Your Definitive List of UFC Heavyweight Champions

In combat sports, the title of Heavyweight Champion carries a special mystique. Whether it’s due to exceptional skill or stature or both, heavyweights are magnets for fame. Boxing has its Muhammad Alis and Mike Tysons, wrestling has its Aleksandr Karelins and Bruce Baumgartners. Mixed martial arts is no exception. Below, a complete list of UFC Heavyweight Champions since the inception of the division.

RELATED: Who Are The Current UFC Champions?

1. Jon Jones (27-1-0-1 MMA, 21-1-0-1 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Cyril Gane at UFC 285
  • Title won: March 4, 2023
  • Defenses: 0

As controversial a figure as he may be, Jon Jones is to many, the greatest fighter to ever compete in MMA.

Despite his father wanting him to preach, Jones became a state champion in Endicott, NY and a NJCAA wrestling national champion Iowa Central Community College which eventually led to him dropping out of college to pursue a career in MMA.

He rose through the ranks quickly and when his teammate Rashad Evans was forced to pull out of a 205lb title opportunity, he slid in against Shogun to become the youngest UFC champion of all time at 23-years-old. He went on a legend-killing spree, dropping Lyoto Machida’s lifeless body after a choke and surviving a vicious armbar from Vitor Belfort to tap him himself, to name a few.

Throughout his light heavyweight run, Jones was always vocal about moving up to heavyweight, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that he made good on his promise, stepping in the cage against Cyril Gane to capture the vacant gold in a couple of minutes. As of now, he is set to defend the title against Stipe Miocic in the summer.

2. Cyril Gane (11-2 MMA, 8-2 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Derrick Lewis at UFC 265
  • Title won: August 7, 2021
  • Defenses: 0

Hailing from La Roche-sur-Yon, France, Ciryl Gane grew up playing soccer and basketball but didn’t pursue either at a higher level. While working at a furniture store, he was introduced to Muay Thai and subsequently made his professional Muay Thai debut in 2016, winning by second round knockout. After winning four more in a row, he faced multiple time WBC Muay Thai champion Yassine Boughanem and won the fight by decision – particularly impressive considering he had only been fighting for a few years.

In 2018, Gane made his professional MMA debut. He won three in a row before signing with the UFC. Under the UFC’s banner, Gane won his first seven fights in a row, including a finish against Derrick Lewis in Houston to capture the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship. Five months later, Gane fought former training partner Francis Ngannou in an attempt to unify the belts, but ultimately came up short in a war of attrition that saw him getting outwrestled – something no-one could have predicted prior to the bout. After Ngannou left the UFC, Gane challenged for the vacant championship, but came up short to Jon Jones who ran through him in just over 2 minutes.

3. Francis Ngannou (17-3 MMA, 12-2 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 260
  • Title won: 27 March, 2021
  • Defenses: 1

One of the most terrifying men to walk this earth, Francis “The Predator” Ngannou is not a man from whom anyone wants to line up across the cage. Born and raised in a village in Cameroon, Francis worked in sand quarries, harboring dreams of pursuing professional boxing. By the age of 22, he started training and by 26, he took off to Paris to pursue professional fighting.

Once he arrived in Paris, he ended up at the MMA factory where he trained and lived at no cost. This is where Fernand Lopez, the MMA Factory’s head coach, convinced Ngannou to pursue MMA instead. In 2013, Francis made his MMA debut. He won five of his first six bouts before garnering the attention of the UFC. Once there, he rattled off six wins in a row, many by landing huge strikes that sent his opponents crumbling. Thus, his title shot had arrived. In his first try at gold, he was tasked with facing Stipe Miocic. Although Ngannou unloaded his full arsenal, he was unable to secure the victory, losing a unanimous decision to Miocic.

He then had one of the most slow-paced, least action-packed fights in the UFC’s history against Derrick Lewis. Both being known for having insane knockout power, neither guy was willing to get too close or do too much in a fight that saw Lewis come out with the win (they should’ve both been given an L). After that, he put together 4 wins in a row, all in the first round, where he connected with brutal punches that no man has been able to handle. Again, he earned an opportunity to challenge Miocic for the title. In this title challenge, we saw Ngannou come out much more measured and calculated. He still threw the big shots, but he was charging forward and throwing less, opting to stay patient and pick his shots, a very scary sight indeed. This time around he was able to find the punch that would put Miocic down and garner him the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Of course, since then, contract disputes meant that Ngannou left the UFC and the title was vacated. He is currently looking to box before returning to MMA.

4. Daniel Cormier (22-3-0-1 MMA, 11-3-0-1 UFC)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fight: Defeated Stipe Miocic at UFC 226
  • Title won: July 7, 2018
  • Defenses: 1

Daniel Cormier’s successful career was tied heavily to two individuals: Stipe Miocic and Jon Jones, the only two men to defeat DC over the course of his 11-year, 26-fight career. The last of his kind on this list, DC was an elite wrestler coming out of Lafayette, Louisiana. He started at Colby Community College, going 61-0, before transferring to Oklahoma State University. There he finished second in the country, losing in the NCAA finals to wrestling legend, Cael Sanderson. His final record at OSU was 53-10.

After college, Cormier competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, finding success as an Olympic level wrestler. Following his Olympic achievements, he turned to training MMA. Though he finished his career as a heavyweight, he fought most of his career at light heavyweight. Cormier dominated nearly everybody in his early MMA career, starting in Strikeforce and compiling an 11-0 record before getting called to the UFC. Even then, he faced little adversity in his first four fights with the UFC. Then came Jon Jones. If you’ve made it this far, chances are you know who Jon Jones is and the ups and downs that come with one of MMA’s most outstanding and chaotic fighters.

In this first title challenge for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship, we saw DC lose a unanimous decision to the undefeated Jones. Months later, Jones was stripped of the title due to a felony hit-and-run and DC was set to challenge for the title once again, this time against the late Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (23-6 MMA, 13-6 UFC). After defeating Johnson by rear-naked choke, DC went on to defend his title three times, including a second time against Rumble. In between came another heartbreaking loss to Jon Jones, which was overturned to a no-contest, because Jones tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs. As such, the title stayed in DC’s hands.

After such a dominant reign at LHW, DC wanted to move up and challenge Stipe for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. In their first meeting, DC was able to capitalize on that short right hand when leaving the clinch to put down Miocic and secure the victory to win Heavyweight gold. Soon after, he defended his title successfully against “The Black Beast”, Derrick Lewis, winning by rear-naked choke in a fight that headlined a big Madison Square Garden card. Then came the final two fights against Stipe that resulted in two subsequent losses and the retirement of one Daniel Cormier.

DC had a storied and successful career, one marked by being on the other side of two extremely dominant champions. This does not denote his achievements, but many will remember him by being the other side of Jon Jones – and in my opinion, that’s a lot better than being Jon Jones.

5. Stipe Miocic (20-4 MMA, 14-4 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
  • Title fights: Defeated Fabricio Werdum at UFC 198 and defeated Daniel Cormier at UFC 241
  • Title won: May 14, 2016 and August 17, 2019
  • Defenses: 4

Stipe Miocic is widely considered the greatest UFC Heavyweight of all time. He’s not only captured the title twice, but also defended it a record four times, including a record three in-a-row. No heavyweight in the world has dominated the top of the UFC Heavyweight division quite like Miocic.

Born in Euclid, OH, Miocic grew up a multi-sport athlete between football, baseball and wrestling. He went on to play baseball and wrestle between Cleveland State, Trevecca Nazarene and Coker College. He was initially brought into Strong Style MMA to wrestle with former UFC contender Dan Bobish, and soon began training himself. After becoming a Golden Gloves Champion and competing at nationals, the former NCAA Division I wrestler developed the tools to dominate those at his level, making his debut in 2006 and winning his first six fights by KO.

Such a run earned him a shot in the UFC. Between his UFC debut in 2011 and 2016, Miocic fought 10 times, winning eight fights, five of which were finished with strikes. This was enough to earn him a shot against the current champion, Fabricio Werdum. The fight was set in Werdum’s home country of Brazil and was attended by a notably hostile crowd that was eager to watch the challenger fall. Unfortunately for them, Miocic had other plans. Early in the fight, Werdum blitzed forward, leaving himself exposed. Miocic saw the opening and put Werdum out cold with one precise punch. A new champion was crowned and Stipe brought a championship back to the city of Cleveland for the first time since 1964.

After defeating Werdum, Miocic defended his title three times against the often challenging Alistair Oveerm, future champion Francis Ngannou and former champion Junior dos Santos. He then met UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Daniel Cormier. Late in the first round, while escaping the clinch, Miocic exited with his hands low and caught a short shot that put him on the ground. The fight was over and Daniel Cormier was crowned champion. More than a year later, the two fought a second time, with this fight being one of the toughest in Miocic’s career. Although he was outmatched for much of the fight, Miocic found an opening by way of body shots late into the fourth round. By taking advantage and hammering Cormier’s body, he was able to land some ferocious shots to the head and put Cormier to the canvas for the win and the championship. Since both fighters had just traded wins, the UFC booked the trilogy, a third fight between the two that was billed to be the fight which would decide the GOAT heavyweight. This time, in a much less damaging fight for both men, we saw Miocic grind out a very tactical, hard-fought win, coming by way of unanimous decision. This fight marked Miocic’s record-setting 6th win in UFC Heavyweight Title fights and cemented him in the record books.

He later lost the belt in a rematch to Ngannou and is expected to get the opportunity to win it for a third time this summer against current champion Jon Jones.

6. Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1 MMA, 12-6 UFC)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Mark Hunt at UFC 180
  • Title won: November 15, 2014
  • Defenses: 0

Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum’s venture into combat sports is unlike any others on this list; it started only after he was choked out in a triangle choke by his girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.

Ouch. Talk about a blow to the ego. Luckily for Werdum, there’s a pretty good chance that he’s way more successful than Mr. Steal Ya Girl today.

Werdum made his professional debut in 2002, winning six of his first seven fights, the one blemish being a draw. At this time, Fabricio was competing in PRIDE, facing top competition pre-UFC (Alistair Overeem, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira). Notably, in PRIDE, he was the man to end Fedor’s legendary win streak. In 2007, Vai Cavalo made his UFC debut against Andrei Arlovski, losing by unanimous decision to the former UFC Heavyweight champ. Over the next seven years, Werdum would fight 11 times between the UFC and Strikeforce before putting together a four-fight win streak to earn the opportunity at the Heavyweight belt. Due to the fact that then-champion Cain Velasquez was injured, Werdum instead fought Mark Hunt for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Title. Werdum finished Hunt halfway through the second round, throwing a long knee from range, connecting perfectly to send him to the canvas.

Finally, on June 13th of 2015, Werdum challenged for the UFC Undisputed Heavyweight Championship, defeating Velasquez by guillotine choke in the third round, and was declared the unquestioned champion of the heavyweight division. In his first and only title defense opportunity, he faced first-time title challenger, Stipe Miocic. While charging forward and throwing a flurry, Werdum was caught with a counter right-hand that sent him crashing into the canvas. He was out cold.

Since then, Werdum traded wins and losses through his final contract with the UFC and in 2021 decided to go fight for the PFL (Professional Fighters League). His first and only fight with them was met with controversy as it seemed his opponent tapped to a choke prior to a fight ending sequence that left Werdum on the losing end. The fight has since been reviewed and overturned to a no-contest.

7. Junior dos Santos (21-10 MMA, 15-8 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. dos Santos
  • Title won: November 12, 2011
  • Defenses: 1

“Cigano”, Junior dos Santos or JDS for short, grew up in Brazil training in capoeira before committing to BJJ at the age of 21. He turned pro just one year later (2006), winning his first 5 fights in little over a year’s time. After winning 6 of his first 7 fights, he made his debut for the UFC as a clear underdog against Fabricio Werdum. In a stunning turn of events, JDS knocked Werdum out in under two-minutes, earning him the knockout of the year for the UFC.

To follow the impressive start, Cigano followed with six wins in a row to fight for the title against the aforementioned Cain Velasquez. It was a massive overhand that sent Velasquez tumbling and earned JDS his first UFC Heavyweight Championship. Six months later, he successfully defended his title against perennial contender, Frank Mir, defeating him with superior boxing and finishing the fight in the second round.

Seven months later, JDS faced Velasquez for a second time and lost his title by unanimous decision. Though he would go on to challenge for the title a few more times throughout his career, dos Santos was yet to capture it again, ending his UFC tenure riding a four-fight losing streak against a row of killers (Francis Ngannou, Curtis Blaydes, Jairzinho Rozenstruik and Ciryl Gane).

