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This article tracks the lineage of the original UFC championships. These are not official or recognized championships within the UFC but follow the original titles as they would have been contested in various promotions at the same weight class.

Origin

The era of modern mixed martial arts began in Japan in 1989 with the inception of professional Shooto. [1] In the U.S. it was UFC 1 in 1993. The rule set during the sport's infancy was significantly less voluminous than it has currently become. During the first event at UFC 1, there were no weight limits or weight classes. The idea was to determine who was the best fighter regardless of anything besides actual fighting merit. Initially as many fighters lacked legitimate training and relied merely on size and strength, those with technique, such as Royce Gracie, while substantially smaller in size, were able to find great success. As the larger fighters began to train in techniques and an influx of Olympic level wrestlers entered the sport, the technique gap greatly diminished and size and strengthen would often become the asymmetric advantage for the larger fighters. In order to allow smaller fighters to compete more fairly, weight classes were introduced at UFC 12.

This article tracks the lineage of the original UFC championships. If a lineal champion retires before losing at the particular weight, then the lineage ends and a new one is not restarted. The weight class is determined by actual fighter weight requirements, not nominally, such as in the Welterweight title that began as a UFC Lightweight title contested at 170 lbs. In instances where the title is contested in another organization that has dissimilar weight classes, the nearest weight class would be considered a valid defense if contested at that weight. For example, when the reigning lineal welterweight champion, Hayato Sakurai, fought Anderson Silva at Shooto: To The Top 7, the bout was contested at the Shooto welterweight division of 168 lbs. This represents a legitimate contention of the lineal UFC Welterweight title.

Lineal Champions

Openweight Championship

UFC 1 was the first Openweight tournament and thus the winner would claim the title of Openweight champion.
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 Brazil Royce Gracie
def. Gerard Gordeau
UFC 1
Denver, CO, USA
Nov 12, 1993 2362 days

1. def. Minoki Ichihara at UFC 2 on Mar 11, 1994
2. def. Jason DeLucia at UFC 2 on Mar 11, 1994
3. def. Remco Pardoel at UFC 2 on Mar 11, 1994
4. def. Patrick Smith at UFC 2 on Mar 11, 1994
5. def. Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 3 on Sep 9, 1994
6. def. Ron van Clief at UFC 4 on Dec 16, 1994
7. def. Keith Hackney at UFC 4 on Dec 16, 1994
8. def. Dan Severn at UFC 4 on Dec 16, 1994
9. drew with Ken Shamrock at UFC 5 on Apr 7, 1995
10. def. Nobuhiko Takada at Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round on Jan 30, 2000

2 Japan Kazushi Sakuraba Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals
Tokyo, Japan
May 1, 2000 0 days
3 Ukraine Igor Vovchanchyn 0 days
4 United States Mark Coleman 511 days 1. def. Allan Goes at Pride 13 on Mar 25, 2001
5 Brazil Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira PRIDE 16
Osaka, Japan
Sep 24, 2001 538 days

1. def. Heath Herring at Pride 17 on Nov 3, 2001
2. def. Enson Inoue at Pride 19 on Feb 24, 2002
3. def. Sanae Kikuta at UFO-Legend on Aug 8, 2002
4. def. Bob Sapp at Pride Shockwave on Aug 28, 2002
5. def. Semmy Schilt at Pride 23 on Nov 24, 2002
6. def. Dan Henderson at Pride 24 on Dec 23, 2002

