15 Facts About the UFC Heavyweight Championship

By: Albert Miller – It’s been a long held tradition over the years of combat sports that the Heavyweight Championship was the most important championship to be coveted. In the last ten years, lighter weight fighters such as “Notorious” Conor McGregor, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson, and Anderson “The Spider” Silva have really poked gaping holes in that tradition. That being said, there is still a lot to celebrate when it comes to the heavyweight fighters of the world.

To celebrate the heritage of heavy handed heavyweights, we’re bringing you fifteen facts about the most important heavyweight championship in Mixed Martial Arts: the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

The UFC Heavyweight Championship was created when the UFC Tournament Championship was unified with the UFC Superfight championship at UFC 12: Judgement Day when Mark “The Hammer” Coleman defeated Dan “The Beast” Severn.
The longest title reign of any UFC champion was over 896 days, held by Cain Velasquez.
Five former UFC Heavyweight champions have competed for the PRIDE Fighting Championship: “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (interim champion), “The Monster” Kevin Randleman, and Mark “The Hammer” Coleman
Of the five UFC/PRIDE transplants, only Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira held both the UFC and PRIDE Heavyweight championships.
Considering that the UFC Heavyweight championship shares a lineage with the UFC Superfight championship, “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock and “The Warmaster” Josh Barnett are the only men to hold the UFC Heavyweight Championship and be crowned Kings of Pancrase.
The UFC Heavyweight Championship does NOT share a lineage with the PRIDE FC Heavyweight Championship, as it was not unified like the PRIDE Middleweight/UFC Light Heavyweight and UFC Middleweight/PRIDE Welterweight championships were
“The Natural” Randy Couture has held the UFC Heavyweight Championship the most times with 3 title runs; Cain Velasquez and Tim Sylvia trail at 2 title runs a piece.
Randy Couture is the only multi-divisional champion to have held a UFC Heavyweight Championship; “Captain America” also held the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.
Former Champion Frank Mir was supposed to fight on a Strikeforce card after Zuffa had purchased the Strikeforce asset. This fight never came together and the Strikeforce championship was never unified with the UFC championship.
“El Guapo” Bas Rutten was the first and only (to date) Dutch heavyweight champion.
Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski was the first and only (to date) heavyweight champion from Belarus.
“The Monster” Kevin Randleman was the first UFC Heavyweight Champion to win the title outside of the United States when he defeated Pedro “The Rock” Rizzo at UFC 23 in Tokyo, Japan.
Fabricio Werdum was the first heavyweight champion crowned in Mexico, and Stipe Miocic was the first heavyweight champion crowned in Brazil.
The UFC Heavyweight Championship has changed hands 19 times, including interim championships.
The most unconventional reasons that the Heavyweight Crown has changed hands has been: contract disputes (Randy Couture), positive steroid tests (Josh Barnett & Tim Sylvia), motorcycle injury (Frank Mir), and vacation to compete in a lighter weight class (Bas Rutten).

Hopefully we’ve all learned a little something about the heaviest weight class in current competition. We appreciate you checking out today’s “Fight Facts,” feel free to share with your friends.

Until next time: Fights, Cameron, Action!