MMA math is a bit complicated. We may think that fighter A is better than fighter B because they beat them, but fighter C could beat fighter A while fighter B could probably beat fighter C. It goes by the old saying "Styles make fights".
But there have been multiple occasions in the past where fights were so close that they needed a rematch, or the loser of the first fight would avenge their loss in the second attempt. In any case, this calls for a trilogy, and through the years, we've seen some of the most incredible trilogies of all time. (Most definitely not Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz).
Either way, all we can do is commend the fighters who put their bodies on the line for our entertainment and their pride. We've seen wars, comebacks, resilience, heartbreak and a whole lot of things that have made for an absolute emotional rollercoaster. Without going any further, let's take a look at the five greatest trilogies in UFC history.
#5 George St. Pierre vs Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes was the Welterweight king at the time, and he put the title on the line again Canadian up-and-comer Georges St. Pierre. GSP had looked up to Hughes, so much so that he didn't even make eye contact with him when the referee was giving the instructions.
Hughes would easily defeat GSP in the first fight, submitting him with an armbar in the very last second of round one. They would meet at a later date in UFC 65, with Hughes defending the title again. This time, GSP was a different fighter altogether.
GSP would get his revenge, finishing Hughes via TKO in the second round and capturing the Welterweight Championship. GSP would lose his title to Matt Serra in his very first defence.
The third time he met Hughes, it was for the interim title in UFC 79. It all came full circle as GSP submitted Hughes in an armbar in the very last second of round two!
Final result: GSP 2-1 Matt Hughes
GSP would avenge his loss to Serra as well, uniting the titles at UFC 83.
#4 Urijah Faber vs Dominick Cruz
The second time they faced, it was for the UFC Bantamweight Championship of the world, which Cruz possessed. Cruz would avenge his loss to Faber, beating him by unanimous decision.
The trilogy concluded in the final phase of Faber's storied career. Cruz would breeze his way into a dominant decision victory, truly proving to be the better fighter.
Final result: Dominick Cruz 2-1 Urijah Faber
#3 Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell
The two biggest stars in Light Heavyweight faced off at UFC 43 for the interim Light Heavyweight Championship. Liddell was the up-and-comer, being on an incredible 10-fight win streak up to this point. Couture, on the other hand, wasn't faring as well, being on a 2-fight losing streak.
Liddell was naturally the favourite, but Couture would end up using his supreme wrestling and finishing Liddell with a TKO from top position. They would face off again at UFC 52, where Liddell got his revenge via a first-round knockout, winning the Light Heavyweight title as well as Knockout of the year.
Their trilogy would conclude at UFC 57, where The Iceman once again knocked Couture out cold, retaining his title and winning the trilogy.
Final result: Liddell 2-1 Couture
#2 Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard
This trilogy is the perfect display of heart shown by two warriors. The first time they met was at UFC Fight Night 13. At this point, both fighters were undefeated, and Maynard would outperform Edgar to win the bout by unanimous decision.
They would meet again three years later, but this time, Frankie Edgar was Lightweight Champion. The fight turned out to be an all-out war and one of the greatest title fights ever. It was too close to call and the judges ended up scoring it a draw.
Naturally, this called for an immediate rematch, and at UFC 136, it seemed like Maynard had one hand on the title when he rocked Edgar in the first round. The Answer showed mind-boggling resiliency to make the comeback and he would then finish Maynard in the fourth round.
Unfortunately, this trilogy was never able to have a proper conclusion, because both fighters have a draw and a win apiece.
Final result: Edgar 1-(1)-1 Maynard
#1 Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos
Cain Velasquez had all the momentum in the world when he finished Brock Lesnar to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship. His first defense would be against the Brazillian sensation Junior Dos Santos in the main event of the first-ever UFC on FOX.
Velasquez was undefeated at this point, and the Brazillian shocked him when he knocked him out in just over a minute of round 1, capturing the Heavyweight title. After a successful defense against Frank Mir, the stage was set for a rematch at UFC 155.
This time, the fight would go the distance, with Cain dominating and picking up the unanimous decision victory, subsequently avenging his only career loss, and regaining the UFC Heavyweight Championship.
Velasquez would have a comfortable first-round knockout of Antonio "Big Foot" Silva in his first title defense before the final showdown with JDS.
The trilogy concluded with a 5-round war, but this time, it didn't go the distance. Velasquez finished JDS via TKO to win the historic trilogy.
Final result: Velasquez 2-1 JDS
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