Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira resembles Conor McGregor vs Joseph Duffy: In 2017 Izzy suffered a KO loss to Alex in the 3rd round, in 2010 Conor lost to Duffy by 1st round arm triangle. Both fighters would eventually go on to win the belt and be considered amongst the elite of their era. But at one point their past would come back to haunt them, slightly. It didn’t matter that they were looking unstoppable and on one of a kind runs because as soon as Duffy and Alex were signed, people began to talk as if they were the same fighters as when they lost. Neither has rematched or avenged their loss, but Izzy very well could should Alex succeed where Duffy failed.
Kamaru Usman vs Colby Covington resembles GSP vs Koscheck: Both GSP and Kamaru are considered the greatest welterweights of their era, both have dominated the competition to the point that they seemingly have run the table. Yet both have a similarity in that their biggest foe was a brash, trash-talking wrestler that dominates every contender but will always play second fiddle to the champ.
Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal resembles Uriah Faber vs Tj Dillashaw: These 4 fighters started as teammates, then brothers, then mortal enemies. Masvidal just like Faber was already part of MMA when their rival came into the picture, both helped lay a foundation that would benefit their former teammates while they developed into stars. While Faber and TJ never fought in the cage, the animosity and love lost feels eerily similar, down to the gyms being split up and coaching staff being involved in the affair.
Dana White vs Francis Nganou resembles Dana White vs Tito Ortiz: Remember that I am not talking about skill here, so I’m not saying Tito is the same fighter as Francis. But at one point in time, Tito was the UFC’s biggest star and cash cow much like Francis is now. Then the contract disputes erupted and all MMA fans were treated to levels of drama never seen before to that point, so much so that many feel Tito lost a step focusing on other things. While the drama between Francis and the UFC has never reached Tito’s levels, it does feel like we could potentially see Francis depart should the contract dispute not be settled. This comparison is simply of two mega popular champions who were unhappy with their current contract and threatened to take their talents elsewhere. Let’s hope Francis stays with the UFC as Tito did.
Valentina Shevchenko vs Amanda Nunes resembles Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate: Ronda and Amanda both swept this rivalry, while Valentina was more competitive than Tate in both fights she ultimately has yet to beat the Lioness. At their peaks, Ronda and Nunes were considered the best, but like so many champs before them, they had a rival that just wouldn’t go away but more importantly helped raise their level.
Deiveson Figueiredo vs Brandon Moreno resembles Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard: Both series remain tied at one win each with a draw. While Frankie and Gray will never get to settle the rivalry, Fig vs Moreno 4 is rumored to be in the works. Both fought in lighter weight classes (155 & 125) and are among the fastest and most athletic of their time. While Frankie vs Gray didn’t include as much animosity as the other, it still went down as one of the best rivalries in their division’s history.
Kamaru Usman vs American Top Team resembles Dominick Cruz vs Alpha Male: Dom had an unprecedented run as both challenger and champion, he suffered one loss to Urijah Faber in 2007 and began a rivalry the likes MMA had not seen since Tito vs the Lion’s den. Dom went on a 13 fight win streak while facing and winning against Alpha male on 5 occasions (5-2) he would eventually lose to Garbradnt. Usman on the other hand is undefeated against his rival gym and even won the TUF as a Blackzillian vs ATT. He has wins over Colby (x2), Masvidal (2x), Tyron Woodley, and Hayder Hassan for a perfect 6-0.
Israel Adesanya vs Jan Blachowicz resembles GSP vs Bj Penn: Izzy and Bj did what not many fighters let alone champions have done and that’s to move up and challenge the bigger man as a champion. While Izzy was taller than Jan, he still gave up a massive amount of weight and frame, especially after weigh-ins. This would come back to haunt him in the actual fight. Bj was 1 inch shorter and had already fought as a 170 and above before, but this would not matter as a rising GSP dominated BJ in a similar fashion but in 2 fights. So in this instance where Goliath triumphed over David.
Paul Craig submitting the LHW division resembles Frank Mir submitting the HW: The reason I believe these two resemble each other the most is because they are the best comeback fighters in their division’s history. Both men faced gigantic fighters who are freakishly strong and agile, yet no matter how behind on the scorecards they may be, they somehow found a way to either slap on a triangle from hell, or maybe take an arm with them as a trophy.
Francis Nganou vs Stipe Miocic resembles Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir: The series for each rivalry is deadlocked at 1 win for each fighter. Both Frank and Stipe were at one point recognized as the best HW of their time, then came a much larger and stronger challenger who looked like an impossible task for the more experienced fighters in Stipe and Frank. Yet they both overcame the challenger in their first matchup but were demolished in the rematch, we never got a Frank vs Brock 3 and it’s looking less likely that we will get Francis vs Stipe 3 as well.
Leon Edwards 9 win streak and no title shot resembles Tony Ferguson’s 12 win streak with no title shot (not interim): Tony and Leon have had two of the most promising yet frustrating careers of their time. In Tony’s case we saw injuries and canceled fights derail what may have been the next LW champ or a classic vs Khabib. Leon has tore through opposition but doesn’t get the attention or marketing push for someone of his caliber. While Tony’s run ended after 7 years, Leon’s is still going. Tony received 2 interim shots but never a shot at the actual belt, Leon is rumored to be next for the strap, but with no official announcement and talk of Conor McGregor being next is exactly why these two fighters rivalry of being passed over is nearly identical.