The SIX UFC fighters to have fought for the title of 'Champ Champ'
Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski will share the stage at UFC 284, as the two champions go head-to-head for all the glory… so, ahead of the super-rare fight, here are the SIX fighters to have fought for the title of ‘Champ Champ’
- Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev will face off on Saturday night
- It’s a rare occasion when two champions of different weight classes have to fight
- Here, Sportsmail looks at the past stars to have tried becoming ‘champ champ’
This weekend will see the UFC’s two best pound-for-pound fighters share the octagon in an extremely rare Champ vs Champ bout.
Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will take centre stage in Perth on Saturday night as they look to settle their differences in the monumental fight.
There have been just a handful of fighters to have attempted faced off with another champion and, here, Sportsmail looks at all the previous UFC stars to have taken a shot at becoming a double-champion.
Islam Makhachev (left) and Alexander Volkanovsi (right) face off in a huge clash on Saturday
Though the Irishman’s legacy may have taken a slight hit in recent years – given his various escapades outside of the octagon – there can be no forgetting the path that he once walked.
The ‘Notorious’ became the first UFC fighter in the company’s history to successfully become a champion of two weight divisions at the same time; the first official ‘Champ Champ’.
He picked up his first title, the featherweight belt, in 2015 after his iconic knock-out victory over Jose Aldo. The Brazilian hadn’t been defeated in over 10 years and yet McGregor was able to get it done within 13 seconds.
After two thrilling bouts with Nate Diaz, which both took place at welterweight, McGregor set his sights on lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez.
He wasn’t able to defeat the American in the same emphatic fashion as he did Aldo but, nonetheless, was able to get his hands on the lightweight belt after a brilliant knockout in the third round.
The first ever ‘Champ Champ’ and a legend of the sport. Remember, ‘the double Champ does what the f*** he wants’.
Conor McGregor became the first UFC fighter ever to win two belts in different weight classes
After McGregor, came Cormier. The American, who is now long-retired, became the second fighter to hold two titles simultaneously after his triumph over Stipe Miocic.
Cormier had won the light heavyweight title in May 2015 after beating Anthony Johnson with a rear-naked choke. Jon Jones had been champion originally but was stripped of the title by the UFC after being involved in a hit-and-run.
The American then made four defences of the light heavyweight belt before eventually setting up a colossal fight between himself and his compatriot, Miocic.
It was a gargantuan challenge for Cormier, to take on someone with such physical advantages, but he rose to the occasion and delivered a brutal knockout in the first-round.
He’d go on to make one heavyweight title defence against Derrick Lewis before Miocic returned and secured consecutive wins over Cormier and, essentially, ended his career.
Daniel Cormier won the heavyweight title with a historic win over Stipe Miocic in 2018
Another first. In 2018, Nunes became the first ever woman to achieve the title of ‘Champ Champ’ after a historic win over Cris Cyborg.
Both women had cleared out their respective weight division, Nunes with the bantamweights and Cyborg with the featherweights, and it all culminated into a huge showdown between them.
In a rare instance for the UFC, the bout lived up to the high expectations that had been set as the two traded blow for blow in a ferocious and high-paced first-round.
And it didn’t go further than the one minute as Nunes delivered lethal strikes to her Brazilian counterpart and secured the elite two-weight champion status.
Amazingly, that was Cris Cyborg’s only loss since making her MMA debut in 2005.
Amanda Nunes is often referred to as the greatest fighter in women’s combat history
Despite all the (cringe-worthy) antics that Cejudo gets up to outside of the octagon, his accomplishments inside of it should still be celebrated.
The American had first challenged for the flyweight title in 2016 but was beaten by at-the-time champion Demetrius Johnson after a flurry of knees to the body.
But he returned to face ‘Mighty Mouse’ two years later and emerged from the Staples Centre with the flyweight title wrapped firmly around his waist.
‘Triple CCC’ didn’t stop there. After beating TJ Dillashaw, he set his sights on a bout with Marlon Moraes for the vacant bantamweight championship.
Cejudo put in an emphatic performance and secured a TKO win over the Brazilian – who looked exhausted past round one – to become a ‘champ champ’.
He’d fight just one more time, against Dominic Cruz, before bowing out of the organisation on a high.
Henry Cejudo secured his second UFC title before retiring from the sport one year later
Now, it’s time to look at the fighters who attempted to become a double champion in the UFC but fell just short of achieving the accolade.
Long before the era of Conor McGregor, there was BJ Penn. The American was the lightweight champion in 2008 and set his sights on becoming the first fighter to win two belts.
That meant challenging Georges St-Pierre – who is arguably the greatest fighter of all-time – in the weight class above his lightweight division.
The task proved too difficult for Penn to overcome and the Canadian delivered a flurry of lethal ground-and-pound strikes prior to his corner calling the bout to an end.
American fighter BJ Penn was the first fighter to attempt at becoming a double champion
The final entry into the list of attempted double champions. TJ Dillashaw once looked as though he’d be one of the UFC’s big names for years to come but that all came crashing down in 2020.
The American had just beaten long-term rival Cody Garbrandt in back-to-back contests and, in doing so, defended the bantamweight championship.
He looked to continue his career with a historic bout against Henry Cejudo, with the flyweight championship on the line. But Cejudo made light work of Dillashaw and delivered a brutal TKO victory within the first round of the fight.
Shortly after, the American relinquished the bantamweight belt after the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) found adverse findings following his bout against Cejudo. He was banned for two years due to testing positive for recombinant human erythropoietin (EPO).
He made his comeback fight against Aljamain Sterling in October last year but, after suffering defeat and getting a shoulder injury, was forced to retire shortly after.
TJ Dillashaw (left) was beaten by Cejudo before being banned for two years by USADA
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