McGregor vs Poirier 3 is the latest in long line of thrilling UFC trilogies

Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier will clash for the third time this weekend with more than just a shot at UFC gold at stake.

The lightweights will both attempt to put a full stop on their rivalry which dates back to their first meeting in 2014.

On that occasion, McGregor needed less than two minutes to stop Poirier and continue on the road to a first UFC title.

Seven years later, however, Poirier exacted his revenge by stopped the Irishman in the second round of their rematch in Abu Dhabi.

With the score level, both men committed to a third instalment which will play out in Las Vegas on Saturday night with Poirier bypassing a shot at the 155lb belt in the process.

And whatever the result in Sin City, the rivals will join a pantheon of thrilling trilogy rivalries which have played out over the years.

Here’s a stroll down memory lane as a reminder of the best…

1. Randy Couture vs Chuck Liddell

This wasn’t just a nail-biting series of fights with two huge stars competing for the light-heavyweight title, it was a landmark moment in UFC competition.

Veteran former Olympic wrestler Randy Couture was the underdog against the high-flying Chuck Liddell for their first meeting in 2003 but won by stoppage in the third round. Liddell exacted his revenge two years later, knocking his rival out in just over two minutes.

In the decider 15 years ago, Liddell successfully defended his light-heavyweight title, winning by TKO in round two.

The huge interest set the wheels in motion for UFC to become front and centre of worldwide conversation and set the foundations for the millions of fans that are set to tune in to watch McGregor resume his rivalry with Poirier.

2. Georges St-Pierre vs Matt Hughes

Undoubtedly one of the all-time greats of the UFC, Georges St-Pierre helped cement his legacy with a trilogy win over welterweight master Matt Hughes.

The Canadian was an up-and-coming prospect when easily despatched by Hughes at the top of his game in their first meeting – but the rematch was a different story entirely as St-Pierre shocked the world by dominating his opponent, marking a passing of the torch in the division.

The third fight a year later left fans in no doubt as to who was the new welterweight king, with St-Pierre again winning with ease.

Poirier will hope for a similar story this weekend as he attempts to push McGregor ever closer to retirement – and establish himself as the best in the division.

3. Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard

Ask any UFC fan to list their greatest fights of all time and there is little doubt that Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard’s second clash will feature highly. After Maynard won the first bout between two of the UFC’s up-and-coming lightweight stars in 2008, they met three years later with the 155lb title on the line.

Edgar was knocked down an incredible three times by ‘The Bully’ in the first round, but somehow fought on and survived to take the better of the remainder of the fight. The result was judged a split draw, with the decider just nine months later.

Again Edgar survived a heavy opening attack, but this time he won by KO in round four. It was the end of one of the most entertaining rivalries in UFC history and one for the purists.

McGregor will need every bit of his own ‘never-say-die’ spirit this weekend to position himself back among the best in the world.

4. Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos

Often referred to as the best heavyweights of their generation, Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos both came into their first match-up in 2011 with incredible unbeaten records.

With Velasquez cheered on by a huge Mexican-American contingent, Dos Santos caused a major upset, knocking out one of the UFC’s fan favourites in just over a minute and earning the heavyweight championship in the process.

Velasquez didn’t have to wait long for revenge, winning his title back with a dominant win in their second fight before ramming the message home under a year later to win their trilogy battle 2-1.

5. Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier

With sport fanatics starved of action due to the coronavirus pandemic, the UFC came up trumps with the conclusion of the epic heavyweight battle between Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier behind closed doors.

The first fight was a champion vs champion battle in 2018, with light heavyweight holder Cormier taking on reigning heavyweight ruler Miocic and springing a surprise by knocking him out after four minutes with a ferocious right hook.

Miocic was determined to have his revenge and immediately chased a rematch, winning the second bout in 2019 by TKO after a brutal four rounds that went down in UFC history. A decider was immediately scheduled, with Miocic again winning a gruelling five-round battle by a slim decision.

The UFC’s most recent great trilogy was arguably its greatest – McGregor and Poirier will be looking to put on a similar show in front of the watching world this weekend.

Watch the unmissable trilogy fight – UFC® 264: POIRIER vs MCGREGOR 3 main card live from 3:00am on BT Sport Box Office, with late prelims on BT Sport 2 at 1:00am, and early prelims live exclusively on Fight Pass from 11:00pm this Saturday, July 10.

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