In March of 2021, it was announced that JDS was being released from the UFC and we have since seen him also compete in professional wrestling, but for an organization called All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Last year, he fought for Eagle FC against Yorgan De Castro and was winning until he suffered a shoulder injury in round three.

8. Cain Velasquez (14-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Brock Lesnar at UFC 121 and defeated Junor dos Santos at UFC 166
  • Title won: October 23, 2010 and December 29, 2012
  • Defenses: 2

Cain Velasquez stands as one of the most intimidating forces to ever compete inside a UFC octagon. Sure, he has some blemishes to his record, but he remains one of the most gifted and awe-inspiring heavyweight fighters who ever was.

After a high school career that saw him compile a record of 110-10, Velasquez went on to win an NJCAA National Championship for Iowa Central Community College before transferring to Arizona State University. There, he secured 5th and 4th place finishes at the NCAA tournament in his final two years (2005-06).

Right after college, Velasquez joined American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) and began training to take his first fight. That same year, he fought twice, winning his first two bouts within the first round due to strikes. That was enough to earn him a shot at the UFC, where his domination continued as he rattled off eight wins in a row, including one over “Big Nog”, with only one of them not coming by KO/TKO.

Enter “The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar. Though Brock started strong by landing a takedown, Velasquez eventually made it back to his feet and ended the fight with elite striking. Not only did he derail the Lesnar hype train, he captured UFC gold! Unfortunately, he tore his rotator cuff in the midst of the fight and was sidelined for a year before making his first title defense, which was against a Brazilian up-and-comer named Junior dos Santos. This fight was billed as an exciting clash but many expected Velasquez to dominate in retaining his title. Just one minute into the skirmish, it was a sweeping overhand by dos Santos that connected, put Velasquez down and led to the finishing sequence of punches.

Though his title reign ended quickly, it wasn’t long before he was fighting for gold once again, defeating Antonio Silva 6 months later to earn another shot at JDS. This time, the fight went much more as expected, seeing Velasquez dominate dos Santos for all five rounds on his way to a unanimous decision win, where he landed double digit takedowns, and triple digit significant strikes. Once again, one of the most imposing forces in MMA was the UFC Heavyweight Champion.

After capturing the title for a second time, Velasquez was back to his finishing ways, defending the title against Antonio Silva and JDS, winning both before the bell thanks to his heavy hands. Then came Fabricio Werdum. Werdum had won the Interim title a few months before, as Velasquez had gotten injured in preparation for their initial title fight. Once they finally met in the octagon, Werdum was able to finish Cain by guillotine choke in the third round, marking the first time he had lost via submission in his nearly 10-year career.

A rematch was scheduled for February of 2016, but both fighters needed more time as injuries arose. Upon his return, Velasquez faced and defeated Travis Browne (18-7-1 MMA, 9-7-1 UFC), but in another attempt to face Werdum, he was not cleared by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to bone spurs in his back.

Velasquez took one last fight in February 2019 against Francis Ngannou, where, in 26 short seconds, a short uppercut dropped him and led to him to being finished by ground and pound.

Since fighting in MMA, he is currently competing as a professional wrestler for Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and has made appearances in the WWE. He seems to be moving on from real fighting to opt more for entertainment, and good on him for continuing to use his athletic skills to bring something worth watching to the world.

9. Shane Carwin (12-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Frank Mir at UFC 111
  • Title won: March 27, 2010
  • Defenses: 0

A lot of heavyweight champions have a wrestling background but unlike his wrestling counterparts, ,”The Engineer ” Shane Carwin has a college degree and worked in mechanical engineering alongside his MMA career.

At Western State College, Shane pursued his degree while competing in both wrestling and football, becoming a NCAA D2 Heavyweight Champion and participating in the Senior Bowl in 1997. This guy can handle a lot at once!

That being the case, Carwin took his time and eventually made his debut in MMA in 2005. He took 8 fights over the course of two years, winning them all and earning his shot in the UFC. Between 2008-09, The Engineer fought Christain Wellisch, Neil Wain and Gabriel Gonzaga, winning each fight in the first round and demonstrating spectacular punching power. This led to him having the opportunity to compete for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship against then-champion Frank Mir.

Carwin’s punching power reigned supreme in a fight where he smashed Mir against the fence and proceeded to hammer him with short punches before falling to the ground and being finished off with ground and pound from the back. Carwin captured a piece of UFC gold and was set to unify the title in a bout against Brock Lesnar. This unification didn’t go Carwin’s way, and he lost his following bout to Junior dos Santos, but he remains as one of the more powerful punchers in UFC history.

Shane Carwin never fought MMA again, but did fight a modified rules boxing match against skateboarder Jason Ellis in 2016, where he had his right arm duct taped to his body. Nonetheless – surprise, surprise – he still won by knockout.

10. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-10-1 MMA, 5-6 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 81
  • Title won: February 2, 2008
  • Defenses: 0

“Big Nog” Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira practiced judo, boxing and Brazilian jiu-jitsu in his time growing up in Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil. By the age of 25, he was set to make his mixed martial arts debut. Most of his early career was spent fighting for PRIDE, where he faced quite a few of MMA’s top contenders, notching wins over Dan Henderson (32-15 MMA, 9-9 UFC) and former UFC champs Ricco Rodriguez and Fabricio Werdum.

In 2008, nine years and 35 fights into his MMA career, Antônio met and defeated Tim Sylvia to capture the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship in comeback fashion, pulling off a guillotine choke shortly after being knocked down with strikes late in the third round. After winning the title, Nog and former UFC Champion Frank Mir appeared as coaches on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. After the season, Nogueira and Mir fought for the interim title where Mir won the lopsided affair by TKO in the second round. 

From then on, Big Nog traded wins for losses until hitting a three-fight skid that led to his retirement. Nogueira’s career was marked with him being a dominant force on the ground, with skills exceeding that of any other fighters at the time – and that’s how he should be remembered.

11. Brock Lesnar (5-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 91
  • Title won: November 15, 2008
  • Defenses: 2

Our next champion is the WWE’s long-tenured bad boy, Brock Lesnar. Lesnar, like many before and after him, grew up an amateur wrestler. He went on to compete at Bismarck State College, winning a national junior college title (NJCAA) in his sophomore year before transferring to the University of Minnesota. There, Lesnar became a two-time Big Ten Champion and a one-time NCAA Champion. After college, Lesnar transitioned into professional wrestling where he made his debut for the WWE in 2002, just two years into his career.

Lesnar rose to stardom quickly, defeating Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson later that year to become the youngest WWE champion at age 25. Lesnar would spend five more years headlining WWE events before eventually making and winning his MMA debut in 2007.

In just his 2nd MMA fight, Lesnar faced former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir, in a test he would not pass, losing by kneebar. Next, he had a scheduled bout with Mark Coleman that unfortunately never happened due to a Coleman injury (can you imagine how insane those two would look fighting one another??). His replacement, Heath Herring (28-16 MMA, 2-3 UFC) was a formidable opponent, but undoubtedly a step down from Mir. This fight managed to go the distance with Lesnar taking the win by unanimous decision, and was more than enough evidence for the UFC that they could put the WWE star in a fight for the title (plus, dollar signs…)

In a fight for the UFC Heavyweight Championship, we saw the sports most heralded heavyweight champion of the time, Randy Couture, fall in the second round to MMA newbie Lesnar. Brock was able to keep the fight standing and after knocking down Couture with strikes, was able to capitalize and finish the fight by raining down punches. Through 2010, we saw Brock defend his title in two unification bouts, one avenging a loss against Frank Mir with punches, and another by finishing Shane Carwin with an arm-triangle choke.

Though starting his career incredibly strong, Lesnar went on to lose his title to then-up-and-comer Cain Valezquez by first round TKO. After battling a bout of diverticulitis that required surgery, Lesnar returned to face Alistair Overeem and lost in the first round after taking multiple body shots. In his last fight with the UFC, he faced the storied Mark Hunt in a fight that he dominated, but was later overturned to a no-contest after Lesnar tested positive for performance enhancing drugs.

Though a comeback has been discussed at various points, nothing has come to fruition and at this point, that’s likely a good thing. Lesnar’s time in the UFC was short lived, but nothing less than massively entertaining. With his showmanship and the experience he attained as a top WWE athlete, Lesnar certainly added some fun wrinkles to the UFC history books in the late 2000s.

12. Andrei Arlovski (32-21 MMA, 23-15 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 51
  • Title won: February 5, 2005
  • Defenses: 2

“The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski is the oldest fighter on this list who’s still actively competing in the UFC. At 44, Arlovski has won 4 of his last 5 fights, most recently notching a victory in April, 2022.

Bullied as a kid, Arlovski started Sambo, Judo, and Kickboxing at the age of 16, eventually winning the European Youth Sambo Championships. Shortly after his success in Sambo, Arlovski developed an interest in MMA, which inspired him to develop other skills and become a more well-rounded martial artist.

Winning 7 of his first 10 fights, Arlovski matched up against Sylvia in 2005 to fight for the UFC Interim Heavyweight Championship that was created following Frank Mir’s motorcycle accident. In this fight, Arlovski faced Tim Sylvia and finished him with a straight ankle lock after dropping him with a vicious right hand. Arlovski now had gold around his waist!

While waiting for a unification bout against Mir, Arlovski defended his title twice, TKO-ing Justin Eilers (19-7-1 MMA, 1-3 UFC) in the first round and then doing the same to Paul Buentello (35-17 MMA, 3-3 UFC) in the second. As a result of these dominant performances and Mir’s continued absence, Arlovski was promoted and became the undisputed champion.

By this point, though, Sylvia had rebounded from his earlier loss to Arlovski, winning three consecutive fights and setting up a rematch between the two rivals. Ultimately, Sylvia would seize the belt by beating Arlovski in consecutive fights. Although Arlovski has remained a strong presence on the circuit after those losses to Sylvia and undoubtedly still has gas left in the tank (he wants to fight until at least 45), he hasn’t participated in any championship fights since he last lost to Sylvia in 2006. Let’s hope he can keep up his strong form and avoid a downward spiral to round out his career as many before him have.

13. Frank Mir (19-13 MMA, 16-11 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 48 and defeated Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92
  • Title won: June 19, 2004 and December 27, 2008
  • Defenses: 0

Like Randy Couture, Frank Mir is a recognizable name, fighting in the UFC 26 times over 16 years.

A 16-year vet of the UFC, Mir got his start training at the American Kenpo school that his parents owned and then later turned to wrestling as a way to improve his American Kenpo performance. After high school, Frank met UFC matchmaker Joe Silva while training BJJ, who convinced Mir to try out MMA. Two fights and two wins later, Mir earned a shot with the UFC. 

After 6 UFC fights spanning 3 years (2001-04), he got a chance at gold in 2004, squaring off against Tim Sylvia for the vacant UFC Heavyweight title. Mir broke Sylvia arm in the first round. Yes, you read that right. Even though Mir had Sylvia locked up in a straight armbar, Sylvia refused to tap; for his troubles, Sylvia had his arm snapped into four pieces. F*ck that! Unfortunately, Mir broke his femur and torn multiple ligaments in his leg. Unable to unify and defend his interim title, Mir was stripped of his belt.

When he finally came back a year and a half later in February 2006, Mir was upset by BJJ blackbelt Marcio Cruz (8-3 MMA, 2-2 UFC), losing by TKO in the first round. After a turbulent two years, Mir spoiled Brock Lesnar’s UFC debut in 2008, earning him a chance to once again fight for the Heavyweight belt. Battling for the interim title against Antônio Rodrigo Noguiera, Mir knocked out the Brazilian with a flurry of punches. Sadly, Mir’s second attempt at defending his title only went marginally better than his first, with Brock Lesnar ground-and-pounding him during their rematch.

Mir again fought for the interim title (2010), and then the undisputed title (2011), losing both bouts to Shane Carwin and Junior dos Santos respectively. Since then, Mir is 3-7 in MMA and 0-2 in boxing (kinda – see Triad Combat).

14. Tim Sylvia (31-10 MMA, 9-4 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 and defeated Andrei Arlovski at UFC 59
  • Title won: February 28, 2003 and April 15, 2006
  • Defenses: 3

Two fights and three rounds. That is all it took for “The Maine-iac” Tim Sylvia to capture UFC gold.

Well, kind of… While it only took him the first round of his second UFC event, Sylvia had fought 16 times before joining the promotion. Originally a Karate kid who wrestled in high school, Sylvia played semi-pro football upon graduation until he fully committed himself to MMA.

