Tell me if you have heard this before. One fighter has the belt, and his friend and training partner is asked in an interview if he would like to obtain the title. He is vague and quiet but ultimately says that it is always his goal to hold the title one day. The current champion and training partner takes that as a betrayal and from there the friendship breaks down. It takes entirely too long to match the two fighters up because of injuries, losses, and timing. Now what two fighters am I talking about?
Current fans of the sport would obviously point to Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans as who I am talking about, but there is also another long held rivalry in the sport of MMA and UFC itself, that has similar qualities. I would be talking about none other than Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz. Back right before Zuffa took over the UFC, Chuck and Tito were both managed by Dana White and were even training partners. Once Dana became president, Tito was champion, and Chuck was a rising star. Now, their rivalry is one for the history books with Chuck retired and Tito to be soon.
Rashad and Jon seem to be repeating the history and with camps becoming so big and engrossing, it is only and short time until there are more rivalries that are the same. Chuck and Tito just happened to be the first that started it, Jon and Rashad are the first to repeat it, but soon there will be more.