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Islam Makhachev of Russia reacts after his knockout victory against Alexander Volkanovski of Australia in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 294 event at Etihad Arena on October 21, 2023 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Athletes

UFC Lightweight Title Lineage

Go Through All Of The Lightweight Title Winners In UFC History

The lightweight division is arguably one of the most competitive in the UFC, consisting of some of the best athletes in the game. Let's look at all the title holders from its inaugural year to now. 

Islam Makhachev's Win Streak
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Islam Makhachev's Win Streak
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Jens Pulver (2001-02) Defeated Caol Uno at UFC 30 (2/23/01) to win the UFC lightweight championship. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Pulver defends his title against Dennis Hallman and BJ Penn before leaving the organization and vacating the title. In 2002-03, a four-man tournament featuring BJ Penn, Caol Uno, Matt Serra, and Din Thomas is held to determine a new champion, but the title remains vacant after a five round draw between Penn and Uno in the final match at UFC 41. The division is then used sporadically until the UFC 49 bout between Yves Edwards and Josh Thomson in 2004. The division doesn’t return until UFC 58 in 2006.

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Sean Sherk (2006-07) Defeats Kenny Florian at UFC 64 (10/14/06) to win the vacant UFC lightweight title.(Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Defends title against Hermes Franca but is subsequently stripped of the belt after testing positive for steroids.

BJ Penn (white shorts) def. Joe Stevenson (black shorts) - Submission (rear naked choke) - 4:02 round 2 during the UFC 80 at Metro Radio Arena on January 19, 2008 in Newcastle,United Kingdom. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
BJ Penn (white shorts) def. Joe Stevenson (black shorts) - Submission (rear naked choke) - 4:02 round 2 during the UFC 80 at Metro Radio Arena on January 19, 2008 in Newcastle,United Kingdom. (Photo by: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)

BJ Penn (2008-10) Defeats Joe Stevenson in the second round at UFC 80 (1/19/08) to win the vacant UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Penn successfully defended his title against Sherk, Florian, and Diego Sanchez.

Frankie Edgar (2010-12) Defeats BJ Penn via unanimous decision at UFC 112 (4/10/10) to win the UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Edgar successfully defended the title against Penn and Gray Maynard (Draw5 and KO4)

Islam Makhachev's Career Highlights

Benson Henderson (2012-13) Defeats Frankie Edgar via unanimous decision at UFC 144 (2/26/12) to win the UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Successfully defended title against Edgar, Nate Diaz and Gilbert Melendez

History Of The Lightweights
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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History Of The Lightweights
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Anthony Pettis (2013-15) Defeats Benson Henderson via submission at UFC 164 (8/31/13) to win the UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Successfully defended title against Melendez.

Rafael Dos Anjos (2015-16) Defeats Anthony Pettis via unanimous decision at UFC 185 (3/14/15) to win the UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Successfully defended title against Donald Cerrone.

Tony Ferguson | Top 5 Moments
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Tony Ferguson | Top 5 Moments
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Eddie Alvarez (2016) Defeats Rafael Dos Anjos via first round TKO on 7/7/16 to win UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass

MORE UFC 294: Makhachev Fight Week Interview | Fight By Fight Preview | UFC 294 Embedded 

Conor McGregor (2016-18) Defeats Eddie Alvarez via second round KO at UFC 205 (11/12/16) to win UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Stripped of belt due to inactivity in April 2018

Tony Ferguson (2017-18) Defeats Kevin Lee via third round submission at UFC 216 (10/7/17) to win interim UFC lightweight title. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Stripped of belt due to injury in April 2018.

Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates after his unanimous-decision victory over Al Iaquinta in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)
Khabib Nurmagomedov of Russia celebrates after his unanimous-decision victory over Al Iaquinta in their lightweight title bout during the UFC 223 event inside Barclays Center on April 7, 2018 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa)

Khabib Nurmagomedov (2018-2020) Defeats Al Iaquinta via unanimous decision at UFC 223 (4/7/18) to win the vacant UFC lightweight title. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Successfully defends title against McGregor, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje.

Dustin Poirier (2019) Defeats Max Holloway via unanimous decision at UFC 236 (4/13/19) to win the interim UFC lightweight title while Nurmagomedov serves a suspension. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Loses belt in UFC 242 (9/7/19) bout with Nurmagomedov. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

Islam Makhachev Origins | UFC Connected
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Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

Unlock MORE of your inner combat sports fan with UFC Fight Pass! Fighting is what we live for. And no one brings you MORE live fights, new shows, and events across multiple combat sports from around the world. With a never-ending supply of fighting in every discipline, there’s always something new to watch. Leave it to the world’s authority in MMA to bring you the Ultimate 24/7 platform for MORE combat sports, UFC Fight Pass!

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Islam Makhachev Origins | UFC Connected
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Charles Oliveira (2021-2022) Defeats Michael Chandler via first round TKO on 5/15/21 to win UFC crown. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass) Defended at UFC 269 against Dustin Poirier (12/11/2021). Stripped of the title (5/7/2022) after failing to make weight for title defense at UFC 274. 

Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his victory over Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)
Islam Makhachev of Russia celebrates after his victory over Charles Oliveira of Brazil in their UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 280 event at Etihad Arena on October 22, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.(Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa)

Islam Makhachev (2022-Present) Defeats Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 (10/22/2022). Defended title at UFC 284 (2/12/2023) and UFC 294 (10/21/23) against Alexander Volkanovski. (Watch On UFC Fight Pass)

RELATED: UFC Heavyweight Title Lineage | UFC Flyweight Title Lineage | UFC Strawweight Title Lineage | UFC Featherweight Title Lineage | UFC Lightweight Title Lineage | UFC Women’s Flyweight Title Lineage  | UFC Bantamweight Title Lineage

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