The 411 MMA Top 10 09.16.13: The Top 10 Heated Feuds
Posted by Alex Rella on 09.16.2013
From Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva vs. Rampage, to Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate and more, 411's Alex Rella counts down the top 10 most heated feuds of all time!
Ten Most Heated Feuds
Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at the ten most heated feuds in MMA. The topic should be pretty straight forward as these are all feuds that were personal or filled with hate. So professional feuds built on respect and competitiveness like Hughes-GSP, Couture-Liddell, and Sakuraba-Gracies don't make the cut this week. For the sake of this list this is only between fighters. I don't care about the endless trash talk between Dana White and Tito Ortiz. There also needed to be a fight at some point to resemble some form of a conclusion or climax in the feud. This was one of the hardest lists I've had to rank as the ones in the top five are so close. The feuds are ranked this week based on how much they genuinely disliked each other, the significance of the feud, and then the quality of the fights and some of my personal opinion to a lesser extent.
Jens Pulver vs BJ Penn
GSP vs Nick Diaz
Urijah Faber vs Dominick Cruz
Rashad Evans vs Jon Jones
10: Rashad Evans vs Quinton Jackson
A lot of people think this feud started after Quinton Jackson fought Keith Jardine at UFC 96, but it actually went back a lot further. Back in 2004, the first year of Rashad Evans' fighting career, he took on Rampage's teammate Hector Ramirez. Ramirez hurt his ankle and Evans supposedly showboated quite heavily as he cruised to unanimous decision victory. Evans came up Jackson after the fight and asked if he could train with Jackson, but the offer was turned down as Rampage felt it was disrespectful. Five years later, Rashad Evans entered the cage to address the supposed number one contender that had just defeated his teammate Jardine. They exchanged words and touched noses, but Rampage would miss out on his title shot due to injuries and Evans would go on to lose to Machida.
To build up to their fight they coached the tenth season of TUF against each other. Team Evans completely dominated the heavyweight season as only one member of Team Rampage made it past the first round of fights. The showdown was supposed to happen in 2009, but it would get pushed back as Rampage left to be a movie star and he "retired" from fighting. Jackson eventually returned at UFC 114 in what was supposed to be a number one contender fight and he looked rusty after not fighting for fourteen months. Evans capitalized when he came out and exploded on Rampage almost immediately. Evans dominated the first two rounds as he took Jackson down and outstruck him standing up. Jackson came back a bit in the third round when he knocked him down with a right, but he couldn't capitalize on it and Evans came back to score another take down as the fight ended. Evans won by unanimous decision and was supposed to get a title shot against Shogun Rua afterwards but both guys got injured and the fight never happened.
9: Matt Hughes vs Frank Trigg
The first time these two met at UFC 45 the feud was still fairly professional. There was some trash talk as to who was the better wrestler and such, but they really didn't hate each other at that point. Hughes won a good fight by a standing rear naked choke at the end of the first. Hughes would go on to lose and regain the title and Trigg would win his next two in a row to get another crack at the title. Hughes didn't want the rematch as he already defeated Trigg and felt he had nothing to prove. But Trigg became a great heel at this point arguing for a rematch with plenty antagonizing and great insults. It also helped that there really wasn't anybody else to challenge for the title at that point. Trigg made it even more personal by dating Hughes ex girlfriend at the time and tried to kiss Hughes in the stare down before the fight. Trigg would bring the heat immediately and would inadvertently knee Hughes in the crotch. The ref didn't see it and Trigg took advantage of it bringing down a lot of heavy punches. Hughes was able to maneuver out of it and slam Trigg across the ring. The slam wasn't as nice as the one in the first fight but it got the job done. Matt would soon get Trigg's back, but this time he took his time with Trigg because he knew it would be his last chance to hurt him. Then came the rear naked choke to end it.
8: Matt Hughes vs Matt Serra
This feud started during the fourth season of TUF. Serra was a welterweight competitor and Hughes was the champ and one of the guest coaches that season. Hughes' easy defeat of Royce Gracie came up quite a bit on that season and Serra took insult to it. Hughes has been known for ribbing other fighters and it could be seen with Serra several times on camera. Hughes would drop the title to GSP and Serra would later upset GSP for the title. The two were selected to coach TUF season 6 opposite each other in preparation for their title fight. Within minutes of the season starting one could see the two men couldn't stand each other. Team Serra dominated the opening round as they went 6-2. Only Mac Danzig and Tommy Speer made it to the next round. Both men would reach the finals though as Danzig would win the season. The fight would be heavily delayed because of Serra's back injury and both men were out of title contention by the time it happened at UFC 98.
The fight itself was so close. In the first round, Hughes was hit with an inadvertent headbutt and Serra took advantage brought some huge blows to Hughes. Hughes was able to come back on the ground towards the end of the first round. Hughes was able to control Serra on the ground for the second round, but didn't get much damage in. Hughes dictated most of the third round on the ground, but Serra took him down at the end and got in a lot of great shots. Hughes by unanimous decision 29-28 and both men appeared to end their feud as they held each other's hands in the air after it was over. But many viewed the scoring to be controversial and Serra went back to trash talking hoping to get a rematch.
