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List of All UFC Lightweight Champions & Championship History

ufc-lightweight-champions-Championship

UFC Lightweight Championship is the premier title for the lightweight division which ranges from 145 to 155 pounds or 65.8 to 70.3 kg. We will cover the complete list of UFC Lightweight Champions, current Lightweight Champions, and title history in this article.

UFC Lightweight Championship History

Prior to 4 May 2001, the Lightweight division was called the Bantamweight division. From May 2001, UFC realigned the division classes with the norms from New Jersey State Athletic Commission and renamed Bantamweight to Lightweight.

Jans Pulver was the first UFC Lightweight Champion(known as Bantamweight) at UFC 30 on 23 February 2001 after beating Caol Uno. Pulver remained the Lightweight champion until 23 March 2002 when he was stripped off the title due to leaving UFC. UFC held a four-man tournament to crown a new champion. The final match of the tournament between BJ Penn and Caol Uno ended in a draw. After this UFC put the division and the title on hold.

The next Lightweight Champion was crowned in 2006 when Sean Sherk defeated Kenny Florian for the title at UFC 64 on 14 October 2006. Sherk was stripped off the title in December 2007 after he was tested positive for anabolic steroids. BJ Penn became the next champion on 19 January 2008.

The title continued to be contested until Conor McGregor went on a break in 2017. Tony Ferguson became the interim champion at UFC 216 due to McGregor’s inactivity. Both McGregor and Ferguson were stripped off the title in 2018. Khabib Nurmagomedov became the new Lightweight Champion on 7 April 2018 at UFC 223.

Amid contract negotiations with Khabib, UFC held Dustin Poirier vs Max Halloway’s fight for the interim title at UFC 236 which was won Poirier. Khabib defeated Poirier in the undisputed Lightweight title fight at UFC 242. Tony Ferguson was supposed to challenge Khabib at UFC 249 but Khabib was unable to travel from Russia due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Ferguson faced Justin Gaethje in another interim title fight on 9 May 2020.

Gaethje won that bout to become the interim Lightweight Champion and later faced Khabib at UFC 254 in October 2020. Khabib was able to retain the title. However, he announced his retirement from MMA and UFC vacated the title on 9 March 2021. Khabib is the longest-reigning UFC Lightweight Champion with a title reign of 1077 days. Charles Oliveira won the vacant title at UFC 262.

Current UFC Lightweight Champion

Charles Oliveira is the current UFC Lightweight Championship. He defeated Michael Chandler at UFC 262 to win the vacant title. Oliveira is the 11th UFC Lightweight Champion.

List of UFC Lightweight Champions

11. Charles Oliveira

Charles Oliveira UFC Lighweight Champion
  • Title Won Date: May 15, 2021
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day: 26+
  • Event: UFC 262
  • Notes: Charles Oliveira defeated Michael Chandler to win the vacant Lightweight Championship at UFC 262.

Interim:Justin Gaethje

Justin Gaethje UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: May 09, 2020
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day:
  • Event: UFC 249
  • Notes: Gaethje defeated Tony Ferguson for the interim title while Khabib was stuck in Russia due to COVID-19 related travel restrictions. Khabib won the title unification fight later.

Interim:Dustin Poirier

Dustin Poirier UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Apr 13, 2019
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day:
  • Event: UFC 236
  • Notes: Poirier won the interim title against Max Holloway. He lost to Khabib in the title unification bout.

10.Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Apr 7, 2018
  • Defenses: 3
  • Reigns Day: 1077 days
  • Event: UFC 223
  • Notes: Khabib won the vacant Lightweight title by beating Al laquinta at UFC 223. His title defenses include Connor McGregor, and title unfication fights against Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. After his win over Gaethje, Khabib announced his retirement and vacated the title.

Interim:Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Oct 7, 2017
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day:
  • Event: UFC 216
  • Notes: Ferguson won the Interim Lightweight title while McGregor took a sabbatical by defeating Kevin Lee. He was stripped of the title after he suffered a ligament tear.

9.Conor McGregor

Conor McGregor UFC Champions

Conor McGregor

  • Title Won Date: Nov 12, 2016
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day: 511 days
  • Event: UFC 205
  • Notes: Conor McGregor defeated Alvarez to win the Lightweight title. However, he was stripped off the title after he took a break from MMA.

8.Eddie Alvarez

Eddie Alvarez UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Jul 7, 2016
  • Defenses:
  • Reigns Day: 128 days
  • Event: UFC Fight Night: dos Anjos vs. Alvarez
  • Notes: Eddie Alvarez won the title from do Anjos. Alvarez is the only UFC Lightweight champion(who is not an interim champion) to lost the title in his first defense. Alvarez also has the shortest UFC Lightweight title reign.

7.Rafael dos Anjos

Rafael Dos Anjos UFC Champions

Rafael dos Anjos

  • Title Won Date: Mar 14, 2015
  • Defenses: 1
  • Reigns Day: 481 days
  • Event: UFC 185
  • Notes: Rafael dos Anjos defeated Pettis to win the Lightweight title and has his only successful defense against Donald Cerrone.

6.Anthony Pettis

Anthony Pettis UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Aug 31, 2013
  • Defenses: 1
  • Reigns Day: 560 days
  • Event: UFC 164
  • Notes: Pettis won the Lightweight title from Henderson and had his only successful defense against Gilbert Melendez.

5.Ben Henderson

Ben Henderson UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Feb 26, 2012
  • Defenses: 3
  • Reigns Day: 552 days
  • Event: UFC 144
  • Notes: Henderson defeated Edgar to win the title and retained the title against Edgar in his first title defense.

4.Frankie Edgar

Frankie Edgar UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Apr 10, 2010
  • Defenses: 3
  • Reigns Day: 687 days
  • Event: UFC 112
  • Notes: Edgar defeated BJ Penn to win the title and retained against him in his first title defense.

3. B.J. Penn

B.J. Penn UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Jan 19, 2008
  • Defenses: 3
  • Reigns Day: 812 days
  • Event: UFC 80
  • Notes: Penn defeated Joe Steveson to win the vacant Lightweight title at UFC 80.

2. Sean Sherk

Sean Sherk UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Oct 14, 2006
  • Defenses: 1
  • Reigns Day: 420 days
  • Event: UFC 64
  • Notes: Shrek was the first champion after the Lightweight title was brought back. Defeated Kenny Florian at UFC 64. He was stripped off the title after testing positive for anabolic steroids in the post-fight drug test.

1. Jens Pulver

Jens Pulver UFC Champions
  • Title Won Date: Feb 23, 2001
  • Defenses: 2
  • Reigns Day: 393 days
  • Event: UFC 30
  • Notes: Pulver defeated Caol Uno to become the first UFC Lightweight Champion(known as Bantamweight title at the time). Stripped from the title on 23 March 2003 due to contract issues.

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