After a brief three-fight stint on the amateur circuit, Sylvia won his first 16 professional fights, with 10 of those victories coming either via TKO/KO or a submission. In his 15th pro fight, he KO’d Ricco Rodriguez to become the Heavyweight Champion and managed to successfully defend the title against Gan McGee in February 2003. Unfortunately for Sylvia, he lost his belt to Frank Mir in his next fight, submitting after being put in an armbar in the first round.

In 2005, Sylvia faced off against Andrei Arlovski for the vacant belt, but succumbed to an Achilles lock. However, Sylvia got his revenge against Arlovski the next year, knocking out the Belrusian in a rematch and reclaiming the title. Sylvia defended his throne against Arlovski (the final installment of their trilogy) and Jeff Monson, but eventually lost a unanimous decision to Randy Couture, who captured his fifth UFC Championship in a unanimous decision.

After his departure from the UFC, Tim fought another 14 times against varying competition, including another fight against Arlovski and one against Fedor Emelianenko (40-7 MMA). 

In 2015, Sylvia was denied medical clearance to fight and announced his retirement in the cage alongside his potential opponent. Although Sylvia hadn’t had enough, the doctors had.

15. Ricco Rodriguez (54-27-0-1 MMA, 5-2 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 39
  • Title won: September 27, 2002
  • Defenses: 0

Ricco “Suave” Rodriguiez had his first fight in 1999 with his last coming in 2019. Yep. Astonishingly, he’s successfully fought in three separate decades.

After growing up between New Jersey and Staten Island, Ricco later relocated to California to train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After a few years of competing in BJJ tournaments, he made his MMA debut in 1999. Within two years of starting in MMA, Rodriguez amassed a 9-1 record before joining the chance to join the UFC. In his early UFC fights, Rodriguez took out perennial warriors Andrei Arlovski, Pete Williams and Tsuyoshi Kosaka, earning the right to challenge for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship against none other than the legendary Randy Couture.

Despite being dominated by Couture for the bulk of the fight, Ricco Suave secured an early takedown with three minutes left in the fifth round, breaking Couture’s orbital bone with vicious elbows and forcing Couture to verbally tap.

Rodriguez was now a champion, but not for long – after defeating Randy Couture, Rodriguez lost his title less than 6-months later when he faced an undefeated Tim Sylvia. Sylvia KO’d him in the first round and Rodriguez’s time in the UFC came to an end shortly thereafter once his contract expired in 2004. For the next 16 years, Rodriguez bounced around a variety of smaller circuits (even briefly transitioning to boxing), before retiring.

16. Josh Barnett (35-8 MMA, 7-3 UFC)
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  • Title fight: Defeated Randy Couture at UFC 36
  • Title won: March 22, 2002
  • Defenses: 0

Josh Barnett has been wildly successful in his time as a martial artist, but his career has been marred by controversy.

With 29 of his 35 wins coming by KO/TKO or submission, Barnett has been able to put away most of his opponents, including a TKO of Randy Couture to claim the title belt in March of 2002. Still, Barnett would be stripped of the title a few months after the fight after flunking his second steroid test of that year.

This would be a common occurrence for Barnett throughout his career as he would go on to fail several more times. Although Barnett was one of the most prominent fighters to be caught juicing, he was hardly an anomaly; the UFC had rampant steroid usage problems during its early years, which has since necessitated the intervention of USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency).

In 2009, Barnett, now on the Affliction circuit, again tested positive for steroids, spoiling a prospective fight against Fedor Emelianenko.

Josh Barnett is a great fighter, there’s no debating that. He has defeated the likes of Mark Hunt (13-14-1-1 MMA, 8-8-1-1 UFC), and former champions Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir. The dude can fight, but he never had the chance to fully live up to his potential because he couldn’t (or wouldn’t) stay clean.

17. Kevin Randleman (17-16 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Susumu Nagao/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Pete Williams at UFC 23
  • Title won: November 19, 1999
  • Defenses: 1

Cue DJ Khalad. It’s time for “another one” with our next wrestler-turned-UFC Heavyweight Champion, Kevin “The Monster” Randleman. Like his mentor, former UFC heavyweight champ Mark Coleman, Randleman was a high school state champion in Ohio who then won two NCAA titles at The Ohio State University. Under Coleman’s tutelage at Team Hammer House, Randleman quickly climbed the ladder after making his UFC debut in 1999.

After defeating former champ Maurice Smith in his debut and taking the controversial loss to Bas Rutten in his first attempt at gold, Randleman was awarded a second chance to fight for the crown once Rutten abdicated the throne. In his second attempt for the title, Randleman decisively defeated Pete Williams in five rounds.

As champion, Randleman successfully defended the belt against Pedro Rizzo (unanimous decision) before losing to multiple time champ, Randy Couture by TKO. Over the next 10 years he fought for the UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce before retiring at the age of 39. In 2016, he tragically passed away due to heart failure, but his legacy as one of the UFC’s toughest fighters lives on.

18. Bas Rutten (28-4-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC)
Josh Hedges / Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Kevin Randleman at UFC 20
  • Title won: May 7, 1999
  • Defenses: 0

If you’re a fan of MMA, there’s a very good chance you’ve seen an ad with this incredibly spirited gentleman beating the shit out of this crazy-looking pad covered machine. If you haven’t seen it, you’re welcome (see Body Action System).

Bas Rutten’s UFC career may have been short lived, but he was an astute veteran of combat having had 30 professional fights (all with Pancrase) going into his debut. After he battered Tsuyoshi Kosaka (42-33-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), Bas got a title shot against Kevin Randleman. In a fight where position was dominated by Randleman, it was the accumulation of strikes that won the fight for Rutten who was fighting off his back nearly the entire fight. This split decision was met with heated controversy and resulted in the change of the judges’ official scoring system.

Bas vacated the title to drop to middleweight (now light heavyweight) to challenge to be the UFC’s first double champ. However, multiple injuries in preparation for his return led to the end of his UFC career.

His stint in the UFC was short, but his impact on the sport is still felt today as he was recognized as one of the sports first great technicians and was regarded for a time as the world’s greatest martial artist.

19. Randy Couture (19-11 MMA, 16-8 UFC)
Josh Hedges / Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Maurice Smith at UFC Japan: Ultimate Japan, defeated Kevin Randleman at UFC 28 and defeated Tim Sylvia at UFC 68
  • Title won: December 2, 1997, November 17, 2000 and March 3, 2007
  • Defenses: 3

“The Natural” Randy Couture captured the UFC heavyweight strap three times over his 14-year career and also defended it three times. Since August 2007, only one other heavyweight has reigned victorious in six title bouts, none more than that.


Randy’s style was reminiscent of Mark Coleman’s, albeit with Couture being much more well-rounded and technical than the “smash heavy” Coleman. Couture became champion for the first time by defeating Maurice Smith in a close, slow-paced fight, but didn’t hold the title for very long.

In January 1998, Couture signed with Vale Tudo Japan and was stripped of his UFC title. In his return nearly three years later, Couture faced and defeated storied wrestler, Kevin Randleman. After defeating Randleman, Couture successfully defended his title against Pedro Rizzo (20-11 MMA, 9-5 UFC) not once, but twice in a row, as Rizzo was awarded an immediate rematch after a tightly contested first fight. After losing the title to Josh Barnett in March 2002, Couture regained the belt five years later for the third and final time, defeating Tim Sylvia. Couture managed to successfully defend his title for the last time against Gabriel Gonzaga (17-12 MMA, 12-10 UFC), but Couture’s title reign finally reached its end when he faced the ultimate hype train that is Brock Lesnar.

Though he never fought for a title again, Randy Couture remains one of the most legendary and successful heavyweights in the short history of the UFC.

20. Maurice Smith (14-17 MMA, 4-3 UFC)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Mark Coleman at UFC 14
  • Title won: July 27, 1997
  • Defenses: 1

Maurcie Smith‘s title reign lasted just a little bit longer than his predecessor Mark Coleman’s, as Smith notched one title defense against fan-favorite, Tank Abbott (10-15 MMA, 8-10 UFC).

Prior to joining the UFC, “Mo” was an avid kickboxer. Although he didn’t officially make his kickboxing debut until he was 30 years old, Smith began training at 18. After 9 kickboxing matches, a little Pancrase and a stint on the regional MMA scene, Smith defeated Heavyweight Champion Mark Coleman in his UFC debut, taking the title belt from Coleman and handing him the first loss of his UFC career in the process. Though he ended his career with more losses than wins, Smith etched his name into the history books by delivering one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.

Another (not so favorable) reason he’s going to be remembered is for his controversial loss to Randy Couture in his second title defense.

21. Mark Coleman (16-10 MMA, 7-5 UFC)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
  • Title fight: Defeated Dan Severn at UFC 12
  • Title won: February 7, 1997
  • Defenses: 0

Mark Coleman was – is – a maniac! (I mean that in the best way; I’ve met him and he’s awesome). After an accomplished amateur career that included two Ohio high school state titles, an NCAA championship and an appearance in the 1992 Summer Olympics, Coleman devoted himself to the then-new sport of MMA after stumbling onto a broadcast of UFC 1. 

Coleman started his combat sports career in his teens as a wrestler for Saint Joseph Central Catholic High School. After winning two state championships, he went on to wrestle at Miami University, in Ohio, before transferring to The Ohio State University and winning an NCAA championship. After placing 7th at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, Mark happened to see the broadcast of UFC 1. From there, he dove headfirst into this new sport of MMA.

From the outset, Coleman dominated, thanks to a style that earned him the nickname, “The Godfather of Ground and Pound”. It was clear from the start of every fight that Coleman’s one goal was to take the action to the ground and strike his opponent unconscious or until they submitted. Thanks to his elite wrestling and ground and pound ability, he earned the first ever UFC Heavyweight Championship belt by defeating Dan Severn (101-19-7 MMA, 9-4 UFC) in a fight to unify the UFC Superfight Champion and UFC Tournament Champion titles.

Though he was dominant early, his reign was short; Coleman lost his first and only title defense to the aforementioned kickboxer Maurice Smith. His stay may have been short-lived, but his impact is still felt to this day as one of the OG’s of MMA and one of the sport’s tactical trailblazers.


Who Are The Current UFC Champions?

Are you wondering who are all of the current UFC champions?

First, let’s dive in to the sport itself. UFC has become a massive global sports brand since its introduction in 1993. They are currently the largest pay-per-view event provider on the planet.

RELATED: Who Have Been the UFC Heavyweight Champions?

UFC is televised in over 165 countries, with more than 60 global broadcast partners, to more than 1.1 billion households worldwide. They also boast the highest concentration of millennials (ages 18-34) in its fan base (40%) compared to other top sports properties.

The explosive growth of the sport has transformed their champions in to worldwide stars, with exciting knockouts and submissions going viral on social media at almost every UFC event.

For new fans and those who may be unaware, here’s a current list of UFC champions according to the official UFC rankings.

The standings are as follows:

  • Heavyweight Champion: Jon Jones (27-1-0 (1 NC))
  • Light-heavyweight Champion: Jamahal Hill (12-1-0)
  • Middleweight Champion: Alex Pereira (7-1-0)
  • Welterweight Champion: Leon Edwards (20-3-0)
  • Lightweight Champion: Islam Makhachev (24-1-0)
  • Featherweight Champion: Alexander Volkanovski (25-2-0)
  • Bantamweight Champion: Aljamain Sterling (22-3-0)
  • Flyweight Champion: Brandon Moreno (21-6-2)
  • Women’s Featherweight: Amanda Nunes (22-5-0)
  • Bantamweight Champion: Amanda Nunes (22-5-0)
  • Women’s Flyweight Champion: Alexa Grasso (16-3-0)
  • Women’s Strawweight Champion: Zhang Weili (23-3-0)
Heavyweight Champion: Jon Jones (27-1-0 (1 NC))
Getty Images
  • Date won: March 4th 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Following a scarily close fight with Dominick Reyes at UFC 247, Jones eventually vacated the Light Heavyweight title, expressing his desire for big money for a move up to Heavyweight that he had been teasing since 2012. For years, the move was somewhat in limbo, with Jones claiming he was bulking up the entire time.

Finally, Jones fought at Heavyweight at UFC 285 against Cyril Gane, who he took to the ground and tapped in astonishingly rapid fashion, cementing his status as the greatest fighter of all time for many. As it stands, Jones will likely fight former Heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic in July.

Light-heavyweight Champion: Jamahal Hill (12-1-0)
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  • Date won: January 21st 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Jamahal Hill was on a respectable three-fight win streak when he got his Light Heavyweight title opportunity, but it was still an opportunity that came along mainly because of the injury that Jiří Procházka suffered, forcing him to vacate the title and allowing Jamahal Hill to slide in.

