Before Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) became the monster it is today, PRIDE FC was king when it came to mixed martial arts (MMA) around the world. It’s something UFC president Dana White will tell you himself during the latest entry into the “25 Years in Short” documentary series.
Based in Japan, PRIDE FC was home to some of the best MMA fighters all over the world, and produced many legends of the sport who have gone on to compete and are still competing in UFC today.
With bigger than life shows and even bigger stars such as Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Kazushi Sakuraba, Mirko Cro Cop, Fedor Emelianenko just to name a few, PRIDE was the be-all and end-all when it came to MMA. Still, cross-promotion fights between UFC and PRIDE’s top stars was something that was only a dream for fight fans.
That is until Dana White sent his biggest star at the time, Chuck Liddell, over to “The Land of the Rising Sun” to compete in the ring as part of his plan to prove that UFC’s best could take out PRIDE’s.
Things started of well for Chuck and UFC, as he knocked out Guy Mezger at PRIDE 14 back in 2001. A few years later, Chuck once again was sent at UFC’s hitman back to Japan to compete in the promotion’s Middleweight Grand Prix in 2003 in hopes of setting up a dream matchup against Wanderlei Silva.
After knocking out Alistair Overeem in the opening round, Chuck Liddell’s run ended in the second round after he was finished by Quinton Jackson, and the much-desired matchup against Silva didn’t pan out under the PRIDE promotion.
Ironically enough, Wanderlie wound up winning the Grand Prix after beating “Rampage,” while Liddell defeated Wanderlei four years later when they finally collided at UFC 79. Now, “Matter of Pride” details the rivalry between PRIDE and UFC, as well as “The Iceman’s” run in enemy territory.