FanPost

UFC 188: Velasquez and Werdum Battle for Place in Lineal Title History Books

Hello there lineal title fans! This Saturday, the UFC puts on another PPV event chalk full with lineal title action. You’ll hear a lot about the unification of the UFC belts: Champion vs Champion – there can be only one! (Okay, I was a big Highlander fan, so sue me). But, the truth is that there’s only one lineal UFC belt and that belongs to Cain Velasquez. The title of lineal Heavyweight King, on the other hand, is a distinction that both competitors can boast as part of their distinguished resumes. In fact, the real story behind this battle for the lineal crown is the opportunity for Werdum to become the first Heavyweight in history to hold the crown twice in his career.

As it turns out, this is a very special installment because I will be in Mexico City for UFC 188 to enjoy Heavyweight lineal King Cain Velasquez defend his 37 titles live! (I’ll pause to allow the jealousy to set in)…

That’s right, I’ve spent the better part of 2 months praying to the MMA gods that Cain could hold it together long enough to make the trip to the Octagon after a year and a half on the bench. So far, it’s worked and I’m pumped for the live lineal action that awaits. I’ve detailed Cain’s lineal success in the past, but here’s a quick reminder of his greatness:

· 37 lineal titles currently ranks 1st on the Lineal Title leaderboard across all weight classes

· 49 career lineal titles ranks 1st on the list of Career Lineal Title holders across all weight classes

· Only fighter in history to successfully unify all ten "Big 10" lineal titles in his weight class - Collection of the 10 most important titles in the history of the HW division:

1.   UFC (Open) - Royce Gracie (1993)
2. Pancrase (Open) - Masakatsu Funaki (1996)
3. World Vale Tudo - Richard Heard (1996)
4. IFC - Igor Vovchanchyn (1996)
5. UFC (265 lb) - Mark Coleman (1997)
6. IVC (Open) - Gary Goodridge (1997)
7. Pride FC - Minotauro Nogueira (2001)
8. Strikeforce - Alistair Overeem (2007)
9. IFL - Roy Nelson (2007)
10. EliteXC - Bigfoot Silva (2008)

· In 2013, Cain came the closest of any male fighter in history to unifying 100% of all active lineal titles in his weight class (37 of 49 or 76%). And, he remains the closest to total unification today (37 of 52 or 71%)

Very impressive, indeed. But, I would still argue that the real story behind this battle for the lineal crown is the opportunity for Werdum to make history as the only man to ever regain the title after losing it…

I’ll detail the awesomeness below, but before we jump into the details of Werdum’s incredible opportunity, here’s a quick reminder of the rules I follow when tracing these lineages.

Rules:

1. All titles trace back to the given promotion's inaugural championship, unless specifically noted
2. Only bouts contested within the weight class for which the belt was created are counted in the lineage. (See Rule 3 for exceptions)
3. WMMA belts will be allowed to "migrate" to different weight classes due to more frequent weight class changes by female fighters
4. If a title dead ends due to change of weight class or retirement, the next title issued by the promotion will be considered. I will refer to each issued title as an "iteration" of the belt (1st iteration, 2nd iterations, etc.)
5. No Contest rulings will always be respected (i.e. Diaz vs Gomi: Diaz tested positive for marijuana, so the fight does not effect the lineage)
6. TUF fights are exhibitions and will generally not count in the lineage of a title. TUF 20 for the Strawweight title is an exception to this rule considering the stakes

Lineal Accomplishments of Fabricio Werdum

We’ve heard about the champion, but what about the "Interim" champ? Werdum is no slouch when it comes to lineal title success, but it all stems from a single victory. You probably guessed that when Werdum submitted the seemingly unbeatable Fedor Emelianenko, he also stamped his name into the lineal title history books. The collection of titles he earned with this lone victory included 17 belts, 7 of which are counted among Cain Velasquez’s "Big 10" lineal titles. This is good for a tie for the 5th most career Big Ten titles in history across all weight classes (puts him alongside Fedor, Anderson Silva, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Chris Weidman, Mighty Mouse, and Sarah Kaufman) It also crowned him the lineal king of the Heavyweight division, a distinction Fedor had held for 18 defenses over 7 years (All-time record).