7: Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate
The best feud in MMA today and it can be seen every week on TUF. This one started when Ronda Rousey was granted a Strikeforce bantamweight title shot after only four fights and having never competed at 135 lbs. Rousey passed over number one contender Sarah Kaufman and Tate claimed that Rousey didn't deserve the opportunity. There was plenty of trash talk on twitter and whatnot leading up to the fight and both ladies really hated each other by the time they entered the cage. Tate pushed Rousey more than anyone ever did, but the end her elbow was dislocated as she lost her title. Rousey took women's MMA to a whole new level in popularity and Tate lost it her mind for a little while. A lot of her interviews were just weird as she tried to belittle Rousey and try to take credit away from her. Since then, Tate has calmed down considerably and admitted that hatred was poisoning her. They occasionally show respect towards each other and give compliments about the other's skill, but anybody that has watched TUF so far can see that the hate and tension is still there. Tate appears to be the cooler of the two on the show, but she recently said she wants to break Ronda's jaw. Rousey is very much into psychological warfare, but she got very emotional after her team lost the first fight and I expect things to get much more heated and interesting by the time the season is over and before their rematch in December.
6: Don Frye vs Ken Shamrock
This feud lead to one of the most brutal fights ever and one of the last great fights between that first generation of UFC heavyweight fighters. Ken Shamrock and Don Frye were both in Pride at this point and Frye admitted to having wanted to fight Shamrock for years. Frye decided to make things personal in order to finally get the fight made. Shamrock was going through a rough divorce at the time and was dating a nineteen year old Alicia Webb (Ryan Shamrock in the WWE). So Frye started accusing Shamrock of cheating on his wife with Webb and even said his estranged family members Frank and Bob Shamrock would be in his corner for the fight. This hatred between the two men lead to one of the most violent wars ever. Frye won by a very close split decision, but neither man was ever the same as the fight took such a toll on both of their body's. Shamrock had Frye locked up in deep ankle and leg locks, but Frye refused to tap as he felt he needed to back up his trash talk. This would lead to long term damage on Frye's legs. Frank Shamrock called it the most epic fight ever as he could see the tendons snapping in Frye's knee and he still refused to give up. Frye admitted to being unprofessional and they shook hands after the fight. Frye later said, "All I know is that Ken Shamrock and I both left something in the ring that night. And neither one of us have been the same since. I don't know if he will admit it but I'll admit it."
5: Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir
This feud was just shy of perfect. These two first met at UFC 81 in Lesnar's UFC debut and Mir won by submission when he locked in a kneebar at the end of the first round. The trash talk would start after that. Lesnar would take credit away from Mir and complain that he held onto to the hold after the red stopped the fight. Lesnar went on to defeat Heath Herring and later Randy Couture for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 91. Meanwhile, Mir coached TUF season 8 against Big Nog and would defeat him for the interim heavyweight title at UFC 92. Not only was their second bout a unification fight at an historic pay per view for the UFC, but these two legitimately hated each other with a passion. The fight ended in the second as Lesnar just held him up against the cage and beat the crap out of his face until Herb Dean stopped the fight. And Lesnar was in full WWE mode after the fight ended. He cursed out Mir, insulted Bud Light, and even talked about how he might get lucky with Sable later all while getting booed. Mir would later try to get a rematch by saying he would break Lesnar's neck and have him be the first person to die in the Octagon. Mir would miss out on another chance against Lesnar when he lost to Shane Carwin at UFC 111.
4:Chael Sonnen vs Anderson Silva
These two needed each other to reach new levels in their careers. After that disgusting fight with Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen was the perfect person to take on Anderson Silva. Yea his trash talk helped put him in that position, but his defeating three top middleweights in a row were more important. For nearly four and a half rounds Sonnen dominated Silva from the top position. Sonnen hit Silva 320 times in this fight. Then at 3:10 in the fifth round, Silva locked Sonnen in a triangle armbar to get the win. There were plans for an immediate rematch, but Sonnen would get suspended and instead we got nearly two years of trash talk and building for the rematch at UFC 148.
Sonnen returned from his suspension to defeat Brian Stann and Michael Bisping and all the while ripping apart Anderson Silva every chance he got. He couldn't even go more than a couple pages in his book without throwing an insult in his direction. Sonnen attacked Silva, his friends, other Brazilian fighters, Brazil, and even said Silva's wife should make him a steak. Weeks before the rematch, the usually cool Silva snapped. He said he would break Sonnen's limbs and teeth in the cage. Silva won by TKO in one of the most anticipated rematches ever. After the fight Sonnen humbly accepted defeat and even Silva invited him over for a barbeque.
3:Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock
This feud actually started way back at UFC 18 when Tito Ortiz upset Jerry Bohlander in only his fourth fight. Tito then started shooting at Ken Shamrock with his fingers and put on a shirt that said "I just f**ked your ass" The feud got worse at UFC 19 when Tito Ortiz beat the crap out of Mezger by a first round TKO. This earned him a title shot against Frank Shamrock for the light heavyweight title and most importantly it really pissed off Ken Shamrock. After the fight, Tito put on a shirt that said, "Gay Mezger is my Bitch". Ken Shamrock then got on top of the cage and started screaming at Tito. John McCarthy then picked up Ortiz and carried him across the octagon so things wouldn't get worse. Shamrock continued to freak out backstage and it got so bad that the cops had to be called in. The UFC built Ortiz's title fight with Frank Shamrock at UFC 22 as a grudge match and understandably so, but Frank had been out of the Lion's Den for sometime by the time the fight happened. Frank won the classic fight, retired, and Ortiz beat Wanderlei Silva for the UFC light heavyweight title in his next fight.
The first fight between Tito and Ken finally happened at UFC 40. Almost four years after UFC 18, Ken Shamrock had returned to MMA after his time with the WWE. UFC 40 was arguably the most important pay per view in the history of the UFC. The company was going towards bankruptcy and this feud had been building for years. The dream fight finally happened and everyone thought it would be close. Shamrock almost knocked out Ortiz in the first but Tito dominated him after that scoring surprisingly easy takedowns and dominating with ground and pound. The next two rounds were similar in that Ortiz outwrestled Shamrock in a way nobody had seen before. Shamrock showed some life at the end of the second and third round but he didn't get in any significant offense. Shamrock said he had a torn ACL after the fight which could explain his poor wrestling, but really he was just older and Ortiz was too good at the time.
Their feud would stay heated for years and they went back and forth in negotiations for awhile, but the rematch was finally set for UFC 61 and they coached the third season of TUF against each other to make the build up even better. Ortiz won by TKO in the first, but many viewed it as an early stoppage and an immediate rematch was setup three months later. Ortiz wrecked him for another first round victory and put on another shirt mocking Shamrock, but they made up after the fight was over. In the post fight conference, Ortiz thanked Shamrock for passing the torch and making him a better fighter.
2: Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva
This was the most heated trilogy on the list as you could just feel the hate between these two fighters. Two of the three fights would end with one of them unconscious. The two had been throwing back and forth comments at each other for awhile in Pride while Silva was the middleweight (205 lbs) champion. At Pride 17, Jackson would call out Silva after defeating Kevin Randleman. Silva would then get in the ring and shove Rampage. They would first meet in the finals of the 2003 Pride Middleweight tournament. Silva had just defeated Yoshida and Rampage just beat Liddell in the semifinals. The fight had some great action, but it is most remembered for Silva ending the fight by throwing seventeen knees to Rampage's face in the muay thai clinch. The rematch would take place a year later and would be the Fight of the Year. This time Silva would only need five knees to knock out Rampage in the second round. The final fight would take place four years later at UFC 92 as the two men were at different points in their careers. Rampage would come out on top in the final meeting as he knocked out Wanderlei in the first round with a left hook. Rampage then threw two more punches with his hand around Silva's throat after the ref stopped the fight. There were rumors of a fourth fight for awhile, but it died down as both men seemed to have buried the hatchet in recent years. Still, three of the most brutal fights ever as the hate between these two was just palpable for any viewer.
1: Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz
It's really close, but Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz had the most heated rivalry in MMA. It started back when Ortiz was champion and was pretty much ducking Liddell. They were former training partners and Ortiz claimed they had an agreement to never fight each other, Liddell adamantly denied such an agreement. They first met at UFC 47 after Ortiz dropped the title to Couture and Liddell had returned from his stint in Pride. That fight ended with Ortiz getting knocked out in the second round, but Ortiz got in plenty of taunting and even pushed the ref into Liddell.
Their second fight at UFC 66 was much better. Liddell was going for his fourth title defense and Ortiz had won five fights in a row to get another chance at the title. Liddell was clearly the better striker, but Ortiz really held his own in this fight. Ortiz got bloodied up and was nearly finished in the first, but he covered up and got back in it. Ortiz took the second round as he avoided most of Liddell's striking and scored a takedown. The third round had some nice striking exchanges with Liddell dropping him and finishing it on the ground for the TKO victory. This was Fight of the Night and Liddell's final title defense.
A third fight was supposed to happen as both men coached the tenth season of TUF against each other. You could tell Ortiz genuinely enjoyed helping younger fighters on the show, but Liddell only agreed to it so he could get another crack at Ortiz. The season was heated as one would expect and Ortiz made a lot of personal jabs, especially about Liddell's drinking. At this point both fighters were no longer at the top of the UFC's light heavyweight division and I think the fight could have really gone either way. Court McGee won for team Liddell, but Ortiz had to pull out due to an injury and he was replaced with Rich Franklin. Liddell lost the fight and retired and Ortiz is now with Bellator, but I think Liddell would fight him even now if he was given the chance.
So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left one out that you thought should be in the top 10.
As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Next week will be a hard one as I rank the top ten light heavyweights of all time.