By Eric Holden,

Everyone loves a trilogy.

B.J. Penn signs a copy of his book.
wikimedia commons

In the UFC's history, a handful of rivalries have been so intense and evenly-matched that rubber matches were necessary.

Here's a look at the top five trilogies in UFC history:

1) Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard, 2008-2011

After losing a close decision to Maynard at UFC Fight Night 13 in 2008, the two would square off again in a highly entertaining scrap at UFC 125 in 2001. In that bout, Edgar got caught early with a flurry of strikes that almost put him to sleep, but he came storming back to retain his belt in a very evenly-matched fight that was determined a draw.

After slugging it out in the cage for 50 full minutes without any true decisiveness, the men knew that they couldn't leave it up to the judges scorecards when they met for the third time, at UFC 136 in October of 2011. Edgar put some closure on the trilogy by knocking out Maynard in the fourth round of their third meeting.

2) Chuck Liddell vs Randy Couture, 2003-2006

"The Iceman" and "The Natural" were two of the most dominating fighters in the late-90s and early-2000s, so it only makes sense that the whole MMA world was watching when the men went toe-to-toe for an epic trilogy that spanned three years.

Couture knocked out Liddell at UFC 43 in 2003 to earn the Interim UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, but Liddell got the best of the trilogy by knocking out "The Natural" at UFC 52 in 2005, and again at UFC 57 in 2006.

3) Matt Hughes vs Georges St-Pierre, 2004-2006

The trilogy had the look and feel of a "changing of the guard" in the UFC welterweight division. Matt Hughes ruled over the division in the early part of the 2000s, but the up-and-coming Georges St-Pierre started to catch fire with back-to-back UFC victories over Karo Parisyan and Jay Hieron in 2004, to cement his status as the top young prospect in the sport at the time.

When Hughes and St-Pierre met for the first time in 2004, the latter was suddenly going toe-to-toe with a star veteran fighter who he grew up watching. Hughes caught him in an armbar in the first round, showing the world that he still deserved to be considered the top welterweight in the world.

But St-Pierre's game evolved so much in two short years that he dominated Hughes when the men met for the second time, at UFC 65 in 2006. "Rush" earned a second-round stoppage due to a combination of head kicks and strikes that left Hughes staggered. By 2007, when the men met for the third and final time, St-Pierre was clearly in his prime and undoubtedly the better fighter at that point in time. He earned a submission victory via armbar over Hughes at UFC 79 in 2007.

4) Tito Ortiz vs Ken Shamrock, 2002-2006

Ortiz and Shamrock's trilogy wasn't all that evenly-matched, but the UFC kept matching them up together because there was a true rivalry and growing dislike between the two men that made these fights "must-see."

Ortiz busted up Shamrock in a 2002 bout that ended in a corner stoppage, and the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" stopped the "World's Most Dangerous Man" again via elbow strikes in 2006. However, Shamrock complained that it was an early stoppage by referee Herb Dean, and demanded a rematch.

He got his wish just a few months later, but Ortiz smashed him with a precision ground-and-pound attack to finish undefeated against Shamrock in the trilogy.

5) Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva, 2003-2008

Silva stopped Jackson on two straight occasions in the Pride Fighting Championships in the early part of the 2000s, utilizing a fierce chuto boxing style and a relentless barrage of knees to earn the victories.

However, Jackson finally got some payback by knocking out Silva in their third and final meeting in the cage. The final match of the trilogy occurred at UFC 92 in 2008.

What other trilogies deserve to be on this list? Let me know in the comments.

Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.

Sources

www.sherdog.com, Sherdog, fighter stats and standings

www.ufc.com, UFC, fighter stats

Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Video: 'UFC 205: Fighting for History' full episode

  • 24 days ago
  • 16 views

History will be made on Saturday night, when the UFC holds the promotion’s first event at New York’s legendary Madison Square Garden. Ahead of the much-anticipated UFC 205, watch a new special previe read news >>

Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz Fighting for History (UFC 205 Video) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 24 days ago
  • 14 views

The UFC’s road to New York culminates with UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden. Go behind the scenes with champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz. read news >>

Rolling Stone: McGregor on quest to make history

  • 24 days ago
  • 0 views

CONOR MCGREGOR ON QUEST TO 'MAKE HISTORY' AT UFC 205 By Mike Bohn, rollingstone.com read news >>

UFC 205 Betting Preview: Conor McGregor vs. Eddie Alvarez Odds, Analysis

  • 22 days ago
  • 5 views

The biggest card in MMA history will take place Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City, headlined by Conor McGregor (20-3) vs. Eddie Alvarez (28-4) for the lightweight championship read news >>

UFC 100, UFC 200 and now UFC 205? Jim Miller discusses his special place in MMA history

  • 22 days ago
  • 4 views

NEW YORK – Jim Miller sure seems to find himself in the right place at the right time.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Eduard Folayang Stuns Shinya Aoki to Claim ONE Lightweight Title | MMAWeekly.com

  • 21 days ago
  • 74 views

Eduard Folayang pulled off possibly the greatest upset in the history of Asian MMA, defeating Shinya Aoki and winning the ONE Championship lightweight title. read news >>

Dana White Shares Thoughts on UFC's New York Debut, Future Plans for UFC in NY

  • 21 days ago
  • 1 views

Despite its prominent place in combat-sports history, New York and its sporting cathedral, Madison Square Garden, have never hosted an MMA event. That changes Saturday with UFC 205, following the leg read news >>

UFC 205 results: Conor McGregor dominates Eddie Alvarez, claims history as 2-division champ

  • 19 days ago
  • 46 views

NEW YORK – As he predicted, Conor McGregor made UFC history on Saturday at UFC 205, knocking out Eddie Alvarez to add another belt to his collection.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

UFC 205 results: Conor McGregor dominates Eddie Alvarez, claims history as 2-division champ

  • 19 days ago
  • 14 views

NEW YORK – As he predicted, Conor McGregor made UFC history on Saturday at UFC 205, knocking out Eddie Alvarez to add another belt to his collection.Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

Twitter reacts to Conor McGregor's historic title win over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205

  • 19 days ago
  • 47 views

Conor McGregor promised to make history at UFC 205. That’s exactly what happened when he defeated Eddie Alvarez in the main event at Madison Square Garden in New York City to become the UFC’s first s read news >>