Barao Meets Dillashaw in Battle Over...1 lineal title?!...Wait, can that be right?

Hello there lineal title fans! The UFC is putting on another PPV this Saturday and the Main Event is a good one: Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw. I like this fight a lot because I scored the Assuncao fight for TJ, so I feel justice is being served here.

If you follow my lineal title posts, by now you are probably becoming accustom to seeing champions battling over lineal titles in the double digits. Anthony Pettis has 33 of them for Pete sakes! In fact, the other UFC champions hold a combined 160 lineal titles between them. That's an average of 20 titles per champion. Such is not the case with Renan Barao. As we've all heard by now, Barao is on an amazing streak of over 30 fights without a loss. He may very well be the best pound for pound fighter in the world. With that said, it may come as a surprise to some of you crazy lineal title fans that he holds but one lineal title. "How can that be?!" I can imagine you asking with a mix of rage and confusion in your voice. It's hard to explain, really. Especially if you consider how good of a predictor my lineal title leaderboard has been at laying out the very best fighters in each division. A quick glance at the board shows UFC champions Anthony Pettis, Cain Velasquez, GSP, Jon Jones, Chris Weidman, Jose Aldo, and Ronda Rousey in the top 7 spots on the board. Even Mighty Mouse is well represented with 5 of 16 titles or 31% unification.

After a number of years tracking these belts, I've done BE fan posts for every single weight class except for Bantamweight. The reason is that, from a lineal title perspective, it's the most fragmented division in Mixed Martial Arts. And, maybe that's fitting, if you consider the last few injury filled years for Dominick Cruz (In my opinion, another contender for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world when health). But, it's not just Cruz that makes this division interesting. What about guys like Bibiano Fernandes, Marlon Moraes, Eduardo Dantas, and Rafael Assuncao? You guessed it, they are all well represented in the fragmented lineal title picture of the Bantamweight division.

Let's take a look at the leader board in the BW division:

Champion # of Titles Promotions Unification %
1 Dominick Cruz 6 UFC, WEC, KOTC, Ring of Combat, Cage Force, Cage Warriors 19%
1 Bibiano Fernandes 6 Deep, Dream, ONE FC, SportFight, CFC, Zst 19%
2 Marlon Moraes 5 Bellator, EliteXC, WSOF, Icon Sport, Legacy FC 16%
3 Eduardo Dantas 2 Shooto, Ironheart Crown 6%
3 Rafael Assuncao 2 RFA, XFC 6%
Renan Barao 1 Tachi Palace 3%
Kyoji Horiguchi 1 Pancrase 3%
Anthony Birchak 1 MFC 3%
Jonas Bilharinho 1 Jungle Fight 3%
Chico Camus 1 Road FC 3%
Aljamain Sterling 1 Cage Fury 3%
Michinori Tanaka 1 PXC 3%
Giorgio Andrews 1 UCMMA 3%
Xian Ji 1 Legend FC 3%
Chris Beal 1 Palace Fighting Championship 3%
TOTAL 31 100%

A Few Notes:

  • Kyoji Horiguchi is still listed here, but he has most recently fought at Flyweight. We'll have to wait and see if he returns to this weight to defend the lineal title
  • Alex Caceres won the Road FC title when he beat Kyung Ho Kang. The commission has since changed this fight to an NC due to a failed drug test for pot. I normally would ignore such a ruling for lineal title purposes, like I do with Nick Diaz's win over Gomi. however, in this case justice was served because the Cacares win was the result of a sketchy decision.
  • Chris Beal is the Palace Fighting Championship title holder and has never lost a professional fight. However, he did lose a 2 round exhibition fight on the Ultimate Fighter to Chris if that means something to you, I guess you can give him the belt

As you can see above, there are 15 fighters that can all lay claim to a piece of the Bantamweight title pie. While Cruz and Fernandes are the clear leaders of this pack, they each hold only 19% of the titles in the division. Even if they were to unify their titles, it would still put them below every UFC champion with the lone exception of the aforementioned Mighty Mouse.

