First, a run-down of the particulars:

  • Due to potential metric conversion issues and weight class changes, a limit of 161 pounds is observed for this list.
  • Inception of the championship occurred on 1/13/1990, the first fight between two top fighters that resulted in a clear #1.
  • Sporadic periods of inactivity were observed throughout the first half of the lineage. Clear “top contender” matches took place to determine the next champion.

Your current lineal Lightweight champion is Charles Oliveira

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

MMA Lightweight Lineal Championship History

Date Champion Outcome Challenger Notes
1990-01-13 Yuichi Watanabe WIN Kazuhiro Sakamoto
1990-05-12 Yuji Ito WIN Yuichi Watanabe
1992-03-27 Tomohiro Tanaka WIN Yuji Ito
1992-07-23 Naoki Sakurada WIN Tomohiro Tanaka Sakurada leaves division.
1994-05-06 Yuki Nakai WIN Kyuhei Ueno Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
1994-11-07 Yuki Nakai WIN Kazuhiro Kusayanagi
1995-01-21 Yuki Nakai WIN Hiroaki Matsutani Nakai leaves division.
1995-07-05 Wander Braga WIN Luiz Fraga Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
1995-09-12 Wander Braga WIN Leandro Heck Gembo
1996-11-01 Wander Braga WIN Johnny Eduardo
1996-11-01 Wander Braga WIN Ailton dos Santos
1998-06-12 Wander Braga WIN Euclide Ourico
1998-06-12 Wander Braga WIN Marco Antonio
1998-06-12 Wander Braga WIN Milton de Castro Braga goes inactive.
2002-01-11 Jens Pulver WIN B.J. Penn Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
2002-06-29 Jens Pulver WIN Robert Emerson
2003-01-25 Duane Ludwig WIN Jens Pulver
2003-04-25 Duane Ludwig WIN Genki Sudo Ludwig leaves Lightweight.
2005-09-25 Takanori Gomi WIN Tatsuya Kawajiri Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
2005-12-31 Takanori Gomi WIN Hayato Sakurai
2006-04-02 Marcus Aurelio WIN Takanori Gomi
2006-06-04 Mitsuhiro Ishida WIN Marcus Aurelio
2006-08-26 Mitsuhiro Ishida WIN Cristiano Marcello
2006-11-05 Mitsuhiro Ishida WIN David Bielkheden
2006-12-31 Takanori Gomi WIN Mitsuhiro Ishida Gomi’s 2nd reign.
2007-02-24 Takanori Gomi NC Nick Diaz
2008-03-05 Takanori Gomi WIN Duane Ludwig
2008-08-24 Takanori Gomi WIN Seung Hwan Bang
2008-11-01 Sergey Golyaev WIN Takanori Gomi
2009-01-04 Eiji Mitsuoka WIN Sergey Golyaev
2009-08-02 Eiji Mitsuoka WIN Clay French
2009-11-07 Kazunori Yokota WIN Eiji Mitsuoka
2009-12-31 Tatsuya Kawajiri WIN Kazunori Yokota
2010-07-10 Shinya Aoki WIN Tatsuya Kawajiri
2010-09-25 Shinya Aoki WIN Marcus Aurelio
2010-10-24 Shinya Aoki WIN Yokthai Sithoar
2011-04-09 Shinya Aoki WIN Lyle Beerbohm
2011-05-29 Shinya Aoki WIN Rich Clementi
2011-09-24 Shinya Aoki WIN Rob McCullough
2011-12-31 Shinya Aoki WIN Satoru Kitaoka
2012-04-21 Eddie Alvarez WIN Shinya Aoki
2012-10-12 Eddie Alvarez WIN Patricky Freire
2013-11-02 Eddie Alvarez WIN Michael Chandler
2014-09-27 Donald Cerrone WIN Eddie Alvarez
2015-01-03 Donald Cerrone WIN Myles Jury
2015-01-18 Donald Cerrone WIN Ben Henderson
2015-05-23 Donald Cerrone WIN John Makdessi
2015-12-20 Rafael dos Anjos WIN Donald Cerrone
2016-07-07 Eddie Alvarez WIN Rafael dos Anjos  Eddie Alvarez’s second reign.
2016-11-12 Conor McGregor WIN Eddie Alvarez
2018-10-06 Khabib Nurmagomedov WIN Conor McGregor
2019-09-07 Khabib Nurmagomedov WIN Dustin Poirier
2020-10-25 Khabib Nurmagomedov WIN Justin Gaethje Khabib Nurmagomedov retires
2021-12-11 Charles Oliveira WIN Dustin Poirier Vacant title, top contenders
2022-05-07 Charles Oliveira WIN Justin Gaethje Khabib Nurmagomedov retires