First, a run-down of the particulars:

  • Inception of the championship occured on 10/14/1993, the first match-up between 1-0 fighters that took place within this division.
  • Vacancies after inactivity periods were fulfilled by the next “top contender” match. Absence of such, was not a problem at Heavyweight.

Your current lineal Heavyweight champion is Stipe Miocic

The full history is below. Note, the colored backgrounds indicate a title change.

MMA Heavyweight Lineal Championship History

Date Champion Outcome Challenger Notes
1993-10-14 Ken Shamrock WIN Kazuo Takahashi
1993-11-08 Ken Shamrock WIN Takaku Fuke
1993-11-12 Ken Shamrock WIN Patrick Smith
1993-11-12 Royce Gracie WIN Ken Shamrock
1993-11-12 Royce Gracie WIN Gerard Gordeau
1994-03-11 Royce Gracie WIN Minoki Ichihara
1994-03-11 Royce Gracie WIN Jason DeLucia
1994-03-11 Royce Gracie WIN Remco Pardoel
1994-03-11 Royce Gracie WIN Patrick Smith
1994-09-09 Royce Gracie WIN Kimo Leopoldo
1994-12-16 Royce Gracie WIN Ron van Clief
1994-12-16 Royce Gracie WIN Keith Hackney
1994-12-16 Royce Gracie WIN Dan Severn
1995-04-07 Royce Gracie DRAW Ken Shamrock Gracie went inactive
1996-05-16 Bas Rutten WIN Frank Shamrock Vacant title. Top contenders.
1996-06-25 Bas Rutten WIN Jason DeLucia
1996-09-07 Bas Rutten WIN Masakatsu Funaki
1996-10-08 Bas Rutten WIN Manabu Yamada
1997-03-22 Bas Rutten DRAW Osami Shibuya
1997-04-27 Bas Rutten WIN Kiuma Kunioku
1997-06-30 Bas Rutten WIN Takaku Fuke
1997-09-06 Bas Rutten WIN Osami Shibuya
1997-12-20 Bas Rutten WIN Keiichiro Yamamiya
1998-09-14 Bas Rutten WIN Kengo Watanabe
1999-01-08 Bas Rutten WIN Tsuyoshi Kosaka
1999-05-07 Bas Rutten WIN Kevin Randleman Rutten went inactive
2001-09-24 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Mark Coleman Vacant title. Top contenders.
2001-11-03 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Heath Herring
2002-02-24 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Enson Inoue
2002-08-08 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Sanae Kikuta
2002-08-28 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Bob Sapp
2002-11-24 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Semmy Schilt
2002-12-23 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira WIN Dan Henderson
2003-03-16 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
2003-04-05 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Egidijus Valavicius
2003-06-08 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Kazuyuki Fujita
2003-08-10 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Gary Goodridge
2003-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Yugi Nagata
2004-04-25 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Mark Coleman
2004-06-20 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Kevin Randleman
2004-08-15 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Naoya Ogawa
2004-08-15 Fedor Emelianenko NC Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
2004-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
2005-04-03 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Tsuyoshi Kosaka
2005-08-28 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Mirko Filipovic
2005-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Zuluzinho
2006-10-21 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Mark Coleman
2006-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Mark Hunt
2007-04-14 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Matt Lindland
2007-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Hong Man Choi
2008-07-19 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Tim Sylvia
2009-01-24 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Andrei Arlovski
2009-11-07 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Brett Rogers 18th defense
2010-06-26 Fabricio Werdum WIN Fedor Emelianenko
2011-06-18 Alistair Overeem WIN Fabricio Werdum
2011-12-30 Alistair Overeem WIN Brock Lesnar
2013-02-02 Antonio Silva WIN Alistair Overeem
2013-05-25 Cain Velasquez WIN Antonio Silva
2013-10-19 Cain Velasquez WIN Junior dos Santos
2015-06-13 Fabricio Werdum WIN Cain Velasquez
2016-05-14 Stipe Miocic WIN Fabricio Werdum
2016-09-10 Stipe Miocic WIN Alistair Overeem
2017-05-14 Stipe Miocic WIN Junior dos Santos
2018-01-20 Stipe Miocic WIN Francis Ngannou



  1. Fedor July 17, 2012 at 2:20 am Reply

    where is?:
    2003-12-31 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Yuji Nagata
    2004-04-25 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Mark Coleman
    2004-06-20 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Kevin Randleman
    2004-08-15 Fedor Emelianenko WIN Naoya Ogawa

  2. jcs June 13, 2012 at 4:44 pm Reply

    How many years prior was that?

  3. Mikael June 13, 2012 at 3:54 pm Reply

    Didnt Mark Coleman lose to Maurice Smith before fighting Nogueira??
    And during the time period Coleman suffered 4 losses in a roll before fighting Big Nog.
    Lineal champions my ass.

  4. jcs June 1, 2012 at 10:23 am Reply

    I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree

  5. Ryan June 1, 2012 at 8:25 am Reply

    I agree that Nog/Coleman was a high level fight. My point is that there were other high level fights in that two year span that are being ignored. Randleman was ranked #5 as of 10/1/00, and Couture #3 as of 1/1/01. Their fight was 11/17/00 and was for a recognized heavyweight title. I’d call that a pretty relevent fight worthy of filling a lineal champ gap. Don’t get me wrong, I love your site. I’m just calling it like I see it on this one.

  6. jcs May 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm Reply

    Easy. Our system had both Nog and Coleman in the Top 3 — a qualifying fight. Couture and Randleman weren’t even in the Top 3. There was no preferred path…. We strictly used the legit path.

  7. Ryan May 2, 2012 at 12:59 pm Reply

    Enjoyed reading. I’m wondering why you picked Nog vs Coleman to follow Bas Rutten’s reign. Granted it is a legit title-contender fight, but Couture vs Randleman was also legit and came first (and there was an actual title on the line). I agree some things are subjective, but it sort of looks like legit fights were overlooked to obtain the prefered path (Fedor). Shouldn’t need to go over two years without a lineal champ.

  8. Jonathan September 27, 2011 at 3:56 pm Reply

    Nice! You had done graphs comparing age with win loss ratio a few months back. Any chance you could put those up in a section that people can view?

  9. jcs September 26, 2011 at 4:17 pm Reply

    It is arguable as to whether these divsional lineages should have been started as early as possible, or in conjunction with a mega fight. In this case though, I think you have to start it with either Royce or Ken.

  10. Josh September 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm Reply

    Interesting. Most linear histories I see start off the heavyweight title after Mark Coleman beats Dan Severn.

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