Do UFC Fighters Get to Keep Their Belts?

As of 2021, UFC title belts are estimated to be worth $600,000. As fans watch fighters raise their belts high after a hard-fought win, many wonder whether or not the winners get to keep their belts.

UFC fighters do get to keep their belts after a win. While fighters used to get a new belt after every win, the UFC recently changed their rule, giving fighters one belt each to add on to. So, UFC fighters get to keep their belts after a win, but they no longer get a new title for each win.

Let’s look deeper into UFC fighters keeping their titles and the rule change that affected how many titles fighters get to keep.

Why Do UFC Fighters Get To Keep Their Belts?

UFC fighters get to keep their belts as a reward for winning and as a permanent but pricey reminder of their victory. Since its inception, UFC fighters have always been able to keep their belts after winning or successfully defending their title.

In the UFC, it has always been a tradition for the winner to get a belt that they can keep. Despite the rule changes in 2019, fighters still get a belt that they can keep, just not as many.

Though it may not be surprising that UFC fighters keep their belts, it is surprising that until 2019, UFC fighters received a new belt for every new championship and successful title defense. For many UFC champions, this led to many title belts that they got to keep in their home.

Now, things are a little different, with champions only getting one title to keep throughout their career.

Do UFC Fighters Get a New Belt After Every Win?

UFC fighters do not get a new belt after every win. Instead, they are given one belt to keep throughout their UFC career, and they can only win another belt if they compete in a different weight class. Otherwise, their one-title belt will remain theirs throughout multiple title reigns.

For 17 years, UFC fighters could take home a brand new UFC title every time they won or successfully defended their championship. During this time, fighters could collect as many titles as possible during their UFC careers.

Those titles are estimated to be worth about $300,000 each.

In 2019, UFC introduced the UFC Legacy Championship Belt. According to UFC.com, this new belt is worth about three times more than the previous titles.

Rather than taking home a new championship belt after every win, the Legacy belt was designed to be the one title given to each champion that never got replaced.

It is estimated that a UFC championship belt can cost up to $333,000. The belt is expensive not only because it is the belt of a champion but also because of its makeup–the belt is made of leather with gold decorations on it.

The belt weighs 5.5 lbs and has 16 brass straps.

There are even gold-plated replicas of the championship belt for people to buy, costing about $1,000 each.

UFC Legacy Belt Features One Red Stone Per Victory

The UFC Legacy championship belt is different for each champion. It features the champion’s name, weight class, and a flag of their home country. For every victory in a championship fight, one red stone will be added to the title with a small inscription of the date and location of the win.

So, instead of gathering titles, UFC fighters now add stones to their existing titles. One title to cover their entire UFC legacy.

A New Legacy Belt Per Different Weight Class

Fighters who compete and win championships in different weight classes will be given another Legacy title belt for that weight class. The red gems only signify a win in the weight class that the title represents.

So, fighters can only get multiple legacy belts if they compete and win in different weight classes.

What Made the UFC Title-Keeping Rules Change?

Money and inconsistencies may have led to the change of the UFC title-keeping rules. After the new title was released, UFC did not release a reason for the change, just hype for the new and more expensive title.

One theory is that it got too expensive to continue giving champions new titles. Thinking about how many title changes and defenses have happened in UFC, the company was paying a lot of money to make these titles.

The first time a title discrepancy happened was when Demetrious Johnson complained that he did not receive a new title for every successful defense in 2017. Johnson was confused about the fact that he had not received a new title while other fighters claimed they did.

Johnson made his confusion public, and eventually, it was addressed by owner Dana White. White only stated that the rule was never that fighters should get a new title after a successful defense.

This did not match what the other champions had experienced, and Johnson eventually got the titles he was owed.

Many saw this comment by Dana White as the beginning of the end of multiple titles.

Two years later, UFC had an entirely new belt and system that changed everything. It is hard to say if it was a money issue or just an attempt at change.

White’s questionable comments following Johnson’s confusion made many people think that he was trying to phase out the multiple title rule without announcing the change.

UFC Fighters With Different Weight Class Belts

As of 2021, there have been seven UFC fighters that have held titles in multiple weight classes. As far as fighters who have held titles in multiple weight classes simultaneously, that list is even smaller at just four.

Many fighters have had the chance to hold titles in two different weight classes, but only seven have been successful:

  • Randy Couture won the UFC heavyweight championship in 1997 and the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2003. Couture was the first UFC fighter to do it successfully and set the bar high for other fighters.

 

  • BJ Penn won the UFC welterweight championship in 2004. Just four years later, Penn captured the UFC lightweight championship.

 

  • Connor McGregor won the UFC featherweight championship in 2015. In 2016 less than a full year later, McGregor won the UFC lightweight championship while still holding the featherweight title. This made him the first official double champ or “champ champ.”

 

  • Georges St-Pierre shocked the UFC world when he won the welterweight championship in 2006 and 2008. He eventually abandoned the title in 2013. At this time, St-Pierre took a four-year hiatus, and upon returning, won the middleweight championship.

 

  • Daniel Cormier came next with his light heavyweight victory in 2015, followed by his heavyweight champion victory in 2018. He was the second double champ after Connor McGregor.

 

  • Amanda Nunes was the third double champ after Connor McGregor and Daniel Cormier. She won the bantamweight championship in 2016. She defended it successfully until 2018 when she became the featherweight champion as well. She was the third UFC fighter to achieve this and the first woman.

 

  • Henry Cejudo claimed the flyweight championship in 2018. Less than a year later, Cejudo claimed the bantamweight championship.

Who Has the Most Successful UFC Title Defenses?

Demetrious Johnson and Jon Jones are tied for the most successful title defenses with 11 each in the UFC. Both are amazing feats, but only Johnson currently has a title for each of his wins.

When Johnson expressed his confusion to the public regarding not getting a new title for every successful defense as other fighters had, it got Dana White’s attention. Despite Dana’s remarks about it not being a policy, Johnson was eventually given the belts that he was due. His last successful title defense was in 2017, before the new policy.

In 2019 the Legacy title took effect, and fighters no longer got a title belt after every win as champion. Because of this change, Jon Jones does not have a belt for every title defense. So, Jones has fewer belts that he can keep than Johnson because of this rule change.

Though this certainly does not speak of Jones’ legacy, it is curious to change title-keeping rules in the middle of someone’s career. Most UFC fighters now will have a mix of old titles and a Legacy title with red gems for each win.

As far as the women’s division, Ronda Rousey holds the most successful title defenses at 6. Right behind her with 5 are Valentina Shevchenko and Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

Final Thoughts

Despite the changes that UFC has faced over the last few years, fighters can keep the titles they win. Fighters may no longer get a new title after each victory, but they get a red gem on their Legacy title for every win. Legacy titles are said to be worth a lot more than previous titles.

Though we aren’t sure why this change was implemented, it’s never bad to have fighters carrying more expensive title belts. If fighters want more than one belt, they can compete in a different weight class to get a new title.

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