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Road to UFC 205: The History of the 3 Titles at Stake

By Ken Boehlke

UFC 205 will mark the second time in UFC history in which three titles are on the line on the same night, and for the first time ever, four current title holders will be on display. Here’s a look at the history of each division title that’s at stake Nov. 12.

Women’s Strawweight

Champions
Dec. 12, 2014 – Mar. 14, 2015 – Carla Esparza
Mar. 14, 2015 – Current – Joanna Jędrzejczyk

The Strawweight division was introduced to the UFC in December 2013 when President Dana White announced a season of the Ultimate Fighter that would crown the division’s first champion.  Esparza won the belt defeating Rose Namajunas.  The current champ Jędrzejczyk was not part of The Ultimate Fighter season to crown the initial champion.  Joanna is 12-0 in her career, including a 6-0 record in the Octagon and has defended the Strawweight belt successfully three times.  Jędrzejczyk and her UFC 205 opponent Karolina Kowalkiewicz squared off in an amateur fight on Mar. 4, 2012.  Jędrzejczyk won by rear naked choke, Kowalkiewicz has not lost since (10-0).

Welterweight

Champions
Oct. 16, 1998 – May 4, 2001 – Pat Miletich
May 4, 2001 – Nov. 2, 2001 – Carlos Newton
Nov. 2, 2001 – Jan. 31, 2004 – Matt Hughes
Jan. 31, 2004 – May 17, 2004 – B.J. Penn (Stripped of title for leaving UFC)
Oct. 22, 2004 – Nov. 18, 2006 – Matt Hughes
Nov. 18, 2006 – Apr. 7, 2007 – Georges St. Pierre
Apr. 7, 2007 – Apr. 19, 2008 – Matt Serra
Dec. 29, 2007 – Dec. 13, 2013 – Georges St. Pierre (GSP held interim belt from Dec. 29, 2007- Apr. 19, 2008 when he defeated Serra to unify)
Feb. 4, 2012 – Nov. 17, 2012 – Carols Condit (Interim due to GSP taking time away from UFC)
**Dec. 13, 2013 – Mar. 15, 2014 – Belt vacated by GSP
Mar. 15, 2014 – Dec. 6, 2014 – Johny Henricks
Dec. 6, 2014 – July 30, 2016 – Robbie Lawler
July 30, 2016 – Current – Tyron Woodley

One of the original weight classes in the UFC has been dominated by possibly the biggest star in MMA history, Georges St. Pierre.  GSP held the belt for more than 2,000 days, defended it 10 times (including one unification bout), and only gave it up when he walked away from the sport for personal reasons.  Since GSP’s departure, rumors have always swirled about when he may return and take a shot at regaining the belt, but no such fights have been made.

Instead, Robbie Lawler claimed stake to the prize for the longest period successfully defending the belt twice.  But on July 30, Tyron Woodley landed a knockout punch just two minutes into his fight with Lawler to take the belt.  Woodley now must defend his title against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson.  The challenger Thompson is favored to win the fight at -200, as he comes off seven straight wins, including three performance of the night awards.

Lightweight

Champions
Feb. 23, 2001 – Mar. 23, 2002 – Jens Pulver (Stripped for leaving UFC over contract dispute)
Oct. 14, 2006 – Dec. 8, 2007 – Sean Sherk (Stripped for testing positive for steroids)
Jan. 19, 2008 – Apr. 10, 2010 – B.J. Penn
Apr. 10, 2008 – Feb. 26, 2012 – Frankie Edgar
Feb. 26, 2012 – Aug. 31, 2013 – Benson Henderson
Aug. 31, 2013 – Mar. 14, 2015 – Anthony Pettis
Mar. 14, 2015 – July 7, 2016 – Rafael dos Anjos
July 7, 2016 – Current – Eddie Alvarez

The Lightweight division has a history of fighters jumping in and out from other weight classes.  Whether it was B.J. Penn holding the championship at Lightweight as well as Welterweight, former champ Frankie Edgar who now fights at Featherweight, or now Conor McGregor coming up (or down, if you consider his last two fights were at 170 pounds) to attempt to simultaneously hold the Featherweight and Lightweight belts.

Twice before have fighters been champions in separate divisions, but never at the same time.  McGregor will be making his first ever UFC appearance at Lightweight, but he claims it’s his natural fighting weight, despite destroying the division ten pounds lighter.  Alvarez was the champion at Bellator before coming to the UFC, where he is 3-1, including his title win in July over dos Anjos.

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