He grabbed the chance with both hands, kicking off the new year by winning a decision over former champion Glover Teixera, who retired after the bout.

Middleweight Champion: Alex Pereira (7-1-0)
Jamie Squire / Staff Getty Images
  • Date won: November 12th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0

Alex Pereira took the UFC by storm on his run and marched his way to a title fight against former two-time foe Israel Adesanya at UFC 281. Although you might presume Israel would have been a heavy favorite due to his own run, both of the fighters’ previous bouts ended with Pereira’s hands raised; one by decision and one by a knockout.

History would end up repeating itself, with Pereira taking out Adesanya and claiming the title in the fifth round with a TKO. Pereira hasn’t had any title defenses yet, but if get his first one against Adesanya at their upcoming rematch at UFC 287 in April, he might hold onto the Middleweight strap for a while.

Welterweight Champion: Leon Edwards (20-3-0)
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  • Date won: August 20th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0

Kamaru Usman had the kind of dominant run as UFC Welterweight Champion that had people starting to mention GOAT status. He had multiple title defenses with most of them ending via knockout. Before UFC 278, it looked as though no one in the world could beat Usman… That was until he fought Leon Edwards for the second time.

Edwards was struggling throughout the fight and if the fight had gone 56 seconds longer, he would’ve lost another decision. In the fifth round he faked a jab to force Usman’s head to his right side and met it with a jaw-dropping kick, resulting in a vicious KO. The pair are set to meet for the third time later this month in London.

Lightweight Champion: Islam Makhachev (23-1-0)
Chris Unger / Contributor Getty Images
  • Date won: October 22nd 2022
  • Title defenses: 1

To those that paid close attention, it felt inevitable that Islam Makhachev would be crowned a world champion one day when he was rising up the ranks. Trained by UFC Lightweight GOAT Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev’s wrestling is so exceptional that presents a real danger for any fighter around the same size.

He won the title against Charles Oliveria at UFC 280 in a dominant performance which made it look like a mismatch, with Makhachev getting the victory in the second round after an arm triangle. His one defense to date was against then-P4P #1 Alexander Volkanovski.

Featherweight Champion: Alexander Volkanovski (25-1)
Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC
  • Date won: December 14th 2019
  • Title defenses: 4

The rugby player turned mixed martial artist picked up UFC gold with a victory over Max Holloway at UFC 245. The two fought to another decision in the rematch, albeit a closer one which many felt warranted a trilogy fight. Before that, Volk fought The Korean Zombie at UFC 273 and won via TKO in a fight where he looked superhuman. In his most recent Featherweight battle, Volkanovski took on Holloway for a 3rd time. While the first two fights were remarkably competitive, the third was not. Volkanovski made his mark, and closed the final chapter to the rivalry.

At UFC 284 in February, Alex went up to Lightweight to challenge Islam Makhachev for the title and though he came closer than many anticipated, the judges awarded the decision to Islam and now Volk looks set to fight the Featherweight Interim Champion Yair Rodríguez.

Bantamweight Champion: Aljamain Sterling (21-3-0)
Jeff Bottari / Contributor
  • Date won: March 6th 2021
  • Title defenses: 2

At UFC 259, Aljamain Sterling became the Bantamweight king in bizarre fashion. In the fourth round against Petr Yan, Sterling was hit by a textbook example of an illegal knee strike. Sterling was clearly injured and the referee declared that Yan was to be disqualified, giving Aljo the belt. Prior to the knee, Yan was winning on two of the three scorecards, which meant a second fight was inevitable. Yan defeated Cory Sandhagen at UFC 267 for the interim title, after Sterling was forced to pull out due to a serious neck injury. When Sterling did meet back up with Yan, he shocked a lot of fans by defeated Yan in a split decision. Six months later, Sterling met with former champion T.J. Dillashaw and put it on him, stopping him with strikes in the second round.

Flyweight Champion: Brandon Moreno (21-6-2)
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  • Date won: January 21st 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Fights that happen four times are very rare in MMA, but it was warranted when Brandon Moreno and Deiveson Figueiredo had a win, a loss and a draw each in their first three fights. Moreno won the title in the pair’s second fight, lost it in their third fight and at their most recent fight in January, he won it back after a doctor’s stoppage between the third and fourth rounds.

Moreno became the first Mexican-born champion when he won the title in June of 2021 and will look to defend it later in the year.

Women’s Featherweight Champion: Amanda Nunes (21-4)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC
  • Date won: December 19th 2018
  • Title defenses: 2

The Lioness is considered by many to be one of the best fighters in the world. When she was on a win streak that included first round finishes over Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey and a pair of decision wins over Valentina Shevchenko at Bantamweight, she got an opportunity to face 145lb champion Cris Cyborg in Inglewood, California. She silenced any critics, putting away Cyborg in under a minute in one of the best wins in the sport. Since then, the lack of real contenders at Featherweight has meant that she has picked up just two defenses of this belt, one against Felicia Spencer and the other against Megan Anderson.

Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes (22-5)
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  • Date won: July 30th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0 (5 on previous run)

After winning the Bantamweight strap at UFC 200, Amanda Nunes has had an unprecedented title run at 135lbs. In the coming years, she knocked out Holly Holm and Ronda Rousey, the only other women to hold the title, in the first round. She was cruising through title defenses and even went up to Featherweight to win her aforementioned title there. When she met Julianna Peña at UFC 269, many expected a dismal fate for the Venezuelan, but it ended up being one of the bigger upsets in the history of the sport.

Nunes was far from done, though. The two would meet again in July of 2022 and Nunes would have her revenge. The Lioness put on a clinic in the decision victory, showing off her striking from both stances and used her superior strength to secure important takedowns late in the fight.

Women’s Flyweight Champion: Alexa Grasso (16-3-0)
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  • Date won: March 4th 2023
  • Title defenses: 0

Coming into UFC 285, very few people gave Alexa Grasso a chance against Valentina Shevchenko, who was basically the entire division’s history at that point, racking up a title win and seven defenses in three years, losing very few rounds in the process. Still though, MMA is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world and all it took was for the Bullet to attempt a spinning attack and Grasso jumped on the back, putting in a choke and tapping Valentina in the fourth round.

Women’s Strawweight Champion: Zhang Weili (23-3-0)
Jeff Bottari / Contributor Getty Images
  • Date won: November 12th 2022
  • Title defenses: 0 (1 on previous run)

Finishing up our list of current UFC Champions is Zhang Weili, who originally won the Strawweight title in the summer of 2019, when she took the belt from Jéssica Andrade in 42 seconds in her home country. She defended the title once in one of the greatest fights in UFC history with Joanna Jędrzejczyk, before falling to Rose Namajunas’s beautiful headkick at UFC 261.

UFC 281 would prove to be Weili’s shining comeback moment, as she defeated Carla Esparza for the title. She dominated the fight and took the victory after a rear-naked choke submission in the second round. She has not defended her title yet but time will tell if Weili can extend her championship reign.

Which of these current UFC Champions are you most excited about? Shoot us a message on Twitter @137pm and let us know!


The Most Expensive Jon Jones Cards of All-Time

Wondering what the most expensive Jon Jones cards ever sold were as he gets set to finally step back in to the octagon? Let’s get in to it!

Jon Jones has had an immeasurable impact on the UFC and mixed martial arts as a whole. With a career 26-1 record, “Bones” ranks high on every major all-time UFC fighter list, and it’s no wonder why.

After some legal issues and time spent away from the fight game, Jones makes his much-anticipated return against heavyweight competitor Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. This main event match takes place on March 4th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Related: Top 20 Most Valuable UFC Cards Ever Sold

Recently, we’ve seen an uptick in the popularity of MMA trading cards. In 2021, Panini acquired rights to the UFC license, and they quickly released an inaugural Prizm set. Many cards from that set have eclipsed well over the $10,000 mark, so collectors are willing to drop big money on their favorite fighters.

Today, we are highlighting top Jon”Bones” Jones card sales of all time.  To keep the list fresh, we are only allowing an individual card to appear once.  Without further ado, here are the ten most expensive Jon Jones cards!

1. Jon Jones 2022 Prizm UFC Black Parallel 1/1 – $11,982

To start the list off, we have one of the most coveted parallels in sports cards: the black 1/1. Since the Prizm lime debuted in 2012, the black parallel has been extremely sought after, and it is oftentimes an athlete’s biggest card. Case in point for Jones, whose 2022 Prizm UFC 1/1 went for nearly $12,000 back in April 2022.

The card encapsulates a horizontal shot of Bones with the title belt. A piece like this shows you just how important photography and aesthetics are to a card’s value.

2. Jon Jones / Dana White 2010 Topps UFC ‘Thoughts From the Boss’ Dual Autograph /25 BGS 9 – $8,800

The only dual autograph on this list features Jones and Dana White, president of the UFC. These names are both staples in the modern fighting industry, so having them both on one card is extremely impressive. White is also one of the few sports executives who would have a sizable card market, so this is just a wildly unique MMA piece.

3. Jon Jones 2012 Topps Finest ‘Bloodlines’ Red Refractor 1/1 Autograph BGS 9.5 – $6,600

At three, we have arguably the coolest card on the list. We are suckers for old-school Finest refractors, and this one takes the cake. A 1/1 parallel? An American flag background? The “Bones” inscription on the signature? It’s no surprise why this one sold for $6,600 in July 2022.

4. Jon Jones 2009 Topps UFC Round 2 Rookie Autograph PSA 10 – $5,223

Next, we have Jones’ first licensed autograph from all the way back in 2009. Back then, Bones was a 22-year-old light heavyweight looking to make his mark in the octagon. Now, 14 years later, his resume speaks for itself, and he’s still looking for more. This card has sold for as high as $5,223, although recent sales have ranged from $3,600-4,000.

*The card shown above is from a 2022 sale rather than the Jan. 2021 all-time high.

T-5. Jon Jones 2021 Prizm UFC Gold Prizm /10 SGC 9.5 – $5,000

As we mentioned earlier, 2021 was the inaugural year for Prizm UFC, so this is actually Jones’ first Prizm card. Check out the awesome action shot they used, which showcases Bones in the middle of a trademark kick. This card, which is encased in an SGC 9.5 holder, last sold for $5,000.

T-5. Jon Jones 2022 Prizm UFC Flashback Tribute Gold Prizm /10 PSA 10 – $5,000

We have another Prizm Gold tied at fifth. This set pays homage to the original 2012 Prizm design, which has since become iconic in the hobby. The card features another premier shot of Jones with the title belt, and it is limited to just 10 copies. It also sold for $5,000 in May of last year.

7. Jon Jones 2009 Topps UFC Round 2 Ultimate Gear Relic Auto PSA 8 – $4,305

Here we have the first Jon Jones patch autograph, which includes both a shorts relic and a John Hancock. This card is printed on a thicker stock with black borders, so getting a PSA 8 grade is no easy task. We rarely see this one at auction, so a higher-graded copy could eclipse the $10,000+ mark if Jones continues his dominance in the UFC.

8. Jon Jones 2022 Prizm UFC Color Blast Case Hit PSA 10 – $4,056

The Prizm Color Blast card is one of the most popular and desired modern case hits. We see these case hits in football, basketball, baseball, racing and soccer products, but we’re willing to wager that MMA does it best. Jones’ fierce fighting stance is well-accentuated by the background colors, making him seem like a larger-than-life figure. This stunner sold for as high as $4,056 in April 2022.

9. Jon Jones 2022 Donruss Optic UFC Gold Vinyl 1/1 BGS 9.5 – $2,750

2022 Donruss Optic UFC is still on the shelves at many retailers, so it’s neat to see one of the product hits already graded. This gold vinyl 1/1 is Bones’ most recent trading card, and it has already found a new home. Graded a BGS 9.5, this gem sold as a buy-it-now on eBay for $2,750.

10. Jon Jones 2009 Topps UFC Debut Rookie Gold PSA 10 – $2,450

To round it off, here is a short-printed Bones rookie from 2009. The card incorporates an action shot from Jones’ 2008 professional debut at UFC 87. This copy currently stands as the only graded PSA 10, making it one of the rarest Jon Jones cards in existence. It last sold for $2,450 in January of this year.

Will you be watching “Bones” return to the octagon? Or will you be picking up any Jon Jones cards in anticipation of fight night?

Let us know @CardTalkPod on Instagram and Twitter!


Breaking Down Every UFC Welterweight Champion Ever

There is nothing quite like the rush of watching a UFC fight. Two warriors enter the octagon with one directive, beat the guy in-front of you. Whether it’s the last-second knockouts or the impeccable technique of a tap-out, it’s undeniable how entertaining the UFC is.


