Lightweights

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 Islam Makhachev

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.
1995-04-01 Luiz Fraga WIN Leandro Heck Gembo Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
1995-07-05 Luiz Fraga WIN Marcos Vieira
1995-07-05 Luiz Fraga WIN Marcelo Romano
1995-07-05 Wander Braga WIN Luiz Fraga
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.
1999-09-05 Caol Uno WIN Din Thomas Vacant title. Top-contender matchup.
1999-12-11 Caol Uno WIN Andre Pedeneiras
2000-04-02 Caol Uno WIN B.J. Penn
2000-08-27 Marcio Ramos Barbosa WIN Caol Uno
2000-12-17 Dokonjonosuke Mishima WIN Marcio Ramos Barbosa
2001-12-16 Dokonjonosuke Mishima WIN Ryan Bow
2002-02-11 Dokonjonosuke Mishima WIN Ben Thomas
2002-06-29 Dokonjonosuke Mishima WIN Iran Mascarenhas
2002-09-07 Dokonjonosuke Mishima WIN Takafumi Ito
2002-12-14 Takanori Gomi WIN Dokonjonosuke Mishima
2003-02-23 Takanori Gomi WIN Nick Ertl
2003-08-10 Joachim Hansen WIN Takanori Gomi
2003-12-14 Vitor Ribeiro WIN Joachim Hansen
2004-07-09 Vitor Ribeiro WIN Mitsuhiro Ishida
2004-12-14 Tatsuya Kawajiri WIN Vitor Ribeiro
2005-04-23 Tatsuya Kawajiri WIN Jani Lax
2005-05-22 Tatsuya Kawajiri WIN In Seok Kim
2005-07-17 Tatsuya Kawajiri WIN Luiz Firmino
2005-09-25 Takanori Gomi WIN Tatsuya Kawajiri
2005-09-25 Takanori Gomi WIN Luiz Azeredo
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
2022-10-22 Islam Makhachev WIN Charles Oliveira

 

36 Comments

  1. Steve August 19, 2018 at 10:26 pm Reply

    Well, I’d argue that Ludqig should’ve retained his lineal position because he returned to LW not too long after the Gomi Kawajiri fight. He next lost to Tyson Grifffin, who lost to Edgar, who lost to Maynard in their first fight. Edgar would win it back in the third fight with Maynard. From there on, the lineal title follows the UFC, making Pettis the rightful lineal champion.

  2. Caposa August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Just to clear things up, Uno-Barbosa was at 154 lbs (Shooto Welterweight), but it was a non-title bout. The proper lineage is is Uno-Barbosa —> Barbosa —> Mishima.

  3. Ryu Hayabusa August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Alvarez vs Chandler II would be Alvarez’ second linear title defense. He seriously needs to go to the UFC so that finally all of the lineal championships can be unified with their respective UFC belt.

  4. Doug August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    yeah this in no way shape or form shows or implies who the top fighter is, lots of ‘goes inactive’ after a few post-championship gimmie fights (here and other classes).. but it’s an interesting water cooler discussion maker

  5. jason August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Because Ludwig left for over THREE YEARS, not to mention he lost twice during that span.

    Penn came back within two.

  6. Tomatogatame August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Melendez over Aoki is conspicuously absent here.

  7. Caposa May 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Just to clear things up, Uno-Barbosa was at 154 lbs (Shooto Welterweight), but it was a non-title bout. The proper lineage is is Uno-Barbosa —> Barbosa —> Mishima.

  8. Caposa May 1, 2014 at 11:47 am Reply

    When Braga went inactive in 1998 the next top contender match up at LW was Rumina Sato vs. Caol Uno in May of 1999.

    From there you can choose to ignore Uno’s loss to Marcio Ramos Barbosa (welterweight bout) which would lead to Uno-Pulver —> Pulver-Hallman —> Pulver-Penn

    If you count Uno’s loss to Barbosa, the lineal belt never touches the UFC. It goes:
    Sato-Uno —> Uno-Barbosa —> Barbosa-Mishima —> Mishima-Gomi —> Gomi-Hansen —> Hansen-Ribeiro —> Ribeiro-Kawajiri —> Kawajiri-Gomi —> and so on..

  9. Caposa August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    When Braga went inactive in 1998 the next top contender match up at LW was Rumina Sato vs. Caol Uno in May of 1999.

    From there you can choose to ignore Uno’s loss to Marcio Ramos Barbosa (welterweight bout) which would lead to Uno-Pulver —> Pulver-Hallman —> Pulver-Penn

    If you count Uno’s loss to Barbosa, the lineal belt never touches the UFC. It goes:
    Sato-Uno —> Uno-Barbosa —> Barbosa-Mishima —> Mishima-Gomi —> Gomi-Hansen —> Hansen-Ribeiro —> Ribeiro-Kawajiri —> Kawajiri-Gomi —> and so on..

