Top 10 UFC Face-Offs of the Decade

Published 01/02/2021, 7:30 AM EST

The UFC has been around for over two decades. In that time, MMA fans have witnessed the growth of the sport from an obscure one to one of the most followed sports in the world. 


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Since its inception, the promotion has seen some incredibly talented fights, scary knockouts, slick submission, and intense rivalries. We take a look at some of the best stare downs from the last decade in the UFC as we venture into a new decade. 

UFC 229: Conor McGregor vs Khabib Nurmagomedov 


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The rivalry between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov is perhaps one of if not the most intense rivalries the sport has ever seen. The buildup to the fight saw lines crossed as family, and religion was dragged into the trash talk. 

Both men’s disdain for each other was on full display when the two men faced off prior to the fight at UFC 229. Dana White stood in the middle surrounded by additional security as two of the biggest names in MMA came face to face in one of the most intense stare downs the UFC had ever seen. 

Paige VanZant vs Michelle Waterson 

The final face-offs before a fight between the two fighters is usually an intense affair. However, prior to their fight during the stare-down, Michelle Waterson and Paige VanZant put a unique spin on it. 

VanZant stepped off the scale and ignored a handshake from Waterson, only to bust out a few dance moves before pointing at her opponent. Waterson then responded with a few moves of her own. It was refreshing to see a unique spin on the pre-fight face-offs.

Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones 1

Daniel Cormier took on Jon Jones for the first time at UFC 178. The rivalry that had been brewing in the buildup to the fight reached a tipping point at the faceoffs prior to UFC 178.

Jon Jones walked towards ‘DC’ and pressed his head against his arch-rival. In retaliation, Cormier grabbed Jones’ neck and pushed him away. A livid Jon Jones charged at Daniel Cormier and threw a few punches, and in the process caused havoc at the weigh-ins. 

Anderson Silva vs Vitor Belfort 

Middleweight champion Anderson Silva took on fellow countryman Vitor Belfort at UFC 126. Belfort was on a five-fight win streak with four of those wins secured via stoppage. 

Silva on the other hand was terrorizing the middleweight division since capturing the belt against Rich Franklin. During the face-off, Silva stepped off the scale before donning a white mask. The two men then faced off against each other and talked trash. The intensity on the stage was palpable as two of the best at 185-pounds were set to take on each other. 

Georges St Pierre vs Nick Diaz

Georges St Pierre’s run as the champion at 170-pounds saw him establish himself as the greatest welterweight ever. ‘Rush’ was an astute professional who preferred to do all his talking inside the octagon.

The Diaz brothers on the other hand tried to get under their opponent’s skin leading up to the fight. 

During the buildup to the fight, Nick Diaz relentlessly engaged in trash talk in a bid to get under the Canadian’s skin. During the final stare downs as well, Diaz put his hands up against St Pierre’s face, who smacked it away. Dana White and other officials stepped in before the situation escalated.

Nate Diaz vs Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone 

The younger Diaz brother took on Donald Cerrone at 155 pounds in December 2011. Diaz had just bounced back after a two-fight skid with a win over Takanori Gomi and was hoping to continue it against Cerrone. 

During the weigh-ins, when Diaz and Cerrone were face-to-face, Diaz knocked the cowboy hat off Cerrone before shoving him. UFC President Dana White had to play peacemaker once more and prevented a scuffle. 

Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs Claudia Gadelha 1

Joanna Jedrzejczyk took on Claudia Gadelha for the first time in her career in a title eliminator. The winner would go on to fight for the title. In the buildup to the fight, both women spoke a lot of trash and it was clear that they did not like each other. 

Joanna is known for having intense stare downs with her opponents and trying to get in their face. The same was the case when Claudia Gadelha stepped off the scale and went to stare down her opponent. The Polish fighter was right in the Brazilian’s face. The two women had to be separated by Joe Silva before the situation escalated. 

UFC 137: Nick Diaz vs BJ Penn

Nick Diaz took on former champion B. J. Penn at UFC 137 in October 2011. Both Diaz brothers are known for their intense stare downs with their opponents. 

After ‘The Prodigy’ stepped off the scale and headed towards Diaz, Nick came face to face with Penn before bumping heads. However, as is the case so often, the UFC President was on hand to prevent things from escalating further. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson 


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Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson is probably the only fight in the UFC that was scheduled five times but never came to fruition. Though the two men have immense respect for each other and their skill set, the stare-down after the UFC 249 press conference was a bit heated. 

Tony Ferguson placed his belt on the floor before squaring up against ‘The Eagle’. Nurmagomedov and Ferguson then exchanged a few words before Khabib kicked Tony’s belt. The two men continued to talk trash and had fans excited about their clash. 

UFC 214: Daniel Cormier vs Jon Jones


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The second time the two men faced each other at UFC 214 made for one of the most memorable performances of Jones’ career which was later turned into a no-contest due to the use of PEDs. 

After the press conference leading up to UFC 214, the two men were squared up against each other. Jon Jones proceeded to stare into his arch rival’s eye. The spine-chilling stare down between the two men is definitely one of the most heated and intense stare downs ever in the UFC. 


Kevin Binoy

831 articles

Kevin Binoy is an MMA author at EssentiallySports. He earned a Bachelor's degree from Fergusson College and has been covering sports professionally for over two years. Besides working with the MMA writing team, Kevin is a core member of the organization's web stories team and is responsible for delivering engaging MMA web stories.