Part II of our ranking of the top 10 MMA rivalries of all time counts down the top 5 8 years ago

Part II of our ranking of the top 10 MMA rivalries of all time counts down the top 5

Ken Shamrock's birthday on Wednesday had us wondering whether his feud with Tito Ortiz was the most intense MMA rivalry of all time.

We decided to list our top 10, the first five of which can be seen here, and came up with this conclusion.


5. Dominick Cruz v Urijah Faber

You'd forgive the casual fight fans for preferring the heavyweight knock-outs to the more technical approach employed by the lighter weight fighters but there's plenty of excitement to be gotten from the little guys, just look at Cruz and Faber.

These elite-level fighters will never be able to take an interview without the name of the other one being brought up. Their respective careers are always going to be judged in the context of the rival.

Faber remains Cruz' only professional loss and that took place when the pair first clashed in the WEC back in 2007. The victory came after just 90 seconds when the champion tapped out the up-and-coming Cruz via guillotine choke.


Faber explains his beef with Cruz as having stemmed from a media event ahead of this fight when "The Dominator" insisted on signing his autograph over Faber's face on promotional posters.

Their second encounter came after the UFC had incorporated the bantamweight division and Cruz had been awarded the belt. Faber was set to be his first defence.


Ahead of the fight, the trash talking exacerbated as Cruz claimed that "The California Kid" had failed to evolve as a fighter when he moved to the UFC.

Dominick avenged his loss when he claimed a decision victory over Faber at UFC 132 with the performance warranting Fight of the Night honours.

The fact that each guy had a victory over the other only heightened the demand for a rubber match and the duo were paired together as coaches on The Ultimate Fighter 15.


The season was put together to promote the completion of the bantamweight trilogy at UFC 148 but, unfortunately, Cruz was forced to withdraw from the bout with a torn ACL.

When "The Dominator" made his successful return to the octagon against Takeya Mizugaki in September, he made a point of smack-talking the camp at which Faber trains, Team Alpha Male, referring to its fighters as "Alpha Fails".

In dreadful news for MMA fans, Cruz tore the ACL in his other knee since that fight so we won't be seeing the third and final bout in the near future but, if Faber can hang around for another year or two, we might just get lucky.


4. Jon Jones v Daniel Cormier

It's not often that a single fight can constitute a rivalry but this light heavyweight encounter certainly produced one.

After seeing off all comers with little bother, 205lb champion Jon Jones was given the unique challenge of an Olympic-level wrestler by the name of Daniel Cormier, who was unbeaten in his fight career with 13 of his 15 wins coming in the heavyweight division.

The bout was initially slated for UFC 178 and, during a promotional event for the title decider, the pair came to blows in front of a Vegas crowd.

The pair also exchanged words as "D.C." accused Jones of being fake when the pair believed that the microphones weren't live in an ESPN interview.

"Bones" cut an entirely different figure from the respectful, God-fearing persona that he portrayed beforehand.

After Jones suffered a leg injury, the bout was moved to UFC 182. The pressure mounted on the seemingly unbeatable Jones as many fighters predicted an upset going the way of Cormier. In the days before the most-anticipated grudge match in UFC history, the pair clashed in the fighters' hotel.

When they finally met, Jon Jones was awarded a dominant decision victory after bossing Cormier in both the striking and wrestling departments. Their beef wasn't squashed at the final bell, though, as the fighters continued to tee off before the champion dismissed the challenger with this hand gesture.

3. Ronda Rousey v Miesha Tate

Hard to believe that these two visions of beauty could be filled with such venom but that's what came pouring out during their pair of fights.

The feud began over social media and in media appearances with Strikeforce champion Tate expressing her belief that Rousey did not deserve a title shot and that her popularity was down to her good looks alone while Rousey said of Tate's performances: "To be honest, every time I study that tape, I have to take breaks in the middle because I'm just bored."

