The numerous feuds between its athletes are largely responsible for the UFC’s success. It is believed that Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock’s long-running feud saved the promotion from financial bankruptcy at a time when MMA was still battling to be recognised as a genuine sport.
Such rivalries are not only typical in MMA, but they are also inevitable. All sports foster rivalries because great athletes have intense competitive fires blazing inside of them. But, the situation is made worse when it comes to combat sports. Rivalries are to be expected in a tournament where winning implies physically fighting your opponent.
The majority of conflicts are resolved within the octagon, frequently requiring multiple fights to come to a satisfying resolution. Nevertheless, not every rivalry is like this. Five examples of entirely unresolved feuds are provided in this list.
#5. Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw
T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt formerly worked together. While ‘No Love’ is still a part of Team Alpha Male, his adversary, who chose Duane Ludwig’s direction over Urijah Faber’s teachings, is not. He was referred to as a snake by Conor McGregor after leaving Team Alpha Male.
The heavy-handed 135’er, who deposed Dominick Cruz to win the UFC bantamweight championship, ignited a contentious rivalry with T.J. Dillashaw, who he attempted to defend his belt against. However, Garbrandt lost both the rematch and his championship defence by way of KO.
Despite the fact that Dillashaw has defeated him twice, their conflict is far from over. Following Dillashaw’s EPO positive test, ‘No Love’ asserted that his former comrade was in charge of educating other Team Alpha Male fighters how to take PEDs. He even challenged Dillashaw to a trilogy fight in October of last year.
Before declaring that EPO wouldn’t save him once more in a prospective trilogy battle, he gave his opponent a number of explanations for why he had previously lost to them. Nonetheless, Dillashaw voiced his surprise that a competitor who has dropped five of his previous six contests is still competing in the UFC and had no interest in facing him.
#4. Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov
Between 2017 and 2018, Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov dominated discussion of the UFC lightweight division. Artem Lobov, the Irishman’s former friend and comrade, was naturally asked about his opinions of that potential showdown by MMA media.
The Russian Hammer replied, criticising “The Eagle” for pulling out of earlier fights while expressing his unvarnished ideas. He went on to call him a coward who always seeks an escape from confrontations the moment he sustains a small injury in training. Nurmagomedov was not pleased with his comments.
As a result, prior to UFC 223, “The Eagle” accosted Lobov and gave him a slap. As a result, McGregor left for New York and attacked a bus carrying his adversary. The Irishman’s attack on the bus served as the impetus for a fight that happened at UFC 229 Prior to the fight, McGregor verbally attacked his opponent.
Yet once they were in the octagon, “The Eagle” submitted him in the fourth round to win. Yet the conflict wasn’t yet ended. In an effort to attack McGregor’s corner, Nurmagomedov climbed the barrier and dove from the octagon.
The two have since traded jabs on social media, with the Irishman calling for a rematch, disparaging his opponent’s wife, and even making fun of his father’s passing. The Notorious has been mainly disregarded by Nurmagomedov, who nevertheless refers to him as a desperate attention-seeker and prostitution.
#3. Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier
2014 marked the year when Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier first fought each other. The Irishman won their first encounter with a fast first-round Knockout. Years later, at UFC 257, the pair engaged in their tragic rematch. Despite a strong beginning, “The Notorious” was ultimately defeated by his adversary in the second round.
Check-hooks and calf kicks from the Louisianan paved the way for a surprise Knockout victory. Following the defeat, McGregor pledged to make a donation to Poirier’s charity, the Good Fight Foundation, as a show of goodwill in his post-fight interview. However, no contribution was ever made, and Poirier tweeted about it.
This led to a dispute with the Irishman, who felt that his opponent was tarnishing his reputation. Once a trilogy fight was set up, McGregor resorted to highly private insults directed at Poirier and his wife. On social media, he allegedly received private messages from “The Diamond’s” wife.
The Irishman also said he would murder his opponent and that “The Diamond” will exit the octagon on a stretcher. Coincidentally, McGregor broke his leg against Poirier and had to leave the scene on a stretcher. The two have continued to argue, with McGregor threatening his family once more.
#2. Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira
Israel Adesanya and Alex Pereira have a history that goes back before their UFC debuts. Back in their kickboxing days, the two adversaries engaged in their first fight. Even though their first fight was extremely close, “Poatan” was able to defeat “The Last Stylebender” by decision.
Adesanya used an oxygen mask after Pereira’s hard knockout victory in their second match, which had a more conclusive outcome. After that, the Brazilian power puncher became the first two-division Glory champion, while the Nigerian striking expert switched to mixed martial arts.
Adesanya won in the UFC on his way to winning the middleweight championship, but he insisted that Pereira’s greatest achievement was defeating him in kickboxing. He added emphasis to his point by claiming that Pereira would spend his later years at a bar bragging about defeating someone far more accomplished.
As a result, “Poatan” made his MMA debut and finally earned a shot at Adesanya’s middleweight title. Pereira defeated his longtime opponent with a fifth-round TKO after a back-and-forth contest. But, Adesanya sought a rematch right away after the defeat, and the two are now the main event of UFC 287.
#1. Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg
The dispute between Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg will never be resolved in the ring. The former women’s bantamweight champion of the UFC has given up mixed martial arts to pursue a career in pro wrestling with WWE. Cyborg, meanwhile, is firmly entrenched in her dominance in the women’s featherweight class as a Bellator fighter right now.
But their past is rife with controversy. Former women’s featherweight competitor “Rowdy” found her footing as a 135-pounder. Despite being former Strikeforce competitors, the two never met. Rousey made the switch to 135 pounds at the same time as Cyborg ascended to the 145-pound throne in Strikeforce.
The Brazilian then asserted that her opponent was escaping from her as a result of this. Since then, the two have exchanged insults. Rousey has regularly criticised Cyborg for using performance-enhancing drugs in the past and even claimed that her adversary was a “it” rather than a woman. She pressed the Brazilian to lose weight till she weighed 135 pounds.
However, Cyborg found 135 pounds to be too much. In reaction, Rousey asserted that the only reason she wasn’t selected was because of her rival’s drug use. The two continued to insult each other, but following ‘Rowdy’s’ defeats to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, she retired and the two never engaged in combat.