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The 411 MMA Top 10 09.24.12: Top 10 UFC Championship Reigns
Posted by Alex Rella on 09.24.2012

Top 10 UFC Championship Reigns

Hey there gentle readers, I am Alex Rella and this is the MMA Top Ten. This week we will be looking at the top ten UFC championship reigns. But first,
Thoughts from last week and other random stuff:

Ľ Last week's list was the top ten retirement or final fights of fighters' careers. Some of you thought the Lytle fight should have been ranked above Fedor's final fight. It's a close one, I went back forth on it a bit and gave the edge to the legend who was retiring in his home country.
Ľ One reader said that Ortiz won his final fight against Griffin. That was my initial reaction when I first saw it but I'll have to watch the fight again with a more technical point of view in mind.
Ľ It's also hilarious that some of you are still whining about Brock Lesnar being included in the top heavyweight list from months ago.
Ľ Sorry there weren't as many videos this week as I was incredibly busy.

Back to this week's list
Ľ So this week's topic is the top ten UFC championship reigns. I'll also be including WEC and Strikeforce reigns that happened while the companies were owned by Zuffa. It's a fairly simple list with past and current champions on there. The factors that played into comprising this list was the length of the reign, dominance, title defenses, significance at the time, and my personal opinion.

Honorable Mentions:
Ľ Pat Miletich -The first UFC welterweight champion defended the title four times while fighting for other organizations at the same time.
Ľ BJ Penn- the Prodigy defeated Joe Stevenson for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 80 and defended it three times until he was defeated by Frankie Edgar.
Ľ Frankie Edgar- defeated Penn for the lightweight title, would defend it in the rematch, retained and defended against Maynard before losing it to Benson Henderson this past February.

10:Frank Shamrock

Title Defenses:
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

The Legend became the first UFC light heavyweight (then middleweight) champion in his first fight in the company when he defeated Kevin Jackson in December 1997. Shamrock quickly became the greatest champion in the company at the time when he defended the title four times until 1999. After his last title defense against Tito Ortiz at UFC 22, Shamrock vacated the title when he announced his retirement from the sport. Of course this retirement would barely last over a year and Shamrock would go on to win two other championships in the WEC and Strikeforce.

9:Dominick Cruz

Title Defenses:
1. def. Joseph Benavidez at WEC 50 on Aug 18, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV, USA
2. def. Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53 on Dec 16, 2010 in Glendale, AZ, USA
3. def. Urijah Faber at UFC 132 on Jul 2, 2011
4. def. Demetrious Johnson at UFC Live: Cruz vs. Johnson on Oct 1, 2011

Dominick Cruz is currently out with a torn ACL but I'm hoping he comes back soon as he is one of the best fighters in the world today and one of my favorites to watch. Cruz previously competed at lightweight and featherweight but he made the best decision of his career when he dropped down to bantamweight in 2008. Cruz defeated Brian Bowles for the WEC bantamweight championship in March 2010. Cruz has carried the title over to the UFC and has defended it four times. Right now he has Barao waiting for him with the interim title for when he returns.

8: Urijah Faber

Title Defenses:
1. def. Joe Pearson at WEC 25 on Jan 20, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV, USA
2. def. Dominick Cruz at WEC 26 on Mar 24, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV, USA
3. def. Chance Farrar at WEC 28 on Jun 3, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV, USA
4. def. Jeff Curran at WEC 31 on Dec 12, 2007 in Las Vegas, NV, USA
5. def. Jens Pulver at WEC 34 on Jun 1, 2008 in Sacramento, CA, USA

Urijah Faber is 0-5 in his last five title fights but before that he was a pioneer at 145 pounds. Faber won the WEC featherweight championship in March 2006 in only his first fight in the company. Faber was also defending his King of the Cage title for the first few months of his WEC title reign until he dropped the KOTC title to focus entirely on WEC. Faber was champion for two years and defended his title five times which was a WEC record. Faber lost the title to Mike Brown in November 2008 and has been unsuccessful in his attempts to regain gold since then. The best years of Faber's career are well behind him but he'll still probably get another title shot against Cruz to finish out their trilogy.

