Tito Ortiz: The 29 UFC Title Reigns Since the End of His Relevancy
Once upon a time, Tito Ortiz was regarded as the best light heavyweight mixed martial artist on the planet.
After defeating Wanderlei Silva or the vacant title at UFC 25, Ortiz went on to hold the belt for 1,260 days, and defended "his" belt five times.
Then at UFC 44, Ortiz lost the title after getting spanked (literally) by Randy Couture.
The end. Well, it was the end Ortiz being a relevant force in the UFC.
Following a knockout loss against Chuck Liddell at UFC 47, Ortiz was able to win five straight fights against Patrick Cote, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin, and Ken Shamrock twice.
Defeating Old Man Shamrock twice is enough to earn yourself another title shot, I suppose.
At UFC 66, Ortiz was once again knocked out by Chuck Liddell in his last attempt to win "his" title back. That loss in 2006 was the beginning of his winless streak that is still intact today.
Since Ortiz' reign of dominance ended in 2003, there have been 30 title runs in the UFC.
To pour a little salt in his recent wounds, here are all the fighters who have succeeded in doing what Ortiz has been unable to do in nearly eight years—wear UFC gold.
Bantamweight: Dominick Cruz
At WEC 53, Cruz successfully defended his WEC bantamweight title against Scott Jorgensen. That victory earned him the honor of being crowned the first UFC bantamweight champion.
Cruz is currently scheduled to make the first defense of his title against Urijah Faber at UFC 132.
Featherweight: Jose Aldo
Shortly after the UFC announced they would be absorbing the WEC into their roster, reigning champion Jose Aldo was announced as the first UFC featherweight champion.
So far, Aldo has defended his title once, earning a decision victory over Mark Hominick at UFC 129.
Lightweight: Sean Sherk
At UFC 69, Sherk defeated Kenny Florian to become the first UFC lightweight champion since Jens Pulver was stripped of the title in 2002.
He would go on to defend the title once, when he defeated Hermes Franca at UFC 73.
LIghtweight: B.J. Penn
B.J. Penn started his run as the longest reigning UFC lightweight champion when he defeated Joe Stevenson at UFC 80 for the vacant title.
Penn would successfully defend the title three times by defeating Sean Sherk at UFC 84, Kenny Florian at UFC 101, and Diego Sanchez at UFC 107.
Lightweight: Frankie Edgar
The reigning UFC lightweight champion won the title when he earned a disputed decision victory over B.J. Penn at UFC 112.
At UFC 118, Edgar proved to the MMA world that his first victory over Penn was no fluke as he proceeded to school Penn for five rounds to make the first successful defense of the title.
Then at UFC 125, Edgar survived one of the most one-sided rounds in MMA history to earn a draw against Gray Maynard.
Edgar and Maynard were set to square off for a third time at UFC 130, but both fighters were forced to withdraw because of injury. A new date for the match has yet to be set.
Welterweight: B.J. Penn
At UFC 46, B.J. Penn moved up from the lightweight division to challenge Matt Hughes for the welterweight title.
Despite being a huge underdog, Penn was able to submit Hughes in the first round to win his first UFC title.
His reign would be short-lived, however, as he was stripped of the belt less than three months later when Penn left the UFC to fight for K-1.
Welterweight: Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes began his second run as welterweight champion after he submitted Georges St-Pierre at UFC 50 with just one second left in the first round.
Hughes would go on to successfully defend the title against Frank Trigg at UFC 52, and B.J. Penn at UFC 63.
Welterweight: Georges St-Pierre
Georges St-Pierre was able to not only avenge his lone career loss at UFC 65, but he also got his first taste of UFC gold when he defeated Matt Hughes via second-round TKO.
St-Pierre's first run as champion was the shortest in the welterweight division's history.
Welterweight: Matt Serra
After winning season four of the Ultimate Fighter, Matt Serra was awarded a shot at Georges St-Pierre. Coming into the fight, not many people without the last name "Serra" were giving Matt any sort of chance of defeating GSP.
