The former “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” was a force in the Octagon and at the box office during his prime. He won the light heavyweight title by outpointing Wanderlei Silva in Japan, then defended the belt five times including wins over Evan Tanner, Vladimir Matyushenko, and of course Ken Shamrock. Ortiz’s run at the top when he encountered fellow Hall of Famer Randy Couture, losing in a somewhat embarrassing effort featuring a spanking from “The Natural” at one point in the bout. What fan doesn’t remember Hughes’ title-win over Carlos Newton? The finish featured a slam Hughes delivered while he was on his way to being out cold from a choke. However, Hughes went on the prove there was much more to him than a fluke victory, stringing together five wins as champ including a TKO of Newton less than a year later. He lost the belt to B.J. Penn, then re-claimed it by submitting Georges St-Pierre before adding a few more triumphs to his already-impressive resume. Aldo didn’t “win” the belt he currently holds per se but saw his WEC strap upgraded when the organization’s roster was folded into the UFC. Still, there’s no arguing against Aldo’s status as the top featherweight in the sport given his showings in the Octagon against Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, and others. With five defenses already in his back pocket, it will definitely be interesting to see how far the 27-year old can go before fans see the title around a another 145er’s waist. The man of the hour, Jones got his opportunity at gold with a little bit of luck after Rashad Evans was forced to withdraw from a match-up with then-champion Mauricio Rua. Jones slid into the vacant spot, accepting the effort with six weeks to prepare, and absolutely destroyed Rua in the duel. The 18-1 “Bones” has since beaten four former UFC champions and Chael Sonnen to boot. St-Pierre’s first run as champion didn’t go well, seeing the title go to Matt Serra after a shocking TKO loss. GSP made sure to avoid a similar mistake once he got the belt back by smashing Serra in the rematch. He has come out of eight straight outings since then including one-sided outpointings of Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, and Nick Diaz. Few title-wins stand out as much as Silva’s 2006 smashing of Rich Franklin. After re-arranging Franklin’s face with some brutal knees, Silva put the belt up against eleven other opponents and came out on top each time. Though Chris Weidman ended the amazing streak earlier this year, Silva remains an all-time great and is seen by many as the best fighter to ever set foot inside the Octagon.
A week from tonight,
UFC light heavyweight champ will attempt to ascend into rarified air by holding on to his title for a sixth straight time when he faces Jon Jones Alexander Gustafsson at . Not only will Jones lay claim to the longest reign as 205-pound king with a victory but also separate himself from the pack and start creeping towards the all-time record for successive defenses of a UFC belt currently held by UFC 165 . His run at immortality has been an impressive one to be sure, though the same can clearly be said about all the men at the top of the list of consecutive wins with the gold up for grabs. (Photos by USA Today Sports Images) Anderson Silva