7:Jose Aldo

Title Defenses:
1. def. Urijah Faber at WEC 48 on Apr 24, 2010 in Sacramento, CA, USA
2. def. Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51 on Sep 30, 2010 in Broomfield, CO, USA
3. def. Mark Hominick at UFC 129 on Apr 30, 2011
4. def. Kenny Florian at UFC 136 on Oct 8, 2011
5. def. Chad Mendes at UFC 142 on Jan 14, 2012

Jose Aldo is not only the greatest featherweight champion of all time but he's quickly becoming one of the best pound for pound fighters of all time. Aldo had a 10-1 record when he debuted in the WEC in June 2008. By November 2009, Jose Aldo had defeated Mike Brown for the WEC featherweight championship. Aldo would defend the title twice in the WEC before coming over to the UFC in 2011 and defend it three more times after that. Aldo was supposed to defend his title against Erik Koch at UFC 149 and later Frankie Edgar but had to pull out due to an injury sustained while riding his motorcycle. Should be interesting to see who gets the next title shot when Aldo comes back from his injury.

6: Chuck Liddell

Title Defenses:
1. def. Jeremy Horn at UFC 54 on Aug 20, 2005
2. def. Randy Couture at UFC 57 on Feb 4, 2006
3. def. Renato Sobral at UFC 62 on Aug 26, 2006
4. def. Tito Ortiz at UFC 66 on Dec 30, 2006

The Iceman returned to the UFC from Pride in 2004 and scored back to back wins over Tito Ortiz and Vernon White to earn a light heavyweight title shot. Liddell fought Randy Couture at UFC 52 for the UFC light heavyweight title in their second meeting as Couture defeated Liddell for the interim title at UFC 43. Liddell would win the title via first round knock out and go on to defend his title four times against Horn, Couture, Sobral, and Ortiz. All of these would end either by KO or TKO. Liddell's seven fight win streak and championship reign would end at UFC 71 against Quinton Jackson.

5: Jon Jones

Title Defenses:
1. def. Quinton Jackson at UFC 135 on Sep 24, 2011
2. def. Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 on Dec 10, 2011
3. def. Rashad Evans at UFC 145 on Apr 21, 2012
4. def. Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 on Sep 22, 2012

I dislike putting him this high but it's impossible not to. I'm not a fan of Jon Jones but its impossible not to realize his great accomplishments in the sport. Jones became the youngest champion in UFC history when he defeated Shogun Rua for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 128 at only 23 years old. Jones has gone on to defend his title against four former light heavyweight champions in a row. No other fighter has defended their title that many times against former champions. On a side note, I'm curious who has the record for most wins against former champions. My guess would be Fedor but somebody can correct me if I'm wrong. Jones is already four title defenses in and it's probably going to last a lot longer. Dan Henderson has a decent chance and Gustafsson should be in line for a title shot if he beats Shogun in December. Most likely Jones is going to break a lot of records before his current title run is over.

4: Tito Ortiz

Title Defenses:
1. def. Yuki Kondo at UFC 29 on Dec 16, 2000
2. def. Evan Tanner at UFC 30 on Feb 23, 2001
3. def. Elvis Sinosic at UFC 32 on Jun 29, 2001
4. def. Vladimir Matyushenko at UFC 33 on Sep 28, 2001
5. def. Ken Shamrock at UFC 40 on Nov 22, 2002

I really hope Jon Jones doesn't tie or break Tito Ortiz's record of five title defenses in the light heavyweight division. Ortiz's career didn't end as well as one would have liked but his run with the title was one of the most dominant ones in the sport. Ortiz first challenged for the title at UFC 22 but was defeated by Frank Shamrock. Shamrock vacated the title soon after and Ortiz defeated Wanderlei Silva for the title at UFC 25. The Huntington Beach Bad Boy became one of the biggest stars and draws while holding the title. Ortiz would run through his competition up until his awesome fifth title defense against Ken Shamrock at UFC 40. Unfortunately Ortiz would sit out afterwards due to some unnecessary drama and lose the title to Randy Couture at UFC 44 when he came back.

