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 Nate Diaz

Perhaps one of the most unlikely rivalries in MMA history is that of Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Both were giant personalities in the sport, these two were not even on each other’s radar when their first fight was scheduled. At the time McGregor was competing in the featherweight division and Diaz in the lightweight division.  There was no immediate need to face one another until McGregor was in need of a last-minute replacement at UFC 196.

Diaz stepped in on just 11 days notice to fill in for the injured Rafael dos Anjos. Immediately the rivalry was born. Diaz has the type of personality where he will not take any trash talk from his opponents. McGregor, on the other hand, is all about the trash talk. It was a match made in heaven for fight fans. The UFC set up a press conference for these fighters and they didn’t hold back. McGregor was confident as always and tried to get into the head of his opponent. Diaz was calm as always and paid no mind to the loud McGregor.

The night of the fight, Diaz was able to avoid McGregor’s hard punching power and submitted him in the second round. Although McGregor was the featherweight champion he was determined to get another shot at Diaz. Following the fight at UFC 196, McGregor and Diaz were matched up again at UFC 202.

The lead-up to UFC 202 is when the hostility came to a boil. During the pre-fight press conference, things began to heat up between McGregor and Diaz. When Diaz was leaving the press conference a fight broke out between his camp and McGregor’s camp. The two parties began throwing water bottles and cans of Monster energy drinks at each other. The fans began to get involved and the entire place was in chaos. Eventually, the two were punished for the incident but were able to compete at the event days later.

McGregor was victorious at UFC 202 and has since gone on to become the most popular and highest paid fighters on the UFC roster. As for Diaz, he has been holding out hope for the trilogy fight with McGregor.

They have recently re-ignited their feud as both McGregor and Diaz have stepped into the Octogan against other opponents. Diaz was even rumored to have been the first choice to coach with TUF 31 alongside McGregor but that didn't end up happening.