Werdum would go on to lose the crown to Alistair Overeem in Strikeforce, but it was a competitive affair that will be remembered mostly for Werdum’s insistence on making it a ground fight despite surprising success in the stand-up exchanges against, at the time, the recently crowned K-1 Grand Prix champion.

Lineal History Lesson: Heavyweight Edition

Here’s a look at all Heavyweight Lineal Kings throughout the history of the division (Super Heavweight, Heavyweight, & Open Weight) from Cain Velasquez all the way back to Royce Gracie.

History of Heavyweight Lineal Kings
Champion Titles % Unify
Cain Velasquez 37 71% 2015
Cain Velasquez 37 74% 2014
Cain Velasquez 37 76% 2013
Cain Velasquez 36 73% 2013
Bigfoot Silva 22 46% 2013
Alistair Overeem 18 39% 2011
Fabricio Werdum 17 38% 2010
Fedor Emelianenko 17 45% 2009
Fedor Emelianenko 16 44% 2008
Fedor Emelianenko 15 60% 2005
Mirko Cro Cop 8 32% 2005
Fedor Emelianenko 7 28% 2004
Fedor Emelianenko 6 26% 2003
Minotauro Nogueira 6 43% 2001
Minotauro Nogueira 5 36% 2001
Mark Coleman 4 29% 2001
Igor Vovchanchyn 3 30% 2000
Bobalu Sobral 3 30% 2000
Kiyoshi Tamura 3 30% 2000
Royce Gracie UFC 1 - 1993 (Earliest Active)

You’ll notice that no Heayweight in history has ever held the crown more than once. One portion of the timeline that is a bit confusing is a period of about 1 month when Cro Cop briefly held 8 lineal titles to Fedor’s 7. Technically, you could call Cro Cop the lineal king during this time, but he never beat Fedor for the crown. Instead, they fought head to head in Pride FC where Fedor cemented his status as the true lineal king of the division.

Here’s a more complete look at the lineal repercussions of a Werdum victory this Saturday:

· Werdum would hold the all-time record for career lineal titles with 54

· Werdum would hold the all-time record for career "Big 10" titles with 17

· Werdum would be the 2nd male fighter in history to hold all ten divisional "Big 10" titles

· Werdum would become the first Heayweight in history to hold the lineal crown twice in his career (He would join GSP (3 time WW), Takanori Gomi (3 time LW), Randy Couture (LHW), Chael Sonnen (MW), Miguel Torres (BW) as the only fighters to ever re-gain the lineal crown after losing it)

Would this make Fabricio Werdum, the slayer of Fedor himself, the greatest Heavyweight in history? There’s certainly an argument to be made…

Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum (37 lineal titles)

The following details the lineal history of the belts that are on the line this Saturday. They are presented in chronological order according to the year in which they were installed. Enjoy!

1. UFC (1st Tournament Title)

Lineal History: Royce Gracie (1993) Kazushi Sakuraba Igor Vovchanchyn Mark Coleman Minotauro Nogueira Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

2. Lumax Cup

Lineal History: Tsuyoshi Kosaka (1995) Magomedkhan Gamzatkhanov Kiyoshi Tamura Tariel Bitsadze Kiyoshi Tamura Babalu Sobral Dan Henderson Wanderlei Silva Mark Hunt Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Gabriel Gonzaga Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

· 2nd iteration, first tournament in '94 was won by Yoshinori Nishi, but the belt ends up in the hands of Rickson Gracie who retired undefeated

3. Pancrase (Open)

Lineal History: Masakatsu Funaki (1996) Yuki Kondo Jason Godsey Masakatsu Funaki Guy Mezger Semmy Schilt Yuki Kondo Semmy Schilt Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

· This is the 2nd iteration of the Open weight title, the 1st dead ends at Bas Rutten due to retirement. Cain also holds the Super Heavy Weight title issued in 2004 and won by Kosaka

4. World Vale Tudo

Lineal History: Richard Heard (1996) Pedro Rizzo Kevin Randleman Randy Couture Valentijn Overeem Minotauro Nogueira Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

5. IFC

Lineal History: Igor Vovchanchyn (1996) Mark Coleman Minotauro Nogueira Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

6. UFC (World Title)

Lineal History: Mark Coleman (1997) Maurice Smith Randy Couture Enson Inoue Mark Kerr Kazuyuki Fujita Mark Coleman Minotauro Nogueira Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