The exciting thing about the fight on Saturday is that it sets up a potential unification bout with either Assuncao or Cruz. However, it would take the movement of Bibiano Fernandes from ONE FC, Marlon Moraes from WSOF, and Eduardo Dantas from Bellator to see any significant unification in the Bantamweight division.

Given the opportunity, could Barao rise to the top of this fragmented division and unify these belts? Only time will tell if he is the man for the job.

Here is the lineage of the Tachi Palace Bantamweight belt that Barao will put on the line this Saturday night:

Cole Escovedo => Michael McDonald => Renan Barao

Lineal Title Leaderboard:

# Name # of Titles Unify Big 10
1 Anthony Pettis 33 67% 90%
2 Cain Velasquez 31 78% 82%
3 Georges St. Piere 27 57% 89%
4 Jon Jones 21 61% 57%
5 Chris Weidman 20 49% 50%
6 Jose Aldo 14 40% 57%
7 Ronda Rousey 9 44% 38%
8 Dominick Cruz 6 19% 25%
8 Bibiano Fernandes 6 19% 25%
8 Vitor Belfort 6 15% 20%
9 Mighty Mouse 5 31% 60%
9 Marlon Moraes 5 17% 25%
9 Pat Curran 5 15% 14%
9 Jacare Souza 5 12% 10%
10 Claudia Gadelha 4 50% 100%
10 Dustin Poirier 4 12% 29%
10 Gegard Mousasi 4 12% 14%
10 Alexis Davis 4 22% 13%
10 Georgi Karakhanyan 4 12% 0%
- Michelle Waterson 3 100% 100%
- Cyborg Justino 3 75% 67%
- Rin Nakai 3 17% 25%
- Emanuel Newton 3 9% 14%
- Vitaly Minakov 3 8% 9%
- Dong Hyun Kim 3 7% 0%
* Ten fighters tied with two each 2 - -

Upcoming Unification Bouts # Date
Pat Curran vs Patricio Pitbull 6 titles 6-Jun
Mighty Mouse vs Ali Bagautinov 6 titles 14-Jun
Chris Weidman vs Lyoto Machida 21 titles 5-Jul
Ronda Rousey vs Alexis Davis 13 titles 5-Jul
Jose Aldo vs Chad Mendes 15 titles 2-Aug
Jon Jones vs Alexander Gustafsson 22 titles TBD
Other Titles on the Line # Date
Renan Barao vs TJ Dillashaw 1 title 24-May
Stipe Miocic vs Fabio Maldonado 1 title 31-May
Tim Radcliffe vs Stu Barrs 1 title 24-May
Ben Askren vs Bakhtiyar Abbasov 2 titles 30-May
Xian Ji vs Thanh Vu 1 title 30-May
Edimilson Souza vs Mark Eddiva 1 title 31-May
Rustam Khabilov vs Benson Henderson 1 title 31-May
Kevin Casey vs Andrew Sanchez 1 title 6-Jun
Michinori Tanaka vs Roland Delorme 1 title 14-Jun
Georgi Karakhanyan vs Rick Glenn 4 titles 21-Jun
David Branch vs Jesse Taylor 1 title 21-Jun
Anthony Hamilton vs Alexey Oleinik 1 title 28-Jun
Antonio Braga Neto vs Clint Hester 1 title 28-Jun
Carlos Diego Ferreira vs Colton Smith 1 title 28-Jun
Mitsuhisa Sunabe vs Hiroaki Ijima 1 title 29-Jun
Chico Camus vs Chris Holdsworth 1 title 24-May
Justin Gaethje vs Nick Newell 1 title 5-Jul
Jon Fitch vs Jake Shields 1 title 5-Jul
Justin Scoggins vs Dustin Ortiz 1 title 6-Jul
Derrick Lewis vs Guto Inocente 1 title 6-Jul
Aljamain Sterling vs Hugo Viana 1 title 16-Jul
Brad Pickett vs Ian McCall 1 title 19-Jul
Jonas Vilharinho vs Mario Israel 1 title 19-Jul
Anthony Johsnon vs Lil Nog 2 titles 26-Jul
Zach Makovsky vs Jussier da Silva 2 titles 2-Aug
Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum 31 titles 15-Nov
Anthony Pettis vs Gilbert Melendez 33 titles 27-Dec

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.