UFC Champ of All Time?
By Michael Milia
A champion in any sport has a huge target on their back,
but when you fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship
(UFC), the biggest and baddest men on the planet are
gunning for you at all times; title shot or not. In the
fifteen year, 97 event history of the UFC only 11
fighters have defended their title more than once. This
list of elite fighters have justly earned their place in
UFC history, as many critics and followers of the sport
believe that one is not truly a champion until he has
successfully defended his belt. Those that have done it
more than once are unquestionably the cream of the crop.
So who is the Greatest of All Time?
The following is the list of UFC fighters with multiple
successful title defenses. You decide who the best of
the best is. If the main criteria is the number of
consecutive successful defenses; Anderson Silva is
incontestably the king. If total number of defenses is
your measuring stick, Matt Hughes would get the nod. And
if the caliber of the champ's competition is also a
consideration; I think most will argue for Silva.
1. Matt Hughes (WW) - Title Defenses: 7
Matt Hughes was and is a UFC legend. He defended his
title a total of seven times during two separate stints
as the UFC Welterweight champion. During his first term
as champ, he defended five consecutive times against the
likes of Gil Castillo and Frank Trigg (lol). I'm having
fun here, but on a serious note, Matt Hughes has beaten
a load of quality fighters over his illustrious career,
however, looking at his list of challengers it surely
doesn't compare to Anderson Silva's.
2. Anderson Silva (MW) - Title Defenses: 6
After his last defense he is now the sole record holder
for consecutive title defenses in the UFC. Despite all
the unmerited criticism he garnered from UFC 97, he is
still the UFC Middleweight champ and pound-for-pound
king. The next time someone has the balls to get in the
cage with him and try to IMPOSE their will on him, I bet
he will continue to dominate. (read Anderson is the
CHAMP!) His streak of defenses and the challengers he
has beaten is nothing less than remarkable!
3. Tito Ortiz (LHW) - Title Defenses: 5
UGH!! It pains me to have to put the "Huntington Beach
Bad Boy" on this list, but the facts are the facts. Tito
defended his Light Heavyweight title from 2000 to 2002,
until Randy Couture took it away from him. This is when
Randy gave the Bad Boy some well deserved corporal
punishment in the form of a humiliating spanking...HA
4. Chuck Liddell (LHW) - Title Defenses: 4
The "Iceman" has one of the most impressive title
defense streaks. Including his win over Randy Couture to
gain the title, he won and defended the title with five
consecutive TKO wins. Randy, Tito, Jeremy Horn and
Renato Sobral all fell victim to the dynamite hands of
Chuck during his reign as champion.
5. Pat Miletich (WW) - Title Defenses: 4
Miletich made his official UFC debut at UFC 16 and won
the very first UFC Lightweight Tournament. In 2001, the
UFC changed the weight class limits, creating the
Welterweight. At UFC 17: Ultimate Brazil, Pat defeated
Mikey Burnett and became the first UFC Welterweight
champion. He went on to defend the Welterweight belt
four times before losing it to Carlos Newton by
submission at UFC 31.
6. Frank Shamrock (LHW) - Title Defenses: 4
"The Legend" was the Light Heavyweight champ from 1997
to 1999, until he forfeited his title due to retirement.
The talent he faced was so so, but Shamrock's wins were
in impressive fashion - all by submission, TKO or KO in
the first round, except for the beating he put on Tito,
which ended by strikes in the fourth round.
7. Randy Couture (HW) - Title Defenses: 3
Randy "The Natural" Couture, possibly the most popular
mixed martial artist of all time, has won the
Heavyweight championship on four separate occasions (1
interim title), and has successfully defended it a total
of three times. He also won the Light Heavyweight belt
twice, but has never successfully defended it. While his
win-loss record may not be as stellar as some of the
UFC's other great champions, to some he is the greatest
of all time for his achievements in two weight classes
at a more advanced age.
8. The following fighters have all defended their
respective titles 2 times:
a. Tim Sylvia (HW) (read Tim Sylvia and the Willy Nilly
b. George St. Pierre (WW)
c. Rich Franklin (MW)
d. Andrei Arlovski (HW)
9. Royce Gracie (open) - Won 3 UFC Tournaments
Royce Gracie and the Gracie Jiu Jitsu family, for whom
we owe much of everything to, was also a great champion.
He won the UFC 1, 2, and 4 tournaments, which were night
long, weight- classless events. It was not until UFC 16
that the title and belt system was implemented. Royce
was also a great mixed martial artist, who many consider
one of the greatest.
I think most will agree that this list of fighters is
quite impressive, however, not all challengers were top
contenders. Regardless of who the competition was, it is
a feat in and of itself to win more than one or two
fights in a row in the National Football League (NFL) of
mixed martial arts, and even more so while wearing a