The UFC Bantamweight Title: A Lineal History Infographic

By Ben Duffy Aug 12, 2018
It is impossible to look at the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship men’s bantamweight title without an understanding and appreciation of Dominick Cruz’s history of injuries; for the first six years of the division’s existence, Cruz was a recurring apparition, alternating between dominance and disappearance but always looming over the proceedings.

With the possible exception of Cain Velasquez, no champion has missed more of the prime of his career with injuries than Cruz, and with all due respect to Velasquez, Cruz was the more dominant of the two. Until his loss to Cody Garbrandt at UFC 207, nobody had beaten a healthy Cruz in nearly a decade, and frankly, only T.J. Dillashaw had even come close.

It’s fitting that Garbrandt and Dillashaw are Cruz’s main foils. As Renan Barao, once the most feared man in the division, has struggled on the scale as well as in the cage, they have established themselves as the division’s new breed. Unfortunately, the budding rivalry between the two, sparked by personal history, genuine dislike for each other and fan-friendly fighting styles, lost much of its steam at UFC 227, as Dillashaw scored a second definitive stoppage over “No Love.” It will be quite some time before Dillashaw-Garbrandt 3 seems like a must-see fight, if ever.

Fortunately for the division and the fans, there is no shortage of interesting contenders for Dillashaw’s belt, and a familiar name is elbowing its way to the front of the line: Cruz, who is still only 32, the owner of a clean bill of health and the author of Dillashaw’s only loss in his last 10 fights. Whichever direction the UFC takes with the bantamweight title picture, fans are likely to get fireworks, as the prickly personalities and clashing styles that characterize the division’s top shelf continue to play out against each other.

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Sherdog T.J. Dillashaw Cody Garbrandt Dominick Cruz T.J. Dillashaw Renan Barao Dominick Cruz UFC 227 UFC 217 UFC 207 UFC 199 UFC Fight Night 81 UFC on Fox 16 UFC 177 UFC 173 UFC 169 UFC 165 UFC on Fuel TV 7 UFC 149 UFC Live 6 UFC 132 WEC 53

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