A home for some of MMA’s most fast and furious, let’s take a look at every bantamweight champion in the history of the UFC
The bantamweight division in the UFC ranges from 126 to 135 pounds. It’s the second lightest men’s weight class in the promotion but produces some of the best fights. After their purchase of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC), the UFC brought in the bantamweights in 2010. The division has produced some of the sport’s most recognizable names, so let’s take a look at every UFC bantamweight champion there’s ever been.
Dominick Cruz – Dec. 2010 to Jan. 2014
One of the pound for pound greats in MMA, Dominick Cruz was the first-ever bantamweight champion in UFC history. After defeating Scott Jorgensen, at WEC 53, Cruz was awarded the UFC belt and declared the new bantamweight champion. It was the final event in WEC’s history and from then on, Cruz ushered the 135-pound era into the UFC. He went on to defend the UFC belt twice, before being forced to vacate it, due to injuries.
Renan Barao – Jan. 2014 to May 2014
Although he beat Urijah Faber for the interim title back in July of 2012, Renan Barao was not made the undisputed bantamweight champion until a year and a half later. After Cruz was unable to defend the belt, Barao was promoted and made the UFC’s undisputed champion. However, unfortunately for him, he’d go on to lose the belt just a few months later.
T.J. Dillashaw – May 2014 to Jan. 2016
In what was it considered to be one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, T.J Dillashaw absolutely thrashed Barao at UFC 173. It was one of the most impressive performances in championship history, as Dillashaw beat Barao from pillar to post, before TKO’ing him in the fifth round.
Dominick Cruz – Jan. 2016 to Dec. 2016
In one of the best and most tightly contested bouts in bantamweight history, Cruz was able to outpoint Dillashaw and regain the 135-pound title, via split decision. Back on top, Cruz reigned over the division for just under a year, before he was dethroned.
Cody Garbrandt – Dec. 2016 to Nov. 2017
People always said it would take a near-perfect performance for someone to defeat Cruz. Well, that’s exactly the kind of fight Cody Garbrandt put on at UFC 207. He made Cruz look average that night and it was quite the spectacle. Feints, taunts and more – it was an entertaining 25 minutes, to say the least. Garbrandt looked to be the future of the bantamweight division.
T.J. Dillashaw – Nov. 2017 to March 2019
When Dillashaw and Garbrandt squared off, at UFC 217, it was absolute fireworks. These two former teammates seemed to legitimately hate each other, thus making the fight quite personal. Ultimately, Dillashaw was able to TKO Garbrandt in the second round and regain the championship. However, he was forced to vacate the title in March of 2019, after he failed a drug test.
Henry Cejudo – June 2019 to present
The current UFC bantamweight champion, Henry Cejudo has one of the biggest personalities in the sport today. Also, he’s one of the top fighters in the promotion. A former UFC flyweight champion, Cejudo moved up to 135 pounds and defeated Marlon Moraes, for the vacant bantamweight title, at UFC 238.