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UFC Flyweight Title: Current holder, previous winners, history and lineage

The most recently founded of the men’s UFC titles, the flyweight championship is contested between the UFC’s best fighters at 126lbs, with Demetrious Johnson making the most consecutive UFC title defences at the weight class.

We take a look at the history of the men's UFC flyweight championship.

Current UFC flyweight champion

Alexandre Pantoja is the current UFC flyweight champion, having beaten Brandon Moreno by split decision at UFC 290 in July 2023.

Pantoja made his first defence against Brandon Royval that December, winning again by unanimous decision, and is set to make his second defence against Steve Erceg at UFC 301 on 4th May 2024.

How many UFC flyweight champions have there been?

First awarded in 2012, the flyweight division was dominated by Demetrious Johnson for nearly six years, meaning there have been just five different flyweight champions.

Previous UFC flyweight champions

Here is a full list of UFC flyweight champions:

  • Demetrious Johnson (September 2012-August 2018; 11 defences)
  • Henry Cejudo (August 2018-February 2020; one defence; vacated)
  • Deiveson Figueiredo (July 2020-June 2021; two defences)
  • Brandon Moreno (June 2021-January 2022)
  • Deiveson Figueiredo (January 2022-January 2023)
  • Brandon Moreno (July 2022-January 2023; interim)
  • Alexandre Pantoja (July 2023-present; one defence)

UFC flyweight title number one contender

Having won all three of his UFC fights to date to move to a 12-1 professional record, Australia’s Steve Erceg is the number one contender in the flyweight division, and will fight Alexandre Pantoja at UFC 301 on 4th May 2024.

History of the UFC flyweight division

With the UFC’s lighter weight classes becoming more prominent, a 126lbs division was created, with the inaugural title to be awarded to the winner of a four-man tournament in 2012.

Joseph Benavidez beat Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC on FX 2 in March 2012, after Demetrious Johnson and Ian McCall fought to a majority draw (29-29, 28-28, 29-28). The pair fought again in June 2012 at UFC on FX 3 where Johnson emerged victorious via unanimous decision to set up the UFC’s first flyweight title fight.

In another hard-fought contest, Johnson came out with the win, capturing the belt via split decision (48-47, 47-48, 49-46) to become the UFC’s first flyweight champion.

Before dropping down to flyweight, Johnson had fought at bantamweight in WEC, where he amassed a 7-2 record, losing to Brad Pickett and champion Dominick Cruz, but making the move to 126 would see Johnson become an all-time UFC great.

Johnson defended his title a record 10 times, and when he was first crowned champion, Dominick Cruz was in his first reign as bantamweight champion, Benson Henderson was the lightweight champion, and Anderson Silva was the middleweight champion. By the end of his reign, TJ Dillashaw was in his second reign as bantamweight champion, Max Holloway was the 145lbs champion, and Robert Whittaker was the middleweight champion.

Johnson’s first defence came against John Dodson in January 2013, before beating John Moraga, Benavidez (for a second time), Ali Bagautinov, Chris Cariaso, Kyoji Horiguchi, Dodson again, Henry Cejudo, Tim Elliott, Wilson Reis and Ray Borg.

The reign would finally come to an end in August 2018 when facing Cejudo for a second time as the Olympic gold medallist won by a razor-thin split decision (48-47, 47-48, 48-47).

Rather than try reclaim his title, Johnson left the UFC and a new era began.

Cejudo then took on bantamweight Dillashaw in January 2019, who dropped down to flyweight in a bid to become a two-weight world champion. Cejudo won by TKO in little over 30 seconds before announcing his intentions to become a two-weight champion himself.

There wasn’t another flyweight title fight until after Cejudo officially vacated the belt on February 2020, however, Deiveson Figueiredo missed weight before beating Benavidez meaning he was ineligible to win the title, with the belt remaining vacant.

The pair fought again in July 2020, with Figueiredo winning again, and this time being crowned champion.

Figueiredo defended against Alex Perez in November 2020 before the quadrilogy with Brandon Moreno. The pair fought to a majority draw in December 2020, with Moreno winning by submission in June 2021.The third fight saw Figueiredo reclaim his belt via unanimous decision, but with the Brazilian unable to defend his title, an interim title fight was made between Moreno and Kai Kara France, with the former champion coming out on top in July 2022.

Figueiredo and Moreno met for a fourth and final time to unify the decision in January 2023, with Moreno winning via doctor stoppage.

With Figueiredo then moving up to bantamweight, Moreno looked to defend his title against old foe Alexandre Pantoja in July 2023. Pantoja beat Moreno five years earlier by unanimous decision, but their rematch was a much closer contest, with Pantoja winning by split decision (46-49, 48-47, 48-47) to claim the flyweight title.

Pantoja made his first defence with a convincing decision win (50-45, 50-45, 49-46) over Brandon Royval, and is set to make his second defence against Australian Steve Erceg on 4th May at UFC 301.

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