UFC: Which Title Is Most Prestigious?

Jeffrey McKinneyContributor IIIOctober 22, 2011

UFC: Which Title Is Most Prestigious?

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    In MMA, making it to the UFC means a fighter is at the top of his game.

    Winning a UFC championship, though, means that fighter is the best in his weight division and possibly the world.

    Originally, the UFC was an open weight tournament. Now, there are seven different championships ranging from bantamweight to heavyweight.

    So, which title is the most important? Here’s the list. You decide.

Bantamweight

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    Weight Division

    126-135 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Dominic Cruz

    Number of Total Champions

    One (Five in WEC)

    Coming in seventh is the UFC’s title for its smallest division, the bantamweight title.

    The bantamweight division is one of the newer divisions for the UFC. Because of that, the title doesn’t have much history in the UFC. 

Featherweight

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    Weight Division

    136-145 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Jose Aldo

    Total Champions

    One (Four in WEC)

    Coming in slightly above the bantamweight title is the featherweight title.

    Like bantamweight, featherweight is one of the newer divisions in the UFC.

    What gives the featherweight title an edge over bantamweight is its champion, Jose Aldo.

    Aldo is arguably the No. 3 best fighter in the world and certainly one of MMA’s most exciting performers. 

Middleweight

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    Weight Division

    171-185 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Anderson Silva

    Total Champions

    Five

    Current MMA king Anderson Silva has not only held his UFC title longer than any UFC champion, he has defended it more times than any UFC champion.

    Silva has made it look easy for the most part, which is why some people believe his competition at middleweight is weak.

    If we look at other champions to hold the same title, their reigns were not very impressive.

Lightweight

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    Weight Division

    146-155 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Frankie Edgar

    Total Champions

    Four

    The UFC lightweight championship has had an odd history.

    The first UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver, was stripped of the title after he left UFC over a contract dispute.

    B.J. Penn and Caol Uno fought a year later to determine a new champion but fought to a draw.

    Sean Sherk became the UFC lightweight champion at UFC 64, only to be stripped of the title after testing positive for anabolic steroids.

    B.J. Penn finally brought some consistency to the lightweight division when he won the title at UFC 80. He held it until losing to Frankie Edgar at UFC 112.

    Edgar defeated Gray Maynard at UFC 136 and will now have a long list of contenders to deal with, as the lightweight division is one of the most stacked in MMA today. 

Welterweight

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    Weight Division

    156-170 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Georges St-Pierre

    Number of Total Reigns

    Eight (One interim)

    The welterweight championship comes in at third.

    Like middleweight champion Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre has nearly cleaned out his division, in the process making it look weak.

    What sets the two championships apart, though, are the champions that came before the current ones.

    Before St-Pierre, Matt Hughes was one of the most dominating fighters in the UFC.

    Hughes had two welterweight championship reigns and a total of seven title defenses.

    Pat Miletich, the very first welterweight champion, was also dominant with four title defenses.

    Other memorable welterweight title moments include B.J. Penn defeating Matt Hughes for the title at UFC 46, plus Matt Serra’s upset of Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69.

Heavyweight

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    Weight Division

    206-265 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Cain Velasquez

    Number of Total Reigns

    15 (Four interim champions)

    The UFC heavyweight title has been around since 1997, when Marc Coleman defeated Dan Severn at UFC 12. 

    Fighters to hold the title include Randy Couture, Bas Rutten, Josh Barnett, Antonio Rodrigo Noguira and Brock Lesnar

    Although it has changed hands more than any other UFC championship, the heavyweight title was the first of the current championships. 

    Thanks to the names who have had it and their memorable matches, the UFC heavyweight title takes the No. 2 spot. 

    Cain Velasquez will defend the title against Junior dos Santos  on Nov. 15 when the UFC makes its network TV debut on Fox. 

Light Heavyweight

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    Weight Division

    186-205 lbs.

    Current Champion

    Jon Jones

    Number of Total Reigns

    12 (One interim)

    There has not been a bigger title in the UFC than the light heavyweight championship.

    Starting with Frank Shamrock, the light heavyweight title has had some of the biggest names in MMA history hold the belt. 

    Shamrock, Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell have all had lengthy title reigns. Randy Couture held the title twice.

    Quinton "Rampage" Jackson made history when he unified the Pride middleweight and UFC light heavyweight title after defeating Dan Henderson at UFC 75. 

    Other title-holders include middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, TUF winners Forrest Griffin and Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. 

    The UFC light heavyweight title has featured many top fighters in MMA in their primes often taking on each other, leaving us with memorable championship fights and moments. 

    Current champ Jon Jones has been built as the future of the sport.

    He will defend the title for the second time against Lyoto Machida at UFC 140