Is Conor McGregor still the greatest UFC “champ champ” ever? When McGregor became the first fighter ever to simultaneously hold UFC championships in two different weight divisions at the same time, there was simply no argument about the matter.
How could there be?
After all, no other fighter but McGregor had ever achieved such a lofty perch inside the world’s leading MMA promotional company. The UFC’s original “champ champ” was truly one-of-a-kind at that point.
But three other UFC fighters have gone on to equal McGregor’s mark.
Since 2018, Daniel Cormier, Amanda Nunes, and Henry Cejudo have all become UFC double champions. In fact, both Nunes and Cejudo remain double champs today as McGregor heads into his upcoming bout against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 246 on Jan. 18 in Las Vegas.
So McGregor’s original “champ champ” feat does have some competition as far as defining which of the historical achievements was the best one goes.
1. McGregor: UFC Featherweight and Lightweight Champ
McGregor stopped Jose Aldo in the first round at UFC 194 in December 2015 for the UFC featherweight championship in one of the most shocking knockouts in UFC history. That he achieved such picture-perfect destruction of Aldo, arguably the greatest UFC featherweight in history at that point, made McGregor’s 13-second victory that much better.
The angle you've never seen before 👀
— UFC (@ufc) January 3, 2020
But McGregor had bigger plans in mind than simply defending his newly earned title belt. After his scheduled bout against Rafael Dos Anjos for the UFC lightweight title had to be scrapped due to an injury suffered by Dos Anjos, McGregor ended up going 1-1 against Nate Diaz in two unexpected welterweight contests.
However, after defeating Diaz in the rematch, McGregor finally did get his chance to nab the lightweight title, now in Eddie Alvarez’s hands. McGregor stopped Alvarez in the second round at UFC 205 in November 2016 for the UFC lightweight title to become the UFC’s first double champion.
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2. Daniel Cormier: UFC Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champ
Cormier was the second fighter to simultaneously hold UFC championships in two different divisions. Cormier defeated Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 in May 2015 for the vacant UFC light heavyweight title. He defended it twice before losing the belt via knockout to Jon Jones at UFC 214 in July 2017.
But Cormier was reinstated as champion following the California State Athletic Commission’s decision to overturn the fight into a “no contest” after it was revealed that Jones had failed a related drug test.
With Jones suspended, and Volkan Oezdemirun unable to usurp him in the American’s lone title defense, Cormier shocked the world by deciding to move up to heavyweight to face UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 in July 2018.
But Cormier knocked out Miocic in the second round to become the UFC’s second “champ champ”, and he ultimately elected to vacate his light heavyweight crown to stay in the heavyweight ranks.
— UFC (@ufc) July 8, 2018
Since then, Jon Jones returned to the UFC to recapture the UFC light heavyweight championship. Additionally, Cormier lost his heavyweight title in the rematch against Miocic via knockout at UFC 241 in August 2019.
3. Amanda Nunes: UFC Bantamweight and Featherweight Champ
Nunes beat Miesha Tate via first-round submission at UFC 200 in July 2016 before going on one of the most epic runs in UFC history. Nunes defended her belt against a cast of stalwart competition in Ronda Rousey, Valentina Shevchenko, and Raquel Pennington before moving up in weight to challenge feared titleholder Cris Cyborg for the UFC featherweight championship at UFC 232 in December 2018.
It was there that Nunes emphatically established herself as arguably the greatest female MMA fighter ever. Nunes knocked out Cyborg in just 51 seconds to forever claim the mantle of becoming just the third UFC “champ champ” in history.
— UFC (@ufc) December 30, 2018
Cyborg, who had not lost a fight in over 13 years, subsequently left the UFC to compete under the Bellator banner. Nunes remains a double champion today, though she’s yet to defend her featherweight belt.
However, Nunes defeated Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245 in December in a long-awaited rematch by unanimous decision to defend her bantamweight crown.
Next, Nunes beat Felicia Spencer to defend her featherweight championship at UFC 250 in June 2020. That historic victory made Nunes the first and only “champ champ” on the list to defend both championships as reigning double champion.
4. Henry Cejudo: UFC Flyweight and Bantamweight Champ
Cejudo controversially defeated Demetrious Johnson via split-decision for the UFC flyweight championship at UFC 227 in August 2018. He kept bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw from becoming the UFC’s next “champ champ” after Dillashaw moved down in weight to challenge Cejudo for the flyweight title at UFC 233, then defeated Marlon Moraes for the vacant UFC bantamweight championship at UFC 238 in June 2019 after Dillashaw voluntarily relinquished his belt over anti-doping violations.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) June 9, 2019
Today, Cejudo remains champion in both divisions. A third fight against Johnson, who had ruled the UFC flyweight ranks for six years, virtually became impossible after Johnson was sent over in the UFC’s shocking trade with Singapore-based promotional company ONE Championship for welterweight star Ben Askren.
McGregor Still Best UFC ‘Champ Champ’ Ever?
McGregor never defended either of his UFC title belts, but his destruction of both reigning champions to become the first “champ champ” gives him a decent argument for being the best. Additionally, McGregor should probably get bonus points for being the first person to do it.
Cormier’s achievement was also impressive in that he stopped arguably the greatest UFC heavyweight champion ever. However, Cormier’s feat looks less impressive when you consider the fact that the only reason he had the opportunity in the first place was because Jones had failed a drug test.
Nunes probably has the best case for being the UFC’s greatest double champion. Her run as bantamweight champion has been quite incredible, and it only looks better since seeing her completely destroy Cyborg for the UFC featherweight crown.
Cejudo’s case is probably the weakest. Lots of people think he was given a gift decision to become UFC flyweight champion, and his win over Moraes doesn’t really compare to what the other people on the list had to go through to earn their marks.