Nate Diaz (20-13) vs Conor (22-6): As it stands Diaz vs Conor is deadlocked at 1-1 for each fighter. While Conor is still on the mend from his broken ankle, Diaz was last seen in action against Leon Edwards last June. No official word has been given on a date, but considering both fighters are on losing streaks, as well as maintaining a high level of animosity towards one another, one could make the argument that now is the time for #3. Also, let’s not forget that this is the most profitable and highest-grossing PPV MMA rivalry of all time. #1 sold 1.3 million PPV’s while #2 sold 1.6 million.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (29-0) vs Tony Ferguson (25-6): This is the only rivalry on the list in which we never got to see either fighter compete against each other. I think at this point everyone has lost count of how many times fans were teased with this fight, only to have Tiramisu, TV equipment and injury after injury get in the way of what may have been one of the most competitive rivalries ever. While we will never get this fight back, we will always have memories of each fighter in their prime and what could’ve been.
Rampage Jackson (38-14) vs Wanderlei Silva (35-14): One of the oldest rivalries on this list, we have seen Rampage and Wanderlei lock horns since their pride days. More specific their first fight took place on November 9, 2003, then 2004, 2008 and 2018. While the rivalry started 2-0 for Wanderlei, Rampage was eventually able to enact his revenge during their last 2 fights and even the score. Both fighters are seemingly happily retired (Rampage may return to box), so we may never see the deciding fight, but as far as entertainment and living up to the hype this rivalry gave us 4 fantastic fights.
Brock Lesnar (5-3-1) vs Frank Mir (19-13): While this rivalry began with Frank submitting Brock in 1:30 seconds, the second fight saw Brock deliver what Joe Rogan called “Lunchboxes to the face” as well as dish out one of the worst beatings of all time (Future list), or how he called it “pulling a horseshoe out of Franks A** and beat him over the head with it”. While this was enough for some to say 3rd fight was unnecessary, I say give them 1 more and settle a rivalry that is 1-1.
Douglas Lima (32-10) vs Michael Page (20-1): Another rivalry that sits at 1-1, Lima and Page have yet to settle the score and face one another, especially after the way the 2nd fight ended. Both fighters have not fought since facing each other in October of last year, but seeing as their first fight ended via KO in favor of Lima and the second was a hometown decision for MVP, Bellator needs to set this trilogy up ASAP. MVP is set to face Yaroslav Amosov in May, but depending on the outcome a rematch vs Lima would be on point.
Shogun Rua (27-12) vs Lyoto Machida (26-11): A fight that for some reason never got its trilogy, we have Shogun and Lyoto tied at 1-1. Their first meeting took place during the “Machida Era” back in 2009 when Lyoto won a controversial UD, from there an immediate rematch was given and Shogun KO’d the Dragon in the 1st. Both fighters are closer to the end of their careers, have nearly identical records and fight for different organizations, but never say never as this is an OG Brazilian rivalry that needs a winner.
Michael Bisping (30-9) vs Luke Rockhold (16-5): While this rivalry sits 1-1 for each fighter on their official records, Bisping and Rockhold will argue that there were more fights that took place in the gym behind closed doors. While this rivalry started in favor of Luke (2nd round guillotine), eventually Bisping levelled things when he scored the biggest win of his career and KO’d Luke in the 1st. While both fighters are “technically” retired and Luke has been working his way back into competition stranger things have happened. Both fighters have seemingly made up and settled their differences while becoming training partners under the RVCA gym, I think it’s a safe bet that this is another unsolved rivalry.
Henry Cejudo (16-2) vs Demetrious Johnson (30-4): Another rivalry that we will never get clarity on will forever be remembered as a passing of the torch moment in the UFC. Henry and Mighty Mouse first met at very different points in their careers and DJ was able to impose his will on the very green Henry. From there Cejudo evolved into the fighter we all saw before he retired and was able to dethrone the seemingly unbeatable Johnson. DJ was eventually traded to One Fc in the Ben Askern deal, while Tripple C is a commentator and podcaster now (teasing his return).
Eddie Alvarez (30-8) vs Michael Chandler (22-7): One of the best rivalries to come out of Bellator, Alvarez and Chandler put each other through hell as they battled twice and split the series 1-1. At the time of their first fight (2014), Eddie was a seasoned vet who was the Bellator lightweight champ, Chandler was an up and coming 9-0 prospect who submitted Alvarez in the 4th round, setting up a rematch 2 years later which saw Eddie win a split decision. After Eddie went to the UFC where he would become champ, Chandler would also eventually win gold for Bellator but joined the UFC 4 years after Eddie left. Considering where each fighter is in their careers, this feels like another rivalry that will never get its conclusion.
Stipe Miocic (20-4) vs Francis Ngannou (17-3): What may be the rivalry for the greatest UFC heavyweight ever, we have seen both fighters score wins over each other. While Francis may have the more terrifying victory, Stipe still is one of only 2 men to hold a win over Francis (Derrick Lewis). Francis defended his title against Gane in January and suffered a knee injury that will leave him out of competition for possibly a year. Stipe, on the other hand, has yet to compete since losing to Francis in March of last year, he has been linked to the debut of Jon Jones but nothing is set in stone. Both fighters seem unhappy with the UFC, so knock on wood that fight number 3 can take place sooner than later.