Israel Adesanya is gunning for ‘champ champ’ status in his UFC 259 main event against light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz.
The middleweight king is looking to win another belt that would put him in rarefied air and add to his legacy.
He would be the fifth two-weight champion in the UFC, so which other stars have managed the feat and how did they do it?
Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya will attempt to win another belt at UFC 259
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Featherweight champion – defeated Jose Aldo (2015)
Lightweight champion – defeated Eddie Alvarez (2016)
The original ‘champ champ’ and man who first coined the famous phrase that has now been adopted into MMA vernacular.
Conor McGregor had already proved himself a superstar and the biggest draw in the UFC but his featherweight title win over Jose Aldo took it to another level.
Could he live up to the talk? Would he actually be able to compete with the greatest 145-pound fighter in history?
Conor McGregor coined the phrase ‘champ champ’ and was the first to do it simultaneously
It took 13 seconds. McGregor was in peak ‘Mystic Mac’ form predicting that Aldo would overreach and become emotional, leaving himself open.
In effectively the first exchange of the fight, Aldo did just that. McGregor, who had practised the move in the changing room before the fight, landed a flashing right hand and sent the Irish fans present into delirium.
But he wasn’t done there. McGregor has always tried to break new ground and fresh from his rematch win over Nate Diaz, accepted a fight for the lightweight title.
He delivered the most spectacular performance of his career against Eddie Alvarez in New York.
McGregor made a capable fighter look amateurish and some of his combinations were out of this world.
The referee called a stop to it in the second round and the abiding memory is of McGregor sitting on top of the cage with a belt draped over each shoulder.
McGregor is attempting to recreate the success he achieved four years ago
Light-heavyweight champion – defeated Anthony Johnson (2015)
Heavyweight champion – defeated Stipe Miocic (2018)
Daniel Cormier’s career is a peculiar one but nobody can take away the fact that he reigned supreme over the big boys for a period of time.
His defeats by Jon Jones and loss in the trilogy against Stipe Miocic will haunt him but the American deserves to be remembered as more than a nearly-man.
He won the vacant light-heavyweight title against Anthony Johnson after Jones was stripped of the belt for felony charges relating to a traffic accident in New Mexico.
Cormier seized the opportunity and submitted Johnson in the second round.
Daniel Cormier became the second two-weight UFC champion back in 2018
He then went on to defend his crown against Alexander Gustafsson, Anderson Silva and Johnson again before he crossed paths with his nemesis, Jones.
Jones won by TKO but the result ended up being overturned when he was found to have tested positive for turinabol, a banned substance.
Cormier was therefore reinstated as champion and after a win over Volkan Oezdemir, moved up to take on the consensus greatest heavyweight of all time, Miocic.
He scored a flash knockout in the second round to stun the heavyweight and become the second two-weight champion in UFC history.
Women’s bantamweight champion – defeated Miesha Tate (2016)
Women’s featherweight champion – defeated Cris Cyborg (2018)
The greatest female MMA fighter of all time began an incredible title run with her rear-naked choke win over Miesha Tate five years ago.
She dished out the savage first-round beating that put Ronda Rousey into retirement before overcoming Valentina Shevchenko and Raquel Pennington to underline her status as the best bantamweight in the world.
Then the ‘Lioness’ went after some larger prey when she went for the featherweight belt.
Amanda Nunes is the only female two-weight UFC champion in UFC history
There were doubts about how she might fare against Cris Cyborg, the fearsome Brazilian with incredible power.
But Nunes brushed her aside with ease – mirroring the performance against Rousey by marching down her opponent and landing repeated thudding shots.
Cyborg lasted just 51 seconds and Nunes became the UFC’s third two-weight champion, taking home a performance of the night bonus to boot.
Flyweight champion – defeated Demetrious Johnson (2017)
Bantamweight champion – defeated Marlon Moraes (2019)
Cejudo is now retired, which in MMA terms means he’s just waiting for the right payday or opponent to return.
But it is a great shame he chose to step away at the peak of his powers in such an exciting time for the flyweight and bantamweight divisions.
His run of victories came after two hugely disappointing defeats. One was against Demetrious Johnson, who many consider to be among the greatest fighters ever.
The other came on the scorecards against Joseph Benavidez in a split decision after Cejudo was deducted a point for illegal use of elbows.
Henry Cejudo has stepped away from the sport but his legacy as a ‘champ champ’ is in tact
Those losses lit a fire under the former Olympic wrestling champion.
He exacted revenge over Johnson, two years after losing to him and followed up by defending the belt against Wilson Reis and Sergio Pettis.
With the scores 1-1, ‘Mighty Mouse’ and Cejudo shared the cage for a third time and again the champion won by split decision.
After dispatching TJ Dillashaw in his next fight, Cejudo decided the time was right to step up to bantamweight and test himself against naturally bigger men.
Nine seconds into the third round of his title showdown with Marlon Moraes, the referee stepped in to stop the punishment.
The TKO win and extra strap around his waist made him the fourth fighter in UFC history to become ‘champ champ’.
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