5 greatest UFC champions under the age of 30

Holloway is 23-6 and still only 29
Holloway is 23-6 and still only 29
Ivan Derrick

Max Holloway's unanimous decision win over Yair Rodríguez is all the more impressive when you consider the UFC veteran is still just 29 years of age. Holloway has already racked up a staggering 25 fights with the organization.

Holloway has been able to achieve this due to just how early he began fighting for the UFC and also how quickly he found success. 'Blessed' had his first UFC fight when he was 20 and first won gold when he was 25.

At #UFCVegas42 Max Holloway attempts to become the 12th fighter to have 19 or more wins in the UFC.If he wins, he will be the first fighter under 30 to achieve that goal.

To put this in perspective, there are currently only two UFC champions under the age of 30. They are the flyweight champion Brandon Moreno, who is 27 and women's flyweight champion Rose Namajunas who is 29.

This shows that for the most part, fighters tend not to reach their peak until they are in their 30s. There are, however, a number of notable exceptions where fighters have reached the top of their division whilst still in their 20s.

Here are five who have stood out above the rest as the greatest UFC champions under the age of 30:

#5. Ronda Rousey

Rousey's 12-2 record all came prior to her 30th birthday
Rousey's 12-2 record all came prior to her 30th birthday

It might be surprising to some that the entirety of Ronda Rousey's illustrious MMA career came before she turned 30. This includes Rousey's six successful defenses of her bantamweight championship, which she later lost to Holly Holm.

Rousey was a true phenom in her prime and her popularity is a significant reason you see women's MMA in the UFC today. She would regularly overwhelm opponents, with 11 of her 12 wins coming in the first round of the fight.

Ronda Rousey: shortest average fight time (3:29) of any UFC fighter w/ 5+ fightsHer last 2 lasted 30 seconds total

While Rousey's resume is hugely impressive, she would likely rank higher if not for her championship losses in her final two appearances. The consecutive defeats to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes destroyed any belief that there was a talent gap between Rousey and the rest of the division.

All in all, one can only admire Rousey's dominance during this spell. Rousey was one of the sport's biggest stars and given she is still only 34 today, perhaps we might see her return to the octagon one day.

#4. Demetrious Johnson

Johnson's record stood at 24-2-1 when he turned 30
Johnson's record stood at 24-2-1 when he turned 30

While Demetrious Johnson is no longer with the UFC, he was with the organization when he turned 30 and had already run up quite the resume. 'Mighty Mouse' became the inaugural flyweight champion and had eight title defenses under his belt before turning 30.

Johnson did not lose in the UFC's flyweight division during this spell and his last fight before turning 30 was a first-round knock-out victory over Henry Cejudo. Johnson was consistently exceptional throughout this run with the UFC.

Deiveson Figueiredo (@DeivesonDaico) ties Demetrious Johnson for most finishes in @UFC flyweight history with seven.MOST FLYWEIGHT WINS - UFC History13 - Demetrious Johnson13 - Joseph Benavidez09 - Deiveson Figueiredo09 - Jussier Formiga08 - John Moraga08 - Dustin Ortiz

While there were no particularly poor losses to blot Johnson's record, he did have losses at bantamweight. His reign was also somewhat compromised by the lack of high-profile talent in the rest of the division.

Johnson continues to fight today and lost his most recent bout for the ONE flyweight championship.

#3. Georges St-Pierre

St. Pierre got his record to 22-2 before turning 30
St. Pierre got his record to 22-2 before turning 30

Widely regarded by many as MMA's GOAT, Georges St-Pierre had plenty of success before and after turning 30. His resume prior to this milestone is sufficient to place him this high on the list.

UFC Welterweight (170 lbs) Championship - Title Defenses [as of November 8, 2021]:Georges St. Pierre - 9Matt Hughes - 7Kamaru Usman - 5Tyron Woodley - 4Pat Miletich - 4Robbie Lawler - 2#MMA

St-Pierre first won the UFC welterweight championship at the age of 25 and quickly racked up six title defenses before he turned 30. What stands out about St-Pierre's victories in particular is the quality of opposition he faced.

Prior to St-Pierre turning 30, he had beaten the likes of Matt Hughes, B.J. Penn, Josh Koscheck, Jon Fitch, Jake Shields and more. His performances were usually dominant and he seemed untouchable at the top of the division despite his two losses. Both of which, he went on to avenge.

#2. Jose Aldo

Aldo went 26-2 before turning 30
Aldo went 26-2 before turning 30

While Jose Aldo seems to have been in the UFC forever, he is still just 35-years-old. He is currently a contender in the bantamweight division. Prior to turning 30, Aldo dominated the vast majority of his opponents as the featherweight champ.

Aldo had seven UFC title defenses before turning 30. While his famous loss to Conor McGregor also came within this time span. He still managed to regain featherweight gold before his 30th birthday.

Unanimous! After 5 rounds, Jose Aldo takes the victory over Frankie Edgar, becoming the interim featherweight champ.

Aldo also took out a number of big names during this run. Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, 'The Korean Zombie' and more were all knocked off by the Brazilian.

Were it not for the loss to McGregor, Aldo would likely have taken the top spot.

#1. Jon Jones

Jones' record prior to turning 30 was 22-1
Jones' record prior to turning 30 was 22-1

Jon Jones is now 34 and is not currently competing in the UFC due to his move to heavyweight. He's also currently getting into trouble away from the octagon with a recent arrest for domestic violence.

However, Jon Jones before 30 was an active, dominant champion. He won gold at 23 and held it throughout his 20s, securing nine title defenses in the process.

Jon Jones has been named to Forbes' "30-under-30: The World's Brightest Young Stars" list.

Besides a bizarre disqualification loss to Matt Hamill, Jones was a true phenom and he remains in the GOAT conversation to this day. Jones had beaten some massive names and looked comfortable in doing so.

His UFC title fight wins in this time frame included names such as Shogun Rua, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Lyoto Machida, Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Glover Teixeira, and Daniel Cormier.

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Q. Will Holloway regain UFC gold in his 30s?



Edited by Josh Evanoff


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