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Reflecting on 2019 UFC Champions

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In 2019, the UFC had various memorable moments, but few fighters secured themselves the championship belt. Last year alone, six fighters reached the top and won the belt for their respective division. Here, we reflect on those fighters and their journey: 

Stephen R. Sylvanie, USA Today Sports

Alexander Volkanovski

After arriving in the UFC, Volkanovski made himself well known with dominant performances against Darren Elkins and Chad Mendes. After dominating the legendary Jose Aldo, he earned a title shot for the Featherweight Championship against Max Holloway.

After a quick rise to the top of the division, Volkanovski was awarded the title fight victory via decision. To date, only Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor,  Max Holloway, and now Alexander Volkanovski have held the Featherweight belt. 

MMA Insight

Henry Cejudo

After defeating Demetrious Johnson to become the new Flyweight Champion, Cejudo defended the belt against then-Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw. As a result, Cejudo made quick work of Dillashaw via KO/TKO.

After Dillashaw failed a drug test in preparation to fight Cejudo, he was forced to vacate the Bantamweight title. The UFC then booked a bout between Marlon Moraes and Cejudo for the for the vacant title. Cejudo defeated Moraes to become the fourth fighter in UFC history to hold two titles simultaneously. Cejudo was eventually stripped of the Flyweight title due to injury.

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Kamaru Usman

Riding a nine-fight win streak, Usman used the chip on his shoulder to defeat Tyron Woodley. Prior to the fight, he overcame elite opponents in Demian Maia and Rafael Dos Anjos. With his win against Woodley, Usman became the first Nigerian-born UFC champion.

Usman has already defended the title against former interim UFC Welterweight Champion Colby Covington. While the rivalry likely hasn’t been put to rest, the bout between Usman and Covington was one to remember.

MMA Insight

Weili Zhang

Zhang made a name for herself, as did others on this list. Her legacy has skyrocketed each time she has stepping into the octagon, and rightfully earned her respective title shot.

After Jessica Andrade defeated Rose Namajunas to win the Strawweight title, the UFC made quick work by displaying a title fight in Zhang’s homeland of China. With the win, Zhange became the first Chinese-born UFC Champion.

Jasmin Frank, USA Today Sports

Israel Adesanya

Adesanya had an amazing year from start to finish. He was able to overcome names such as Anderson Silva and Kelvin Gastelum via decision, In October, Adesanya fought then-Champion Robert Whittaker en route to being crowned the Middleweight Champion.

With many calling to partake in a fight against Adesanya, this upcoming year will be another true test for him.

Bleacher Report

Stipe Miocic

As of late, Miocic has remained busy. He retained his title against Francis Ngannou en route to becoming the first to defend the Heavyweight title three times. He eventually lost the title to then-Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier. As a result, he was not given a rematch for nearly a year.

When Miocic and Cormier did meet again in the octagon, Miocic finished him in the fourth round to reclaim the title. A potential trilogy with Cormier could be in the cards, but at this time, there have been no rumored suitors.

Photo Credit- MMA India

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Rami J. Hanna

Rami Hanna Jr. is an MMA writer. He is from Victorville, California and joined The Athletes Hub in 2016 to focus on his writing career, and serve as the lead UFC analyst.

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