The History of the WEC/UFC Featherweight Championship
Way back before UFC 177, I put together this little post about the history of ZUFFA’s bantamweight title. Now here’s one about the featherweight division. Notice how much smaller the list is because of Aldo and Faber.
- Cole Escovedo - Current Record: 17-9 - WEC’s first bantamweight champion, Cole Escovedo won the inaugural belt by submitting Philip Perez at WEC 5. Escovedo would defend the belt once in 2003 before dropping the belt to Urijah Faber at WEC 19.
- Urijah Faber - Current Record: 31-7 - For a while, Faber was the face of the WEC and the lighterweight divisions in general. The Team Alpha Male leader won the belt off Cole Escovedo back in 2006 at WEC 19. During his run, he was also the KOTC champ as well. He’d go on to defend those two belt against the like of Bibiano Fernandes, Joe Pearson, Charlie Valencia, Jeff Curan, Jens Pulver, Ivan Menjivar, and Dominick Cruz. Faber would eventually drop the belt to Mike Thomas Brown at WEC 36 after successfully defending it 5 times. He’d fight twice more for the featherweight title (and lose) against Mike Thomas Brown and Jose Aldo at WEC 41 and WEC 48 respectively, before dropping to bantamweight and losing three title shot opportunities (Cruz and Barao 2x).
- Mike Thomas Brown - Current Record: 26-9 - In one of the biggest upsets in MMA history, Mike Thomas Brown knocked out Urijah Faber at WEC 36 to capture the WEC Featherweight title. He’d defend the title twice, beating Leonard Garcia and Urijah Faber in a rematch. He’d lose the belt to Jose Aldo at WEC 44 when Aldo stopped him in the 2nd.
- Jose Aldo - Current Record: 24-1 - Considered one of the best fighters in the history of the sport and definitely the best featherweight of all time, Aldo first won the belt at WEC 44 by stopping Mike Thomas Brown in the 2nd round. He’d go on to defend the WEC title twice in the WEC, topping former champion Urijah Faber and Manny Gamburyan. After the absorption of the bantamweight and featherweight divisions into the UFC, Aldo was given the inaugural featherweight champion. Since then, Aldo has defended his title 6 times (bringing the total up to 8, the longest current streak in the UFC). In the process he’s beaten Mark Hominick, former lightweight title contender Kenny Florian, Chad Mendes, former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar, Chan Sung Jung, and Ricardo Lamas. Both he and Mighty Mouse remain the only people to have ever held UFC titles in their divisions (Featherweight and flyweight). He’s currently scheduled to face Chad Mendes again this Saturday (Oct. 25th) in Brazil.