I may be playing the role of Captain Obvious here, but when you really think about it, it takes an unheard of amount of time, effort and punishment just to make it into the UFC, let alone win a belt. For most of these fighters, they start out young, training in their discipline of choice and than they may decide to pick it up as a career. Many end up working other jobs but continue training religiously in all of their spare time. If their work ethic, determination and dedication are sufficient, they may end up catching the eye of an instructor who can help them find their way into regional MMA competitions. If they are one of the elite few who can manage to dominate these leagues, they could move on to one of the smaller professional promotions. If a fighter is among the very rare and special few who make it through these leagues, then the UFC may await, whether directly or through The Ultimate Fighter.
Then once in the UFC, a fighter generally needs to dominate a few undercard matches and gain some notoriety before he or she can challenge the big names. After a slew of hard-fought wins, finally the title fight eliminator where a fighter will face off with an opponent probably similar in skill level, who is just as hungry for a chance at the belt. Success in this fight enables a fighter to enter a title fight, during which they have the opportunity to defeat the champ. After that come title defenses, where each time you step in the ring, you are the envy of your weight class and every other fighter wants to leave you up against the cage in disgrace. Sounds like a decent life, no? There have been some legendary champions in UFC history with the longest standing two losing their belts in 2013. GSP lost his when he left the sport for an indeterminate amount of time, and Anderson Silva lost his when he was knocked out by Chris Weidman.
Here is a list of the top 10 fighters with the most time spent holding a UFC championship belt. While this will include info on a few of the awesome streaks the league has seen, this list will be most time spent with a belt overall, so that will include fighters like GSP who held, in his case the Welterweight Championship belt, twice and those, like Randy Couture, who held belts in multiple weight classes.
10 B.J. Penn: 919 Days Total
9 Pat Miletich: 931 Days
8 Jon Jones: 1,080 Days and counting
7 Dominick Cruz: 1117 Days
6 Jose Aldo: 1200 Days and counting
5 Tito Ortiz: 1,260 Days
4 Randy Couture: ~1500 days Total
3 Matt Hughes: 1,577 Days Total
2 Georges St-Pierre: 2,204 Days Total
1 Anderson Silva: 2,457 Days
What more can really be said of Anderson “the Spider” Silva? The guy dominated at Middleweight from October 2006 until September 2013. He had ten successful title defenses, and eleven if you include the fight against Travis Lutter, prior to which Lutter failed to make the 185 pound weight requirement so the bout was officially not a title fight. Among his victims are some big name fighters, such as Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen (twice) and of course Vitor Belfort. So 10/11 impressive title defenses before he lost twice to Chris Weidman. Once because Weidman caught him with a decent set of punches while Silva was doing his characteristic taunting and showboating and once when his shin folded in half when Weidman checked a kick. Despite his knowledge of the sport, fantastic reach and overall skills and confidence, it's unsure if we've seen the last of The Spider. His recovery seems to be going well, and while he has indicated that the title may not be an interest for him anymore, is he going to say “no” if Dana tells him to get back in the ring against Weidman? Again, as with GSP, let us know, have we seen the last of the greatest ever in title situations?
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