6 Russia Fedor Emelianenko PRIDE 25
Yokohama, Japan
Mar 16, 2003 2659 days

1. def. Egidijus Valavicius at RINGS Bushido Rings 7: Adrenalinas on Apr 5, 2003
2. def. Kazuyuki Fujita at Pride 26 on Jun 8, 2003
3. def. Gary Goodridge at Pride Total Elimination 2003 on Aug 10, 2003
4. def. Yuji Nagata at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 on Dec 31, 2003
5. def. Mark Coleman at Pride Total Elimination 2004 on Apr 25, 2004
6. def. Kevin Randleman at Pride Critical Countdown 2004 on Jun 20, 2004
7. def. Naoya Ogawa at Pride Final Conflict 2004 on Aug 15, 2004
8. no contest with Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride Final Conflict 2004 on Aug 15, 2004
9. def. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride Shockwave 2004 on Dec 31, 2004
10. def. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at Pride Bushido 6 on Apr 3, 2005
11. def. Mirko Filipovic at Pride Final Conflict 2005 on Aug 28, 2005
12. def. Zuluzinho at Pride Shockwave 2005 on Dec 31, 2005
13. def. Mark Coleman at Pride 32 on Oct 21, 2006
14. def. Mark Hunt at Pride Shockwave 2006 on Dec 31, 2006
15. def. Matt Lindland at BodogFIGHT: Clash of Nations on Apr 14, 2007
16. def. Choi Hong-man at Yarennoka! on Dec 31, 2007
17. def. Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned on Jul 19, 2008
18. def. Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Day of Reckoning on Jan 24, 2009
19. def. Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on Nov 7, 2009

7 Brazil Fabricio Werdum Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum
San Jose, CA, USA
Jun 26, 2010 357 days
8 Netherlands Alistair Overeem Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum
Dallas, TX, USA
Jun 18, 2011 2256 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 on Dec 30, 2011

Heavyweight Championship

The Heavyweight class is defined as 206-265 lbs.
The first Heavyweight Championship was contested at UFC 12.
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 United States Mark Coleman
def. Dan Severn
UFC 12
Dothan, AL, USA
Feb 7, 1997 170 days
2 United States Maurice Smith UFC 14
Birmingham, AL, USA
Jul 27, 1997 147 days

1. def. Tank Abbott at UFC 15 on Oct 17, 1997

3 United States Randy Couture UFC Japan
Yokohama, Japan
Dec 21, 1997 308 days
4 United States Enson Inoue Vale Tudo Japan 1998
Tokyo, Japan
Oct 25, 1998 462 days

1. def. Soichi Nishida at Pride 5 on Apr 29, 1999

5 United States Mark Kerr Pride Grand Prix 2000 Opening Round
Tokyo, Japan
Jan 30, 2000 92 days
6 Japan Kazuyuki Fujita Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals
Tokyo, Japan
May 1, 2000 0 days
7 United States Mark Coleman (2) 511 days
(681 days)
1. def. Igor Vovchanchyn at Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals on May 1, 2000
8 Brazil Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira PRIDE 16
Osaka, Japan
Sep 24, 2001 538 days

1. def. Heath Herring at Pride 17 on Nov 3, 2001
2. def. Enson Inoue at Pride 19 on Feb 24, 2002
3. def. Semmy Schilt at Pride 23 on Nov 24, 2002

9 Russia Fedor Emelianenko PRIDE 25
Yokohama, Japan
Mar 16, 2003 2659 days

1. def. Egidijus Valavicius at RINGS Bushido Rings 7: Adrenalinas on Apr 5, 2003
2. def. Kazuyuki Fujita at Pride 26 on Jun 8, 2003
3. def. Gary Goodridge at Pride Total Elimination 2003 on Aug 10, 2003
4. def. Yuji Nagata at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 on Dec 31, 2003
5. def. Mark Coleman at Pride Total Elimination 2004 on Apr 25, 2004
6. def. Kevin Randleman at Pride Critical Countdown 2004 on Jun 20, 2004
7. def. Naoya Ogawa at Pride Final Conflict 2004 on Aug 15, 2004
8. no contest Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride Final Conflict 2004 on Aug 15, 2004
9. def. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride Shockwave 2004 on Dec 31, 2004
10. def. Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at Pride Bushido 6 on Apr 3, 2005
11. def. Mirko Filipovic at Pride Final Conflict 2005 on Aug 28, 2005
12. def. Mark Coleman at Pride 32 on Oct 21, 2006
13. def. Mark Hunt at Pride Shockwave 2006 on Dec 31, 2006
14. def. Matt Lindland at BodogFIGHT: Clash of Nations on Apr 14, 2007
15. def. Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned on Jul 19, 2008
16. def. Andrei Arlovski at Affliction: Day of Reckoning on Jan 24, 2009
17. def. Brett Rogers at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on Nov 7, 2009