Because mixed martial arts and any fighting sport in general requires you to physically fight with an opponent, weight classes and divisions are needed to ensure safety and fairness. There are eight divisions in the UFC, with Strawweight being the lightest at 115 lbs, and Heavyweight being the heaviest at 265 lbs. We’re focusing on the Welterweight division, which classifies fighters at 155 lbs to 170lbs. These are all the UFC Welterweight champions.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed1.) Leon Edwards (August 2022 - Present)</code>
1.) Leon Edwards (August 2022 – Present)
  • Title Fight: UFC 278, Edwards vs. Usman, August 20th, 2022
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 20-3-0

In one of the most improbable title upsets in UFC history, Leon Edwards knocked out Kamaru Usman at UFC 278. Edwards entered the fight a +300 underdog, and struggled throughout the fight. Late in the fifth round however, Edwards delivered a devastating kick to the face which would end the fight.

Edwards has not been able to defend his title yet but there is a fight in the works for March of 2023. All signs would point to a Edwards vs. Usman trilogy fight which would put an end to the epic rivalry between these two fighters.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2.) Kamaru Usman (March 2019 - August 2022)</code>
2.) Kamaru Usman (March 2019 – August 2022)
  • Title Fight: UFC 235, Usman vs. Woodley, March 2nd, 2019
  • Defenses: 5
  • Record: 20-2-0

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that Kamaru Usman had one of the most dominant title defense runs in UFC welterweight history. After taking the belt from Woodley at UFC 235, Usman would defend that title across five more fights before ultimately losing to Leon Edwards.

Usman defended his title against the likes of Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Gilbert Burns. Usman will have a chance to take the title back in a rematch against Edwards on an unnamed future UFC card.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3.) Tyron Woodley (July 2016 - March 2019)</code>
3.) Tyron Woodley (July 2016 – March 2019)
  • Title Fight: UFC 201, Woodley vs. Lawler, July 30th, 2016
  • Defenses: 4
  • Record: 19-7-1

The kids today may know him as the guy who lost to Jake Paul in a boxing match, but at one point Tyron Woodley was one of the most feared men on the planet. Woodley dominated his fight against Robbie Lawler, sending a flurry of punches in the first round that ended the fight.

Woodley would go on to defend his title on four occasions. He defended his belt against the likes of Stephen Thompson, Demian Maia, and Darren Till.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed4.) Robbie Lawler (December 2014 - July 2016)</code>
4.) Robbie Lawler (December 2014 – July 2016)
  • Title Fight: UFC 181, Lawler vs. Hendricks, December 6th, 2014
  • Defenses: 2
  • Record: 29-16-0

When the UFC title was vacant, Robbie Lawler had a chance to lay his claim against Johny Hendricks at UFC 171, but ultimately lost by unanimous-decision. He would get his revenge at UFC 181, defeating Hendricks by split-decision.

Lawler would defend his title successfully twice. He would defeat Rory MacDonald as well as Carlos Condit before eventually relinquishing the title to Tyron Woodley. Lawler’s most recent fight resulted in him getting knocked out in the second round by Bryan Barberena.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed5.) Johny Hendricks (March 2014 - December 2014)</code>
5.) Johny Hendricks (March 2014 – December 2014)
  • Title Fight: UFC 171, Hendricks vs. Lawler, March 15th, 2014
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 18-8-0

With Georges St-Pierre taking time off UFC for health and personal reasons, the Welterweight title was left vacant. Although Hendricks had just lost to St-Pierre, he was still first in-line at a title fight. After a highly-contested fight that went the distance, Hendricks was awarded the title by unanimous decision.

Hendricks was not able to defend his title successfully and would lose to Robbie Lawler in his next fight. Henricks would continue fighting in the UFC until his most recent loss against Paulo Costa in 2017.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6.) Georges St-Pierre (April 2008 - December 2013)</code>
6.) Georges St-Pierre (April 2008 – December 2013)
  • Title Fight: UFC 83, St-Pierre vs. Serra, April 9th, 2008
  • Defenses: 9
  • Record: 26-2-0

There is no greater fighter in the UFC welterweight division than the masterful Georges St-Pierre. After losing the title in his first defense to Matt Serra, he would take that title right back in a rematch. It only took two rounds for St-Pierre to claim his stake back as Welterweight champion.

St-Pierres run as champion spanned over five years, with him successfully defending the title on nine different occasions. He would never actually lose the title, but instead vacated the title to take a break from the UFC due to injuries and personal reasons.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed7.) Matt Serra (April 2007 - April 2008)</code>
7.) Matt Serra (April 2007 – April 2008)
  • Title Fight: UFC 69, Serra vs. St-Pierre, April 7th, 2007
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 11-7-0

In one of the most unexpected upsets the welterweight division has ever seen, Matt Serra defeated Georges St-Pierre just one fight after he had won the belt. Serra stunned the world with a first round knockout that is still legendary to look back on to this day.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed8.) Georges St-Pierre (November 2006 - April 2007)</code>
8.) Georges St-Pierre (November 2006 – April 2007)
  • Title Fight: UFC 65, St-Pierre vs. Hughes, November 18th, 2006
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 26-2-0

After losing to Matt Hughes and failing to claim his spot to a vacant UFC welterweight title, Georges St-Pierre would get his rematch at UFC 65. He would take out Matt Hughes in a second round TKO, claiming the title for the first time in his illustrious career.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9.) Matt Hughes (October 2004 - November 2006)</code>
9.) Matt Hughes (October 2004 – November 2006)
  • Title Fight: UFC 50, Hughes vs. St-Pierre, October 22nd, 2004
  • Defenses: 2
  • Record: 45-9-0

Matt Hughes is one of the most decorated UFC fighters of all-time, at one point holding the record for most UFC wins at 17. After the welterweight title went vacant, Hughes was given a shot at redemption by taking on GSP at UFC 50. He would submit St-Pierre in the first round, claiming his right back as the UFC welterweight champion.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10.) BJ Penn (January 2004 - 2004)</code>
10.) BJ Penn (January 2004 – 2004)
  • Title Fight: UFC 46, Penn vs. Hughes, January 31st, 2004
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 16-14-2

Matt Hughes was looking unstoppable on a 5 title-defense streak. BJ Penn was subbed in late for the title fight, mainly being because Hughes had decimated all top-ranked opponents. In shocking fashion Penn would submit Hughes at the end of the first round. He would soon-after sign a contract with a competitor of the UFC, leading to his title being stripped.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed11.) Matt Hughes (November 2001 - January 2004)</code>
11.) Matt Hughes (November 2001 – January 2004)
  • Title Fight: UFC 34, Hughes vs. Newton, November 2nd, 2001
  • Defenses: 5
  • Record: 45-9-0

As dominant as Georges St-Pierre was, Matt Hughes may have been just that dominant. He held the Welterweight twice over his career, defending it a total of 7 times. He would first claim the title after issuing one of the most devastating knockouts in UFC history, slamming Carlos Newton into the ground while pressed up against the cages.

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12.) Carlos Newton (May 2001 – November 2001)
  • Title Fight: UFC 31, Newton vs. Miletich, May 4th, 2001
  • Defenses: 0
  • Record: 16-14-0

Carlos Newton may have had a short-lived stint as the UFC welterweight champion, but he will always be the second person to ever hold the belt. He took down Pat Miletich at UFC 31 with a devastating choke-out in round three. Newton remains one of the best early tap-out artists the UFC had to offer.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed13.) Pat Miletich (October 1998 - May 2001)</code>
13.) Pat Miletich (October 1998 – May 2001)
  • Title Fight: UFC Brazil, Miletich vs. Burnett, October 16th, 1998
  • Defenses: 4
  • Record: 29-7-2

There are few figures as important to the early days of UFC as the great Pat Miletich. Miletich was the first ever welterweight champion, and would win four title defenses. He also created his own fighting camp and team which saw fighters win titles in three separate divisions.


Israel Adesanya’s 5 Best Fights

This Saturday at UFC 276, Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will attempt to defend his title for the fifth official* time against Jared Cannonier, who’s coming off of a vicious finish of Derek Brunson. In anticipation of the headline bout, we decided to take a look back at Israel’s five best fights so far in his UFC career.

* Israel would argue that his unification bout against Robert Whittaker in 2019 counted as a defence, which would make Saturday’s fight his sixth defence.

5. Robert Whittaker at UFC 271
MMA Fighting

Perhaps you’re a little confused about this fight making this list. For many, it was shunned as a boring fight with little to sway judges, but for anyone who understands who nuanced MMA is for either of these fighters, this was a nail-biter.

For Robert, vengeance was on his mind. For Israel, he had the tough task of having to outdo his own impressive performance against Whittaker a few years earlier. In the end, neither man fully completed their task, but that’s only a credit to their opponent.

Israel was careful about when to strike due to Robert’s explosive tendencies and Robert was timid about when to step in, the grey cloud of the first fight hanging over him. It made for an incredible spectacle and one that doesn’t make it unlikely that we see a trilogy fight between these two in the near future.

4. Paulo Costa at UFC 253
The Sporting News

Before their headlining title bout at UFC 253, both men were coming off of polar opposite performances against the Cuban Muscle Crisis, Yoel Romero. Costa and Romero had a war which left both men a little lesser than they came in. Adesanya and Romero however, was a fight that disappointed many with its inactivity.

Anyone who thought that might have an effect on the result of Adesanya and Costa’s fight at the UFC Apex was doing MMA math though, which rarely adds up. Styles make fights and Adesanya had to remind fans exactly who he was.

For the 9 minutes that the fight lasted, the Nigerian-born fighter had his way with Paulo, using lateral movement, feints and well-timed leg kicks to freeze the Brazilian. The fight was a masterclass and a swift reminder that Adesanya was in his own league when it came to kickboxing.

3. Robert Whittaker at UFC 243
MMA Fighting

Whittaker and Adesanya’s rematch from earlier this year made the cut for this list, but it’s their first meeting from 2019 that remains in fans’ minds the most.

The setting was perfect. An Australian champion fighting in Melbourne against a fighter from New Zealand, in front of a crowd of nearly 60,000. That crowd was roaring from the get-go, hearts racing because of Robert’s fiercely focused walkout and Adesanya’s dance routine before his.

Learning from Kelvin Gastelum’s success against Israel earlier that year, Whittaker had no qualms about rushing in with a barrage of punches, ending combinations with his signature high kicks. Unfortunately for him, Israel had learnt from his prior mistakes and seen what Whittaker had to offer before. He was smooth as ever, leaning out of the way of strikes that had finishes fighters in the past.

The end sequence from this fight is one that can’t help but stick in your mind. Israel was confident on the inside and used Whittaker’s own momentum against him, dropping him with a short left hook, the opening for which he had seen minutes ago. It was a star-making performance and a night to remember for both men.

2. Anderson Silva at UFC 234
The Body Lock

This fight isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s impossible to deny the optics.

Anderson and Israel were toe to toe with their vintage styles, the younger man coming out on top most of the time. Watching the two trade strikes was a moment that’s hard to describe, a true passing of the torch.

Much of this fight’s technical aspects needs rewatches to fully appreciate, but even on a more surface level, watching the pair embrace after 15 minutes of fighting was beautiful and only ages more and more gracefully as the pair see their own versions of success over time.

1. Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 236
Bloody Elbow

This is a no-brainer. Adesanya and Gastelum’s war in Atlanta, Georgia was heralded as the Fight of the Year by most outlets who compiled a list and there wasn’t much to argue about. The interim title fight was made because of Adesanya’s aforementioned win over Anderson Silva and Whittaker pulling out of his fight with Gastelum on the same card.

Some fans predicted that Kelvin’s wrestling could give Izzy a look he hadn’t seen before, but in reality it was his lunging strikes which caused the most problems, doing all but dropping Stylebender. The pair fought tooth and nail over five rounds with Israel getting his hand raised at the end of the fight and rightfully so.

It was the kind of performance that no fighter ever wants to have to put on, but was welcomed by both men anyway.


15 ONE Championship Fighters to Watch

ONE Championship (commonly referred to as ONE) is a Singapore based mixed martial arts (MMA), kick-boxing and Muay Thai promotion that has been around since 2011. It was founded by Chatri Sityodtong and is considered Asia’s largest MMA promotion and is still expanding. ONE held a few events live on TNT last Spring and ranks as one of the world’s top “ sports media properties for viewership and engagement,” according to their official website

Competition is the life-blood of any sports promotion and especially in combat sports, so ONE of course is looking to expand. ONE has had plans to come and hold events in the United States in 2020 according to Sherdog, but those plans were sidelined when COVID-19 put the world on pause. 

