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.
1995-04-01 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