7. M-1 (Open)

Lineal History: Bob Schrijber (1997) Gilbert Yvel Bob Schrijber Mikhail Avetisyan Hugo Duarte Bob Schrijber Semmy Schilt Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

8. IVC (Open)

Lineal History: Gary Goodridge (1997) Marco Ruas Alexander Otsuka Renzo Gracie Kiyoshi Tamura Babalu Sobral Dan Henderson Wanderlei Silva Mark Hunt Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Gabriel Gonzaga Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

9. Rings (Open)

Lineal History: Kiyoshi Tamura (1998) Tariel Bitsadze Kiyoshi Tamura Babalu Sobral Dan Henderson Wanderlei Silva Mark Hunt Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Gabriel Gonzaga Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

10. IVC (HW)

Lineal History: Carlos Barreto (1999) Igor Vovchanchyn Mark Coleman Minotauro Nogueira Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

11. Pancrase (HW)

Lineal History: Kazuo Takahashi (2001) Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

12. King of the Cage (Super HW)

Lineal History: Bobby Hoffman (2001) Josh Barnett Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

· 2nd iteration originally held by Bobby Hoffman, 1st dead ends where Marvin Eastman moves down to 205 lbs


13. Pride FC

Lineal History: Minotauro Nogueira (2001) Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

14. Gladiator Challenge (HW)

Lineal History: Jason Lambert (2001) Tim Sylvia Frank Mir Marcio Cruz Jeff Monson Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

15. Cage Warriors

Lineal History: Steve Thomas (2002) Mal Foki Anthony Perosh Jeff Monson Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

16. Extreme Challenge

Lineal History: Ben Rothwell (2002) Mike Whitehead Tim Sylvia Frank Mir Marcio Cruz Jeff Monson Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

17. Icon Sport (aka Super Brawl)

Lineal History: Wesley Cabbage (2002) Tim Sylvia Frank Mir Marcio Cruz Jeff Monson Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

18. TKO

Lineal History: Sean Alvarez (2002) Wesley Cabbage Andrei Arlovski Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

19. Ironheart Crown

Lineal History: Jason Godsey (2002) Bobby Hoffman Paul Buentello Andrei Arlovski Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

20. King of the Cage (HW)

Lineal History: Bobby Hoffman (2003) Paul Buentello Andrei Arlovski Tim Sylvia Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

21. Reality Fighting (HW)

Lineal History: Glen Sandull (2003) Brian Olsen Ibragim Magomedov Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

22. WEC (Super HW)

Lineal History: Ron Waterman (2003) Mirko Cro Cop Kevin Randleman Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

23. Reality Fighting (Super HW)

Lineal History: Carlos Cline (2003) Glen Sandull Brian Olsen Ibragim Magomedov Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

· It appears Cline was crowned inaugural champion without actually fighting because two potential opponents backed out

24. M-1 (HW)

Lineal History: Ibragim Megomedov (2004) Mirko Cro Cop Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

25. Cage Rage

Lineal History: Tengiz Tedoradze (2006) Edson Vieira Pawel Nastula Josh Barnett Minotauro Nogueira Frank Mir Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

· This lineage traces the British version of HW title. The World Title version of the belt was contested more at 205 lbs. Ignoring weight class, it dead ends at Daniel Cormier

26. Cage Fury Fighting Championship

Lineal History: Carmelo Marrero (2006) Gabriel Gonzaga Randy Couture Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

27. Strikeforce

Lineal History: Alistair Overeem (2007) Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

28. IFL

Lineal History: Roy Nelson (2007) Andrei Arlovski Fedor Emelianenko Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

29. MFC

Lineal History: Scott Junk (2007) Christian Wellisch Shane Carwin Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

30. Ring of Fire

Lineal History: Shane Carwin (2007) Brock Lesnar Cain Velasquez Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

· 2nd iteration, first was won by Travis Wiuff who moved down to LHW for a stretch and lost it to Devin Cole upon his return to the HW division. Cole went on to loss the title to Allan Goes who never competed at HW again

31. Elite XC

Lineal History: Bigfoot Silva (2008) Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

32. WAMMA

Lineal History: Fedor Emelianenko (2008) Fabricio Werdum Alistair Overeem Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

33. Shark Fights

Lineal History: Darrill Schoonover (2009) James McSweeney Travis Browne Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

34. Fight To Win

Lineal History: Abe Wagner (2009) Travis Browne Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

