UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (2024)

Matt Erickson

July 8, 2024 9:40 am ET

A two-time former champion has an opportunity to do something rate later this summer.

Israel Adesanya will try to win the UFC middleweight title for a third time when he meets rival and current champ Dricus Du Plessis in Perth, Australia.

Ahead of UFC 305 in August, take a look at a chronological history of the UFC middleweight belt.

Dave Menne

Date: Sept. 28, 2001
Event: UFC 33
Opponent: Gil Castillo
Total reign: 105 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Trivia question as the first middleweight champion in UFC history.

Murilo Bustamante

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (1)

Murilo Bustamante

Date: Jan. 11, 2002
Event: UFC 35
Opponent: Dave Menne
Total reign: 267 days
Title defenses: Matt Lindland (UFC 37)
Notes: Stripped of the title in October 2002 when he left for PRIDE.

Evan Tanner

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (2)

Evan Tanner

Date: Feb. 5, 2005
Event: UFC 51
Opponent: David Terrell
Total reign: 119 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Tanner’s win over Terrell was for the belt vacated by Murilo Bustamante. The fight was the first UFC middleweight title bout in more than three years.

Rich Franklin

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (3)

Rich Franklin

Date: June 4, 2005
Event: UFC 53
Opponent: Evan Tanner
Total reign: 497 days
Title defenses: Nate Quarry (UFC 56), David Loiseau (UFC 58)
Notes: Franklin was the first fighter with multiple title defenses at 185 pounds, though his record quickly was surpassed by his successor.

Anderson Silva

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (4)

Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva, UFC 77

Date: Oct. 14, 2006
Event: UFC 64
Opponent: Rich Franklin
Total reign: 2,457 days
Title defenses: Nate Marquardt (UFC 73), Rich Franklin (UFC 77), Dan Henderson (UFC 82), Patrick Cote (UFC 90), Thales Leites (UFC 97), Demian Maia (UFC 112), Chael Sonnen (UFC 117), Vitor Belfort (UFC126), Yushin Okami (UFC 134), Chael Sonnen (UFC148)
Notes: Set a middleweight standard that will be hard to surpass. The UFC Hall of Famer (once in the Pioneer Wing and again in the Fight Wing) still holds the longest title reign in UFC history and many other records surround his run as champion.

Chris Weidman

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (5)

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout in the second round with a TKO at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: USATSI-131490 ORIG FILE ID: 20130706_lbm_aj4_363.JPG

Date: July 6, 2013
Event: UFC 162
Opponent: Anderson Silva
Total reign: 889 days
Title defenses: Anderson Silva (UFC168), Lyoto Machida (UFC 175), Vitor Belfort (UFC 187)
Notes: His win over Silva was a monumental upset in UFC history, but his win in the rematch was when Silva snapped his leg with one of the most brutal injuries ever.

Luke Rockhold

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (6)

December 12, 2015; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Luke Rockhold lands punches against Chris Weidman during UFC 194 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Dec. 12, 2015
Event: UFC 162
Opponent: Chris Weidman
Total reign: 175days
Title defenses: None

Michael Bisping

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (7)

Michael Bisping

Date: June 4, 2016
Event: UFC 199
Opponent: Luke Rockhold
Total reign: 518 days
Title defenses: Dan Henderson (UFC 204)
Notes: Bisping’s win over Rockhold to capture the title was on short notice and avenged a prior loss.

Robert Whittaker (interim)

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (8)

Robert Whittaker

Date: July 8, 2017
Event: UFC 213
Opponent: Yoel Romero
Title defenses: None
Notes: Whittaker beat Romero for an interim belt while Bisping was sidelined ahead of his title fight with Georges St-Pierre. Whittaker eventually was promoted to undisputed champion.

Georges St-Pierre

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (9)

Georges St-Pierre at UFC 217. (USA TODAY Sports)

Date: Nov. 4, 2017
Event: UFC 217
Opponent: Michael Bisping
Total reign: 33 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: St-Pierre accomplished his goal of holding titles in two UFC weight classes. Citing health issues, he relinquished the title about a month after he won it and interim champion Robert Whittaker was promoted.

Robert Whittaker

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (10)

Robert Whittaker

Date: Dec. 7, 2017
Total reign: 660 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Whittaker was made full champion after St-Pierre vacated.

Israel Adesanya (interim)

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (11)

UFC 236: Israel Adesanya vs. Kelvin Gastelum

Date: April 13, 2019
Event: UFC 236
Opponent: Kelvin Gastelum
Notes: Adesanya won an interim belt while Whittaker was sidelined.

Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (12)

Israel Adesanya

Date: Oct. 6, 2019
Event: UFC 243
Opponent: Robert Whittaker
Total reign: 1,134 days
Title defenses: Yoel Romero (UFC 248), Paulo Costa (UFC253), Marvin Vettori (UFC 263), Robert Whittaker (UFC271), Jared Cannonier (UFC 276)
Notes: Adesanya looked like the next coming of Anderson Silva until an old kickboxing nemesis derailed him.

Alex Pereira

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (13)

Alex Pereira

Date: Nov. 12, 2022
Event: UFC 281
Opponent: Israel Adesanya
Total reign: 147 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Pereira, who had two kickboxing wins over Adesanya, beat him in MMA, too, though he lost the belt back to him in the rematch.

Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (14)

MIAMI, FLORIDA – APRIL 08: Israel Adesanya of Nigeria celebrates after knocking uot Alex Pereira of Brazil during their Middleweight fight at Kaseya Center on April 08, 2023 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Date: April 8, 2023
Event: UFC 287
Opponent: Alex Pereira
Total reign: 155 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Adesanya didn’t log a successful title defense in his second reign as champion.

Sean Strickland

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (15)

Sean Strickland

Date: Sept. 10, 2023
Event: UFC 293
Opponent: Israel Adesanya
Total reign: 132 days
Title defenses: None
Notes: Strickland went into enemy territory and beat Adesanya in Australia by outboxing him for 25 minutes.

Dricus Du Plessis

UFC middleweight title history: Anderson Silva, Israel Adesanya, Rich Franklin and more (16)

Jan 20, 2024; Toronto, Canada, USA; Dricus Du Plessis (blue gloves) celebrates defeating Sean Strickland (red glove) during UFC 297 at ScotiaBank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Jan. 20, 2024
Event: UFC 297
Opponent: Sean Strickland
Total reign: Incumbent
Title defenses: TBD
Notes: Du Plessis beat Strickland to set up a highly anticipated grudge match between him and two-time former champion Israel Adesanya.

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