Their first fight took place in Strikeforce three years ago and, unsurprisingly, Rousey won by first-round armbar and "Rowdy" dethroned Tate from her place as the promotion's 135lb champion.

When the UFC incorporated the women's bantamweight division into their organisation Rousey was promoted to champion and, in December 2013, she was tasked with facing "Cupcake" once more.

The build-up to this fight largely took place as the duo coached opposite one another on Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. That particular series was supposed to feature Rousey and number one contender Cat Zingano but, after a Zingano injury, Tate stepped up.

The trash-talk intensified throughout the season and when filming wrapped, Tate was given the shot at taking away Rousey's UFC belt in December 2013.

Their second match-up went the same way as the first with Rousey finishing her fierce rival in December 2013 via armbar and, after the bout, Tate offered a congratulatory handshake to the champion but Rousey declined.

But with Rousey clearing out the division and Tate having won her three fights since their last encounter, expect the completion of a trilogy in the next year.

2. Anderson Silva v Chael Sonnen

This will likely go down as the most trash-talk heavy rivalry in sports history as Chael Sonnen put on a verbose masterclass at how to promote a fight.

After beating Nate Marquardt in a title eliminator back at UFC 109, Sonnen was given his first shot at UFC gold as he was slated to face the middleweight champion and arguably the greatest of all time, Anderson Silva, in August 2010.

In his efforts to hype the fight, Sonnen became something of a WWE promo-spouting villain as he took shots at Silva, Silva's manager and his native Brazil.

"Anderson Silva is as fake as Mike Tyson was. They called him the hardest, 'The baddest man in the world' but he wasn't even the toughest guy in America and we had to sit through and listen to that over and over again as he fought lots of tomato cans."

When fight night arrived, something happened that nobody predicted. Sonnen dominated Silva for four and a half rounds, outgrappling and surprisingly outstriking the champion for the duration of the fight.

But in the final round Silva threw up a relatively telegraphed triangle choke that Sonnen got caught in and, after a questionable Sonnen tap, the referee waved it off and Silva remained champion.

That's when Sonnen's mouth kicked into overdrive.

"Even if I thought I could get a submission I'm not laying underneath a grown man with my legs spread on worldwide TV. Some guys subscribe to that theory but I am a Republican and we don't do that."

The WWE style self-promotion became more and more ludicrous and Sonnen claimed to put his career on the line in a rematch.

When they met again, at UFC 148, Sonnen came out looking to catch Silva off-guard with a spinning back-fist attempt and ended up missing.

After Chael fell against the cage, Silva connected with a devastating knee to the body and finished "The American Gangster" off with ground and pound.

1. Ken Shamrock v Tito Ortiz

Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz didn't dislike each other ... They loathed the very fact that the other existed.

The beef started all the way back in 1999 when Ortiz beat  Guy Mezger, a fighter out of Ken Shamrock's Lion's Den gym, and proceeded to stick his middle finger up at Mezger's corner which Shamrock took bucketloads of umbrage with.

The fight took four years to come to fruition and was set for UFC 40, for the light heavyweight championship.

Ortiz took the fight by corner stoppage after Shamrock couldn't answer the bell for the fourth round.

Another two years passed by and the UFC decided to capitalise on the buzz generated by the first fight by pitting the MMA legends against one another on Season 3 of The Ultimate Fighter.

As the show was about to wrap, a verbal altercation very nearly came to blows as the pair clashed in the TUF gym.

The rematch was slated for UFC 61 but ended in somewhat controversial circumstances as many questioned the legitimacy of the stoppage due to Ortiz's elbows but Tito didn't care as he was 2-0 against "The World's Most Dangerous Man".

Even Dana White was unhappy with the stoppage and he immediately set up a rematch on free TV for three months later but Shamrock was unable to take his third chance at upsetting "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" and he was finished once more due to Ortiz's elbow strikes.

Regardless of the lopsided nature of how the fights between Shamrock and Ortiz played out, there's no denying that the vitriol exhibited by both fighters to each other makes this the greatest rivalry in the history of MMA.