Most Heated MMA Rivalries of 2012

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistDecember 21, 2012

Most Heated MMA Rivalries of 2012

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    2012 has been a relatively slow year for heated rivalries highlighted by verbal/Internet exchanges, big-time grudge matches and, well, actual hate.

    However, 2012 has had its share of personal and competitive rivalries. Great stories have been told in the Octagon and great non-physical jabs have been exchanged through words and the media.

    Here are the most heated rivalries of 2012.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva

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    One of the biggest rivalries of the past few years came full circle, and basically to an end, this year. That rivalry was between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.

    They went back and forth in the media. Silva said he wanted to commit bodily harm on Sonnen and Sonnen continued to humorously poke fun at the champion. 

    For instance, here is one of Sonnen's great quotes via Twitter:

    When I want your advice I'll beat it out of you, Stupid. Now go back to singing to hamburgers and telling Segal he's legit.

    Obviously, he is making fun of Silva's Burger King commercial and his "tutelage" under Steven Seagal.

    The rivalry came to an end when they fought their second bout at UFC 148. Silva earned a TKO stoppage over Sonnen and squashed the beef after the fight.

    Still, the long rivalry was one of the most heated of 2012. 

Chael Sonnen vs. Jon Jones

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    This rivalry between Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones will culminate in a title fight in 2013, but that has not stopped their public verbal jabs from becoming heated. 

    It all started when Dan Henderson had to pull out of UFC 151 and nobody but Sonnen would step up to fight Jones. Jones would turn down the fight, thus canceling UFC 151 (more on that later).

    This would lead to Sonnen and Jones engaging in a war of words, as seen on Twitter.

    Hey Jon, What do you think will cost more? Your hospital tab or the settlement you made with the two broads from the backseat?

    -Chael Sonnen

    Jones would not stay quiet.

    The more I realize how bad the fans want to see me fight Sonnen the more I am beginning to disregard whether he deserves it or not

    They sent more verbal jabs through the media, but this is just a small example of what was said via Twitter.

    This rivalry will be further explored in The Ultimate Fighter 17, which both men will coach on. I don't expect too much craziness, but it should continue to fuel their rivalry.

Chael Sonnen vs. Quinton Jackson

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    Chael Sonnen just can't stay out of controversy or make friends, can he?

    Sonnen was also involved in a pretty heated rivalry with Quinton Jackson, with verbal jabs being thrown back and forth. The video shows how entertaining their back-and-forths have been so far.

    In addition to that, some Twitter beef has been seen by those who use the popular social media website. Jackson's words in the media have drawn humorous responses from Sonnen.

    If I could understand a single word  said about me I might be mildly offended.

    Hard to hear  all the way from the bottom of his pit of obscurity.

    ***NEWSFLASH***!!! Quentin Jackson was NOT arrested today. Local police and UFC have no explanation, both promise return to form tomorrow

    Although I doubt these two will cross paths in the cage, it would definitely be a great fight to put on. The fight would sell just based on their bickering and would force Jackson to sign with the UFC longer, even though he "hates" working for the UFC.

International TUF Coaches

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    There were two international versions of The Ultimate Fighter in 2012, and both saw heated rivalries brew among the coaches.

    In Brazil, Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort almost came to blows several times during taping. Silva threw a bunch of insults at Belfort about his personality and other things, while Belfort was usually reserved and took a more polite route.

    Their rivalry never amounted to a fight because Belfort could not compete due to a broken hand. This led to Silva calling Belfort a coward.

    In Australia, Ross Pearson and George Sotiropoulos became heated adversaries while coaching TUF: The Smashes. They almost came to blows several times and constantly insulted each other.

    Pearson also reportedly lost all respect for George because he punched Pearson's assistant coach Erin Beach during filming. This led to Beach knocking out Sotiropoulos, according to Pearson himself.

    Pearson ended up knocking out George in the coach's fight at UFC on FX 6. Even after competing, the two would not shake hands or squash the beef.

Frankie Edgar vs. Benson Henderson

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    This was not a heated rivalry in terms of personal animosity, but from a competitive standpoint, this was one of the most heated rivalries of 2012.

    Edgar and Henderson fought for the first time at UFC 144 in Japan in a close, exciting fight, which saw Henderson win the UFC Lightweight Championship from Edgar.

    However, an immediate rematch was booked for UFC 150.

    The two again engaged in a fan-friendly affair that could have gone either way. The decision was close and disputed, but in the end Henderson was still champion.

    One of the biggest competitive rivalries of 2011 also included Frankie Edgar, but that was against Gray Maynard. This may become a recurring thing; watch for next year.

Ian McCall vs. Demetrious Johnson

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    Speaking of great competitive rivalries that were heated in the Octagon, Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson had two wars in 2012. Both fights were high intensity with great implications, which may be why the competition was so heated.

    They fought to a draw in the semifinals of the inaugural flyweight tournament, which forced a rematch later in the year. That time, Johnson came out the winner and would go on to win the flyweight title.

    I would love to see these two fight again in the future. They put on a show both times, with competitive fights and excitement for the crowd.

Fighters vs. Drug Tests

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    This may be the most heated rivalry between a fighter and non-human in many years. 2012 seemed to be a year that fighters could not beat their drug tests.