10 Brazil Fabricio Werdum Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum
San Jose, CA, USA
Jun 26, 2010 357 days
11 Netherlands Alistair Overeem Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum
Dallas, TX, USA
Jun 18, 2011 2256 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Brock Lesnar at UFC 141 on Dec 30, 2011

Light Heavyweight Championship

The Light Heavyweight class is defined as 186-205 lbs.
The first Light Heavyweight Championship was contested at UFC Japan.
The Light Heavyweight Title was contested in the UFC as the UFC Middleweight Title during Shamrock's reign.
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 United States Frank Shamrock
def. Kevin Jackson
UFC Japan
Tokyo, Japan
Dec 21, 1997 4131 days

1. def. Igor Zinoviev at UFC 16 on Mar 13, 1998
2. def. Jeremy Horn at UFC 17 on May 15, 1998
3. def. John Lober at UFC Brazil on Oct 16, 1998
4. def. Tito Ortiz at UFC 22 on Sep 24, 1999
5. def. Elvis Sinosic at K-1 World Grand Prix 2000 on Dec 10, 2000
6. def. Brian Pardoe at WEC 6 on Mar 27, 2003

Shamrock dropped to middleweight in 2003 and ultimately retired with the title in April, 2009

Middleweight Championship

The Middleweight class is defined as 171-185 lbs.
The first Middleweight Championship was contested at UFC 33.
The Middleweight Title was contested in Pride as the Pride Welterweight Title.
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 United States Dave Menne
def. Gil Castillo
UFC 33
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Sep 28, 2001 105 days
2 Brazil Murilo Bustamante UFC 35
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Jan 11, 2002 1450 days

1. def. Matt Lindland at UFC 37 on May 10, 2002
2. def. Ryuta Sakurai at Pride Bushido 6 on Apr 3, 2005
3. def. Masanori Suda at Pride Bushido 9 on Sep 25, 2005
4. def Ikuhisa Minowa at Pride Bushido 9 on Sep 25, 2005

3 United States Dan Henderson Pride Shockwave 2005
Saitama, Japan
Dec 31, 2005 238 days

1. def. Kazuo Misaki at Pride Bushido 10 on Apr 2, 2006

4 Japan Kazuo Misaki Pride Bushido 12
Nagoya, Japan
Aug 26, 2006 71 days
5 Brazil Paulo Filho Pride Bushido 13
Yokohama, Japan
Nov 5, 2006 1657 days

1. def. Joe Doerksen at WEC 29 on Aug 5, 2007
2. def. Chael Sonnen at WEC 31 on Dec 12, 2007
3. def. Melvin Manhoef at Dream 10 on Jul 20, 2009
4. drew with Denis Kang at Impact FC 2 on Jul 18, 2010
5. def. Yuki Sasaki at Bitetti Combat MMA 8 on Dec 4, 2010
6. def. Jackson Mora at World Fighting Combat: Pretorian on Mar 19, 2011

6 France Norman Paraisy X-Combat Ultra: International Grand Prix
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
May 20, 2011 301 days

1. def. Jack Mason at Cage Warriors Fighting Championship 43 on Jul 9, 2011

7 Brazil Maiquel Falcão Bellator 61
Bossier City, LA, United States
Mar 16, 2012 1984 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Vyacheslav Vasilevsky at Bellator 66 on Apr 20, 2012
2. def. Andreas Spang at Bellator 69 on May 18, 2012

