Jon Jones and the 10 Greatest Champions in UFC History

G DAnalyst IIIDecember 20, 2011

Jon Jones and the 10 Greatest Champions in UFC History

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    In any global sport, there's a fine line between what's known as good and what's known as great.

    There are many good athletes in the world of sports, but there are few who receive the recognition of "great."

    In mixed martial arts, fighters are classified by what they achieve over the course of their career.

    More times than not, a fighter recognized as great will have a title to show for their accomplishments.

    Specifically in the UFC, there have been some of the greatest champions who've stepped away from the sport while others remain alive and well.

    So, the following slides display the 10 greatest champions in UFC history.

10. Jon Jones

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    At just 24 years of age, Jon "Bones" Jones is the "now" version of the UFC as he's come to establish himself as the most dominant 205-pound fighter in the UFC today.

    Jones captured his light heavyweight title in a win over Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at UFC 128.

    Since then, Jones has successfully defended his title against the likes of former champions in Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Lyoto Machida.

    While Jones still has plenty of challengers that await him, he's done enough to earn a spot in the top 10 of all time.

9. Royce Gracie

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    What's a list without the first ever champion in UFC history?

    Enter Royce Gracie.

    While things were ran differently during the Gracie days, he remains a top champion in the history of the organization.

    Gracie won the first, second and fourth UFC tournament.

8. Tito Ortiz

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    At one point in his career, Tito Ortiz was considered the most dangerous light heavyweight in the world.

    After being announced the newest 205-pound champion in a win over Wanderlei Silva at UFC 25, Ortiz would go on to break an older record with five consecutive title defenses.

    Ortiz successfully defended his title against top opponents in Evan Tanner, Ken Shamrock and Vladimir Matyushenko.

7. BJ Penn

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    BJ Penn isn't your ordinary champion as he's one of two fighters to have ever held a title in more than one weight division.

    "The Prodigy" is a former lightweight and welterweight champion and has defended his 155-pound title against opponents such as Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, and Diego Sanchez.

    Penn was also declared the welterweight champion in a submission victory over Matt Hughes at UFC 46.

6. Frank Shamrock

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    Frank Shamrock was first declared a UFC champion in his victory over Kevin Jackson at UFC Japan in 1997.

    Shamrock would go on to prove his dominance as he had little-to-no competition in his next four bouts as he breezed through his opponents minus a four-round war with Tito Ortiz at UFC 22.

    Despite taking time off after his victory over Ortiz, Shamrock has done more than enough to crack the top 10 of all time.

5. Chuck Liddell

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    Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell isn't only remembered as arguably the greatest knockout artist of all time, but for his dominance as the light heavyweight champion.

    After seeking revenge on Randy Couture at UFC 52, Liddell would roll through his next four fights successfully defending his title each time.

    The powerful striker Liddell would also put an end to his rivalry with Tito Ortiz as he defended his title by a third-round knockout at UFC 66.

4. Matt Hughes

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    Matt Hughes may very well be the greatest welterweight of all time behind current 170-pound champion Georges St-Pierre.

    After winning his first title at UFC 34, Hughes would go on to successfully defend his UFC gold in five consecutive fights.

    After losing his title to BJ Penn, Hughes would recapture his championship and defend it on two more occasions against Frank Trigg and BJ Penn.

3. Randy Couture

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    Randy Couture joins BJ Penn as the only other fighter in UFC history to have ever won two championships in two separate weight classes.

    Couture's run towards a title began not too long after he first entered the sport as he was declared the UFC heavyweight champion in a decision victory over Maurice Smith.

    "The Natural" would later lose the heavyweight title only to win it back for a second time. Couture would later win the 205-pound title in a victory over Tito Ortiz at UFC 44.

    And, as expected, Couture would lose that title only to win another heavyweight title.

2. Georges St-Pierre

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    It's quite possible that two of the greatest champions in UFC history are still fighting to this very day with one of them being Georges St-Pierre.

    While St-Pierre may have hit a roadblock when he lost his welterweight title to Matt Serra, he's bounced back to prove it was simply a fluke.

    To date, St-Pierre has successfully defended his 170-pound title in six straight fights against the likes of Jon Fitch, BJ Penn, Josh Koscheck and Jake Shields.

1. Anderson Silva

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    Not only is Anderson Silva arguably the greatest champion in UFC history, but in any organization in the history of mixed martial arts.

    Silva has yet to fall to the arms of defeat as he's posted a perfect 14-0 record since joining the UFC.

    Of his 14 career wins, Silva successfully defended his middleweight title a UFC-record nine consecutive times.

    Even in the unlikeliest situations, Silva prevails and undoubtedly has established himself as the greatest UFC champion to have ever stepped foot inside the Octagon.

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