Top 20 staredowns in UFC history
In the history of the UFC we've witnessed some epic stare downs between some of the best competitors in the sport. We've also seen a few funny ones along the way. We've seen pushing and shoving and UFC president Dana White look like he's about an inch away from catching a punch himself. In today's countdown we look at the greatest stare downs in UFC history from weigh ins to press conference to in cage events where fighters try to break an opponent with just a single look.
#20: Mark Munoz vs. Aaron Simpson at UFC 123
The plan at UFC 123 when Mark Munoz squared off against Aaron Simpson was for the two former wrestlers to break out their singlets and face each other in a traditional wrestling stance on stage. Munoz, a proud member of the Oklahoma State wrestling team and Simpson, a former coach at Arizona State, were friends so there was no need for any fake beef or tension to sell the fight. Unfortunately the singlets didn't get to make the trip with the fighters to Detroit, but Munoz and Simpson both squared off in a traditional wrestling stance as if they were about to shoot in and hit the mats.
#19: Jon Jones vs. Brandon Vera at UFC on Versus 1
Jon Jones can rattle an opponent with his pre-fight stare downs because he actually doesn't engage in that act whatsoever. He stares away and rarely makes eye contact, saving all of his aggression for the fight. That wasn't the case, however, when Jones faced off against Brandon Vera in 2010. Vera had quite a few words for Jones leading up to their fight, believing that the entire MMA world was heaping a little too much praise on this rising prospect. Jones let Vera know exactly how he felt when he bounced right into his face at the weigh-ins, butting his head into Vera's after they stepped off the scale. He also proved his point the next night in the fight when Jones bludgeoned Vera with elbows, finishing the match in the first round.
#18: Yves Edwards vs. Cody McKenzie at UFC Fight for the Troops 2
Weight cutting is a miserable experience for most fighters no matter how great their diet and planning are leading up to a fight. Even if it's just cutting four or five pounds in the last days before a weigh-ins, the back of a UFC weigh-in is generally a fairly unfriendly place. Don’t tell that to veteran lightweight Yves Edwards, who always coasts into his weigh-ins with relative ease. Edwards has shown up on weigh in days with a grocery list full of food that he poses with on the scale, and when he faced off with Cody McKenzie in 2011 he brought a back of barbecue chips with him to the stage. After weighing in, Edwards was kind enough to share with his opponent and the two fighters snacked on some chips and smiled as they faced off before their bout.
#17: Diego Sanchez and Clay Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale
If Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Diego Sanchez could bottle his intensity and sell it to adrenaline junkies he'd be a millionaire because there's not a moment when this UFC veteran isn't amped up and ready to throw down during a weigh in. Sanchez squared off with future training partner Clay Guida at the Ultimate Fighter 9 finale weigh-ins, and there was so much mean mugging going on it would make Ray Lewis proud. The fight also delivered as Sanchez and Guida went at each other like Rock 'em/Sock 'em robots for 15 minutes in one of the best fights of all 2009.
#16: Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 71
It was a rematch years in the making after Quinton "Rampage" Jackson finished Chuck Liddell when the two light heavyweights met in Pride while competing in Japan. Now with Liddell standing as the UFC light heavyweight champion, Jackson came to the UFC to challenge him once again. The two juggernauts faced off after they weighed in and there was plenty of heat between the fighters, but of course Jackson took it to another level when he started mouthing off at Liddell promising another devastating finish. Rampage backed up his prophecy the next night when he knocked out Liddell in the first round.
#15: DeMarques Johnson vs. Mike Guymon at UFC Fight for the Troops 2
Every person taking pictures at a UFC weigh-in wants a good memory so welterweights DeMarques Johnson and Mike Guymon decided to give them their money's worth at the UFC Fight for the Troops 2 show in 2011. After a quick look at each other, Johnson breaks away and gives a huge smile with a double thumbs up to the crowd. In turn, Guymon gives his own cheesy grin and poses for a few seconds for the benefit of those with flash photography. And all UFC president Dana White had to do was stand there and smile along with them instead of breaking apart two heated opponents. It was a nice change of pace for him.
#14: Vitor Belfort vs. Michael Bisping at UFC on FX weigh ins
Michael Bisping tends to use emotion to pump up all of his fights, and it's served him well throughout his career because not only is he one of the top middleweights in the world, but he continues to be one of the most talked about and publicized fighters on the UFC roster. Facing off with Vitor Belfort in Brazil, Bisping had plenty to say about his opponent leading up to the fight but when they faced off at the weigh ins, things were pretty cordial. Well, Bisping can't have that! He starts jawing at Belfort to step forward and get into a real stare down. 'Come on boy!" Bisping shouts as Belfort just stares back at him and says 'tomorrow'. In the end the taunts from Bisping didn't help him in the fight because Belfort knocked him out in the second round in one of the most memorable finishes in 2013.