    There were many examples of this.

    Marijuana was the main culprit of failed drug tests this year. It started off with Nick Diaz following UFC 143, his second failure for marijuana use.

    Then, at UFC 149, Matt Riddle failed his drug test because of marijuana. Dave Herman (UFC 153) and Thiago Silva (UFC on Fuel 6) were two other fighters who used the green plant for smoking purposes. 

    Two men were caught with strength enhancers, as Stephan Bonnar was caught for steroids at UFC 153 and Alistair Overeem was caught for over double the amount of testosterone allowed at the pre-UFC 146 drug test.

    And then there were Francisco Rivera and Jake Shields. Rivera was caught with a banned over-the-counter stimulant at UFC 149, while Shields' failed drug test was unconfirmed.

    It was a tough year for failed drug tests, which led to a heated rivalry between fighters and their ability to stay clean.

BJ Penn vs. Rory MacDonald

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    This rivalry was more recent, as the fight between the two went down this month at UFC on Fox 5. However, bad blood ran deep as both men had choice words for one another.

    Whether it was the media or Twitter, these two held back no punches (pun intended).

    They had a great pre-fight Twitter clash, however most of those tweets were deleted. Rory called out BJ for being fat and old, while BJ poked fun at Rory's back acne.

    Both men threw some solid verbal shots, but the fight was less competitive. MacDonald manhandled Penn in the cage, and then the beef was over.

Luke Rockhold vs. Lorenz Larkin

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    Luke Rockhold and Lorenz Larkin were supposed to throw down in 2012, then they were supposed to fight early in 2013 (January to be exact). Both times, Rockhold had to withdraw from the fight.

    When it became known that Strikeforce was folding and Rockhold pulled out of the January fight with Larkin, the sh...well, it hit the fan for Larkin.

    Larkin took his frustrations to Twitter:

    @Dana White hey Dana I hurt my right pinky toe guess I can't fight wish I started 2 years before I did so I could have skipped this pussy era

    @Dana White or can you give me that Black Friday price for the sf belt?

    Rockhold would respond in angry fashion.

    @da_MONSOON I want nothing more than to fight u #EasyMoneybut Im not gonna fight anyone one handed. Shut ur mouth and know ur place.

    Larkin had a grade school comeback for Rockhold

    @LukeRockhold lol #easymoney I didnt think you were that funny and if you were hurt why did you sign the contract? Dickface

    Finally, Rockhold would let his opinion be known.

    @da_MONSOON I never signed it and I never started training for it because I couldn't. Nothing but bullshit out ur mouth

    Their feud was somewhat childish, but Larkin's frustrations are understandable. Either way, the feud was pretty entertaining to those who stood on the wayside. 

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans

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    This is another heated rivalry that started in 2011, but came full circle in 2012.

    Jon Jones and Rashad Evans' rivalry was built on possible jealousy, resentment over a title shot and promises that may or may not have been broken.

    It was like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz's rivalry from back in the day, as one guy said they had an agreement not to fight and the other guy disputed that.

    However, all the talk came to an end at UFC 145 when Jones and Evans fought.

    Jones would win the fight, the bickering would come to a halt and their heated rivalry was seemingly over, even if they still technically dislike each other.

Jon Jones and Greg Jackson vs. Dana White and the Media

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    UFC 151 was the first ever event in the company's history that had to be cancelled. Blame Jon Jones, Greg Jackson, Dan Henderson or whoever you want, but the fact is that it led to a huge rivalry between Jones/Jackson and Dana White/media.

    White lashed out at Jones' "selfishness."

    This is one of the most selfish, disgusting decisions that doesn't just affect you. This is affecting 16 other lives, their families, kids are going back to school. The list goes on and on of all the things, the money that was spent for fighters to train and the list goes on and on. Like I said, I don't think this is going to make Jon Jones popular with the fans, sponsors, cable distributors, television network executives or other fighters.

    UFC 151 will be remembered as the event Jon Jones and Greg Jackson murdered.

    Jackson and Jones would respond to the criticism, but the media was almost completely against them. Many of the fighters that were affected by the cancellation chose to be professional and not take sides, but some were not too happy.

    In the end, White and Jones would get back on the same page. However, there was a period that this was the most heated rivalry at the time.

Julian Lane vs. the World on TUF 16

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    Let me bang, bro!

    -Julian Lane

    It is the quote of The Ultimate Fighter 16 that associated Julian Lane with being the buffoon of the house. 

    Lane's temper saw him try to fight numerous housemates on the show. He looked like a moron every time as well.

    He tried to fight Matt Secor after some trashtalking in the house between the two. Lane had to be restrained.

    He then wanted to go at Dom Waters (his teammate), who was still in the competition at that point (of course drinking didn't help anything here). Lane had to be restrained again.

    He then got in an argument over the armed forces with friend Colton Smith (another teammate), which saw him try to fight again. Once again, Lane had to be restrained.  

    When it came down to actually fighting, he didn't show much promise. Although he won his way onto the show, he showed a lack of cardio and overall skill against Bristol Marunde in the opening round. 

    Plus, the guy cried and had more emotional breakdowns than a pubescent female. Talk about a head case. 


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