Sports

Sports Superstars Share Personal Stories Of Their Bitter, Historic Rivalries

Darren - April 15, 2021
Sports

Sports Superstars Share Personal Stories Of Their Bitter, Historic Rivalries

Darren - April 15, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

8. Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier

Jones and Cormier fought each other twice in the UFC. But this isn’t the full story of one of the nastiest rivalries in all of MMA. Jones was the volatile superstar whose wild lifestyle cost him inside the cage. The UFC stripped him on multiple occasions and made Cormier their champion. This fed into the pair’s rivalry and their relationship, or lack of one. In sum, they developed an intense hatred.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Prior to UFC 200 in 2016, Cormier opened up on his opinion of Jones’s character. He said, “Sobering truth is, his history dictates and determines that the same thing is going to happen. That is him at his core… He will not change. He’s the same guy. He’s rotten at his core and he will continue to f*** up.” Those are some harsh words, but the proof is in the pudding.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

7. Greatness

Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are two of the most successful and iconic quarterbacks in NFL history. Former Patriots star Brady went 11-6 against Manning’s Colts and Broncos. But he also played in a more settled team for a longer period of time. Meanwhile, Manning maintained an 87.2 passer rating against Brady’s 92.8. The two of them made their games very compelling.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The best players want to test themselves against the best. These two men were the greatest of their generation. Peyton Manning told NFL.com: “All I can say about Tom Brady is that he plays the position the way it’s supposed to be played. As the quarterback, it’s always a great honor and privilege to have competed against Brady over the course of the past 16, 17 years that he and I have been in the league together.”

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

6. Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor

Nurmagamedov and McGregor are two of the UFC’s most visible fighters. They also had one of the most toxic rivalries in the history of combat sports. McGregor even spent a night in jail after attacking a bus with Khabib on it. The pair finally fought in 2018 with Khabib winning by submission. However, the fight wasn’t over because a full-scale brawl broke out between both men’s camps afterward.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In 2019, Khabib told ESPN that this rivalry will never end. “It will never be finished, ever,” he said. “Even if we see each other somewhere, we’re going to fight, 100 percent. It doesn’t matter if someone go to jail or something like this. I’m not scared about this – they go to hospital and we go to police. That’s it.” However, in 2021, Khabib retired from MMA competition so it’s unlikely they meet again in the cage.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. All-Time GOATs

We’ve looked at Peyton Manning’s perspective of one of the NFL’s great rivalries. Yet now it’s time to see what Tom Brady said about his most vaunted opponent. While they were both successful, Brady’s rise was more unlikely than that of Manning. The latter was one of the most-hyped rookie quarterbacks in the history of the league. The same certainly can’t be said of Brady.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Nonetheless, Brady has nothing but respect for his old rival. He also shares a friendship with him since Manning retired. Brady once told ESPN, “Manning has “been one of the greatest players to ever play. I’ve been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that have ever played the game. And every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team, it comes down to the wire. Everything is usually at stake.”

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

4.  Red Rivalry

Rivalries come in different forms. Liverpool and Manchester United are two of the most successful clubs in English soccer. This created one of the most iconic rivalries in the Premier League. It also affects their players. Gary Neville was United’s right-back for over a decade and developed an intense hatred for his team’s main rivals. Overall, there was a lot of envy.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

In 2010, Neville told The Guardian, “I suppose it came from jealousy through my childhood – jealousy, hatred, passion for your own club. You don’t want them [Liverpool] to win anything, and you don’t like the people who are winning, just like I’ve seen in the last 15 or 16 years, from a good side, everybody is now ‘we all hate Man United’ – and they hate Man United because we are winning.”

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

3. Roy Keane and Alf-Inge Haaland

Keane is one of English soccer’s most notorious hardmen. The former Manchester United captain held a grudge for a long time, as his rival Alf-Inge Haaland discovered. In one game against his foe, Keane collapsed to the ground with an ACL tear. Haaland didn’t realize how serious the injury was and stood over the Irishman. Then, he mocked him and told him to get up.

Mandatory Credit: GOAL

Keane bided his time but didn’t forget about the encounter. He waited for four years before going through Haaland with a brutal tackle. In his autobiography, Keane explained the notorious incident. “I’d waited long enough. I f***ing hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you c***. And don’t ever stand over me sneering about fake injuries.” This is one of soccer’s darkest rivalries.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Kobe and Shaq

Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal were Lakers’ teammates for a number of seasons. However, they also maintained one of the most toxic rivalries in the NBA. O’Neal felt threatened by the younger Bryant and attempted to assert his dominance. As Bryant matured and developed, he proved to be unstoppable. Finally, O’Neal departed and Bryant was the last man standing.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In 2003, Bryant rocked the NBA after an interview with Jim Gray. He explained his frustration with Shaq. “There’s more to life than whose team this is,” he told Gray. “But this is his team. That means no more coming into camp fat and out of shape. No more blaming others for our team’s failure. ‘My team’ doesn’t mean only when we win; it means carrying the burden of defeat just as gracefully as you carry a championship trophy.”

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

1. Frazier and Ali II

We’ve already discussed one of boxing’s most intense rivalries from the perspective of Muhammad Ali. He developed a respect for Frazier, after branding him an Uncle Tom amongst other slurs. However, Frazier never forgave Ali and maintained a loathing for him all through his life. He also had no sympathy for Ali’s battle with Parkinson’s Disease and spoke openly about this.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

In 1996, Frazier described his hatred for his rival. “Truth is, I’d like to rumble with that sucker again—beat him up piece by piece and mail him back to Jesus…Now people ask me if I feel bad for him, now that things aren’t going so well for him. Nope. I don’t. Fact is, I don’t give a damn. They want me to love him, but I’ll open up the graveyard and bury his a** when the Lord chooses to take him.”

Advertisement