21 of the biggest rivalries in MMA history [UPDATED]

UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Press Conference
UFC 229: Khabib v McGregor Press Conference / Steven Ryan/GettyImages
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Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler

For two fighters to be rivals and also be two of the best fighters ever in a weight class makes the rivalry that much sweeter. Many times people think of the best fighters have competed in the UFC but this next set of rivals fought each other in Bellator and their two fights against each other are arguably the best fights in the organization’s history. For Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, their fates and histories will forever be intertwined. They are both still at the top of their game, and the world is holding out hope that these two will finally get that rubber match that has eluded them for many years.

They first met back in 2011 when Alvarez was the king at 155 pounds in Bellator. With the organization from the beginning, Alvarez was the heavy favorite going into this fight with Chandler. It seemed as if Alvarez was taking the fight when they entered the fourth round. That is when Chandler shocked the world and submitted Alvarez by rear naked choke. Chandler was the new champ and he now held the power between these two men.

Alvarez went on to win two back to back fights against tough opponents Patricky Freire and Shinya Aoki. The wins were enough to secure a rematch with Chandler and a shot to regain his title. Chandler defended his title three times when the rematch was set. These two were matched up at Bellator 106. This fight went the distance but this time it was Alvarez who walked away with the belt.

A third fight was in the works in May of 2014 at Bellator 120 but one week before the event Alvarez suffered a concussion and was pulled from the fight. Chandler fought Will Brooks instead for the interim belt. Chandler lost that bout and with it his chance at another shot at Alvarez.

Alvarez left the UFC for ONE Championship. Chandler left Bellator for the UFC where, despite losses, is considered one of the more exciting athletes. He just finished filming TUF 31 and will fight fellow coach, Conor McGregor sometimes in the future.