Welterweight Championship

The Welterweight class is defined as 156-170 lbs.
The first Welterweight Championship was contested at UFC Brazil
The Welterweight Title was known as the UFC Lightweight Title in the UFC prior to UFC 31 (May 4, 2001).
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 United States Pat Miletich
def. Mikey Burnett
UFC Brazil
São Paulo, Brazil
Oct 16, 1998 109 days

1. def. Jorge Patino at UFC 18 on Jan 8, 1999

2 Japan Jutaro Nakao SuperBrawl 11
Honolulu, HI, United States
Feb 2, 1999 109 days
3 Japan Tetsuji Kato Shooto: 10th Anniversary Event
Yokohama, Japan
May 29, 2000 293 days

1. def. Rhett Anthony at SuperBrawl 14 on Nov 5, 1999
2. def. Angelo Sergio at Vale Tudo Japan 1999 on Dec 11, 1999

4 Japan Hayato Sakurai Shooto – R.E.A.D. 2
Tokyo, Japan
Mar 17, 2000 527 days

1. def. Luiz Azeredo at Shooto – R.E.A.D. 8 on Aug 4, 2000
2. def. Frank Trigg at Shooto – R.E.A.D. Final on Dec 17, 2000
3. def. Jean Louis Alberch at GT – Golden Trophy 2001 on Mar 1, 2001

5 Brazil Anderson Silva Shooto: To The Top 7
Osaka, Japan
Aug 26, 2001 651 days

1. def. Roan Carneiro at Mecca: World Vale Tudo 6 on Jan 31, 2002
2. def. Alex Stiebling at Pride 21 on Jun 23, 2002
3. def. Alexander Otsuka at Pride 22 on Sep 29, 2002
4. def. Carlos Newton at Pride 25 on Mar 16, 2003

6 Japan Daiju Takase Pride 26
Yokohama, Japan
Jun 8, 2003 58 days
7 Brazil Rodrigo Gracie Pride Bushido 1
Saitama, Japan
Oct 5, 2003 412 days

1. def. Hayato Sakurai at Pride Bushido 2 on Feb 15, 2004

8 United States BJ Penn
Rumble on the Rock 6
Honolulu, HI, United States
Nov 20, 2004 530 days 1. def. Renzo Gracie at K-1: World Grand Prix Hawaii on Jul 29, 2005
9 Canada Georges St-Pierre UFC 58
Las Vegas, NV, United States
Mar 4, 2006 399 days 1. def. Matt Hughes at UFC 65 on Nov 18, 2006
10 United States Matt Serra UFC 69
Houston, TX, United States
Apr 7, 2007 378 days
11 Canada Georges St-Pierre (2) UFC 83
Montreal, QC, Canada
Apr 19, 2008 3411 days
(3810 days)
(incumbent)

1. def. Jon Fitch at UFC 87 on Aug 9, 2008
2. def. B.J. Penn at UFC 94 on Jan 31, 2009
3. def. Thiago Alves at UFC 100 on Jul 11, 2009
4. def. Dan Hardy at UFC 111 on Mar 27, 2010
5. def. Josh Koscheck at UFC 124 on Dec 11, 2010
6. def. Jake Shields at UFC 129 on Apr 30, 2011
7. def. Carlos Condit at UFC 154 on Nov 17, 2012

Lightweight Championship

The Lightweight class is defined as 146-155 lbs.
The first Lightweight Championship was contested at UFC 30.
No.NameEventDateReign
(Total)
Defenses
1 United States Jens Pulver
def. Caol Uno
UFC 30
Atlantic City, NJ, USA
Feb 23, 2001 701 days

1. def. Dennis Hallman at UFC 33 on Sep 28, 2001
2. def. B.J. Penn at UFC 35 on Jan 11, 2002
3. def. Rob Emerson at UW: Ultimate Wrestling on Jun 29, 2002
4. def. Takehiro Murahama at UFO: Legend on Aug 8, 2002