  10. Steve April 5, 2014 at 1:00 am Reply

    Well, I’d argue that Ludqig should’ve retained his lineal position because he returned to LW not too long after the Gomi Kawajiri fight. He next lost to Tyson Grifffin, who lost to Edgar, who lost to Maynard in their first fight. Edgar would win it back in the third fight with Maynard. From there on, the lineal title follows the UFC, making Pettis the rightful lineal champion.

  11. Ryu Hayabusa December 26, 2013 at 7:21 am Reply

    Alvarez vs Chandler II would be Alvarez’ second linear title defense. He seriously needs to go to the UFC so that finally all of the lineal championships can be unified with their respective UFC belt.

  12. Norman December 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm Reply

    Shouldn’t Alvarez’s match against Pitbull count as a defense?

  13. Norman August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Shouldn’t Alvarez’s match against Pitbull count as a defense?

  14. Nick April 27, 2012 at 10:54 am Reply

    It’s interesting how if Diaz/Gomi isn’t later ruled a no contest, it plays out like Diaz->Noons->Masvidal->Melendez.

  15. Nick August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    It’s interesting how if Diaz/Gomi isn’t later ruled a no contest, it plays out like Diaz->Noons->Masvidal->Melendez.

  16. jason February 17, 2012 at 9:15 pm Reply

    Because Ludwig left for over THREE YEARS, not to mention he lost twice during that span.

    Penn came back within two.

  17. Will February 17, 2012 at 6:47 pm Reply

    I don’t get how Ludwig moving up to WW then later fighting again at LW ends his reign in this list, but BJ Penn holds on to the linear WW title even after fighting at middleweight and heavyweight. Were you to follow it like that, it would go Ludwig —> Tyson Griffin —> Frankie Edgar —> Gray Maynard —> Frankie Edgar

  18. Will August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    I don’t get how Ludwig moving up to WW then later fighting again at LW ends his reign in this list, but BJ Penn holds on to the linear WW title even after fighting at middleweight and heavyweight. Were you to follow it like that, it would go Ludwig —> Tyson Griffin —> Frankie Edgar —> Gray Maynard —> Frankie Edgar

  19. oleg January 31, 2012 at 10:59 pm Reply

    Gomi vs Mitsuoka at UFC 144, two former lineal champions will meet.

  20. jason January 31, 2012 at 9:16 pm Reply

    Aoki defeated Kawajiri to earn the linear title after losing to Melendez.

  21. oleg August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Gomi vs Mitsuoka at UFC 144, two former lineal champions will meet.

  22. jason August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Aoki defeated Kawajiri to earn the linear title after losing to Melendez.

  23. jason December 30, 2011 at 9:59 am Reply

    Aoki lost to Melendez before he claimed the title.

  24. jason August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Aoki lost to Melendez before he claimed the title.

  25. Brendan December 27, 2011 at 5:49 pm Reply

    Yeah, how does he still have the linear title after losing to Melendez? It was a LW fight and Aoki lost.

  26. Brendan August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Yeah, how does he still have the linear title after losing to Melendez? It was a LW fight and Aoki lost.

  27. Isaac October 11, 2011 at 7:59 am Reply

    Thanks for clearing up my question.

  28. Isaac August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Thanks for clearing up my question.

  29. Doug October 10, 2011 at 9:03 pm Reply

    yeah this in no way shape or form shows or implies who the top fighter is, lots of ‘goes inactive’ after a few post-championship gimmie fights (here and other classes).. but it’s an interesting water cooler discussion maker

  30. Tomatogatame October 2, 2011 at 6:59 pm Reply

    Oh, I see. That is kind of bizarre and counterintuitive, but I guess the logic holds.

  31. Tomatogatame October 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm Reply

    Melendez over Aoki is conspicuously absent here.

  32. Tomatogatame August 19, 2018 at 8:54 pm Reply

    Oh, I see. That is kind of bizarre and counterintuitive, but I guess the logic holds.

  33. oleg September 28, 2011 at 12:22 pm Reply

    Aoki defeated Kawajiri to earn the linear title after losing to Melendez.

  34. Isaac September 28, 2011 at 11:03 am Reply

    I’m just curious as to why the Aoki-Melendez fight does not show up on this list, however Aoki-Beerbohm does.

    What is the difference between these too fights?

  35. oleg August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    Aoki defeated Kawajiri to earn the linear title after losing to Melendez.

  36. Isaac August 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm Reply

    I’m just curious as to why the Aoki-Melendez fight does not show up on this list, however Aoki-Beerbohm does.

    What is the difference between these too fights?

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