#13: Jon Jones vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson at the UFC 135
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has a tendency to never look his opponents in the eye when they stare down whether it's at press conferences, weigh ins or any other photo opportunity. He generally just kind of looks away and down at the ground and never makes eye contact with an opponent. Well knowing that Jones was pulling that at their press conference leading to UFC 135, his opponent Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson took that moment to turn his back on Jones, smile and point at the cameras in a hilarious moment that had everyone in the audience cackling and smiling with laughter.
#12: Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz at the UFC 158 weigh ins
It takes a lot to get under Georges St-Pierre's skin because normally he's as cool as the other side of the pillow, but leave it to Nick Diaz to get the job done. Diaz had St-Pierre on the verge of a frenzy during their pre-fight conference call leading up to the bout when the Canadian champion called his challenger 'an uneducated fool' — in St-Pierre's world that's like a whole book of 'yo momma' jokes being unloaded. The weigh ins were no different as Diaz put his hand up in front of St-Pierre's face, and he quickly slapped it away as the two fighters got into a struggle that had to be broken up before it escalated. St-Pierre may have cracked his emotionless demeanor that day, but he didn't in the fight because he won by unanimous decision in a one-sided affair over Diaz.
#11: Pat Barry and Stefan Struve at the UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson weigh ins
Not all stare downs have to be full of angst and intensity. Sometimes the funny ones are the best of all, and that's where Pat Barry and Stefan Struve enter our countdown. Barry stands at 5'11" tall (and that's a stretch) while Struve towers over him at an even 7 feet tall so you can imagine this stare down was fairly awkward. Actually after Barry weighed in he stayed standing on the scale inviting Struve over to meet him eye to eye before he stepped down and stared up at the Dutch giant. It was definitely one of the funniest weigh in stare downs of all time, and deserves a mark on the countdown in UFC history.
#10: Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen at the UFC 148 weigh ins
Chael Sonnen might just be the most prolific trash talker in the history of combat sports and for nearly two years he used Anderson Silva as his personal whipping post for most of his unflattering comments. Silva finally snapped in the weeks leading up to his rematch with Sonnen at UFC 148 and when they came together at the weigh ins the intensity finally boiled over. Silva came chest to chest with Sonnen during the stare down, and then the champion shoulder checked the challenger, nailing him right in the chin. The fighters were pulled apart, and there was even talk about Silva facing a fine for his infraction, although no penalty was ever actually handed down. Silva backed up his bold move in the cage as well where he knocked out Sonnen in the second round to defeat the Oregon native for a second time and put an end to their storied rivalry.
#9: Diego Sanchez nearly shoves Josh Koscheck off the stage at the UFC 69 weigh ins
While the fight didn't live up to the hype, Ultimate Fighter season 1 winner Diego Sanchez and his former housemate Josh Koscheck definitely got people excited for their fight when they faced off at the UFC 69 weigh ins. Koscheck came off the scale first, and Sanchez followed when he quickly developed a scowl on his face and looked at his opponent like he just said something bad about his mother. Sanchez fired a shove in Koscheck's chest and as the former NCAA champion stumbled backwards he nearly fell off the stage, which was set up outdoors. Cooler heads prevailed as Koscheck just laughed at Sanchez's antics. He also got the best of him in the fight winning by unanimous decision.
#8: Nate Diaz takes off Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone's hat at a pre-fight press conference
The Diaz brothers were just born to fight, and Nate isn't that much different than his older brother Nick — get in their face and bad things tend to happen. Diaz squared off with opponent Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone at a pre-fight press conference to help promote their match, and of course Cerrone was wearing his customary cowboy hat. Nothing particularly happened to pre-empt what happened next, but Diaz apparently didn’t like Cerrone's hat or he wanted one for himself because he quickly shoved it off of his opponent's head and offered a shove that forced Dana White to intervene to make sure things didn't get any worse. Diaz followed through during the fight as well, blasting Cerrone over the course of three rounds to win a unanimous decision victory
#7: Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson and Wanderlei Silva get heated at the UFC 92 weigh ins
It was a rivalry that carried to the UFC by way of Pride when Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson met Wanderlei Silva for the third time. When the two fighters met in Pride it was Silva who got the best of Jackson both times, but there was certainly no love lost between these two competitors once they stood on the UFC stage. Silva weighed in first and Jackson followed and when they squared off, everything was intense but nothing crazy. Something snapped in Silva, however, because just as they were about to break apart he offered a nasty shove to Jackson's chest before they had to be pulled apart by security. Jackson just smiled back at Silva and he got the last laugh in the fight as well — he won by knockout in the first round.
