A trilogy is defined as a series of three novels, movies, etc. that are closely related and involve the same characters or themes.
On Saturday, UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic completes his three-fight series with Daniel Cormier. After its first two bouts took place in front of huge crowds at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and the Honda Center in Anaheim, the final showdown will take place without fans and within a 25-foot Octagon at UFC APEX. In Las Vegas.
The main event of UFC 252 marks the 13th trilogy completed solely within the UFC Octagon (3rd Heavyweight), taking its place among other notable trilogies.
MORE: UFC 252: How To Watch Stipe Miocic vs. Daniel Cormier III
By November 2011, the UFC had signed a seven-year television contract with FOX Sports, and the beginning of that relationship was in his first main event on the television network: Caín Velásquez defending his UFC heavyweight title against Junior Dos Santos. .
It was the only fight on the FOX telecast that night and ended with Dos Santos knocking out Velasquez in 64 seconds to win the title.
Just over a year later, Velasquez rallied to return to a rematch with the champion, and the AKA product dominated “Cigano” for five rounds to claim the title.
With the match tied at one, the decisive fight would headline UFC 166 in Houston in October 2013, and it was again Velasquez who would dominate. With less than three minutes to go in the fight, Velasquez eliminated Dos Santos by technical knockout to retain the heavyweight title and complete the 10th trilogy in UFC history.
Randy Couture had already won two heavyweight titles when he moved down the division to challenge Chuck Liddell for the interim light heavyweight title at UFC 43 in June 2003.
Liddell was 11-1 and was coming off a brutal knockout of Renato Sobral. Couture outscored Liddell 46-22 on significant hits to win the championship by third-round TKO.
The two fighters met again in April 2005 at UFC 52 after they both served as coaches on the debut of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’. Liddell won the rematch, knocking out Couture at 2:06 in the first round to win the undisputed light heavyweight title.
Their third meeting took place at UFC 57 in February 2006 with Liddell still champion at 205 pounds. Liddell controlled the fight, landing 18 blows to the head, including finishing blows to a Couture on the ground to win by TKO and retain the title. Both fighters were eventually inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame (Couture in 2006 and Liddell in 2009).
Another Hall of Famer, Matt Hughes, participated in two trilogies within the UFC Octagon.
Hughes was on the losing end of both at 1-2, and while his trilogy with BJ Penn was memorable, it is his rivalry with Georges St-Pierre for the UFC welterweight title that is most remembered.
At UFC 50 in October 2004, former champion Hughes faced a 24-year-old Canadian in the figure of St-Pierre. With 1:14 remaining in the first round, Hughes landed his second knockdown and eventually forced a tapout by armbar with a second to become a two-time welterweight champion.
Hughes made two title defenses before facing St-Pierre again at UFC 65 in November 2006. St-Pierre outscored the champion 45-10 and landed a devastating kick to the head to win the title via second round TKO. .
December 2007 was the final battle at UFC 79. Hughes and GSP once again fought for a vacant interim title, as undisputed champion Matt Serra was out due to injury.
St-Pierre had three tackles and finished Hughes for armbar in the second round. Hughes was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2010, before finishing his second trilogy with Penn and retiring in 2011.
At UFC Fight Night 13 in 2008, two undefeated lightweight prospects took the Octagon in the figures of Frankie Edgar (9-0) and Gray Maynard (4-0, 1 NC).
Maynard used his wrestling experience to score nine tackles and win 30-27 on all scorecards. They then met again at UFC 125 with Edgar as the UFC lightweight champion and Maynard still undefeated and a No. 1 contender for the title of Edgar, who was knocked down three times in the first round and nearly lost to again. Maynard, this time for the title. But the New Jersey native fought back valiantly, beating Maynard 85-46 in the remaining four rounds to earn a split decision tie.
The third fight was inevitable and took place at UFC 136 seven months later. Maynard was again the aggressor, beating Edgar 24-11 in the first round. As in the second fight, Maynard slowed down and Edgar fought back. In the fourth round, Edgar landed 21 significant punches to Maynard’s 5 and finished “The Bully” with blows to the head. The fight was stopped at 3:54 of the round with Edgar winning by TKO and retaining his UFC lightweight title.
Edgar moved to featherweight in February 2013 and Maynard faced Nate Diaz in the final of “The Ultimate Fighter 18” in November of this year. While it is his third fight, the first in “The Ultimate Fighter” is not considered an official fight.
Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz (UFC 40, UFC 61, ‘UFC Fight Night: The Final Chapter’)
Vendetta. Great Rivals. The Final Chapter. Those were the titles of the Ken Shamrock-Tito Ortiz trilogy fights and they clearly fit the descriptions. After the 1999 wins over Lions Den fighters Jerry Bohlander and Guy Mezger, Ortiz reprimanded Shamrock’s camp with taunts and T-shirts, enraging the “World’s Most Dangerous Man.”
Shamrock was also in the middle of a professional wrestling career, but made his return to the Octagon at UFC 40 in November 2002 to challenge Ortiz for the UFC light heavyweight title.
In what was arguably one of the pivotal moments in UFC history, Ortiz dominated the former champion in 74-12 significant punches and 3-0 takedowns. The fight was stopped in the third round by Shamrock’s corner, and Ortiz retained his title.
Shamrock would be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame the following year, but his career was not over. The two crossed paths again in 2006, not as opponents in the Octagon, but as trainers in the third season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.
Verbal disputes ensued and the two fighters met again at UFC 61 in July 2006. Shamrock started strong, but Ortiz secured a takedown and connected elbows on guard. Referee Herb Dean controversially stopped the fight with 1:18, giving Ortiz his second win over Shamrock.
The third fight was in October 2006 at UFC Fight Night: The Final Chapter. Ortiz landed a takedown 40 seconds into the fight and finished Shamrock with punches after 2:23 into the fight. Then Ortiz would be involved in one more trilogy during his UFC career, losing the last two bouts to Forrest Griffin. The third fight ended his UFC career the same weekend that he became the eighth fighter in the company’s Hall of Fame.