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The UFC Women's Bantamweight Title: A Visual History

Congratulations to Julianna Pena, fifth woman to hold the undisputed Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight title.

In the co-main event of UFC 269 on Saturday, “The Venezuelan Vixen” pulled off one of the greatest upsets of all time, dethroning Amanda Nunes via rear naked choke in the second round. “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 18 winner had campaigned and lobbied for a title shot for over a year, eventually getting her wish despite having gone just 1-1 over that time. She entered her matchup with Nunes, perhaps the most dominant fighter in the sport over the last five years, as a prohibitive underdog, and ultimately none of that mattered. In the first round, Pena weathered the expected early blitz from the champ on the feet, then forced her to expend significant energy on the ground. She came out for the second frame looking very much like the fresher woman, and when she applied the pressure and went for the kill, Nunes had no answer.

Looking forward, the new champ can almost certainly expect to meet Nunes again in her next bout, and in the immediate aftermath of UFC 269, both women verbally acknowledged that reality and appeared to welcome it. Whichever woman emerges victorious from that rematch — or trilogy — will have to wait and see who steps up as a worthy next challenger. If Pena secures her hold on the belt by beating Nunes again, there is no shortage of future matchups, as longtime contenders including Raquel Pennington and Germaine de Randamie — who defeated Pena just last year — stand ready. If Nunes shows that Saturday was a fluke, on the other hand, she may need to wait for some of the division’s younger up-and-comers, such as Macy Chiasson and Karol Rosa, to string together enough wins to make a title shot sellable.

Here is the nine-year history of the UFC women’s bantamweight title and the times it was won, lost or defended. It tells the story of some of the most dominant champions the sport has ever seen, but also some of the greatest upsets: a place where the head that wears the crown can truly never rest easy.

Ben Duffy/Sherdog.com illustration


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