2014 continues the changing of the guard for UFC champions
Quick, name all of the UFC champions.
You’re forgiven if you named Dominick Cruz as the bantamweight champ.
The Dominator became the latest long-standing champion to fall when UFC president Dana White announced the title was being stripped because of his latest groin injury after a two-year period of inactivity.
Interim champion Renan Barao, who defended his title with a TKO win over Eddie Wineland at UFC 165, inherits the belt.
The two were supposed to unify the title at UFC 169 until Cruz’s latest setback.
Team Alpha Male leader Urijah Faber will step in for Cruz.
The UFC championship landscape is markedly changed from 2014, continuing the trend from 2013. And it may not stop there. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo is up next to defend against #1 challenger Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169. If Aldo loses, that means 5 former champs in less than a year:
UFC Champions January in 2013:
Women’s bantamweight: Ronda Rousey
Men’s Flyweight: Demetrious Johnson
Men’s Bantamweight: Dominick Cruz – Now Renan Barao
Men’s Featherweight: Jose Aldo
Men’s Lightweight: Benson Henderson – Now Anthony Pettis
Men’s Welterweight: Georges St-Pierre – Vacant
Men’s Middleweight: Anderson Silva – Now Chris Weidman
Men’s Light-Heavyweight: Jon Jones
Men’s Heavyweight: Cain Velasquez (defeated JDS December 30th , 2012) – Same
The first signal was definitely Anderson Silva’s loss at UFC 162, but perhaps more accurately, Georges St-Pierre’s ACL injury, recovery and defence against Carlos Condit at UFC 154. Although GSP won with an excellent performance, Condit nearly finished GSP with the headkick and for the first time in a long time, we saw a visibly beaten and bloodied GSP.
The next generation is not only here, they are kicking down the door. Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks will settle the vacant welterweight strap, Ricardo Lamas finally gets the title shot many feel he should have gotten before Korean Zombie at UFC 169, and Alexander Gustafsson punctured some holes into the unbeatable mystique of Jon Jones at UFC 165.
Thrown in the new female strawweight division and we have a little bit of a free-for-all.
Over to you, Jose Aldo.