But to the shock of many, Serra caught St-Pierre early in the fight, and was able to score a TKO victory to win the title.
Welterweight: Georges St-Pierre
While Matt Serra was sidelined due to injury, St-Pierre defeated Matt Hughes at UFC 79 for the interim title, and a chance to fight Serra to reclaim the title he had lost to him a year earlier.
At UFC 83, St-Pierre beat the living snot out of Serra for nearly two rounds before the referee stepped in to stop the fight.
He has since gone on to defend the title six times by defeating Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, and Jake Shields.
His current reign as welterweight champion has lasted 1,499 days and counting.
St-Pierre is scheduled to defend his title at UFC 137 against current Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz.
Middleweight: Evan Tanner
Evan Tanner was put up against David Terrell at UFC 51 to determine who would be the first middleweight champion since the belt was stripped from Murilo Bustamante three years earlier.
Tanner laid a one sided beating on Terrell for nearly five minutes before the referee finally called a stop to the action.
Middleweight: Rich Franklin
Four months after winning the belt, Evan Tanner made his first title defense against Rich Franklin at UFC 53.
Franklin put a beatdown on Tanner for almost four rounds before the doctor stopped the fight due to cuts.
Franklin would go on to successfully defend the title twice against Nate Quarry and David Loiseau.
Middleweight: Anderson Silva
After disposing of Chris Leben in less than one minute in his Octagon debut, Silva was fast-tracked to a title shot against Rich Franklin at UFC 64.
It took Silva less than three minutes to destroy Franklin's nose en route to a knockout victory.
Since that fight, Silva has taken out everyone the UFC has put in front of him. He has defended his title against Nate Marquardt at UFC 73, Rich Franklin at UFC 77, Dan Henderson at UFC 82, Patrick Cote at UFC 90, Thales Leites at UFC 97, Demian Maia at UFC 112, Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, and Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.
Silva is scheduled to defend his title at UFC 134 against Yushin Okami.
Light Heavyweight: Randy Couture
Couture became the first fighter in UFC history to win titles in two different weight classes when he earned a unanimous decision victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 44.
Unfortunately for Couture, his first run with the title didn't last very long.
Light Heavyweight: Vitor Belfort
The first person to challenge Randy Couture for his title was Vitor Belfort at UFC 46.
The bout lasted less than a minute. Belfort threw a punch that grazed Couture's eyelid, and opened a nasty cut. The doctors determined that Couture would not be able to continue, and Belfort won the title via TKO.
Light Heavyweight: Randy Couture
Eight months after winning the title, Vitor Belfort made his first defense of the belt against Randy Couture at UFC 49.
This time around, Couture put a beating on Belfort for three rounds, leaving him a bloody mess, and causing the doctors to stop the fight before the beginning of the fourth round.
Light Heavyweight: Chuck Liddell
After coaching against each other on the first season of the Ultimate Fighter, Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell faced off in one of the most anticipated matches in the promotions history at UFC 52.
It took Chuck Liddell just two minutes to stop the champion and finally get the title he had wanted for so long.
Liddell went on to defend the title four times against Jeremy Horn at UFC 54, Randy Couture at UFC 57, Renato Sobral at UFC 62, and Tito Ortiz at UFC 66.
Light Heavyweight: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
At UFC 71, Chuck Liddell was given the opportunity to avenge the loss he suffered to Rampage Jackson in Pride.
Instead of working over Liddell's body and causing his corner to throw in the towel, Rampage knocked him out cold in less than two minutes in their second meeting, and won his first major title in the process.
Rampage would go on to defend the belt against Dan Henderson at UFC 75.
Light Heavyweight: Forrest Griffin
After a shaky first round, Forrest went on to control the next four, and walked out of the Octagon that night with the light heavyweight strap
Light Heavyweight: Rashad Evans
In a meeting of Ultimate Fighter alums, Rashad Evans took on champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 92.
