as we know it today is a great rivalry between martial arts: jiu-jitsu vs wrestling, which has expanded to confrontations with muay thai.
So today, with the help of our author, Evelyn Balyton, we are going to recall some of the most striking feuds in the sports’ history. You can check her out here!
Before we begin, we need to alert you that you’ll see high figures throught this whole text. You can get some of that too by betting on ufc betting websites. There are literally tons of options available, and it is not impossible to hit the jackpot!
Without further ado, let’s go to our list!
Conor McGregor Rivalries
In order not to extend ourselves here, we will combine the rivalries created by Conor McGregor in just one section.
The Notorious one has had memorable fights with the following fighters:
- Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Jose Aldo
- Nate Diaz
The Irishman, with his talkative and marketer style, collects fans and haters around the world just as easily.
As a way of promoting his fights and, in addition, intimidating his opponents, McGregor provokes them, curses them, makes jokes, threatens them, etc. with unmatched skill.
The great difference of the former UFC champion lies in the intelligence and creativity in the provocations – see his monologue on Khabib Nurmagomedov, in which he attacked the Russian father, his religion, his businessman, his wife and even recalling a historical rivalry between ethnicities Eastern European.
With this style, the UFC’s first champ-champ achieved the feat of selling 1,200,000 pay-per-view packages against the little media player Jose Aldo, before taking the Brazilian out of his own element when they arrived within the octagon.
The rivalry with Aldo lasted almost two years and included a world media tour and an interim title win against Chad Mendes.
More recently, his provocations against the unbeaten Nurmagomedov have set the record for sales in the history of the sport, with 2,400,000 packages sold, including an attack on an athlete’s bus, arrest of the Irishman, fines for both sides and a widespread fight yet inside the octagon after the most watched fight in history.
However, his most striking rivalry was against Nate Diaz.
The unlikely fight with the bad boy from Stockton counted on a providential help from the American in the promotion. The provocations on both sides yielded a couple of fights, with one victory for each, accumulating almost 3 million packages sold.
Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva
If McGregor took the talkative personality to a different level, we can say that Chael Sonnen built the foundations of the path that the Irishman would follow.
The American, who was never more than an average fighter, achieved the feat of being the only one to share the octagon with three of the greatest of all time:
- Jon Jones
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Anderson Silva.
As dominant as he was, Anderson, who’s listed as one of the best fighters ever, didn’t used to be a big pay per view salesman until Chael Sonnen showed up, who got his first shot at the title after three wins in the shallow middleweight category of the second half of the 2000s In that duel, Sonnen beat the unbeatable “Spider” for almost five rounds, until it was finished in the lights out.
Anderson Silva turns the fight memorably against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117
The provocations before, during and, especially, after the first fight were the spark of one of the most striking rivalries in the history of the sport.
Seeking to promote himself and win the opportunity for a rematch, Chael went further.
He showed hate towards Brazil, offended Silva’s wife, and most famously, called Silva out after beating Brian Stann.
The Spider tried not to get involved, but Chael was so effusive in his provocations that he garnered legions of haters wanting to see him lose.
Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz
Tito Ortiz had a career marked by great rivalries. The “Bad Boy of Huntington Beach” is still known for his feud with brothers Ken and Frank Shamrock and with super champion Randy Couture.
However, Ortiz’s most striking rivalry was against former friend Chuck Liddell.
The two even trained together and had the same manager: current UFC president Dana White.
The feud began while Ortiz was the champion and Chuck rose rapidly in the rankings, until he became the undisputed challenger to his rival’s throne.
So Tito refused to face him, claiming that they were friends.
What happened was a series of trials by Liddell, who claimed that Tito ran from him because he always lost when they trained together.
The fight came only after Ortiz lost the belt to Couture.
Two years later, after Tito completed his trilogy against Ken Shamrock and with Liddell as champion, the two starred in a rematch that, at the time, broke the record for pay-per-view, amounting to a million sales at a time when the biggest events were no more than 400 or 500 thousand.
The rivalry yielded even a pitiful third fight in 2018, with the two decrepit and Chuck retired.
This time, Ortiz had his revenge on a completely tired and weak rival.
We surely couldn’t add every single rivalry here, as this is basically part of the game, and the article would need a couple thousand more words to be completed.
However, these were the ones that drew our attention the most.
What about yours?
Leave a comment below with your thoughts!