It’s not easy to defend a UFC title, fighters who can do it multiple times are some of the best athletes out there
If you are a close follower of the UFC then you will know that titles change hands quickly in this sport.
The company has the best MMA (mixed martial arts) fighters in the world, so it only makes sense that there is fierce competition in every weight category.
How do you win a title in the UFC? Well, once you have won a certain amount of fights in a row (this is usually between 3-5, depending on who your opponents have been) you will be allowed to challenge the current champion for their title. If you beat them, it’s yours. But now you will be the one that has to defend the title against new opponents.
Throughout the history of the UFC, there have been a few fighters who have been able to defend their titles for impressively long periods of time. Here are the top five longest title reigns in UFC history.
#5 – Jose Aldos, 1848 days
We’re kicking off our list with Jose Aldos, the former UFC Featherweight Champion. Aldos now fights in the Batmanweight category, but he made his real impact on the UFC in the Featherweight category.
Aldos made a name for himself by going undefeated for over a decade in the UFC. He won 18 fights in a row. Aldos started by fighting for the WEC and became their Featherweight Champion, he retained this title as the WEC merged with the UFC. The UFC named Aldos their inaugural Featherweight fighting champion.
Aldos successfully defended his title 7 times, before losing it to Connor McGregor at UFC 194 (December 2015).
#4 – Amanda Nunes, 1976 days*
*Nunes is currently the reigning champion, this number is accurate as the day of writing
It feels wrong to put Amanda Nunes so low on this list. Why? Well, because not only is she the reigning champion of the Women’s Bantamweight league, but she is also the reigning champion of the Women’s Featherweight league – of which she has held the title for 1073 days.
Nunes is currently the only fighter to hold a title in two different weight categories and she has been reigning champion of these two weight classes for a total of 3049 days.
Nunes is expected to return to the UFC later this year, and if you are interested in betting on MMA marquee fights then we would put money on her to win.
As Nunes is the reigning champion of both weight groups, her title reign will continue to grow. We think she has the capability to take the number 1 spot on this list one day.
#3 – Georges St-Pierre, 2064 days
The Canadian fighter Georges St-Pierre set his reigning titleholder record in the Welterweight division of the UFC. Fight Matrix named St-Pierre as the top MMA welterweight of all time and the most accomplished fighter in MMA history. It is easy to understand why.
Georges St-Pierre successfully defended his Welterweight title 9 times between 2013 and 2017. He lost his title in a unification match, trying to win the title in the Middleweight league as well.
During his title reign, St-Pierre broke many UFC records, including setting a new record for the longest winning streak (which was 9 matches when St-Pierre first broke it), and for most knockout wins in a row.
Pierre later won the Middleweight championship title before taking a hiatus from the sport.
#2 – Demetrious Johnson, 2142 days
Demetrious Johnson holds the record for the longest defense of the Flyweight championship title and the second longest title reign in the history of the UFC. Johnson also holds the record for most fights with over 10 takedowns (3).
Many consider Johnson to not only be the greatest Flyweight fighter of all time but to be one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time – this group includes former fighter and coach, now podcaster, Joe Rogan.
Johnson defended his title for a record 11 straight matches, this is a UFC record, not just a Flyweight record. He was the champion from 2012-2018.
After losing his championship title, he was traded by the UFC to the ONE Fighting tournament. He still fights in the Flyweight division for ONE.
#1 – Anderson Silva, 2457 days
Taking the number one spot on this list is Anderson Silva who’s Middleweight title reign lasted for 2457 days – a UFC record. Silva is a Brazilian fighter who specializes in BJJ and Muay Thai. His nickname is Spider because of his love for comics and Spiderman growing up.
Silva fought in the UFC between 2006 and 2020 but has now retired from MMA to focus on his boxing career.
Silva reigned from 2006-2013, during this time he defended his title 10 times and won another 6 matches that weren’t title defenses. Despite setting this record 10 years ago, no one has come close to beating what Silva did.
Silva’s total UFC record was 34-0-11. He has fought in more UFC fights than most people in the ring at the moment.
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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