Flashback Friday – The UFC’s Greatest Trilogy
The UFC has a proud history stretching back twenty years. Throughout the course of developing EA SPORTS UFC, we will look back at some of the greatest moments that have shaped the organization. Be sure to check out our previous Flashback Fridays and stay tuned for weekly highlights of the most memorable fights in the UFC.
The Frankie Edgar vs. Gray Maynard Trilogy
Plenty of classic trilogies have taken place inside the Octagon, but it’s tough to find one more exciting than the three incredible bouts between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. Sure, many fights in the UFC can be described as exciting, but the two championship tilts between Edgar and Maynard were beyond dramatic, setting the benchmark for every trilogy that would follow.
Edgar vs. Maynard I:
The Answer and The Bully first squared off at UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Lauzon back in April 2008. Both entered the Octagon undefeated but after three hard-fought rounds, Maynard came out on top, winning the unanimous decision and handing Edgar the first loss of his professional career. Edgar would later state that the loss was a huge turning point for him in his career, and affected how he approached the sport.
Edgar vs. Maynard II:
By the time these two 155-pounders met again on New Year’s Day in 2011, the landscape of the Lightweight Division had changed. Edgar, motivated by the loss to Maynard, was now the champion, after upsetting BJ Penn for the Lightweight title. Edgar would defeat Penn again and ride a five-fight win streak into his rematch with Maynard.
Fans expected a good fight, but the rematch quickly elevated Edgar to hero status. The first round saw Edgar come as close as a fighter can come to losing a fight without having it called. Rocked over and over again by the hard-hitting Maynard, Edgar stumbled around the Octagon, dazed and unable to avoid his opponent’s attacks. The round ended scored 10-8 for Maynard, but could easily have been 10-7.
After somehow managing to survive the opening frame, Edgar came out with a vengeance in the second, out-striking Maynard 21-6 and tacking on a highlight-reel body slam for good measure. Seeming to run on pure heart, Edgar somehow fought his way back through the next four rounds, to the utter amazement of everyone watching, dishing out punishment and absorbing more along the way.
The judges disappointingly (but understandably) declared the fight a rare draw. Despite taking place on the first day of the year, the bout earned Fight of the Year honors.
Edgar vs. Maynard III:
After the ironically named UFC 125: Resolution failed to provide anything of the sort for Edgar and Maynard, the Lightweights completed their trilogy at UFC 136 in October 2011. Amazingly the fight had a similar start to the rematch, as Maynard caught Edgar with a series of strikes that broke the champ’s nose and left him again bloodied, shaken up and forced to weather the storm. He did, and fought his way back for the second time. This time, Edgar sealed the deal and knocked Maynard out cold in the fourth round to defend his belt and close the books on one of the greatest trilogies in MMA history.
It’s nearly impossible to watch any of these bouts without gaining a lot of respect for both fighters…and maybe even becoming a fan of Frankie Edgar. “The Answer” established himself as one of the gutsiest UFC fighters on the roster, with one of the best chins in the sport. Edgar and Maynard gave UFC fans the closest thing they may ever get to a Rocky movie playing out in the Octagon.
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