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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Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov

This next rivalry began with violence and escalated so far out of hand that there is still pending punishment from their last encounter. Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was proven himself to be a calm individual, that is until he is pushed too far. As many saw first hand at UFC 229 in Las Vegas at the beginning of October, “The Eagle” was pushed and responded to his rival Conor McGregor in an outrageous way.

The feud between these two men began in April at UFC 223 in Brooklyn, NY. Nurmagomedov was there as part of the main event. He was looking to secure his first UFC title when he defeated Al Iaquinta, however, it was the leadup to that event that took the headlines away from Nurmagomedov’s performance. During fight week, Nurmagomdeov and his camp were involved in a verbal altercation with McGregor’s teammate Artem Lobov. That fight led to McGregor flying across the Atlantic to come to the aide of his friend.

McGregor showed up to the UFC 223 media day in a frenzy determined to retaliate for the disrespect to his friend. McGregor showed up to the media day event with several of his friends and wreaked havoc on the fighter’s bus. The events led to McGregor being arrested by the NYPD and the consequences took months to sort out. In the meantime, Nurmagomedov won the title and gained the upper hand over McGregor.

When McGregor was finally ready to return to the UFC, Nurmagomedov was willing and ready to welcome him back. In the lead-up to the fight, McGregor was his regular outspoken self, but Nurmagomedov seemed unphased. He remained that cool façade until after the win over McGregor when Nurmagomedov lept into the crowd to retaliate against McGregor’s team.
The fight is over but this monster rivalry lives on.