UFC 129: Georges St. Pierre and the 10 Most Dominant Title Runs in MMA History

Sean SmithAnalyst IApril 27, 2011

UFC 129: Georges St. Pierre and the 10 Most Dominant Title Runs in MMA History

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    Fighting for his sixth consecutive title defense against Jake Shields at UFC 129, Georges St-Pierre is undoubtedly one of the most dominant champions in MMA history.

    With a win over Shields, St-Pierre would break his tie with Matt Hughes for the most consecutive defenses of the UFC Welterweight Championship.

    So, where does St-Pierre stand against some of the other great MMA champions the sport has ever seen?

    Based on number of consecutive title defenses, difficulty of competition and dominance over their opponents, here are the 10 most dominant champions in MMA history.

10. Wanderlei Silva

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    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.

9. B.J. Penn

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    With only three consecutive title defenses during his most recent reign as UFC Lightweight Champion, there is an argument against having B.J. Penn on this list, but the dominance he displayed in his four title fights prior to losing to Frankie Edgar makes Penn more than deserving of being called one of the most dominant champions in MMA history.

    For more than two years, Penn reigned over what has now become the most competitive division in the UFC since he moved to welterweight. 

    Penn earned the belt in a one-sided bout that ended in a submission win over Joe Stevenson at UFC 80. Then, Penn proceeded to finish his next three challengers in Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian and Diego Sanchez.

    During his title run, Penn even attempted to become the first fighter ever to hold two UFC belts, but he was defeated by Georges St-Pierre in a super-fight.

8. Frank Shamrock

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    When a fighter vacates a title due to lack of competition, that is a pretty good sign of how dominant they were.

    That is exactly what Frank Shamrock did after defending the UFC Middleweight Championship for a fourth consecutive time with a win over Tito Ortiz.

    Had Shamrock continued defending his title, he may have found himself much farther up this list, but four defenses against the challengers he faced does not warrant a position among the most dominant of the dominant.

    Still, Shamrock's run as champion was extremely impressive. Shamrock finished all four of the challengers he faced, which included Ortiz and Jeremy Horn.

7. Fedor Emelianenko

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    In terms of sheer dominance over competition, Fedor Emelianenko might top this list. However, Emelianenko was not given the opportunity to defend his belt as often as UFC fighters because of the structure of PRIDE and the way things were run in the organization.

    Emelianenko first became PRIDE Heavyweight Champion with a win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in March 2003. Nine fights later, Emelianenko defended his belt with another win over Nogueira.

    Before PRIDE's collapse, Emelianenko earned two more title defenses against Mirko Filipovic and Mark Hunt.

    Emelianenko never lost during his title run, and his undefeated streak extended long prior to attaining the belt and long after leaving PRIDE.

6. Tito Ortiz

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    After Frank Shamrock vacated the UFC Middleweight Championship, Tito Ortiz pounced on his second opportunity at the belt. Just one fight after losing to Shamrock, Ortiz captured the title with a unanimous decision victory over Wanderlei Silva.

    From there, Ortiz defended the 205-pound title a record five consecutive times and finished four challengers. More than three years after his win against Silva, Ortiz was finally dethroned by Randy Couture.

    Ortiz's record for consecutive title defenses in the light heavyweight division remains unbroken, but his defenses against Ken Shamrock, Vladimir Matyushenko, Elvis Sinosic, Evan Tanner and Yuki Kondo don't quite measure up to those of some of the champions still to come on this list.

5. Chuck Liddell

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    Chuck Liddell's dominant title run began by avenging a loss against Randy Couture at UFC 52.

    After that, Liddell defended the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship four straight times against extremely stiff competition.

    Liddell defended his title by finishing Jeremy Horn, Randy Couture, Renato Sobral and Tito Ortiz.

    After the win over Ortiz, Liddell was defeated by Quinton Jackson in a knockout that quickly brought about Liddell's decline and eventual retirement.

4. Urijah Faber

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    Urijah Faber's title run began before he even joined the WEC, when he had an impressive reign as King of the Cage Bantamweight Champion.

    Faber defended the bantamweight belt five times, including wins over Charles Bennett, Charlie Valencia and Bibiano Fernandes, before vacating the title and dedicating himself to the WEC.

    Faber then proceeded to match his impressive run at bantamweight with five defenses of the WEC Featherweight Championship. Faber submitted every challenger he faced in the WEC except Jens Pulver and his eventual successor, Jose Aldo.

    Since losing his featherweight belt, Faber has decided to return to bantamweight, where he hopes to become champion once again by repeating a victory that he recorded over Dominick Cruz while he was WEC Featherweight Champion.

3. Matt Hughes

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    Matt Hughes originally earned the UFC Welterweight Champion with a knockout win over Carlos Newton. What resulted was one of the greatest championship runs in MMA history.

    Hughes defended the belt in his next five fights against Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk and Frank Trigg. Hughes was able to finish all of those opponent except Sherk.

    Hughes eventually lost the belt to B.J. Penn, but reclaimed it two fights later with a win over Georges St-Pierre. Hughes then defended the belt two more times before finally passing the torch to St-Pierre.

2. Georges St-Pierre

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    Georges St-Pierre has arguably surpassed Matt Hughes' accomplishments and is setting his sights on becoming an even greater fighter than the next fighter on this list.

    First, St-Pierre will need to earn his sixth consecutive title defense by defeating Jake Shields at UFC 129.

    Since regaining the UFC Welterweight Championship after his epic upset loss to Matt Serra, St-Pierre has completely dominated some of the best fighters in the world.

    While he hasn't been able to finish challengers in Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck, St-Pierre completely negated the offense of those opponents.

1. Anderson Silva

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    With eight consecutive title defenses, Anderson Silva is in the midst of the most dominant title run in the history of the sport.

    Unlike Georges St-Pierre, Silva has finished all but two of his opponents as champion. Even in the fights he was unable to finish, it was clear that Silva was the far superior fighter.

    During his title run, Silva has also dabbled at light heavyweight and completely out-classed a former champion in Forrest Griffin.

    It is hard to quantify what Silva has accomplished in the UFC, but one thing is clear. Over the last four years, Silva has become the most dominant champion ever.

     

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    Sean Smith is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter @BR_Sean_Smith.