The UFC Middleweight division has seen a storied and dynamic lineage of champions since its inception. From the early days with pioneers like Dave Menne to modern superstars like Israel Adesanya, the division has provided countless memorable moments and incredible fighters. Join us as we journey through the history of the UFC Middleweight champions from 2001 to the present day.

1. Dave Menne

Dave Menne became the inaugural UFC Middleweight Champion at UFC 33 on September 28, 2001, by defeating Gil Castillo via unanimous decision. Menne’s reign was short-lived, but he set the stage for the division’s future.

2. Murilo Bustamante

Murilo Bustamante claimed the title on January 11, 2002, at UFC 35 by defeating Dave Menne via TKO. Bustamante was known for his excellent grappling skills, which he showcased during his reign.

3. Evan Tanner

Evan Tanner captured the Middleweight Championship at UFC 51 on February 5, 2005, by defeating David Terrell via TKO. Tanner was beloved for his resilience and warrior spirit, and his victory remains a highlight in UFC history.

4. Rich Franklin

Rich Franklin dethroned Evan Tanner on June 4, 2005, at UFC 53. Franklin, a former high school math teacher, became one of the most dominant champions of his time, known for his well-rounded skills and toughness.

5. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva‘s reign began on October 14, 2006, at UFC 64 when he defeated Rich Franklin via TKO. Silva is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in MMA history, holding the title for a record 2,457 days with 10 title defenses. His striking prowess and creativity in the octagon were unmatched.

6. Chris Weidman

Chris Weidman ended Silva’s historic reign on July 6, 2013, at UFC 162, with a stunning knockout. Weidman’s wrestling and power made him a formidable champion, and he successfully defended his title three times.

7. Luke Rockhold

Luke Rockhold claimed the Middleweight Championship on December 12, 2015, at UFC 194 by defeating Chris Weidman via TKO. Rockhold’s reign was marked by his striking and submission skills, making him a well-rounded champion.

8. Michael Bisping

Michael Bisping achieved a lifelong dream by winning the title on June 4, 2016, at UFC 199, defeating Luke Rockhold via KO. Bisping, a UFC veteran, became an inspirational figure due to his perseverance and determination.

9. Georges St-Pierre

Georges St-Pierre, a former Welterweight Champion, captured the Middleweight title on November 4, 2017, at UFC 217 by defeating Michael Bisping via submission. GSP’s return and subsequent title win added another chapter to his legendary career.

10. Robert Whittaker

Robert Whittaker won the interim title on July 8, 2017, at UFC 213 and was later promoted to undisputed champion. Whittaker’s striking and toughness made him a respected champion, and he successfully defended his title multiple times.

11. Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya captured the title on October 6, 2019, at UFC 243 by defeating Robert Whittaker via KO. Adesanya’s striking and charisma made him a star, and he quickly became one of the most popular fighters in the UFC.

12. Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira, a former kickboxing champion, claimed the Middleweight title on November 12, 2022, at UFC 281 by defeating Israel Adesanya via TKO. Pereira’s striking power and rivalry with Adesanya drew significant attention.

13. Israel Adesanya

Israel Adesanya regained the Middleweight Championship on April 8, 2023, at UFC 287 by defeating Alex Pereira via KO. Adesanya’s resilience and ability to reclaim his title solidified his legacy.

14. Sean Strickland

Sean Strickland shocked the world by capturing the Middleweight title on September 10, 2023, at UFC 293, defeating Israel Adesanya via unanimous decision. Strickland’s unorthodox style and outspoken personality made him a unique champion.

15. Dricus Du Plessis

Dricus Du Plessis became the latest Middleweight Champion on January 21, 2024, at UFC 300 by defeating Sean Strickland via TKO. Du Plessis, known for his aggressive fighting style and South African pride, ushered in a new era for the division.

As we look back on these champions, we celebrate their contributions to the sport and the unforgettable moments they have provided to MMA fans worldwide. Each fighter brought their unique style and spirit to the octagon, creating a rich and diverse history for the UFC Middleweight division.

Kurhula David Ngobeni

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Kurhula David Ngobeni

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