The UFC Light Heavyweight Title: A Visual History

On Saturday in Singapore, Glover Teixeira will attempt to add a chapter to one of MMA’s all-time Cinderella stories.

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The likeable Brazilian from Connecticut created a career-defining moment last October when, just two days after his 42nd birthday, he choked out Jan Blachowicz to become the 14th man to hold the undisputed Ultimate Fighting light heavyweight title. Championship. It had been over seven years since Teixeira’s first unsuccessful title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 172.

This week at UFC 275, Teixeira takes on Czech knockout dealer Jiri Prochazka, with the opportunity to not only defend his belt, but move into an entirely different historic category. This is due to the unique nature of the UFC light heavyweight belt, which has oscillated between being an anchor and a hot potato from the start. While dominant champions including Frank Shamrock, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell and Jon Jones have retained the title for long reigns, the fact remains that of the 15 UFC light heavyweight champions (in counting Randy Couture’s two stints separately), six failed to defend the title. even once, and three others were only able to defend him once. It speaks to the traditionally heavyweight nature of the division that some of the best fighters in history, in their heyday, weren’t able to fend off the onslaught of top challengers.

Here’s the nearly 25-year history of the UFC light heavyweight title and the times it was won, lost or defended. It tells the story of a division loaded with star power from the very beginning, a division where capturing the title was a mark of greatness, but retaining it was the stuff of legend.

Artwork by Ben Duffy/

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