Is Covington vs Masvidal The Biggest Grudge Match In UFC History?

Jorge Masvidal Colby Covington

Trash talk is part of the fight game. The verbal warfare not only helps to hype up a particular fight, but it can also score points on a psychological level before a punch or kick has been thrown. However, every now and then, a fight is announced that has genuine bad blood, a fight where the trash talk is real. Colby Covington vs Jorge Masvidal is that fight!

That’s right, the main event of UFC 272 sees Covington and Masvidal locked in the cage together, notes that its sportsbooks favour Chaos to have his arm raised, but there’s much more to this fight than the Vegas Moneyline – it is arguably the biggest grudge match in UFC history.

Top UFC Grudge Matches

Look up any list of UFC grudge matches, and the Notorious Conor McGregor’s name is sure to appear, whether it’s the second fight with Nate Diaz, his bout against Khabib or the trilogy fight versus Poirier. 

However, we don’t think any of those are true grudge matches. Conor is fantastic at selling fights by coming across as though he has an axe to grind, but for him, it’s just good business. Here are some contenders for the top grudge matches.

Cody Garbrandt vs T.J. Dillashaw

It wasn’t pretty when Dillashaw left Team Alpha Male with both sides throwing around accusations and insults. Garbrandt stayed loyal to the team, and this set the path for arguably the biggest grudge match in the 135-pound division.

No Love was masterful early in his UFC career, and he marched his way to winning the title with a dominant performance over Dominick Cruz. After that, Cody and T.J. were announced as the coaches for TUF 25 as part of the build-up to their clash at UFC 217. The fight lived up to the hype. While Cody had his moments in the 1st round, Dillashaw won by KO in the 2nd. The rematch went the same way, with T.J. scoring a 1st round KO on this occasion.

Jon Jones vs Daniel Cormier

This rivalry simmered until the pot boiled over. There was a little bad blood between these two before their first fight, which took place at UFC 182 (Jones won by UD), but nothing we hadn’t seen before. 

However, the feud really kicked into gear after that bout when it was revealed Jones had tested positive for cocaine one month before UFC 182. Added to that, a few months later, Jones was involved in a hit-and-run incident, which saw him stripped of his LHW belt. 

Cormier won the vacant title, and with Jones back in the fold, a rematch was announced for UFC 197. Unfortunately, DC had to pull out, so the bout was rearranged for UFC 200. Yet, 3 days before the fight, Jones was pulled from the card for a potential doping violation. 

After serving a second suspension, UFC 2014 was scheduled for Jones vs Cormier 2. With all that had happened, there was genuine hate between the two now. Cormier wanted revenge, he wanted to ‘beat the cheat’, he wanted to win one for the good guys. That didn’t happen – Jones KO’ed him in the 3rd round.

From Friends to Foes

According to Covington, he and Masvidal were once best of friends; they even shared a house together earlier in their careers when they were teammates at American Top Team. However, Jorge became jealous as Colby rose up the ranks. Covington says the tipping point was after he beat Damian Maia in Brazil. The jealousy kicked in because Maia had beaten Jorge a few fights previous.

Of course, Masvidal paints a very different picture. For him, the relationship went south when Covington refused to pay one of his (Jorge’s) coaches after winning the interim belt in 2018. Potentially, this led to the altercation that saw both men leave the ATT gym (although Masvidal has since returned). 

Essentially, the bickering and social media snipes have been going on for nearly four years. This is something that’s just come out of the blue to sell this fight. It’s the opposite – the grudge is the reason for this fight. All that remains is to see who will come out on top.

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Author: David Wray

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