Five Greatest Trilogies in UFC History: Liddell vs. Couture Tops the List

Five Greatest Trilogies in UFC History: Liddell vs. Couture Tops the List

  • Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman’s showdown on Saturday will be the 16th trilogy fight in the UFC
  • Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture increased the popularity of the UFC with their trilogy
  • Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard weren’t able to grab bragging rights in their trilogy

Another chapter in the long story of trilogy fights in the UFC takes place on Saturday at UFC 286.

Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman will square off for a third and likely final time – 2,646 days after they first fought in the prelims of UFC on Fox 17 in December 2015.

Usman (20-2 MMA, 15-1 UFC) won the first meeting with Edwards by unanimous decision.

Chuck Liddell, UFC, Randy Couture, Trilogy
Ultimate fighters Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell present the award for "Best Action Game" onstage at the Spike TV "Video Game Awards 2005". Image: Kevin Winter
Source: Getty Images

In their rematch more than six years later, Edwards (20-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC) got redemption with a stunning fifth-round KO at UFC 278 in August 2022, per Sherdog.

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Now the two welterweight titans will compete one last time in the winner-takes-all rubber match.

It will be the 16th trilogy fight in company history, and ahead of UFC 286, we rank the top five trilogies that have happened so far.

Check out Sports Brief’s list below.

1. Chuck Liddell vs. Randy Couture

The rivalry between Liddell and Couture was one for the record books. Their trilogy was the first one in the history of the UFC in which all three fights became pay-per-view headliners.

Fans got their money’s worth with those fights as Liddell and Couture entertained with their all-action styles. Couture won their initial meeting at UFC 43 on June 6, 2003, defeating Liddell via third-round TKO.

Liddell then evened the score at UFC 57 on April 16, 2005, beating Couture via first-round knockout. The third fight happened at UFC 57 on February 4, 2006, with Liddell winning via second-round knockout.

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2. Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard

MMA fans will never forget Edgar and Maynard’s trilogy, as it is the only one in UFC history to feature a draw result. Their first fight occurred on April 2, 2008, at UFC Fight Night 13, with Maynard winning via unanimous decision.

Their rematch on January 1, 2011, at UFC 125 was a much closer affair, with the fight ending in a split draw. The third and final fight happened on October 8, 2011, at UFC 136, with Edgar winning via knockout in the fourth round.

The trilogy didn’t yield a clear winner, as both fighters ended with an even 1-1-1 record in those three fights.

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3. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Hughes

The battle between St-Pierre and Hughes delivered fireworks as their trilogy was the only one in the history of the UFC with multiple submission results. Hughes won their first meeting at UFC 50 on October 22, 2004, defeating St-Pierre via submission in the first round.

St-Pierre got redemption at UFC 65 on November 18, 2006, beating Hughes via second-round TKO. The third fight occurred on December 29, 2007, at UFC 79, with St-Pierre winning via second-round submission.

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4. Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier

Miocic made history during his trilogy with Cormier, becoming the first UFC fighter to face the same opponent in three straight fights. Their first encounter happened at UFC 226 on July 7, 2018, with Cormier winning via first-round knockout.

Miocic got some revenge in the rematch, winning via knockout in the fourth round of their fight at UFC 241 on August 17, 2019. Their trilogy fight occurred nearly one year later at UFC 252, with Miocic beating Cormier via unanimous decision.

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5. B.J. Penn vs. Matt Hughes

Penn and Hughes’ trilogy was explosive. Penn won their first meeting at UFC 46 on January 31, 2004, beating Hughes via first-round submission. Hughes evened the score at UFC 63 on September 23, 2006, knocking out Penn in the third round of their rematch.

Penn wasted no time in the third fight, needing just 21 seconds to knock out Hughes. It remains the fastest rubber match result of any trilogy in the history of the UFC.

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Edwards, Usman ready for trilogy

Sports Brief recently reported on the main card of UFC 286.

Leon Edwards and Kamaru Usman will have a trilogy of their own this coming Saturday as they square off for the UFC Welterweight Championship.

Edwards knocked out Usman in stunning fashion in the fifth round of their fight last August, setting the stage for Saturday’s decider.

Source: Sports Brief News