In 2001, Wanderlei Silva became the first ever PRIDE Middleweight Champion with a win over Kazushi Sakuraba. Silva then proceeded to defend his title four times before relinquishing it to Dan Henderson more than five years later.
Silva was able to finish his first three challengers, including a knockout of Quinton Jackson. In those three title defenses, Silva showed why he had become known as "The Axe Murderer" by completely demolishing his opponents with his aggressive style.
Silva's fourth title defense, which came against Ricardo Arona, was not nearly as dominant as his previous three, but his split-decision victory allowed him to avenge a loss to Arona from their previous fight.
Despite Silva's relatively long reign as champion, he lost three fights between earning the belt and losing it to Henderson by knockout.
Because his run as champion was not unblemished, Silva does rank slightly below some of the other champions, with four consecutive title defenses in terms of dominance.