A Linear History: UFC Heavyweight Championship

By Mike Fridley and Brian Knapp Jun 15, 2012
Thirteen men have held the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight title since it was brought into existence more than 15 years ago. To say it has known a volatile existence would be an understatement.

Mark Coleman became the promotion’s first heavyweight champion at UFC 12 on Feb. 7, 1997, as he submitted Dan Severn with a first-round neck crank at the Dothan Civic Center Arena in Dothan, Ala. A little more than 3,000 people were there to witness his victory. Since then, 12 others have worn the crown, including Randy Couture three times and Tim Sylvia twice.

No man has made more than two successful title defenses during any reign. The belt has been stripped on four separate occasions and vacated another, injuries, contract disputes and performance-enhancing drugs all playing parts in its nomadic existence.

Current kingpin Junior dos Santos undoubtedly wants to provide it with a more stable home. The 27-year-old Brazilian has won 10 consecutive bouts, nine of them in the UFC. He captured the heavyweight championship in November, when he knocked out Cain Velasquez in 64 seconds as part of the UFC’s historic debut on network television. Six months later, he retained it by bashing Frank Mir en route to a second-round technical knockout. Next on dos Santos’ itinerary: a rematch with Velasquez, likely at UFC 152 on Sept. 22 in Toronto.

Data courtesy: FightMetric.com

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