35. Dream

Lineal History: Alistair Overeem (2010) Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

36. Ring of Combat

Lineal History: Gian Villante (2010) Chadd Griggs Travis Browne Bigfoot Silva Cain Velasquez

· 3rd iteration, First champ Kohan retires undefeated, second champ Romero moves down to LHW. Lineage ignores one loss by Vilante at LHW

37. PWP (Super HW)

Lineal History: Tim Sylia (2010) Abe Wagner Aaron Rosa Joey Beltran Stipe Miocic Stefan Struve Mark Hunt Junior Dos Santos Cain Velasquez

· Listed as SHW because when Sylvia won it he weighed 275 lbs

· Power House World Promotions held just 1 event in 2010 but crowned 3 champions that night. I track them because they all ended up in hands of good fighters

Lineal Pie

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Lineal Dashboard: Heavyweight

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Lineal Leaderboard

# Name # of Titles Unify Big 10
1 Cain Velasquez 37 71% 100%
2 Chris Weidman 31 60% 90%
2 Georges St. Piere 31 55% 80%
3 Rafael dos Anjos 29 46% 60%
4 Jon Jones 21 51% 90%
5 Ronda Rousey 20 74% 90%
5 Jose Aldo 20 41% 60%
6 Donald Cerrone 11 17% 40%
7 Dominick Cruz 9 22% 40%
8 Mighty Mouse 8 31% 70%
8 Patricio Freire 8 16% 20%
8 Joanna Jędrzejczyk 8 42% 80%
9 Bibiano Fernandes 7 17% 20%
10 Jacare Souza 6 12% 10%
11 Cyborg Justino 5 100% -
11 Ben Askren 5 9% 20%
11 Daniel Cormier 5 12% 10%
12 Jessica Aguilar 4 21% 10%
12 Miesha Tate 4 15% 10%
12 Gegard Mousasi 4 10% 0%
12 Liam McGeary 4 10% 0%
12 Vitaly Minakov 4 8% 0%
12 Lance Palmer 4 8% 0%
13 Herica Tiburcio 3 75% -
13 Conor McGregor 3 6% 20%
13 Marlon Moraes 3 7% 10%
13 Khabib Nurmegomedov 3 5% 10%
13 Tyron Woodley 3 5% 0%
14 Eleven tied with 2 each 2 - -

Upcoming Lineal Title Action

Unification Bouts # Date
Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor 23 titles 11-Jul
Robbie Lawler vs Rory MacDonald 3 titles 11-Jul
Holly Holm vs Marion Reneau 3 titles 15-Jul
Marlon Moraes vs Sheyom Moraes 4 titles 1-Aug
Rafael dos Anjos vs Donald Cerrone 40 titles TBD

Other Titles on the Line # Date
Matt Bessette vs Khama Worthy 1 title 12-Jun
Cain Velasquez vs Fabricio Werdum 37 titles 13-Jun
Patricio Freire vs Daniel Weichel 8 titles 19-Jun
Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs Jessica Penne 8 titles 20-Jun
Alan Patrick vs Mairbek Taisumov 1 title 20-Jun
Liu Wenbo vs Adil Boranbayev 1 title 27-Jun
Yoel Romero vs Lyoto Machida 1 title 27-Jun
Herica Tiburcio vs Ayaka Hamasaki 3 titles 10-Jul
Stephen Thompson vs Jake Ellenberger 1 title 11-Jul
Thomas Almeida vs Brad Pickett 1 title 11-Jul
Tim Means vs Matt Brown 1 title 11-Jul
Tony Ferguson vs Josh Thomson 2 titles 15-Jul
Kevin Casey vs Ildemar Alcântara 1 title 15-Jul
Thales Leites vs Michael Bisping 1 title 18-Jul
Miesha Tate vs Jessica Eye 4 titles 25-Jul
TJ Dillashaw vs Renan Barao 2 titles 25-Jul
Ronda Rousey vs Bethe Correira 20 titles 1-Aug
Rousimar Palhares vs Jake Shields 3 titles 1-Aug
Tyrone Spong vs Mike Kyle 1 title 1-Aug
Magomed Bibulatov vs Donavon Frelow 1 title 1-Aug
Yosef Mohammad vs Fernando Rodrigues 1 title 29-Aug
Borys Mańkowski vs Michail Tsarev 1 title 3-Oct

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

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