Now, with everyone in the fight business putting on events ONE is looking to stick to those plans. With their rule-set recently approved by the Colorado State Boxing Commission, the road to ONE bringing their brand of combat sports to the US is looking closer to happening. With that in mind, here are 15 ONE athletes that should be on your radar.

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1.) Demetrious Johnson (30-4-1)
Former UFC Flyweight champion, 2019 ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix Champion

Originally from Kentucky and fighting out of Washington,Johnson’s path to ONE is a great story because he was traded from the UFC to ONE, for Ben Askren. At the time, Johnson competed as the 125 lb champion, a division that was rumored to be gone when Johnson left but has turned out to be one of the more fun divisions to watch. When he entered ONE’s Grand Prix, he was a favorite to win and he did, but it was a tournament title, he suffered his first loss when he fought for the ONE flyweight (135 lb in ONE) division title. Still, he’s accomplished a lot in his career as an MMA fighter, so since ONE lets athletes compete in kickboxing and MMA, Johnson will be testing himself against one of the best fighters in his weight class under a special rule set and the next man on this list.

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2.) Rodtang Jitmuangnon (Muay Thai record: 267 -42 -10)
Current ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion, Three title defenses, Currently on a five-fight win streak

You’re not reading that wrong. Jitmuangnon’s Muay Thai record is 267 Wins, 42 Losses, 10 Draws. In 2020, The Nation, an English language daily online publication in Thailand where he’s from listed Jitmuangnon as the best pound-for-pound Muay Thai fighter in the world. He and Johnson faced one another in a four round fight, with the rules alternating between Muay Thai and MMA rules according. Rounds one and three were under Muay Thai rules and two and four, were under MMA. Johnson’s grappling proved to be too much.

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3.) Eddie Alvarez (30-8-2)
Former Bellator Lightweight Champion, Former UFC Lightweight Champion

Alvarez is known as “The Underground King” to fans of MMA in the northeastern United States. Growing up in Philadelphia, it was easy for Alvarez to get the hunger to be a professional fighter. First with boxing, then wrestling he found his way to MMA fighting in unsanctioned fights before making a career as a professional mixed martial artist. His fights with Michael Chandler, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Dos Anjos are some of the best fights in modern MMA. Alvarez has brought that same energy to ONE and is definitely a must watch fighter.

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4.) Shinya Aoki (47-10-1)
Former ONE Lightweight Champion, Former DEEP Lightweight Champion, Former Shooto Middleweight Champion

Aoki is probably one of the most dangerous submission based fighters in the current landscape of MMA. Of his 47 wins, 31 come by way of submission and he is currently riding a four-fight win streak in ONE. In his off time, like many MMA fighters Aoki competed in grappling events and after a win at a recent one, he challenged fellow Japanese MMA legend Yoshiro Akiyama to face him at ONE’s next event, ONE: X.

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5.) Garry Tonon (6-1)
2nd Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, No. 3 Ranked ONE Featherweight

New Jersey’s Tonon came into MMA with a heavy following from the world of competitive submission grappling. While he is known for his leg-locks, he keeps evolving as a complete mixed martial artist by using everything he has learned since making his transition to MMA in 2018. His record might seem small but as a lifelong competitor and only 30-years-old, Tonon’s name should be on your watchlist of fighters signed with ONE,  despite a recent loss to Thanh Le. 

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6.) Adriano Moraes (20-3)
Three time ONE Flyweight Champion, Current ONE Flyweight Champion

Fighting out of Brazil, Moraes was undefeated before he came to ONE riding a nine-fight win streak. He lost his debut with the promotion in 2013 and it was the first loss of his career. Fight fans unfamiliar with Moraes soon came to recognize him as he quickly became a title contender, then champion. When he fought Johnson on ONE’s TNT event, no one expected him to win against a fan favorite and former UFC champion like “Mighty Mouse” Johnson but he did. It is a testament to the level of global talent in MMA that ONE is looking to bring more exposure to. He followed up that win against Johnson with another win against Yuya Wakamatsu.

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7.) Reinier de Ridder (15-0)
ONE Light-heavyweight Champion (current), ONE Middleweight Champion (current)

Being a “Champ-Champ” in any organization is a pretty big deal. It’s making yourself top dog in two different weight classes and not many get to do it. For ONE, that man is Reinier de Ridder. The 31 year-old “Dutch Knight” got to showcase his skills on TNT last April when he won his rematch against Aung La Nsang for the light heavyweight title. Most recently, he secured an arm-triangle against Kiamrian Abbasov.

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8.) Angela Lee (11-2)
ONE Women’s Atomweight Champion (current), No.3 Ranked in ONE Women’s Strawweight division

This Canadian-American young lady holds black belts in Tae Kwon Do and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu along with her title in ONE. She has fought her entire career with ONE and the promotion recently became a mother. Lee improved her record to 11-2 with another finish win, this time against Nong Stamp.

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9.) Nieky Holzken (Kickboxing: 94-17-1)
Former Glory Welterweight Champion – 2013, 2015 Glory Welterweight Tournament Champion, No.1 Ranked in ONE’s Lightweight Kickboxing division

As stated in the beginning, ONE is a full-on martial arts promotion that holds MMA, kickboxing, and Muay Thai matches. Holzken’s resume should speak for itself but if you have never seen kickboxing on the scale it is today, this Dutch stiker’s matches are must see events. The term “high level stiker” gets thrown around a lot in MMA but when it comes to kickboxing, there are levels to levels and Holzken is on that upper tier. He recently defeated another kickboxing legend at ONE on TNT 3, who is the next kickboxer on the list. His last fight did result in a loss against Sinsamut Klinmee.   

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10.) John Wayne Parr (Kickboxing: 99-34-1)
10 time world champion, No. 4 ranked ONE Lightweight Kickboxer

The Australian striker known as“The Gunslinger” Parr may be at the end of his career in some people’s eyes but that does not mean he is looking to walk away without putting on a show. He had just signed a six-fight contract with ONE when he made his promotional debut against Holzken. While he did lose the fight, he put in a valiant effort that kept Holzken on his heels before the loss came. If you are a fan of knock outs, Parr should be on your radar.

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11.) Timofey Nastyukhin (14-6)
Former Pankration World Champion, No. 5 ranked ONE Lightweight

The Russian born Nastyukhin handed Alvarez his first loss when he came to ONE from the UFC. Another moment fans found out how big the world is when it comes to the talent of competition in MMA on a global scale. He would eventually get a title shot against Christian Lee at ONE on TNT 2 where he would fall short losing by TKO. He most recently lost to Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev but he is still ranked at the top of the division so expect to see more from Nastyukhin in the future.

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12.) Bibiano Fernandes (24-5)
Former DREAM bantamweight Champion, Former DREAM Featherweight Champion

Before there was MMA, there was Vale Tudo in Brazil, and Fernandes like many Brazilian fighters grew up around it. If ONE has proven anything, it’s that when a fight deserves a rematch, they usually happen.  Such is the case with Fernandes and his last three fights against the former champion, Kevin Belingnon. Fernandes recently lost to John Lineker by knockout in 2022. 

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13.) John Lineker (35-9)
Former Jungle Fight Bantamweight Champion, Won multiple UFC bonuses for Fight/ Performance of the Night, Current ONE Bantamweight Champion

Another Brazilian on this list, Lineker was released from the UFC in 2019 and ONE signed him when that happened. Lineker’s following comes from the type of fights he won bonuses for so it should be no surprise that he is on a three-fight win streak with ONE, the last two being my way of knockout. Lineker last defeated Bibiano Fernandes in March of 2022 by knockout.

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14.) Christian Lee (15-4)
Former ONE Lightweight Champion, 2019 ONE Lightweight World Grand Prix Champion

Are there many brother and sister champions in combat sports? If it’s something you have never seen before, ONE has that with Christian, who keeps his sister Angela company on this list. He got some airtime with U.S. fans when he scored his win over Nastyukhin at ONE on TNT 2 but he unfortunately lost his next fight to current champion, Rae Yoon Ok via decision this past September. There was some controversy, so a rematch might be coming.

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15.) Xiong Jing Nan (17-2)
Inaugural and current ONE Strawweight Champion, Handed Angela Lee her first loss

Since winning the title she has successfully defended it four times and is the first Chinese MMA champion in a major promotion. She and Lee are 1-1 against each other since Xiong attempted to take Lee’s Atomweight title, but it’s clear that these two women are the queens in the weight classes they hold titles in. It’s reminiscent of Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko in the UFC, sure they have fought each other but is there something more to see if they fight again after time has passed? Maybe.


The Best Ultimate Fighter Winners

The Ultimate Fighter recently wrapped it’s 29th season awarding two young fighters with UFC contracts. It’s time to take a look back at other Ultimate Fighters that have traveled the same path through the UFC’s longest running show.

The Ultimate Fighter is a mixed martial arts based  reality show commonly labeled as TUF that first aired in 2005. That first season is considered one of the turning points for The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) when it aired. The reality show brought in fighters that were unknown then in a sport that was yet to be as popular as it is now, for a chance at signing with the UFC. It has aired twice a year since it began and has just completed its 29th season.

Similar to Dana Whites Contender Series, the show would pull fighters from regional circuits to give them a chance to get into the UFC. The difference is the fighters are pooled together in the same house, and are usually coached by two tenured fighters in the promotion. Usually the coaches are a champion and contender that can have a fight that would be scheduled for when the season ends. 

The fighters are assigned to the team of one of the coaches and sometimes complete team challenges. The team that wins the challenges gives the coach matching rights for which fighters are going to compete the week of the challenge. The winners advance until there are finalists for the contract (or contracts) up for grabs. The exposure fighters get during their time on the show adds to any potential star power they might have in their UFC career. It has been a path where UFC stars and champions begin and with the growth the UFC has seen in recent years, it’s time to look at some of the best winners of The Ultimate Fighter so far.

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1.) Diego Sanchez
TUF Season 1 2005 Middleweight contract winner: 30-14, 2009 lightweight contender

Diego Sanchez’s heart has been and probably always will be his greatest asset both in and out of competition. Most fans remember his time on the show as being a unique character amongst a lot of characters. He put his food in a blender to drink it so he could digest it quicker and called on the lightning to give him strength before his fights. He won his contract and went down to lightweight and made it to a title shot he would lose to B.J. Penn. Sanchez and the UFC have parted ways but that first season of TUF and Sanchez in particular, UFC President Dana White has said he will always have a soft spot for. Any fan from the Zuffa era of the UFC will always remember “The Nightmare” Diego Sanchez.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed2.) Forrest Griffin","subhedTUF Season 1 2005 Light-heavyweight contract winner: 19-7, UFC Light-heavyweight Champion</code>
2.) Forrest Griffin
TUF Season 1 2005 Light-heavyweight contract winner: 19-7, UFC Light-heavyweight Champion

Griffin and Stephan Bonner’s fight in the Season 1 finale is in the UFC Hall of Fame because it was the challenge, and chance of a lifetime for both fighters. Griffin won by unanimous decision but the fight was so good, it’s been cited as the fight that got season two of TUF greenlit by the then broadcast partner of the UFC, Spike TV. Griffin currently serves as  the Vice President of Athlete Development at the UFC Performance Institute and attends fan events regularly. You can also catch him on many ads from sponsors of the UFC.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed3.) Rashad Evans","subhedTUF Season 2 2005 Heavyweight contract winner: 20-8-1, UFC Light-heavyweight Champion</code>
3.) Rashad Evans
TUF Season 2 2005 Heavyweight contract winner: 20-8-1, UFC Light-heavyweight Champion

Evans’ pathway to champion, like the man he won it from, came through TUF. So, it was poetic for him to win the contract and win the title when he was officially a UFC fighter. His path was not easy either, he holds wins over Michael Bisping, Chuck Liddell, and the season 1 winner Griffin. He would lose the title to Lyoto Machada, then go on four-fight win streak in a run at trying to regain the title. He lost to Jon Jones at UFC 145 at his second attempt and retired from fighting a few years later. Evans is a 2019 UFC Hall of Fame inductee and can currently be seen doing analyst work at UFC events. He did comeback during 2022 for a fight with Eagle FC.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed4.) Michael Bisping","subhedTUF Season 3 2006 Light-heavyweight contract winner: 30-9, UFC Middleweight Champion</code>
4.) Michael Bisping
TUF Season 3 2006 Light-heavyweight contract winner: 30-9, UFC Middleweight Champion

Bisping turned out to be, and probably still is tougher than most folks ever knew. His last years before he retired from fighting turned out to be one of the greatest times in MMA. No one thought he was going to win the title in 2016 when he came in as a last minute replacement to face someone that already beat him in Luke Rockhold. Not only did he win the title, but he avenged that loss, and another against Dan Henderson before losing the title to Georges St. Pierre in 2017. Currently he hosts the “Believe You Me” podcast, and serves as a very good desk analyst for UFC events.

