Scotland and England have a complicated relationship to say the least.
From medieval battles for independence, to the soccer hooligans of the 1970s, Scotland has fought its "Auld Enemy" for years, producing some of history's fiercest battles and sporting moments.
The rivalry can be summed up in three words: blood, guts, and thunder; and on November 19, Steven Ray and Ross Pearson will resume this ancient rivalry as part of the #UFCBelfast fight card.
After losing its original main event, UFC Belfast was forced to shuffle its lineup for a second time, after #JamesKrause dropped off the card with an injury. Ray answered the UFC's call for a short-notice replacement, setting up the bout with Pearson.
With Ray adopting "Braveheart" as his nickname, it's only right that the Fife native will be looking to replicate the success of the Scottish at the Battle of Bannockburn. A significant victory in the First War of Scottish Independence, the battle was a landmark event in Scottish history, as depicted in the finale of Mel Gibson's #Oscar-winning film.
Most medieval battles were short-lived affairs, lasting for a matter of hours, but the Battle of Bannockburn was an exception. The combat lasted for two days, as Scottish troops laid siege to the English-occupied Stirling castle. So don't be surprised if the UFC Belfast co-main event goes the distance.
The England vs. Scotland rivalry also runs deep when it comes to soccer.
England vs. Scotland boasts the title of being the oldest international fixture in the world, with their first match being played in 1872. Over the years, the rivalry has lead to numerous memorable moments, both violent and iconic, such as the Paul Gascoigne goal in 1996.
Although many tend to keep politics out of sports, it is Scotland's desire for independence that spurs them on in their desire to beat England in any sporting arena, a factor that will no doubt be playing in the mind of Steven Ray. Unfortunately for the tartan army, it is England that leads the soccer rivalry with 47 wins overall, a statistic that Ross Pearson will be hoping bodes good luck come November 19.
However, inspiration can still be drawn for Steven Ray from the infamous fixture. 1928 saw a Scotland team score their biggest win over England, taking the match on English soil, 5-1. Dubbed the "Wembley Wizards," the match and squad have been mythologized by Scottish supporters ever since.
There's no love lost between the two competing nations, highlighted by a 1977 Scotland win over the English, a match that was marred by scenes on the pitch at the final whistle. Scottish fans invaded the field, tearing up large sections and destroying the goal posts in one of the most infamous scenes of the seventies.
The aggression highlighted the growing problem of football hooliganism within the British game, and lead the media to describe the rivalry as both the best and worst parts of the game.
Beyond soccer, the England vs. Scotland rivalry extends to the rugby field, where the nations played in the first official international rugby union game, which was also the first rugby match to be televised by the BBC.
And with the effects of #Brexit starting to ripple throughout the United Kingdom -- a second referendum for independence looking more and more likely to be held in Scotland -- the match up between Steven Ray and Ross Pearson is symbolic of something more than just an MMA fight. Iit represents two nations that have continuously fought one another for years, whether it be on the fields of medieval battle grounds or under the bright lights of sporting venues.