The History of the Double Champ in the UFC


By Cooper Woodward, Chief Managerial Editor

The Double champ: A feat so rare, only a select few men and women have accomplished it, either doing it over 2 weight classes. Here’s a rundown of all the fighters who have held UFC titles in different divisions at the same time, and a rundown on what a double champ even is.

What is a double champ? 

Like any combat sport, MMA has had weight divisions for decades now. In the UFC, each weight division has one champion. Over the years, there have been fighters who have been a champion in one division, lose the title, and win the title in a different division. It’s an incredible feat that only Georges St-Pierre, Randy Couture, and B.J. Penn can lay claim to, but what the term double champion (or champ-champ) is reserved for is fighters who have held belts in two different divisions at the same time.

Amanda Nunes (Women’s Featherweight, Women’s Bantamweight)

Nunes won the bantamweight championship when she choked out Misha Tate at UFC 200. She then went on to defend the bantamweight belt 3 times before taking the challenge at Featherweight. She beat Cris Cyborg for the featherweight crown. She has defended her featherweight belt twice, most recently against Meghan Anderson at UFC 259. She had then lost the bantamweight belt with a submission loss against Juliana Pena, but reclaimed it with a victory over Pena in the rematch at UFC 277. To use one word to describe the career of Amanda Nunes, it would be dominance. In a feat not yet accomplished by a male fighter, Nunes has claimed 2 belts at the same time and defended both. She has defeated the women’s MMA Elite, including wins over Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey, Misha Tate, and Holly Holm all in the first round. Amanda also has not one but 2 wins over current Women’s Flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes in my eyes, is the greatest women’s MMA fighter of all time, and it will be a while before anyone else comes close.

Connor McGregor (Featherweight, Lightweight)

McGregor’s run at featherweight was something many will never forget if they were fortunate to witness it in real time.  He came into the UFC already feeling like a champion, and he was a double champion in his former promotion Cage Warriors. Fight after fight, he would be brash in his attitude leading up to a fight, making bold predictions about what he was going to do to his opponent, then he would do it. He had one of the quickest rises to the top in MMA history. He debuted in the UFC in April of 2013, and just two years and five wins later, he had a fight scheduled with José Aldo, a man who was on an 18-fight win streak. Sighting a rib issue, Aldo pulled out of the fight, and was replaced by Chad Mendes, who McGregor finished in round 2. Connor then went on to start arguably the greatest series of trash talk from an MMA fighter ever seen. Barading Aldo with insults, and seemingly having more fans in every single city their media tour took them, even Aldo’s home City of Rio De Janiero. Aldo’s 13 year long undefeated record vanished in 13 seconds when McGregor marched forward with a barrage of punches.

McGregor then turned his eyes to the 155lb title. At the time, Rafael Dos Anjos was the champion. Sighting injury, RDA pulled out of his bout with McGregor. Then came the pair of Nate Diaz fights. Infamous in their own right, they created a detour for Connor. After Dos Anjos was de-throned, Eddie Alvarez took his place. Alvarez would then go on to fight Connor. Connor would win via KO in round 2, becoming the promotion’s first ever double champ.

Daniel Cormier (Light Heavyweight, Heavyweight)

When Cormier came over from Strike Force, it was tough to know what to expect. He was a former Olympian who had his first fight at 30 years and is clearly talented. To say that fans were anticipating his debut, would be an understatement.

After beating Frank Mir and Roy Nelson, DC moved down to 205. He wouldn’t even consider the notion of fighting his friend Cain Velasquez who at the time was the heavyweight champion. At LHW, he finished Patrick Cummins early in the first round and threw Dan Henderson around like he owed him money. With a professional MMA record of 15-0 at the time, it was time to see what DC could do against Jon “Bones” Jones. Jones handled Cormier fairly over the course of 5 rounds. He would then be stripped of his title after the Infamous hit and run 3 months after beating Cormier. Suddenly, the UFC needed a new champion at LHW. Who better to step up than the last title challenger at 205? DC stepped up to fight Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. He would then go on to win the belt that night, defending it against Rumble Johnson and Alexander Gustafson, before Jones came back for the rematch. Jones finished Cormier this time but the bout was overturned to a No Contest because of Jones testing positive for a banned substance. DC was reinstated as champion and went on to defend the belt 1 more time vs Volkan Oezdemir.

With his old Friend Cain Velasquez out of the picture, Cormier felt it was time for him to move back up to his original weight class to try and become the promotion’s 2nd ever double champion. Poetically, 1 year after his KO loss to Jon Jones, he finished Stipe Miocic in the first round to become a 2 weight champion, the stuff of dreams.

Henry Cejudo (Men’s flyweight, Men’s bantamweight)

Both of Cejudo’s title wins came after he reinvented himself in 2017. After winning 3 fights in the UFC in 2015, he lost a pair of fights in 2016. The first of which being to Demetrious Johnson who stopped him in the first round. The second being Joseph Benavidez, who won via split decision against him. These were massive steps back for Cejudo at flyweight who then knew he had to make a change

He took 9 months off before returning against Wilson Reis in September of 2017. He came out looking far more polished than we’d seen before, winning the Performance of the Night bonus against Reis. Just three months later, he met Sergio Pettis, who he won a unanimous decision against. In a division suffering from the dominant reign of DJ, those two wins were enough to earn him another title shot.

When DJ and Cejudo met again, he did enough to take the fight on 2 judge’s scorecards, officially ending the near 6 year long reign of Demetrius Johnson. Next on his agenda was to do something that DJ never would: fight another UFC champion. The 135 king, T.J Dillishaw, dropped down to 125 in his own bid to become a double champion, but that fight ended after just 32 seconds. Then it became time for Cejudo to take his shot at the same feat. After their fight, Dillishaw tested positive for a banned substance. As a result the Bantamweight title became vacant. Cejudo stepped up to fight Marlon Morales for the undisputed bantamweight title. He TKO’d Morales in round 3 becoming the 3rd double champion in the promotion’s history.