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5.) Matt Serra
TUF Season 4 2006 Welterweight contract winner: 11-7, UFC Welterweight Champion

Serra has the honor of being the first American Black Belt under Renzo Gracie. He, and Ray Longo are one of the staple MMA gyms in the northeast. Season 4 of TUF featured fighters that many hardcore fans knew already that had fought in the UFC, before the TUF boom. Serra won the contact for his weight class and went on to become champion by beating Georges St.Pierre when no one thought he would. He currently co-hosts the UFC Unfiltered Podcast with Jim Norton and is Head Coach for the Serra/Longo fight team that includes fighters like Chris Weidman, Aljamain Sterling, and Merab Dvalishvili.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed6.) Nate Diaz","subhedTUF Season 5 2007 Lightweight contract winner: 20-13, UFC Lightweight Title (\u0026amp; BMF Title) Challenger</code>
6.) Nate Diaz
TUF Season 5 2007 Lightweight contract winner: 20-13, UFC Lightweight Title (& BMF Title) Challenger

Diaz, like his brother both trained under Cesar Gracie and both are black belts in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The Diaz brothers are modern day samurai and it is hard to talk about one without bringing up the other. Nick paved the way for Nate to shine at a time in the sport when it arrived at the peak it is at now. Diaz called out Conor McGregor and McGregor obliged him for UFC 196 when Rafael dos Anjos had to withdraw due to injury. He was not expected to win coming in on short notice, but he did. Some might think it’s been downhill for McGregor ever since but Diaz has been a main event draw ever since.

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7.) Ryan Bader
TUF Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir winner (Season 8) and 2008 Light-heavyweight contract winner: 29-7-1, Current Bellator Heavyweight Champion

Bader was a top five UFC light-heavyweight contender during his time in the UFC. When he won his contract he was on the rise in the division until he ran into Jon Jones. Bader’s big but he moves like a welterweight, especially when he wrestles his opponents. When he switched to Bellator MMA, he was able to win both the heavyweight and light-heavyweight titles. He lost the light heavyweight title to current champion Vadim Nemkov and entered the Bellator Light Heavyweight Grand Prix to try and win it back. TUF seems to have had an impact on him since this is his second Grand Prix since signing with Bellator.

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8.) Roy Nelson
TUF: Heavyweights (Season 10) 2009 Heavyweight contract winner: 23-19

Nelson already had a following from hardcore MMA fans in his season of TUF. He had come from the International Fight League (IFL), a team based MMA promotion where was the heavyweight champion. He won the title and defended it twice before the promotion folded so the timing was perfect for him to come into the UFC. Nelson left the UFC in 2017 for Bellator MMA and was in Bellator’s World Heavyweight Grand Prix where he lost to Matt Mitrione and went 1-5 with the promotion. Of his 23 wins, 15 come by way of knockout and as of the Fall of 2020 is a free agent.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed9.) Tony Ferguson","subhedTUF: Team Lesner vs. Team dos Santos (Season 13) and 2011 Welterweight contract winner: 25-6, Interim UFC Lightweight Champion</code>
9.) Tony Ferguson
TUF: Team Lesner vs. Team dos Santos (Season 13) and 2011 Welterweight contract winner: 25-6, Interim UFC Lightweight Champion

Ferguson, calls himself “El Cucuy” for a good reason. Watch any of his training or preparation for any fight and you will see the likes of something from a training montage in an anime or old kung fu film. If the term “well-rounded” needed a visual explanation for what it means in MMA, Ferguson’s resume would be a fantastic example. Of his 25 wins, 12 come by way of knock out and eight by way of submission. He is currently ranked number seven in the UFC lightweight rankings.

<code><iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>","hed10.) Carla Esparza","subhedTUF: A Champion Will Be Crowned (Season 20) and 2014 Strawweight contract winner: 18-6, Inaugural Strawweight Champion</code>
10.) Carla Esparza
TUF: A Champion Will Be Crowned (Season 20) and 2014 Strawweight contract winner: 18-6, Inaugural Strawweight Champion

Esparza was the first strawweight champion in the UFC when they decided to use season 20 to create the divsion. It would wind up being one of the most entertaining divisions in the UFC when it comes to the title holders that would follow Esparza. Coincidentally, she won the inaugural title against the current champion, Rose Namajunas in 2014.  She would eventually lose the title in her first fight as defending champion to Joanna Jędrzejczyk the following year who would defend the title five times before losing to Namajunas 2017 . Esparza is currently ranked number three in the UFC strawweight rankings and is on a five-fight win streak. A title fight or a rematch with Jędrzejczyk could be in her future soon.

TUF now airs on ESPN+ after being on hiatus for a few years and just closed out the Team Volkanovski vs. Team Ortega season that had Alexander Volkanovski recently defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega at UFC 266. Team Volkanovski fighters Ricky Turcios won the bantamweight contract and Bryan Battle won the middleweight contract.

The show served at a decent promo that led to a great pay-per-view event so don’t expect it to go anywhere. 

Who were your favorite TUF competitors?

Popular Culture

Top 20 Most Valuable UFC Cards Ever Sold

Televised mixed martial arts (MMA) matches have been growing in popularity over the last two decades with stars like Conor McGregor becoming household names. The UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) has hosted multiple matches with pay-per-view buyers in the millions and its Instagram account has 10 million more followers than the NFL.  

UFC isn’t generally considered amongst the “big four” sports in the US (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey), but the audience is growing

We’re going to look at the top 20 most valuable UFC trading cards, which have also seen growth with the popularity of the sport. 

1. Conor McGregor 2017 Topps UFC Chrome Superfractor 1/1 PSA 10 — $73,800
Goldin Co.

The new record for the most expensive UFC card ever sold was set by this 1/1 Superfractor Conor Mcgregor PSA 10 on February 6th, 2022. Goldin Co. sold the card for $73,800. 

McGregor is the most famous UFC fighter with over 40 million followers on social media and he’s been the main event in the top-5 most pay-per-viewed fights all-time for the UFC.

The most popular players of a sport tend to dominate the most valuable trading card sales lists, so this is the first of many McGregor cards that have set records.  

2. Conor McGregor 2021 Panini Prizm UFC Gold Prizm PSA 10 — $26,400
Goldin Co.

The second most expensive UFC trading card ever sold is the 2021 Panini Prizm Conor McGregor Gold Prizm /10 graded a PSA 10. Goldin Co. sold the card for $26,400 in August of 2021. 

The Gold Prizm card depicts McGregor’s signature swinging arms warm-up.

3. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 Panini Select UFC Signatures Black Disco Prizm 1/1 PSA 10 — $24,000
Goldin Co.

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s most valuable trading card is his 1/1 Black Disco Prizm from the 2021 UFC select set and it sold for $24,000 in the fall of 2021 at Goldin Co. 

Khabib went undefeated in his UFC career and is one of the most popular players in the sport. 

He fought and defeated Conor McGregor in October 2018 in a record pay-per-view event for the UFC. McGregor may be the most known UFC fighter but Khabib is not far behind despite being retired. 

4. Conor McGregor 2021 Select UFC Prizms Black 1/1 Ungraded — $22,212

The fourth-highest selling UFC card is a 1/1 Select Prizm Black featuring Conor McGregor that was sold on eBay for $22,212 on December 19th, 2021. 

The card was in ungraded condition when it was sold and the sale was verified by using 

McGregor’s rare cards have led the charge in the development of the UFC card market. He has a strong personality, has attracted a large fanbase, and got himself even more famous when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2017. 

5. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 UFC Immaculate Premium Patch Auto /8 Ungraded — $17,500

The fifth most expensive UFC card sold is a Khabib Nurmagomedov Immaculate Patch Autograph numbered to just 8 copies. The card features a match-worn patch with a red on-card autograph and was sold on eBay for $17,500. 

Khabib is a 33-year-old Russian fighter and at the time of his retirement, was considered the top pound-for-pound UFC fighter of all time. 

He fought Conor McGregor in the largest UFC pay-per-view fight of all-time with 2.4 million PPV buys. Khabib won the fight in round 4 by submission. 

6. Conor McGregor 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines Red #139 3/8 BGS 9.5 — $13,669

Conor McGregor’s 2013 Topps UFC Bloodline Red numbered to 8 copies with a grade of BGS 9.5 sold via eBay auction in November for $13,669. 

McGregor made his UFC debut in 2013 and this set is considered to be McGregor’s rookie set.

7. Conor McGregor 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines Rookie Autograph PSA 10 — $11,685
Goldin Co.

There are just 27 PSA 10 copies of McGregor’s Topps UFC Bloodlines first autograph and a copy sold for $11,685 at Goldin Co. in August 2021. Back in 2016, after McGregor had gained fame and notoriety, copies of this card sold for as low as $271. 

As the market for UFC cards has grown, it wouldn’t be surprising to see this card set a new record when it comes up for sale again. 

8. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 UFC Immaculate Premium Patch Auto /5 Ungraded — $11,500

Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t the face of the UFC like McGregor, but he’s a popular fighter with over 32 million Instagram followers and his recent card sales show it. His Immaculate Premium Patch Auto features a match-worn patch and red autograph sold ungraded on eBay for $11,500. 

9. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 Panini Immaculate UFC 1/1 Logo Reebok Patch Ungraded — $10,507

Another Khabib Immaculate sold on eBay in ungraded condition for a five-figure sum at $10,507 and this time it was for a 1/1 patch card. 

Immaculate is a popular premium trading card set in other sports and the 2021 UFC Immaculate is the first premium card set for these fighters. The set features patch auto cards, patch cards, and autos. The release of a premium trading card set for the UFC is a sign that the market for collecting these players’ cards is growing. 

10. Khamzat Chimaev Teal 2021 Panini Prizm UFC #7 Prizm /49 PSA 10 — $10,200

Khamzat Chimaev has 3 million Instagram followers and is currently undefeated in the UFC. Chimaev is a talented freestyle wrestler who made his first UFC debut in July 2020, winning the fight in the second round by submission. 

He’s a fast riser in the UFC and has been compared to Conor McGregor. Chimeave’s 2021 Panini Prizm Teal (numbered to 49 copies) in a PSA 10 sold on eBay for $10,200 via auction on January 31st of this year.

11. Francis Ngannou 2021 Panini Prizm UFC Signatures Prizm Black (#1/1) BGS 9.5/10 — $9,600
Goldin Co.

Francis Ngannou has an incredible backstory. Ngannou is the current UFC heavyweight champion and got there by rising through poverty, ignoring offers to join gangs, focusing on boxing, and enduring homelessness. Ngannou is originally from Cameroon and after working in the sand mines, he knew he had to change his life. 

He focused on fighting and in order to achieve his dream, he crossed borders illegally through the Sahara desert, had to face jail time, and ended up homeless in Paris. Ngannou worked at a homeless shelter and was fortunate that the director of the foundation introduced him to someone who ran a boxing training center in Paris. 

A few years later, he ended up as the heavyweight champion in the UFC. 

Francis Ngannou’s 2021 Prizm UFC Black Autograph 1/1 in a BGS 9.5 grade sold at Goldin Co. for $9,600 on January 8th, 2022.  

12. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 Panini Select UFC Signatures Gold Disco Prizm Autograph /10 PSA 10 — $9,600
Goldin Co.

Khabib Nurmagomdeov’s 2021 Panini Prizm Select Signatures Gold Disco Prizm numbered to just 10 copies sold at Goldin Co. for $9,600. 

Khabib went undefeated in his UFC career at 29–0 and multiple of his trading cards across different sets have commanded significant value on the secondary market. 

13. Khabib Nurmagomedov 2021 Panini Select UFC Octagonside Gold Prizm /10 PSA 10 — $9,600

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s 2021 Select UFC Octagonside Gold Prizm (numbered to 10 copies) in a PSA 10 sold for $9,600 on eBay, yet another nearly five-figure sale for Khabib. 

14. Khamzat Chimaev 2021 UFC Chronicles Gold /10 PSA 10 — $9,100

Khamzat Chimaev is a rising star in the UFC and his 2021 UFC Chronicles Gold numbered to 10 copies sold on eBay via auction in December 2021 for $9,100. 

The fighter had some trouble with COVID and was forced to cancel fights but was finally able to return in October 2021 after missing a year of action. 

