For those who are not as familiar with the term, a lineal title considers a championship belt as something that is not bound by promotion, but rather a title that must be won in a fight. Another way to think about it is "The Guy Who Beat the Guy." For example, when Hector Lombard recently left Bellator to sign with the UFC, he was still considered to be the Bellator Middleweight champion. In the Lineal Title world, he did not lose his belt until Tim Boetsch took it from him at UFC 149. After that, Philippou beat Boetsch. Therefore, Philippou is the Bellator MW champion in Lineal terms.
In the past, I have posted a chart that lays out all the Lineal champions across major MMA promotions, past and present. I thought it would be fun to look at K-1 in the same way and find out who holds what was once considered the pinnacle of kickboxing achievement - the K-1 Grand Prix tournament title.
Here's what I found:
|K-1 Grand Prix Tournament Title|
|April 1993||Branko Cikatić||0|
|March 1994||Andy Hug||0|
|April 1994||Patrick Smith||0|
|April 1994||Peter Aerts||15|
|May 1996||Mike Bernardo||1|
|May 1996||Andy Hug||4|
|March 1997||Peter Aerts||4|
|Nov 1997||Andy Hug||0|
|Nov 1997||Ernesto Hoost||0|
|April 1998||Peter Aerts||0|
|June 1998||Andy Hug||5|
|Dec 1998||Peter Aerts||6|
|Dec 1999||Jerome Le Banner||0|
|Dec 1999||Ernesto Hoost||5|
|July 2000||Jerome Le Banner||6|
|Dec 2001||Mark Hunt||3|
|March 2002||Mirko Cro Cop||5|
1. Cro Cop is the current Lineal champion. It had been nearly 10 years since he last defended his title before returning to the K-1 Ring in 2012
2. If Cro Cop wins his fights on Friday, he has a chance to move into 2nd place behind Peter Aerts for the highest number of title defenses.
3. Peter Aerts is the man on a few different levels. He has won the title 4 separate times (a distinction he shares only with Andy Hug). He has defended the title a combined 25 times including an amazing run of 15 defenses before losing the belt to Mike Bernardo in 1996.
The K-1 tournament is not what it once was. But, I'll be cheering for Cro Cop to extend his run this Friday.