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The UFC Men's Bantamweight Title: A Visual History

The winner of this weekend’s UFC main event would like a word with the bantamweight champ — whoever that ends up being.

Rob Font and Jose Aldo face off in the headliner of UFC on ESPN 31 this Saturday, and the victor will be well-positioned for a shot at the 135-pound strap. For Aldo, it could mean another crack at Petr Yan, the man who defeated him last summer to win the title vacated by Henry Cejudo, and in any event a win over a serious contender like Font would be yet another achievement in one of the unlikeliest career reinventions in MMA history. If Font wins, on the other hand, it would represent another step toward validating the potential that has been evident for several years, but hampered by his own sporadic fight schedule in an ultra-competitive division.

However, the victor, whether it’s Font or Aldo, will likely need to wait a bit. Bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling still has yet to compete since winning the title from Yan via disqualification in March. Sterling’s lingering neck issues required surgery and significant recuperation time, leading the UFC to book Yan and Cory Sandhagen for an interim title last month. Yan emerged victorious in a sensational fight, and the promotion promptly went full steam ahead on pretending Sterling didn’t exist, even going so far as to adorn Yan’s belt with a stone that implied his win over Sandhagen had been a title defense.

Whether Yan and Sterling end up unifying the belts next year, or an impatient UFC strips Sterling of the belt, Font or Aldo — and former champ T.J. Dillashaw — wait in the wings. Here is the history of the UFC men’s bantamweight title and the times it was won, lost or defended. Interim title fights are omitted, other than the ones involving Renan Barao, since he is, at least for now, still the only man promoted to undisputed bantamweight champ without a title unification bout.

Sherdog.com/Ben Duffy illustration


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