Nothing Excites Fight Fans More Than a Genuine Rivalry… Here Are 10 of the Best…
There aren’t many real rivalries out there in the world of combat sports. Sure, there are some classics like Joe Frazier and Muhamad Ali or Arturo Gatti and Mickey Ward. But in MMA they are few and far between.
For a fan to get excited about a rivalry, it has to be real. You can’t manufacture something like this. A true fighting rivalry should bring two people together in a combination of intensity that everybody can’t stop talking about or fantasizing about.
They don’t have to hate each other – but it helps. Some of the best rivalries are based on respect and a determination to be the best and avenge a defeat. Here’s 10 of the best from MMA. Honourable mentions go to Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Rose Namajunas.
10. Ronda Rousey v Miesha Tate
It’s still probably the most intense rivalry in the history of women’s MMA. Ronda Rousey definitely came out the better in her rivalry with ‘Cupcake’ both times, but Miesha Tate definitely rattled the former UFC bantamweight champion. It also helped to stimulate unprecedented interest in the women’s side of the sport.
They first met under the Strikeforce label in a title fight that was one of the first female fights to headline a major promotion. They trash-talked a lot in the run-up to that one, with Tate saying Rousey was more interested in promoting herself than the division. In the rematch, ‘Cupcake’ was the first fighter to bring Rousey to round three. A great rivalry.