3: Matt Hughes

Title Defenses (first reign):
1. def. Hayato Sakurai at UFC 36 on Mar 22, 2002
2. def. Carlos Newton at UFC 38 on Jul 13, 2002
3. def. Gil Castillo at UFC 40 on Nov 22, 2002
4. def. Sean Sherk at UFC 42 on Apr 25, 2003
5. def. Frank Trigg at UFC 45 on Nov 21, 2003

Matt Hughes' first run with the UFC welterweight championship was awesome. Hughes avenged his mentor Pat Miletich when he slammed Carlos Newton unconscious at UFC 34 to win his first title. Hughes defended the title five times in the next two years. All of these fights were great with the exception being the one against Castillo that was stopped way too soon due to a cut. Unfortunately the success went to Hughes' head a bit as he was upset by BJ Penn at UFC 46. Hughes' came into the fight too cocky and got submitted. Hughes won the title back at UFC 50 and would defend it another two times with two non title fights mixed in between. Hughes lost the title to GSP at UFC 65 and has a 4-4 record since then.

2: Georges St-Pierre

Title Defenses (second reign):
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

So GSP is finally returning in November at UFC 154 to face Carlos Condit. It feels like forever since GSP last defended his title against Jake Shields at UFC 129 in April 2011. GSP won his first title against Matt Hughes at UFC 65 but that reign didn't last long as he was upset by Matt Serra at UFC 69 a few months later. GSP won the title back at UFC 83 and has defended it six times since then. GSP hasn't finished anyone since Serra with the exception kinda being that time BJ Penn quit in the corner in between rounds. So it will be interesting to see how he performs with such a huge lay off in between fights. If he wins, does GSP fight the winner of Hendricks/Kampmann or does he move on to Anderson Silva? Some good fights coming up for GSP regardless.

1: Anderson Silva

Title Defenses:
1. def. Nate Marquardt at UFC 73 on Jul 7, 2007
2. def. Rich Franklin at UFC 77 on Oct 20, 2007
3. def. Dan Henderson at UFC 82 on Mar 1, 2008
4. def. Patrick Côté at UFC 90 on Oct 25, 2008
5. def. Thales Leites at UFC 97 on Apr 18, 2009
6. def. Demian Maia at UFC 112 on Apr 10, 2010
7. def. Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 on Aug 7, 2010
8. def. Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 on Feb 5, 2011
9. def. Yushin Okami at UFC 134 on Aug 27, 2011
10. def. Chael Sonnen at UFC 148 on Jul 7, 2012

Well this was an easy number one pick. Anderson Silva is easily the greatest champion of all time and nobody even comes close to him. The Spider won the UFC middleweight championship from Rich Franklin at UFC 64 and has since defended it a record ten times. Silva has a bunch of other records as well including most finishes in UFC title fights with 9. Silva has a light heavyweight fight coming up with Stephen Bonnar at UFC 153 which I'm looking forward to. Silva came out earlier this week and said he might not return to the middleweight division. While the various superfights at light heavyweight and welterweight will be exciting, I'm hoping Silva doesn't drop the title just yet. The middleweight division is deeper now than it has been in awhile and there are some good fights still left for Silva. Either way, Anderson Silva is the greatest champion of all time.

Ľ So let me know how you guys would rank them or maybe I left a fighter out that you thought should be in the top 10.
Ľ As always, let me know if there are any topics or fighters you would like to see ranked in the future.
Ľ Next week will be the top 10 families in MMA.

Bonus Ken Shamrock Moment of The Week

Try not to die til next week.


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