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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Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz

Back in the hay day of the UFC, the light heavyweight division was the limelight. The biggest stars to the sport fought at 205 pounds and among them was Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. The year was 2004 and Liddell had not yet earned a UFC title. He was coming off a loss to Randy Couture for the title and was eager to get back in the Octagon. His opponent was a young Ortiz who had just lost his belt to Couture just 6 months earlier.

These two had bad blood leading up to the fight. Both coming off losses to the champ Couture, this fight seemed to be a title contender fight. Liddell took Ortiz in the first matchup with a KO in the second round. Following the loss, Ortiz went on a five-fight winning streak, while Liddell went on to win the light heavyweight belt and defend it three times. With both fights doing well the rematch was slated for UFC 66 in Las Vegas.

This time Ortiz made it to the third round before Liddell landed the TKO. Following the fight, it would seem that the animosity between the two was settled as Ortiz congratulated Liddell and claimed he was the pound-for-pound best fighter of all time. That harmony wouldn’t last long before the UFC began to show interest in the third fight between these two former champs. Following season 10 of The Ultimate Fighter, UFC president Dana White announced that the trilogy fight will take place at UFC 115 following Liddell and Ortiz coaching season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter.

There were some name calling and back and forth trash talk between the two but Ortiz was forced to pull out of the fight and was replaced with Rich Franklin. Liddell lost that bout and would leave the UFC. Now eight years later these two rivals are finally back in the cage together. The third fight took place eight years after the second under the Golden Boy banner.

At 48 and 43 years old these two legends teamed up with Oscar De La Hoya to rekindle their rivalry. The fight was a quick one as Ortiz knocked out Liddell in the first round. That should be the last time we see these two in the cage, and as their careers came to a close it seemed that their rivalry did as well.