The UFC has twelve weight divisions (eight men, four women), meaning tons of champions. Some champs come and go, but some come and stay for a long time, defending their title numerous times. Here’s a list of 10 UFC champions with the most title defenses in history.
I’m not talking only about consecutive defenses, but title defenses overall.
10. Daniel Cormier – 4 Title Defenses in UFC
Daniel Cormier is one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, losing only to Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic in his career – both being on this list, too. DC has had four title defenses throughout his career – five, if you count the time he retained the belt after Jon Jones knocked him out, but tested positive for turinabol in the aftermath.
Cormier defended the light heavyweight title three times and added one more heavyweight title defense. He fought for the title a couple more times and is one of only four UFC double champions in history (holding titles in two divisions simultaneously.
9. Stipe Miocic – 4 Title Defenses in UFC
Many people believe Stipe Miocic is the best heavyweight MMA fighter of all time. His resume does speak volumes, too. First of all, he holds the record for most consecutive UFC heavyweight title defenses in history with three.
He added one more defense after regaining the title from Daniel Cormier and then defended it one more time against the same opponent. Stipe is eager to get his belt again from Francis Ngannou, but we’ll see if the promotion has the same plans.
8. Joanna Jedrzejczyk – 5 Title Defenses in UFC
Joanna Jedrzejczyk started her MMA career 14-0 and is 2-4 since then. Still, all those fights were against top competition, and it doesn’t change the fact that she was one of the most dominant UFC champions of all time.
The long-time strawweight queen had five consecutive title defenses before losing to Rose Namajunas twice, marking her first two career losses. Still, five title defenses are spectacular, and her performances never cease to amaze. She has three career Fight of the Night bonuses to prove it.
7. Valentina Shevchenko – 5 Title Defenses in UFC
I know Valentina Shevchenko has the same number of title defenses as Jedrzejczyk, but I’ve ranked her on this list for two reasons. One, her title defense streak is still active, holding firmly to the women’s flyweight championship belt.
Two, she beat Joanna in the title fight to win that belt in the first place, and they also have a kickboxing/Muay Thai history where Shevchenko always came out on top, too. So, it’s only fair to put her five title defenses above Joanna’s.
Plus, the only fighter to beat her (twice) in the UFC cage is Amanda Nunes, the best female MMA fighter of all time.
6. Ronda Rousey – 6 Title Defenses in UFC
It’s no secret that Ronda Rousey was one of UFC’s most dominant champions. She started her MMA career with eight straight armbar finishes. Her last four title defenses didn’t last two minutes altogether, which is just unfathomable.
5. Jose Aldo – 7 Title Defenses in UFC
Jose Aldo is widely considered the best featherweight fighter of all time. The guy decimated everybody in front of him for seven straight (and total) title defenses until Conor McGregor ended his reign.
Aldo fought for the title several more times but never managed to take it back despite being so close numerous times. He found new strength in the bantamweight division, so perhaps he’ll get to become a champion there before he hangs up the gloves for good.
4. Georges St-Pierre – 9 Title Defenses in UFC
Georges St-Pierre belongs near the top of the list of the best MMA fighters of all time, and his accolades certainly speak to that. The guy had nine consecutive title defenses in the welterweight division, but he has a staggering thirteen title fight wins, putting him at number two on the all-time list in that category.
GSP was the welterweight champion, hasn’t fought for four years, and then debuted in the middleweight division, winning the title against Michael Bisping. If that doesn’t prove he’s the best of the best, I don’t know what does.
3. Anderson Silva – 10 Title Defenses in UFC
Talk about dominance. Anderson Silva came into the UFC and took it by storm. It didn’t take long for him to become the champion, and once he achieved that, he held onto that title for years and years. The legendary Spider racked up ten title defenses in a row, knocking people out like they were boys fighting a man.
He also holds the record for most consecutive wins inside the Octagon with 16. Had he retired earlier, he would be my number one greatest fighter of all time. Unfortunately, his 1-7-1 finish to his career slightly taints his legacy, but he was still one of the most dominant champions ever.
2. Jon Jones – 11 Title Defenses in UFC
Jon Jones is tied with Demetrious Johnson for the most title defenses in UFC history. However, Mighty Mouse ranks above on this list because he got his 11 defenses in a row, while Bones needed two occasions to achieve that: eight the first time and three the second.
Interestingly, Jones never lost the belt in a fight. However, he was stripped of the belt twice and vacated it once. I believe he’d have even more defenses in his legacy if he didn’t have so many problems outside the Octagon.
1. Demetrious Johnson – 11 Title Defenses in UFC
Finally, Demetrious The Mighty Mouse Johnson is the absolute king of title defenses in the UFC. He defended his belt eleven consecutive times in the flyweight division, only to lose it via split decision to Henry Cejudo before being traded to ONE Championship for Ben Askren.
The eleven title defenses are the longest such streak in UFC history and tied with Jon Jones for the most total defenses in a UFC career. If there’s a guy on this list that doesn’t get the respect he deserves, it’s Demetrious Johnson.
Honorable Mention: Tyron Woodley
I’m putting Tyron Woodley here because he has the same number of title defenses as our #10 and #9 on this list with four. Still, one of those title defenses came in a draw, where he retained the title against Stephen Thompson rather than won and defended it.