15. Francis Ngannou 2021 UFC Prizm Signatures Gold Autograph /10 BGS 9.5/10 — $8,400
Goldin Co.

Francis Ngannou’s 2021 UFC Prizm Signatures Gold Auto (numbered to 10 copies) sold for $8,400 at Goldin Co. Ngannou last fought on 1/22, beating Ciryl Gane, and in that fight, he demonstrated a continued evolution of his talent. 

Ngannou is already 35 years old but has shown that he can get better as a fighter and still has a long career ahead of him. 

16. Khamzat Chimaev 2021 Panini Prizm UFC Rookie Neon Green /75 PSA 10 — $8,700

Khamzat Chimaev’s Prizm Neon Green PSA 10 was last sold via auction on eBay for $8,700 on January 24th. 

Chimaev is a rising star in the UFC and has an “it” factor that could make him a superstar. 

17. Ciryl Gane 2021 Panini Prizm Gold /10 BGS 9.5 — $7,500

Ciryl Gane’s 2021 Panini Prizm UFC Gold Prizm BGS 9.5 sold for $7,500 on eBay. Gane is a 31-year-old French heavyweight MMA fighter who debuted in 2019. 

Gane was the interim Heavyweight Champion of the UFC but lost to Francis Ngannou in the heavyweight championship in January of this year. It is Gane’s only loss in his UFC career. 

18. Conor McGregor 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles Autographs Sepia Autograph (1/1) BGS 9/10 — $6,600
Goldin Co.

Conor McGregor’s 2015 Topps UFC Chronicles Autograph 1/1 BGS 9 sold for $6,600 at Goldin Co. in June 2021. 

McGregor’s market didn’t pick up full-steam until the end of 2021 and early 2022 with his latest record sale it would be interesting to see what this 1/1 McGregor would fetch if it were auctioned off today. 

19. Conor McGregor 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines Autographs BGS 9.5/10 — $6,000
Goldin Co.

In May, Goldin Co. sold this 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines Conor McGregor autographed rookie card in a BGS 9.5 grade for $6,000. This is McGregor’s first auto and came out the year he debuted in the UFC. 

If the UFC card market continues to develop and expand, keep an eye on the 2013 Topps UFC Bloodlines McGregor rookie cards. 

20. Israel Adesanya 2020 Topps UFC Knockout Autographed Fight Mat Relics Gold (#1/1) BGS 9/10 — $5,227
Goldin Co.

Israel Adesanya is a 32-year old MMA middleweight fighter who has gone 21–1 in his UFC career with an upcoming main event match on February 12th.

Goldin Co. sold this copy of his 1/1 2020 Topps UFC Knockout patch autograph BGS 9 card for $5,200.

Adesanya was ranked the 3rd best UFC pound-for-pound fighter and is considered to be one of the best strikers in the UFC. 


November 3rd’s NF3 Recap: UFC NFT, The Sandbox raises $93M and 76ers’ NFT Drop

If this is your first time joining us today, welcome! If you want to check out yesterday’s NF3 Recap, please do, as there were many new updates in the NFT community you don’t want to miss out on.

In our NF3 Recap today, we are going to take an in-depth jab at the exclusive UFC NFT launch. Also, we will be exploring how The Sandbox metaverse game managed to raise $93M. Finally, we will be taking a court-side look at the official Philadelphia 76ers NFT drop, with

This article does not constitute formal financial advice. Always do your own research before investing.

1. UFC to launch their exclusive NFT with
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The UFC and are collaborating to launch the UFC’s first official NFT. The exclusive drop will include what they are calling the UFC 268 Packs, which are limited edition fighter belts, as well as event and fight posters that are based on UFC 268: Usman v Covington 2, going down this Saturday.

Something that is really special about the UFC NFT drop is that involved athletes will receive 50% of the revenue from NFT sales, compared to the unjust 18% revenue they are used to receiving. This marks a huge turning point in UFC history and the entertainment industry in general, giving the power and the profit back to the actual entertainers.

The UFC packs are dropping this Thursday on, for $40 per pack, with a limit of 2 packs per person. Whoever happens to collect a special UFC 268 pack by November 7, 2021, 9am ET, will be entered into the UFC 268 sweepstakes for a chance to win exclusive UFC prizes. If you are a UFC fan, this is the NFT project for you.

2. The Sandbox metaverse raises $93M with the help of SoftBank
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The popular NFT-based metaverse game, The Sandbox, recently raised $93M in a funding round which was led by SoftBank—a Japanese holding company focused on investment management, mostly investing in companies dealing with energy, financials, and technology. 

The Sandbox is actually the first crypto investment by the SoftBank Vision Fund 2, an estimated $30B investment fund. Apparently in an interview with The Sandbox CEO, Arthur Madrid, he mentioned that the $93M the company raised will help them expand beyond just games and into other economies such as architecture, art galleries, fashion, museums, and a whole lot more.

The money will go towards hiring more staff, creating a multiplayer option, and increasing the number of intellectual property and brands that are a part of The Sandbox economy. This large sum of money will surely help The Sandbox propel their brand into something spectacular, and further proves that NFTs aren’t just a fad, but rather the future of assets.

3. 76ers launch their Legacy NFT collection in partnership with
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Today, NBA team Philadelphia 76ers dropped the team’s first ever Legacy NFT collection in collaboration with The drop which went live this morning, showcases 13 officially licensed NFT commemorative tickets that highlight legendary moments that took place during the “Philadelphia Spectrum” era of basketball. Portions of the proceeds from the NFT will go to the Sixers Youth Foundation.

Collectors and fans of the 76ers team can win big when they complete challenges to unlock exclusive rewards. Rewards are as follows:

  • Hold any Original Series NFTs in your wallet by May 1, 2022  and you will have the option to redeem an Ultimate 76ers fan experience for 2 consisting of Lunch at the Training Complex prepared by team chef, watch the team practice, meet & greet, a game-worn jersey, and a commemorative piece of the original Philadelphia Spectrum court.
  • Holding all 13 Banner Series NFTs in your NFT wallet by May 1, 2022 unlocks the right to redeem a special commemorative piece of the original Philadelphia Spectrum court, a custom jersey, a personalized message from a 76ers Legend, and VIP access to a 76ers event!
  • If you hold 13 Signature Series NFTs in your wallet by May 1, 2022, you unlock the right to redeem an exclusive commemorative piece of the original Philadelphia Spectrum court and a custom jersey.

This NFT project is a great example of how brands and businesses can use NFTs to offer their fans and consumers more value and a more personal experience.

Other cool mentions

In other cool news, Ex-Activision, Lucasfilm developers announced they are working on a new open-world game with the ability to collect, buy, sell, and trade NFTs, earned from the game. The game, called  Metalcore, is a multiplayer combat game that aims to combine traditional gaming with blockchain technology. 

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The first pre-sale for Metalcore plans to be held January, 2022. 

To finish off today’s NF3 Recap, I thought I’d share some commentary from a CNN interview with venture capitalist and co-founder of Metagood, Bill Tai. When asked to explain NFTs’ massive growth and if the growth was realistic, Bill mentioned that a report done by Jeff Reece a couple weeks ago, estimated the asset value of NFTs in 2020 to be $380M, and year-to-date, somewhere in the area of $10B for 2021. 

Bill said in the interview, “Never before in tech have we seen something grow at this rate, at 20 to 30 fold in actual dollar volume of transactions, and it’s hard to say that it is a wave that is going to go away.”


3 Fighters To Watch at UFC 267

UFC 267 is set to bring chaos to your screen on a Saturday morning/afternoon on Oct. 30th, with the prelims kicking off at 10:30 AM EST and the main event following at 2:00 PM EST. 

This card is headlined by two resurgent warriors, with current Light Heavyweight Champion, Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) taking on Glover Teixeira (32-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC). Although neither Blachowicz nor Teixeira offer the mainstream appeal of a Conor McGregor or Israel Adesanya, both men have won their previous five fights and have the talent to cap off a talent-packed card featuring veterans and newcomers alike. 

There are many fighters to be excited about, but these are three fighters you need to watch this weekend:

1) Islam Makhachev (20-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC)
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Islam Makhachev has had no problem finding praise or hype when it comes to his fighting career; in fact, he’s often dubbed “Little Khabib” because of his resemblance to newly retired, former undefeated UFC Champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov. Beyond the superficial reasons for the comparison (Makhachev and Nurmagomedov are both Dagestani), Makhachev displays a discipline and willingness to expand his skill set outside of fight camp that’s similar to that of his more famous compatriot.  In a recent interview, legendary coach Javier Mendez, the founder of the MMA gym AKA (American Kickboxing Academy), offered some insight into Makhachev’s work ethic. “[Makhachev goes] home and [finds] other guys to teach him how to strike,” Mendez said. “I’d tell him to train with this guy, train with that guy and find somebody that’s a good striking guy and learn from them.”

Even if Makhachev has already proven his bona fides as a fighter, a victory in his upcoming matchup with Dan “The Hangman” Hooker (the sixth-ranked light heavyweight who boasts eye-catching wins over Paul Felder, Gilbert Burns, and Jim Miller) would cement Makhachev’s place amongst the elite. Keep an eye on Islam Makhachev this weekend and moving forward, lest you miss moments like this:

2) Khamzat Chimaev (9-0 MMA, 3-0 UFC)
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For our second fighter to watch, we’re keeping it in Dagestan with the king of “smeshing”, Khamzat Chimaev. This man is a FORCE. Khamzat burst onto the scene in 2020, making waves for taking two fights in 10 days for the UFC and winning them both in dominant fashion, finishing both John Phillips and Rhys McKee with ease. One more time – two fights, TEN DAYS. Observe the carnage:

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I know what you’re thinking, “Who could doubt this man after that!?” But despite this, Chimaev received criticism from many who claimed that his profile had been propped up by victories against underwhelming fighters. During the run-up to Chimaev’s fight against UFC vet Gerald Meerschaert in September 2020, Meerschaert crowed about Chimaev’s weak quality of competition—and then got silenced by Chimaev a mere 17 seconds into their bout the next day. I don’t know what most people can do in only 17 seconds, but here’s what he can:

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Since that victory, though, it’s been a tough 13 months for Chimaev as he struggled against a case of COVID-19 that was so severe it forced him to contemplate retirement. In an article by Brett Okamoto at ESPN, Khamzat stated, “I was never scared about my life. I’m scared about what my mom is going to do after I die. My mom, my brothers— was thinking, ‘What are they gonna do after I die?’ I start with this MMA shit because of my family. I want to make some good life with them.”

Thankfully, Chimaev recovered and UFC 267 represents his much-anticipated return to the sport. Making Chimaev’s return even more exciting, though, is that he’s matched up against Li Jinliang (18-6 MMA, 10-4 UFC), a very dangerous and stylistically interesting opponent for Chimaev; Jinliang (also known as “The Leech”) looks to move forward and impose his will on his opponents, which may cause Chimaev trouble. Still, if Chimaev can rediscover his pre-Covid form and control the center of the octagon, this could be an exciting affair that re-establishes Chimaev as one of the most dangerous prospects tearing through the welterweight division.

3) Lerone Murphy (10-0-1 MMA, 2-0-1 in UFC)
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What better way to end this than with a red-hot prospect boasting an undefeated record with 60% of his wins coming by first-round KO/TKO!? This weekend, the world will formally meet Lerone “The Miracle” Murphy. 

On his way to the UFC, “The Miracle” chose violence, finishing 5 of 7 fights spectacularly. What’s even more spectacular is what led him to the sport in the first place.

As reported by Joe Coleman at talkSPORT, at the age of 21 Murphy was shot twice in the face. After being shot, he reportedly spit out the bullets that had hit him in the chin and neck, and was rushed to the hospital. It was at this point he decided to begin training MMA, and in 6-months he had his first amateur fight. In just 5 years he was able to make his way through the ranks and to the UFC, where he fought arguably his toughest fight in a split decision draw against mainstay Zubaira Tukhugov. While Murphy was dropped early in the first round, he demonstrated incredible resilience by battling back and showing the judges nearly enough to win the fight.  

Murphy went on to win his next two fights to remain undefeated, including this one against Ricardo Ramos via merciless ground-and-pound:

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His opponent at UFC 267 is “Mr. Finland” Makwan Amirkhani (16-6 MMA, 6-4 UFC) who began his UFC career by scoring an 8-second TKO via flying knee.

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Amirkhani is certainly a quality opponent that provides a true test to Mr. Murphy’s “0,” but one that he’s one that Murphy can handle breezily, nonetheless. 

Be sure to tune in to UFC 267 on Saturday, Oct. 30th, and remember, the prelims begin at 10:30AM EST with the main card following at 2PM EST.