ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

A peanut butter sandwich just isn't the same without jelly, waffles are dry without syrup and a Yin doesn't mean too much without a Yang.

Rivalries are what sports are all about, and that goes the same for combat sports. Sometimes, in order to get the very best out of a fighter, they need a rival. The best in the world need another fighter who can challenge them. Or, maybe they just need someone to hate.

Either way, MMA has been rich with contrasting personalities that were drawn to each other by fate, gold or an extreme dislike of one another.

Check out's Top 10 of the Greatest Rivalries in MMA.

10. Nick Diaz and Jason "Mayhem" Miller

This may have been a better rivalry if a fight had happened. Well, one fight did sort of happen. At the infamous Strikeforce Nashville event, Jason "Mayhem" Miller wanted a rematch with Jake Shields, so he just decided to ask.

Miller stormed the cage, but the Diaz's were there, and the infamous brawl that coined the phrase "sometimes these things happen in MMA" ensued. Afterward, both guys would mention the other in interviews, t-shirts would be printed, weight classes argued over and they would never fight each other under licensed conditions.

9. Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva

Make sure all the kids in the house, or maybe even the neighborhood, are gone before you play that clip.

Rampage Jackson wanted to take the Pride Middleweight strap away from Wanderlei Silva and worked himself up to the top by making it to the finals of the Middleweight Grand Prix. However, maybe pissing off a guy nicknamed the "Axe Murderer" isn't the best idea.

Jackson would be knocked out by a barrage of knees not just once, but a second time in the rematch at Pride 28. Rampage wouldn't get his revenge until the trilogy concluded at UFC 92, with Silva losing by knockout.

8. Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson

At UFC 100, one of—if not the—most famous knockouts in MMA history occurred when Dan Henderson landed his H-Bomb on Michael Bisping.

It may not have been that bad, had he not flown through the air like Jimmy Snuka and hit Bisping after he was unconscious. To add insult to injury, he made the image of his flying powerbomb of Bisping his logo. "The Count" gets his chance at redemption at UFC 204 in Manchester, England.

7. Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber

Probably the longest running rivalry in the UFC, Dominick Cruz's beef with Urijah Faber dates back all the way to the WEC. Who knew when Cruz scribbled his name all over Faber's face, that the feud would still be going almost 10 years later.

T-Rex arms, perverts and height jokes are just among a small amount of the gold dug up from this one. If you want to relive history, "check the record, buds" with this UFC 199 teaser.

6. Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate

So, do these two ladies hate each other? Or secretly love each other? No, they definitely hate each other.

Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate's "bad blood" spanned two fights in two different organizations, as well as a whole season of the Ultimate Fighter, and featured endless trash talk. Both fights ended the same, just like most fights Rousey has had in her career: Rousey by armbar.

In Rousey's absence (at the hands/foot of Holm), Tate finally got the UFC Bantamweight title (then lost it), but still hasn't been able to exact her revenge on her greatest rival.

5. Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz

Rafael dos Anjos having to pull out of his bout with Conor McGregor turned out to be one of the happiest accidents in UFC history.

Nate Diaz stepped in and all hell broke loose—twice. Without Diaz replacing dos Anjos, the MMA world would have never gotten "touch butt", nor had their theories proven right, then wrong about McGregor. Not to mention a long rambling, rant about all the different type of ninjas, like Bubba naming shrimp from Forrest Gump.

Oh, lest we forget, we got two of the best fights of the year at UFC 196 and UFC 202.

4. Kazushi Sakuraba vs The Gracie Family

This may seem out of place, given that there were no insults being thrown out over expensive press conferences all over the world. No, this was just a pure rivalry. This was style versus style in one its purest forms.

Kazushi Sakuraba confused his opponents and commentators with his unorthodox, Catch Wrestling techniques. Those same techniques he would use in Pride to vanquish Royler, Renzo and even Royce Gracie. Up until this point, no MMA fighter had ever dominated the Gracies like this.

These three bouts were special, historic and should go down as one of the greatest rivalries ever.

3. Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz

A lewd t-shirt and bird flip at UFC 19 started one of the craziest trilogies in the UFC. After four years of feuding, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz were finally able to fight.

Of course, Ortiz beating Shamrock at UFC 40 didn't really end things. For one, Shamrock supposedly came into the fight with an ACL tear. Second, when a guy says stuff like, "I am Rick James and you are my b-tch", you gotta' do it again, brother.

Perhaps the greatest line to come from this rivalry is "I'm gonna beat you into a living death!" Thank you Ken, you are legend.

Ortiz and Shamrock would fight a total of three times, with Ortiz always coming out on top.

2. Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen

An "American Gangster" not only got one of the greatest of all time hating him, but was the number one most wanted in an entire country.

Chael Sonnen said and did whatever he needed to get a fight with Anderson Silva. When he finally did, he made the best of it. He almost beat the champ before tapping out at the last minute. That didn't stop Sonnen though, as he still thought Silva "sucked," and was able to run it back again by any means necessary.

Sonnen wrote the blueprint for how a lot of fighters get their shots today, and none of that would have happened without this rivalry.

1. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier

Could there really be any other choice for the greatest rivalry in MMA? Not only did Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones absolutely despise each other, they were then, and still are, two of the top fighters in the world.

Jones has one loss only due to a disqualification. Cormier also has only one loss, to Jones at Light Heavyweight, and was undefeated at Heavyweight, beating some of the top fighters in the division. Their rivalry reached a boiling point at the UFC 178 media day, which ended with the two brawling and even led to hot mic death threats.

Cormier losing to Jones at UFC 182 only fuled the fire for a rematch. After going through all the exhaustive media process again, Cormier would never get to avenge his loss at UFC 200. Jones would be pulled a few days prior due to a USADA violation.

Start from the beginning of the insanity with UFC Counterpunch.


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