2 United States Duane Ludwig
UCC 12: Adrenaline
Montreal, QC, Canada
Jan 25, 2003 1231 days

1. def. Genki Sudo at UFC 42 on Apr 25, 2003
2. def. Toshikatsu Harada at ROF 21: Full Blast on Feb 11, 2006
3. def. Jason Palacios at International Freestyle Fighting 1 on May 6, 2006

3 United States Tyson Griffin
Strikeforce: Revenge
San Jose, CA, USA
Jun 9, 2006 239 days

1. def. David Lee at UFC 63 on Sep 23, 2006

4 United States Frankie Edgar
UFC 67
Las Vegas, NV, USA
Feb 3, 2007 424 days

1. def. Mark Bocek at UFC 73 on Jul 7, 2007
2. def. Spencer Fisher at UFC 78 on Nov 17, 2007

5 United States Gray Maynard
UFC Fight Night: Florian vs. Lauzon
Broomfield, CO, USA
Apr 2, 2008 1284 days

1. def. Rich Clementi at UFC 90 on Oct 25, 2008
2. def. Jim Miller at UFC 96 on Mar 7, 2009
3. def. Roger Huerta at UFC Fight Night: Diaz vs. Guillard on Sep 16, 2009
4. def. Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night: Maynard vs. Diaz on Jan 11, 2010
5. def. Kenny Florian at UFC 118 on Aug 28, 2010
6. drew with Frankie Edgar at UFC 125 on Jan 1, 2011

6 United States Frankie Edgar (2)
UFC 136
Houston, TX, USA
Oct 8, 2011 424 days
(565 days)
7 United States Benson Henderson
UFC 144
Saitama, Japan
Feb 26, 2012 2003 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 on Aug 11, 2012
2. def. Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5 on Dec 8, 2012

Featherweight Championship

136 to 145 lb (61 to 66 kg)
Prior to the UFC-WEC merger, José Aldo was the WEC Featherweight Champion. Aldo was awarded the inaugural UFC Featherweight Championship on Nov 20, 2010 at UFC 123 in a ceremony prior to the event.[1]
No.NameEventDateReignDefenses
1 Brazil José Aldo
promoted to undisputed champion
UFC 123
Auburn Hills, MI, USA
Nov 20, 2010 2466 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Mark Hominick at UFC 129 on Apr 30, 2011
2. def. Kenny Florian at UFC 136 on Oct 8, 2011
3. def. Chad Mendes at UFC 142 on Jan 14, 2012

Bantamweight Championship

126 to 135 lb (57 to 61 kg)
Prior to UFC-WEC merger, Dominick Cruz was the WEC Bantamweight Champion. At WEC 53 Cruz defeated Scott Jorgensen to retain the WEC Bantamweight Championship and become the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Champion.[2]
No.NameEventDateReignDefenses
1 United States Dominick Cruz
def. Scott Jorgensen
WEC 53
Glendale, AZ, USA
Dec 16, 2010 2440 days
(incumbent)

1. def. Urijah Faber at UFC 132 on Jul 2, 2011
2. def. Demetrious Johnson at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson on Oct 1, 2011

Flyweight Championship

116 to 125 lb (53 to 57 kg)
Demetrious Johnson defeated Joseph Benavidez on September 22, 2012 at UFC 152 in Toronto, ON, Canada in the finale of a 4-man tournament for the inaugural title.
No.NameEventDateReignDefenses
1 United States Demetrious Johnson
def. Joseph Benavidez
UFC 152
Toronto, ON, Canada
Sep 22, 2012 1794 days
(incumbent)

References

  1. New UFC Champion Jose Aldo officially awarded title belt. MMAjunkie.com (November 20, 2010). Retrieved on October 20, 2012.
  2. Nelson, Chris (December 14, 2010). Harris Eager to Crown First UFC Bantamweight Champ. Sherdog.com. Retrieved on October 20, 2012.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article List of UFC Lineal Champions, that was deleted or is being discussed for deletion, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Author(s): LlamaAl Search for "List of UFC Lineal Champions" on Google
View Wikipedia's deletion log of "List of UFC Lineal Champions"
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