The UFC has been around for 25 years now, and has a number of Welterweight champions and what better way to celebrate 25 years of the UFC then by naming the top 5 welterweight champions in UFC history. Here are five names who made an impact within the octagon and who deserve to be on this list.
#5: Pat Miletich
Known as the first UFC Welterweight champion, he isn’t ranked fifth because of negative reasoning, but on the contrary, he placed fifth because of the impact he has made in the company. Having four total title defenses and multiple memorable moments in his career, Pat Miletich went on to expose his talents in multiple companies over time.
His four title defenses came from the likes of Jorge Patino, André Pederneiras, John Alessio and Kenichi Yamamoto, before losing to Carlos Newton at UFC 31, ending his reign after three years of domination. He then went on to retire years later, and on July 6th, 2014, Miletich’s legacy was cemented in the UFC Hall of Fame.
#4: Tyron Woodley
The current and first African-American UFC Welterweight champion is ranked fourth, and his name became a household brand as soon as he knocked out Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in a stunning first round finish. After consecutive title defenses against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205 and UFC 209, Woodley went on to defeat Demian Maia at UFC 212.
The power and cardio of Woodley is astonishing, as he seems far from losing his title. While the future is unknown, Woodley is sure to make his presence known around the UFC for years to come.
#3: Robbie Lawler
“Ruthless” Robbie Lawler is one of the toughest Welterweights in the history of the division, and is regarded as one of the toughest men to hold the title. After winning in a split decision to Johnny Hendricks, that was just the beginning for Lawler. His first title defense was the ultimate test, as he defeated Rory MacDonald in a rematch that lasted 21 minutes and four rounds.
Afterwards, Lawler went on to go the distance with Carlos Condit, who was the interim Welterweight champion at the time. It took Lawler twelve years to prove himself, and despite losing to Tyron Woodley, he has proven that he is one of the best welterweight champions in UFC history.
#2: Matt Hughes
Viewed as an amazing wrestler with great submission skills, Matt Hughes is absolutley one of the greatest Welterweight champions in UFC history. As if knocking out Carlos Newton at UFC 34 wasn’t impressive enough, Hughes went on to defend his title against the likes of Hayato Sakurai, a rematch against Newton, Gil Castillo, Sean Sherk, and Frank Trigg.
After awhile, Hughes went on to lose his beloved title against BJ Penn during his first reign as champion. After making adjustments, Hughes took on Georges St-Pierre for the vacant Welterweight title and won in convincing fashion. During his second reign, Hughes defeated both Trigg in a rematch, as well as Penn. After losing to St-Pierre during a title fight, it marked a combined seven successful defenses in just two reigns. Hughes was later inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in May of 2010.
#1: Georges St-Pierre
Georges “Rush” St-Pierre should be considered the greatest UFC Welterweight champion of all time. After an unsuccessful attempt at the gold against Matt Hughes, GSP took on many challenges before fighting Hughes the second time around. In his first defense attempt against Matt Serra, St-Pierre lost, and it is still regarded as one of the biggest upsets in UFC history.
With a later rematch scheduled against Serra, St-Pierre took advantage and walked away with the title around his waist. From there, the Canadian fighter successfully defended his title against names such as Jon Fitch, B.J Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy, Josh Koscheck, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, and Johny Hendricks.
After a brief retirement that ended on November 4th, 2017, St-Pierre came back to the UFC as a Middlewieght fighter and defeated Michael Bisping for the title at UFC 217. Despite vacating the title for medical reasoning, GSP is hoping to make his return to the Welterweight division and take back the throne.