Do UFC Champions Keep Their Belts or Get New Ones?

In a recent piece, we looked at whether boxing champions get to retain their belts even once they no longer hold their titles.

But what about in mixed martial arts, specifically the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)? Do beaten champions also keep their belts? Are these belts also real gold? And who has the most title defences in the division? Let’s take a look:

Do UFC Fighters Keep Their Belts After Losing?

Yes, ex-UFC champions get to keep their old belts even after they’ve relinquished their title.

That means that, whether they lose a bout, forfeit their title or are even stripped of it, the belt is theirs to keep. It may be reported that their ‘belt has been taken away’, but that simply means they’ve lost their title, not the physical belt.

Does the UFC Make New Belts?

Not anymore. From January 2019, champions now receive a single ‘Legacy Belt’, and get a new ruby to place on it each time they successfully defend their title.

Under the old belt system, though, competitors fought for a new belt each time even if they were defending champions, but that’s no longer the case.

Are UFC Belts Real Gold?

Yes – just like in boxing, UFC belts are made of real gold (and real leather).

For instance, the lightweight bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Dustin Poirier in September 2019 (which Khabib won by round three submission) saw them compete for a belt boasting more than 900 grams (two pounds) of gold.

How Much are UFC Belts Worth?

If the reported value of the belt from that aforementioned Khabib v Poirier fight is anything to go by, they are worth in the region of $333,000.

The UFC also sells gold-plated replica belts to the public at roughly $1,000 each.

Who Has the Most UFC Belts?

In we judge this by the fighter with the most UFC title fight wins, that accolade belongs to Jon Jones, who boasts a hugely impressive 14 victories.

Since winning his first title (light heavyweight) in March 2011, Jones has won 14 of his 15 title bouts in the UFC, with the only one he didn’t win being ruled a ‘No Contest’ a day after Jones beat Daniel Cormier in July 2017 due to Jones testing positive for the steroid turinabol.

Other fighters seen off by Jones in title bouts include Chael Sonnen, Quinton Jackson and Alexander Gustafsson. In August 2020, he vacated his light heavyweight champion title and is expected to make the move up to heavyweight next.

Matthew Chandler

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