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5 oldest champions in UFC history

oldest-champions
The oldest champions in UFC history [Images via Getty]

The UFC is the pinnacle of MMA. Like most sports, MMA is regarded as a young man's game. Thus, most of the success a fighter experiences is during the peak of their physical prime. It is most common to see fighters capture UFC gold in their mid-twenties and early thirties.

On occasion, however, anomalies occur. Tony Ferguson, for example, achieved much of his success as an older fighter. So as unlikely as it initially seems, it is not impossible for an older fighter to enjoy significant success in the UFC. Some of them even managed to claim the undisputed title in their division.

Such fighters are anomalies. To commemorate what a difficult accomplishment it is to capture UFC gold at an advanced age, this list compiles five of the oldest champions in the promotion's history.


#5. Jan Błachowicz, 37 years old at the time of his title win

Prior to the power-punching Pole's ascension to divisional supremacy, no one could have predicted that Jan Błachowicz would one day become a champion. He was no longer in the prime of his youth and all eyes were on Dominick Reyes after the American's close fight with Jon Jones.

Jan Blachowicz comes to the UFC 5ish years ago, goes on a terrible run of 1-4 in his first 5 and then over the next 9 fights he improves tremendously, goes 8-1 and becomes the champion at the age of 37 and over 30 fights into his career. Genuine feel good MMA story last night. https://t.co/0es38h0b7Q

At the time, Reyes had given Jones one of his toughest-ever fights. He was also undefeated prior to his controversial loss to 'Bones'. So after Jones vacated his 205 lbs title, many observers predicted a future title win for Reyes.

Instead, what happened was a shocking result. Jan Błachowicz, at 37 years old, stunned the MMA world by finishing Reyes at UFC 253. He was crowned the UFC light heavyweight champion and went on to defend his throne against Israel Adesanya before dropping the title to Glover Teixeira.


#4. Fabricio Werdum, 37 years old at the time of his title win

Fabricio Werdum is one of the most accomplished heavyweights in MMA history. He was responsible for ending Fedor Emelianenko's legendary 28-fight unbeaten streak. In doing so, he became the first, and only fighter to ever submit 'The Last Emperor'.

He has also defeated all-time great Alistair Overeem. Unfortunately, he seemed destined to end his career without a world championship. Thus, when the UFC booked him into a matchup with Cain Velasquez, very few analysts predicted a win for 'Vai Cavalo'.

Jun13.2015Fabricio Werdum submits Cain Velasquez in Mexico City,to become the new UFC Heavyweight Champion https://t.co/XeT4wa3fC1

At the time, Velasquez ruled the heavyweight division as its reigning champion. Not only did he seem unbeatable, but every foe he defeated was dealt a brutal beating after being overwhelmed by his cardio. Yet, once the two men crossed swords in Mexico City, it was the AKA standout who was gasping for air.

In a shocking turn of events, the legendary Brazilian mounted his finest performance. He outstruck his opponent en route to securing a counter-guillotine-choke against his foe's takedown attempt. 'Vai Cavalo's grip did not yield and Velasquez tapped out. At 37 years old, Werdum finally became a champion.


#3. Daniel Cormier, 39 years at the time of his heavyweight title win

While Daniel Cormier was younger when he captured the UFC light heavyweight title, he was a few years older during his return to the 265 lbs division. For years, the Olympian's legacy was defined by his two losses to Jon Jones, his hated rival. Regardless of the wins 'DC' amassed, he was always followed by his two losses.

Aaaaaaaand new! Daniel Cormier knocks out Stipe Miocic to become the new heavyweight champion #UFC226 https://t.co/XazEdYpqX4

At UFC 226, he was given a chance to set himself apart and accomplish something that 'Bones' is yet to even attempt. He challenged Stipe Miocic for the UFC heavyweight title. The lifelong wrestler only needed a single round to seal his win. Past the fourth minute of the first round, 'DC' shocked the world.

He punctuated his performance with a thunderous knockout. Stipe Miocic has a habit of dropping his hands and consequently exposing his chin after stepping out of the clinch. So after he exposed his chin as expected, Daniel Cormier landed a knockout blow to capture the heavyweight title at 39 years old.


#2. Glover Teixeira, 42 years old at the time of his title win

Glover Teixeira's championship success is often described as a Cinderella story in the UFC. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt embarked on an impressive five-fight win streak to finally earn a second title fight. It was the culmination of a journey that began several years prior.

UFC Light Heavyweight champion Glover Teixeira announced that 2022 would be his last year of competing. What a story. Couldn’t be happier that he got this moment to cherish forever before calling it a day. https://t.co/ZiZ4zlA5Yf

The Brazilian's first title fight against Jon Jones was disastrous. He was thoroughly dominated and only managed a moral victory as he avoided being finished. Years later, he built himself back into title contention. At UFC 267, Glover Teixeira extended his win streak to six consecutive victories.

He defeated Jan Błachowicz for the light heavyweight title with an impressive performance. He left the Pole seeming offensively impotent before overwhelming him on the mat en route to a rear-naked choke win.


#1. Randy Couture, 43 years old at the time of his heavyweight title win

While he is not on the greatest of terms with the UFC, Randy Couture is one of the promotion's greatest-ever fighters. His accomplishments include capturing two titles across two different divisions prior to Conor McGregor breaking down walls by becoming the first simultaneous two-division champion.

'The Natural's capture of the promotion's heavyweight title forever etched him in the storybook of MMA legends. Once upon a time, Randy Couture reigned over the light heavyweight division as its champion. Unfortunately, he lost the title to Chuck Liddell and failed to recapture it a second time in their rematch.

Not bad for an old man. 😄 "The Natural" @Randy_Couture became the oldest champion in UFC history 13 years ago today.Can @YoelRomeroMMA follow in his footsteps at #UFC248, fending off Father Time and capturing UFC gold at 42 years old? https://t.co/aI3SpifgjR

Instead of pursuing a trilogy bout, 'The Natural' returned to the heavyweight division. At UFC 68 he challenged Tim Sylvia for the divisional crown. Despite being severely undersized against his towering opponent, Randy Couture's combination of cardio and wrestling proved overwhelming.

He outworked his foe and was awarded a unanimous decision win. He was crowned the promotion's heavyweight champion and earned the distinction of being the oldest champion in UFC history.

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Edited by C. Naik
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