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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Wanderlei Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson

This next rivalry goes way back, to the beginning of the MMA days. Wanderlei Silva and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have hated each other for a long time. They first met when they were both fighting for the Japanese promotion Pride. Pride was always known for there flashy theatrics and entertaining fights. Silva was the champion at middleweight when Jackson burst onto the scene. He made a name for himself in his first fight and began to call out the champ.

These two went back and forth with their insults until it turned physical at Pride 25. Jackson had just won his fight against Kevin Randleman when he used his post-fight interview to speak to Silva who was in the crowd. Silva met Jackson inside the ring and shoved him. They two were separated but the scene was set for their first fight.

They met on Nov. 9, 2003, at Pride Final Conflict 2003. The event was run tournament style and both men had prior fights that night before facing each other. The event was sold out to see these two enemies finally settle the score. Silva quickly showed he could land more shots than Jackson and the fight was called in the first round, the winner was Silva by TKO.

The rematch took place a year later at Pride 28: High Octane. This fight was everything fans wanted. It was brutal and bloody and once again Silva walked away victorious when he knocked Jackson out cold in the second round.

Following the Pride days, both fighters signed with the UFC. Jackson came to the UFC first and became the light heavyweight champion. Silva came a year later and immediately the rivalry was alive and well. Jackson ultimate lost his belt and would have to fight Silva at UFC 92 for a chance at another title shot. In the leadup to the fight, the two exchanged banter like in the old Pride days. When the night of the fight came it was Jackson who did most of the damage. Jackson landed a hard left hook that knocked Silva out then landed more punches on the ground after the ref tried to stop the fight.

It was clear that these two men hated each other and the third fight was Jackson’s revenge. Nobody thought they would meet again but when then both later signed with Bellator, the fourth bout was set, Sept. 29, 2018, at Bellator 206. Both fighters were nearing the end of their careers but this fight had history behind it and the eyes of the fans. Jackson was able to even out the record when he knocked out Silva in round two. With so many fights between them and the pure hatred over the years maybe it would be foolish to rule out a fifth grudge match.