UFC 202 is now in the history books, and what an event it turned out to be. A night filled with mostly great fights and finishes, capped off by another wonderful fight between Nate Diaz and Conor McGregor. Obviously, the hype for this rematch was through the roof, and it certainly did not disappoint. After the fight, fans were (and still are) clamoring for a third fight between the two, but Dana White has put those hopes to rest for now. With Diaz-McGregor III now in the realm of the hypothetical, it is time to look at some other trilogies that never came to be. These are the Top 10 Trilogy Fights that Never Happened.
10. Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra III
Admittedly, this fight is not one many fans wanted to see after the second fight between Georges St-Pierre and Matt Serra. The reason for this is because the version of GSP fans witnessed in that second fight was the perfect version of GSP, and that perfect GSP took out Matt Serra with unmatched domination. GSP would only progress in his perfection, while Serra would decline in his. Yet, a third fight between the two would have been nice to round out the trilogy, and it would have meant two things: GSP settling the score 2-1 on his road to becoming the best welterweight of all time, and another moment of glory for Serra.
9. Stephan Bonnar vs. Krzysztof Soszynski III
Unfortunately for both Stephan Bonnar and Krzysztof Soszynski, their feud has been largely forgotten in the last several years. It is unfortunate because their fights together were terrific. Their first fight occurred at UFC 110, and it was an extremely fun back and forth battle. It ended controversially in the third round after a head butt cut open Bonnar’s forehead, forcing a stoppage and giving Soszynski the win. At UFC 116, Bonnar-Soszynski II took place, and they tore the house down. In one of the best brawls in years, Bonnar and Soszynski battled at an intense pace for two rounds, with each man significantly damaging the other. The fight ended in conclusive fashion, with Bonnar finishing Soszynski off with a crippling knee to the nose and punches to follow. For whatever reason, a third fight was never booked, so the score remains unsettled. Yet, we can look back and think about what could have been a classic trilogy had these two fought one last time.
8. Forrest Griffin vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua III
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua made his UFC debut at UFC 76 after a lauded run in Pride Fighting Championships. “Shogun” was matched up with Forrest Griffin, who many expected to be the sacrificial lamb that he would slaughter. However, in one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, Griffin put on a terrific performance in a terrific fight, utilizing every aspect of his game to take out the Pride superstar. In their rematch at UFC 134 five years later, “Shogun” did what many expected him to do in his UFC debut, as he destroyed Griffin in the first round. A third fight between the two was never talked about much, because at the time of their rematch, both men were clearly out of their prime and nearing the end of their careers. A third fight could have been a fun and entertaining scrap between two veterans, and it would have been a very winnable fight for both. However, the score is left 1-1, and with Griffin now retired, the odds of the fight happening are slim.
7. Georges St-Pierre vs. B.J. Penn III
The second fight between GSP and B.J. Penn was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history at the time. Both men were in their absolute prime, and both looked unbeatable. After a competitive and interesting first round, the fight went downhill for Penn after that point, as GSP went into GSP mode (i.e. destroying people). From the second round through the fourth round, GSP took Penn down and landed some of the most vicious ground n’ pound you’ll ever see, and wound up forcing a doctor to stop the fight after the fourth round. Penn accused GSP of greasing his back, thus limiting Penn’s options for offense. The accusation ultimately wound up not being true. Penn wanted a third fight with GSP to prove the loss was a controversy-mired fluke, but after GSP beat Penn twice, there was no desire for another rematch. Once again, GSP did not need a third fight with someone to prove he was the best.
6. Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman III
At UFC 162 Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva to become the UFC Middleweight Champion and end Silva’s UFC unbeaten streak. Not only did Weidman beat Silva, he knocked him out. Almost immediately, the UFC booked a rematch for UFC 168 because it was the most necessary booking of all time. So many questions circled around their highly anticipated second fight: was it a fluke? Was Silva injured? Is Weidman just that good? Unfortunately, none of those questions were answered, as the fight ended in gruesome fashion. After a strong first round from Weidman, fans were on the edge of their seats for how the fight would play out from there. In the second, Weidman checked a kick from Silva that completely wrecked Silva’s leg. Silva crumbled to the ground in pain, and the fight was called off. Weidman was the winner, but questions still remained. A third fight was talked about, but the decision was made that both men would move on. This was a good decision on the UFC’s part, but questions will always remain.
5. Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate III
The rivalry between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate is the best rivalry in the history of women’s MMA. Despite Rousey holding two victories over Tate, there is still a reason for interest in a third fight: the landscape for woman’s MMA has changed dramatically since their last fight. Holly Holm kicked Rousey’s greatness out of her, and Miesha Tate won the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion before losing it to current champ Amanda Nunes. With this new landscape, a third Rousey vs. Tate fight would garner more interest, and the outcome would be more in question. Rousey may not even fight again, so time will tell if this rematch ever sees the light of day.
4. Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz III
The rivalry between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz is one of the most famous in MMA history. However, for such a famous rivalry, the fights themselves were never the best, as it was always obvious that Liddell was the better fighter. Yet, a third fight would have been justified because fans could feel the tension between these two at all times, and a final blow-off to their feud felt necessary. It was scheduled to take place at UFC 115, but due to an Ortiz injury, the fight never happened. Liddell actually retired after losing to Rich Franklin at UFC 115, so the final resolution to their feud will never happen.
3. Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks
A third Lawler vs. Hendricks fight is an actual possibility. However, it will not be like their first two fights, as both men have change dramatically since that point. Their first fight at UFC 171 was a classic title fight, with Hendricks coming out as UFC Welterweight Champion. However, their second fight was a tedious, slow-moving bout with Lawler barely edging the win. For reasons unknown, a third fight was never discussed and it never came together. Lawler has since lost the belt, and Hendricks has had one of the fastest declines from champion to irrelevancy of all time. The two could still fight, and it could still be an entertaining. So, fans will just need to wait and see.
2. Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir III
The Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir rivalry makes the Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz rivalry look like the Sam Stout vs. Spencer Fisher rivalry by comparison. Lesnar and Mir really do hate each other. In their first fight at UFC 81, Mir tapped Lesnar after Lesnar started strong. Fast forward a year and a half, Lesnar had become UFC Heavyweight Champion, and Mir had become UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion. They met again at UFC 100, where Lesnar took Mir down and battered him on the ground until the referee stopped the fight. Lesnar taunted Mir after the fight, adding more fuel to the fire of their rivalry. There is no love lost between the two, and with the score 1-1, a third fight can still sell very well. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to happen, as both men have run into troubles with the USADA recently. Regardless, it would be a shame to miss out on a third fight in one of the greatest rivalries in MMA history.
1. Michael Chandler vs. Eddie Alvarez III
The feud between Michael Chandler and Eddie Alvarez is unquestionably the greatest competitive feud in MMA history. Their rivalry is not built on harsh words or personal animosity; it is so heated because their two fights are two of the best you will ever see. At Bellator 58, Michael Chandler submitted Eddie Alvarez to win the Bellator Lightweight Championship in the 2011 Fight of the Year. It was an insane, action-packed fight that should appear under the definition of “back and forth.” The two would battle again at Bellator 106, where Alvarez would reign victorious. Against the odds, their second fight was even better than their first, so much so that Chandler vs. Alvarez II should replace the term “back and forth” in the dictionary. It was another outstanding war, eclipsing every other fight Bellator had ever put on. Unfortunately, a third fight never came together, as Alvarez moved to the UFC and won the UFC Lightweight Championship. Chandler remains in Bellator, where it looks like he will be staying for the foreseeable future. However, if Chandler ever comes to the UFC, fans should wait with bated breath for the announcement of a third clash between Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler. It will be worth it.
Are there any trilogy fights you want to see come together? Leave a comment below!
(Chris Moore is a new MMATorch contributor who will write a weekly in-depth Top Ten List on a particular subject in the Specialists section of MMATorch. He has been passionate about MMA since 2009.)