Midway through the third round, Evans dropped Griffin and started teeing off on his head. Although it appeared that Griffin was smiling throughout the barrage of punches, he later admitted that he had "no idea what the hell was going on."
Light Heavyweight: Lyoto Machida
Five months after defeating Forrest Griffin for the title, Rashad Evans had the pleasure of defending the title against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98.
With just a minute left in the second round, Machida nailed Evans and made him crumple into the fence.
Not only did Evans lose his title, but he also tasted defeat for the first time of his career.
Lyoto Machida went on to defend his title against Mauricio Rua at UFC 104.
Light Heavyweight: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua
After Machida's highly disputed decision victory over Shogun at UFC 104, an immediate rematch was ordered. The two once again squared off at UFC 113.
This time around, Shogun did not want to leave the fight in the hands of the judges.
Shogun came out fast, and blew Machida out of the water in the first round. The knockout was so vicious that Machida's father questioned if his son should continue fighting following the loss.
Light Heavyweight: Jon Jones
After nearly a year-long layoff due to injury, Shogun returned to defend his title at UFC 128. Rashad Evans, Shogun's original opponent, had to pull out of the fight due to injury.
In his place, Jon Jones took the fight on a one-month turn-around.
The hype-train surrounding Jones entering this fight turned out to be well-deserved.
Jones out-classed Rua for more than two rounds before Jones scored the TKO victory in the third round.
It is rumored that Jones will be making the first defense of his title against Rampage Jackson at UFC 135.
Heavyweight: Frank Mir
At UFC 48, Frank Mir took on Tim Sylvia for the vacant heavyweight title that was stripped from Sylvia when he tested positive for steroids a year and a half earlier.
Less than a minute into the fight, Mir locked in an armbar that snapped Sylvia's forearm in half, and claimed the vacant title.
Heavyweight: Andrei Arlovski
After Frank Mir was deemed unable to compete due to injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident, Tim Syliva squared off against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 51 to determine the interim champion.
Just 47 seconds into the match, Arlovski caught Sylvia in a Achilles lock, and that was that.
After successfully defending the interim title against Justin Eilers at UFC 53, Mir vacated the title, and Arlovski was crowned the undisputed champion.
He then went on to defend the title against Paul Buentello at UFC 55.
Heavyweight: Tim Sylvia
At UFC 59, Tim Sylvia was given the chance to regain the title he had once held when he took on reigning champion Andrei Arlovski.
In their first meeting, Arlovski locked in a fight-ending submission in less than a minute.
This time around, Sylvia was able to score a TKO victory in less than three minutes.
Sylvia would successfully defend the title against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 61, and Jeff Monson at UFC 65.
Heavyweight: Randy Couture
Randy Couture came out of retirement at UFC 68 to take on Tim Sylvia in an attempt to become the first five-time champion in UFC history.
Couture looked as if he had found the fountain of youth and took Sylvia to school for a full five rounds.
After claiming rights to the heavyweight title for a third time, Couture would defend it against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74.
Heavyweight: Brock Lesnar
Randy Couture made his return to the Octagon after a 15-month hiatus to defend his title against Brock Lesnar at UFC 91.
While Randy was able to hold his own early in the fight, it was apparent that the 60-plus pound weight advantage Lesnar had was going to be too much for the 45-year-old Couture to handle.
Three minutes into the second round, Lesnar caught Couture behind the ear with a punch that dropped him, and hammerfists followed until the referee stopped the contest.
Lesnar would go on to defend the championship against Frank Mir at UFC 100, and Shane Carwin at UFC 116.
Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez
Cain Velasquez was looking to make history at UFC 121. If he could defeat Brock Lesnar, he would become the first Mexican heavyweight champion in combat sports history.
Not only did he do it, but he made Brock look silly in the process.
For the entire 4:12 the fight lasted, Cain beat the crap out of Brock, and even took him down for good measure.
Cain will take on the winner of the Junior dos Santos vs Shane Carwin bout at UFC 131 at an event TBA.