At UFC 270, Ciryl Gane has the opportunity to become the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion as an undefeated fighter. Being an undefeated UFC Champion is an accomplishment that only a few have achieved. Let’s take a look back at 10 undefeated fighters that won UFC gold.
In September of 2008, Rashad Evans brutally knocked out Chuck Liddell. Liddell was a former Champion and not many were giving Evans a chance. Evans stunned the fight world when he finished Liddell with a massive overhand right. This win earned Evans a title shot against Forrest Griffin. Griffin won the first-ever Ultimate Fighter Season and Evans won the 2nd Ultimate Fighter Season. This was the first time in UFC history that two TUF winners would compete for a UFC Championship. Evans finished Griffin by 3rd round TKO to become an undefeated UFC Champion at 13-0.
After defeating Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans would make his first title defense against a fellow undefeated fighter in Lyoto Machida at UFC 98. This was a big fight at the time, as one of their undefeated records would come to an end. Lyoto Machida finished Evans and became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion at 15-0.
Khabib is the only fighter on this list that stayed undefeated until the end of his career. In August of 2017, UFC Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor entered the boxing world to compete against Floyd Mayweather. McGregor didn’t defend his Championship so the UFC put on a fight between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov for the Lightweight title at UFC 223. After Ferguson suffered a freak injury during fight week, Featherweight Champion Max Holloway stepped in to fight Khabib for the Lightweight title. One day before the event, Holloway was forced out of the fight due to weight cutting issues and Al Iaquinta was announced as Khabib’s new opponent. Khabib defeated Iaquinta to become the Lightweight Champion at 26-0. In his next fight, Khabib defended his title by finishing previous Lightweight Champion Conor McGregor at UFC 229. This was the biggest box office PPV in UFC history with 2.4 Million PPV’s sold.
When Israel Adesanya made his UFC debut in February of 2018, he began a fast-paced journey to the UFC Championship. He won 5 consecutive fights and earned an opportunity to compete against Kelvin Gastelum for the interim UFC Middleweight title. Adesanya defeated Gastelum in an instant classic which set up a fight against Robert Whittaker for the Undisputed UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 243. In front of over 57,000+ fans in Melbourne, Australia, Adesanya finished Whittaker by knockout to become the undefeated and Undisputed UFC Middleweight Champion at 18-0.
Even before he made his UFC debut, many that watched Cain Velasquez train promised that he would one day become a UFC Champion. He was a Heavyweight that could do it all. Tight boxing, great kicks, and a solid wrestling base. Had he not been injury-plagued, Velasquez might have gone down as the greatest Heavyweight to ever compete in MMA. Velasquez made his UFC debut with only 2 professional fights under his belt. After dominating 6 consecutive opponents in the Octagon, he earned himself a title shot against Brock Lesnar. Velasquez finished Lesnar at UFC 121 to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion at 9-0.
The rise to the UFC title for Cody Garbrandt was special. In 2016, he went from unranked to UFC Champion. At UFC 202, he competed against Takeya Mizugaki. This was a massive opportunity for Garbrandt as his fight took place on a blockbuster card that featured the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. There were a lot of people watching that night and Garbrandt made the most of it, as he finished Mizugaki by knockout in 48 seconds. This earned him a shot at the UFC Bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz at UFC 207. It was on this night where Garbrandt looked like the best fighter in the world. He put on a 5 round master class against Dominick Cruz and became the UFC Bantamweight Champion at 11-0.
If it wasn’t for Ronda Rousey, chances are that women wouldn’t be fighting in the UFC today. UFC President Dana White took notice of Rousey while she was destroying the competition at Strikeforce as the Bantamweight Champion. Dana felt that Rousey had the star power to build a Women’s division, so he did what he said he’d never do. He brought women in to fight for the UFC. In November of 2012, it was announced that Rousey would be leaving Strikeforce as the Champion and her title would be upgraded to the UFC Championship at a record at a perfect professional record of 6-0. Rousey would go on to defend her UFC title 6x.
Rousey’s title reign came to an abrupt ending when she fought the undefeated Holly Holm. Prior to competing in MMA, Holm was a World Champion professional boxer. Though she had the credentials, not many were giving her a chance against Rousey who had finished every opponent up until that point. Holm sent shockwaves across the world when she finished Rousey by knockout at UFC 193 to become the Bantamweight Champion at 10-0.
After Zuffa purchased the UFC in 2001, Tim Sylvia was a big part of the Heavyweight division for a long time. He competed in a total of 9 UFC title fights. He made a successful UFC debut by finishing Wesley Correira at UFC 39. This earned the “Main-iac” an instant title shot. In his next fight at UFC 41, Sylvia finished Ricco Rodriguez by knockout to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion at a perfect 15-0. Sylvia loved being the Champion as he famously wore the title almost everywhere he went.
Randy Couture made his professional MMA debut at the age of 33 after years of competing as a Greco-Roman wrestler. Couture’s wrestling background translated well in MMA at a time when not many Heavyweights had a wrestling base. After winning the first 3 fights of his professional career, Couture was awarded a title shot. He defeated Maurice Green at “UFC Japan” to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion at 4-0. That’s the least amount of pro fights to become UFC Champion by anyone from this list. Couture went on to have a legendary career, winning the UFC Championship on 5 different occasions. 3x at Heavyweight and twice at Light Heavyweight.
Ciryl Gane has the opportunity to join this last as an undefeated and undisputed UFC Champion at UFC 270 when he takes on Francis NGannou. As it stands, 53% of the Verdict Community predict Gane will defeat NGannou. If you haven’t already done so, lock in your picks on Verdict.