First, a run-down of the particulars:

  • Due to potential metric conversion issues and weight class changes, a limit of 137 pounds is observed for this list.
  • Inception of the championship occured on 7/29/1989, the fifth known professional fight taking place at or below 137 pounds, which included the first two winners of Bantamweight bouts in a previous event (the other two bouts were draws).
  • Periodic inactivity was a sporadic issue in the Bantamweight division. In early history, ranked fights were so sporadic, that the winners of these “best available” matches were used to fill gaps. Idea is to not allow title vacancy for more than 2 years. In later Bantamweight history, only fights between established 1/2, 1/3 or 2/3 were used.

Your current lineal Bantamweight champion is Aljamain Sterling.

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

MMA Bantamweight Lineal Championship History


Date Champion Outcome Challenger Notes
1989-10-19 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Kenichi Tanaka
1990-07-07 Kenichi Tanaka W Kazuhiro Sakamoto
1990-09-08 Kenichi Tanaka W Kazuhiro Sakamoto
1991-03-29 Hiroyuki Kanno W Kenichi Tanaka
1991-08-25 Hiroyuki Kanno W Makoto Mizoguchi
1991-10-17 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Hiroyuki Kanno Sakamoto’s 2nd reign.
1992-03-27 Noboru Asahi W Kazuhiro Sakamoto
1992-07-23 Noboru Asahi D Kenichi Tanaka
1992-09-25 Noboru Asahi W Yiroyuki Kanno
1993-02-26 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Suguru Shigeno Asahi vacates, moves to Feather.  Sakamoto’s 3rd reign.
1993-04-26 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Mamoru Okochi
1995-01-21 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Imre Hagendoom
1995-05-12 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Rene Stigter
1995-09-26 Kazuhiro Sakamoto W Leonid Zaslavsky
1999-09-05 Mamoru Yamaguchi W Jin Akimoto Vacant title. Top contenders match.
1999-11-04 Mamoru Yamaguchi W Ryan Diaz
1999-12-07 Mamoru Yamaguchi W Baret Yoshida
2000-03-17 Mamoru Yamaguchi D Masaru Gokita
2000-08-27 Mamoru Yamaguchi W Yoshinobu Ota
2000-12-17 Mamoru Yamaguchi W Jin Akimoto
2001-11-25 Masahiro Oishi W Mamoru Yamaguchi
2002-09-16 Masahiro Oishi D Hisao Ikeda
2003-08-10 Ryota Matsune W Masahiro Oishi
2004-06-27 Ryota Matsune W Daniel Lima
2004-11-12 Ryota Matsune W Kentaro Imaizumi Matsune goes on prolonged inactivity. No legitimate successors.
2006-07-21 Ryota Matsune D Takeya Mizugaki Returns with quality defense, but goes inactive again.
2008-02-13 Miguel Torres W Chase Beebe Vacant title. “Top Contender” match-up.
2008-06-01 Miguel Torres W Yoshiro Maeda
2008-12-03 Miguel Torres W Manny Tapia
2009-04-05 Miguel Torres W Takeya Mizugaki
2009-08-09 Brian Bowles W Miguel Torres
2010-03-06 Dominick Cruz W Brian Bowles
2010-08-18 Dominick Cruz W Joseph Benavidez
2010-12-16 Dominick Cruz W Scott Jorgensen
2011-07-02 Dominick Cruz W Urijah Faber
2011-10-01 Dominick Cruz W Demetrious Johnson Dominic Cruz stripped of UFC title for inactivity.
2014-02-01 Renan Barao W Urijah Faber  Vacant title.
2014-05-24 TJ Dillashaw W Renan Barao
2014-08-30 TJ Dillashaw W Joe Soto
2015-07-25 TJ Dillashaw W Renan Barao
2016-01-18 Dominick Cruz W TJ Dillashaw
2016-06-04 Dominick Cruz W Urijah Faber
2016-12-30 Cody Garbrandt W Dominick Cruz
2017-11-04 TJ Dillashaw W Cody Garbrandt Dillashaw’s second reign
2018-08-04 TJ Dillashaw W Cody Garbrandt Dillashaw vacates due to long suspension.
2019-06-08 Henry Cejudo W Marlon Moraes Top contender match
2020-05-09 Henry Cejudo W Dominick Cruz Cejudo retires
2021-03-06 Aljamain Sterling W Petr Yan Top contender match
2022-04-09 Aljamain Sterling W Petr Yan