#6: Nick Diaz and BJ Penn butt heads at the UFC 137 weigh ins
Nick Diaz is nothing if not fearless and there's pretty much zero chance that he's not going to be in the face of his opponent whether it's BJ Penn or Jack the Ripper. Diaz and Penn had been pretty respectful of one another leading up to their fight at UFC 137, but after weighing in it was time to put the niceties aside and see who was the better man. The two squared off, but it took about two seconds before Diaz lowered his head and rammed it right into Penn's before they were torn apart by UFC officials. The typical post fight interview with Joe Rogan didn't seem to matter much to Diaz, who was escorted off the stage with his brother Nate behind him the entire time.
#5: Michael Bisping vs. Jorge Rivera at the UFC 127 weigh ins
For weeks leading up to their fight in Australia at UFC 127, Jorge Rivera had released a litany of videos poking fun and out right mocking Michael Bisping, and when the two fighters finally came together at the weigh ins just about everybody knew it was going to get nasty. Bisping weighed in and after taking a drink came charging at Rivera hurling more than a few unfriendly words. Rivera didn't back down and fired back as Dana White had to step in to make sure things didn't go from bad to worse. The two fighters kept shouting at each other until they were finally forced off the stage. The amount of expletives tossed around in that short sequence was enough to make George Carlin blush.
#4: Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva at the UFC 79 weigh ins
It was a fight years in the making but finally the wait was over in 2007 when Chuck Liddell met Wanderlei Silva in the main event of UFC 79. For the biggest part of the last five years before they met, Liddell was at the top of the food chain in the UFC while Silva was ruling the world in Pride. When the two squared off at the weigh-ins prior to their bout at UFC 79, the intensity was so thick it could be cut with a knife. Both fighters were staring right through the other, but as the two fighters separated Liddell raised his middle finger to Silva, and in response he tried charging across the stage at the former UFC champion. UFC president Dana White and a host of others quickly stepped in before the situation escalated and the fight ended up happening 24 hours early. The fight lived up to the billing as well with Liddell winning a decision over Silva in a bout that would later be voted as the fight of the year in 2007.
#3: Rashad Evans vs. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson post fight at UFC 96
Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson had just defeated Keith Jardine in the main event of UFC 96 to officially cement his place as the No. 1 contender at light heavyweight and the UFC wanted to build momentum for his next fight so they invited champion Rashad Evans into the cage for a little pre-fight stare down. As Jackson and Evans stood face to face, the trash talk began and so commentator Joe Rogan quickly stuck his microphone between the fighters as they went back and forth for almost a full minute predicting which one of them would walk out victorious when they met. The language got quite colorful, but luckily the stare down was on pay-per-view. The exchanged closed with Rampage grabbing the mic and screaming, "All I got to say is there's going to be some more black on black crime!". Strangely enough, while the two fighters eventually met in the Octagon at UFC 114, this stare down never actually led to their fight because Jackson wasn't healthy enough to fight Evans when the UFC wanted, and the second time the bout was scheduled he dropped out to film his part in the A-Team. When they finally did meet, Evans won by unanimous decision.
#2: Matt Hughes vs. Frank Trigg at UFC 52 in the cage
There was no love lost when welterweights Matt Hughes and Frank Trigg met in the co-main event of UFC 52, and the two almost decided to start their fight a little early during a stare down just seconds before their bout began. Ushered to the middle of the Octagon to receive instructions from the referee, the two combatants inched closer and closer to each other until Trigg was finally infringing quite heavily on Hughes' personal space. In reaction to the head bump, Hughes shoved Trigg backwards as the two fighters separated to their individual corners before the fight began. Trigg wasn't done there because he then blew a kiss to Hughes, further enraging the UFC welterweight champion. The fight after the stare down didn't disappoint either because for years after it was over, UFC president Dana White would routinely call it his favorite fight in UFC history.
#1: Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort from UFC 126 weigh ins
There is certainly a recurring theme to this list because certain fighters just have the ability to produce a great stare down and at UFC 126, two of the best faced off — literally. UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort apparently had a few words leading up to their fight and the result was this stare down at the weigh-ins. Silva charged at Belfort wearing a plain white mask, which was in response to a comment his opponent had made about him earlier in the week about the champion wearing a mask as a façade between who he is in public version in the cage. Silva got nose-to-nose with Belfort and when Belfort pushed back, the mask came off and the jawing began. The fighters eventually had to be separated and it still stands as one of the most intense moments in UFC history. The fight itself? Well Silva didn't need a mask that night, just his foot — he front kicked Vitor Belfort to the mush in the first round, finishing the fight and the rivalry by highlight reel knockout.