Before Leon Edwards makes his UFC championship walk against Kamaru Usman. We thought we’d take a look at non-UFC championship fights that happened as rematches for the belt.
There is a surprisingly high number of examples. With 20 bouts that fit the criteria. Leon Edwards vs Kamaru Usman will become the 21st when it goes down this Saturday at UFC 278.
We’re not counting fights in which an Interim title was on the line regardless of whether the two later fought for the undisputed belt.
Before we get into the list, we can take a look at some stats.
Eight fighters who lost the first bout won the rematch.
Eleven fighters beat their opponent both times.
One fighter went 0-1-1.
Of these 20 rematches, two have gone to a third in the UFC. With Randy Couture vs Victor Belfort ending 2-1 to ”The Natural” after they had one win a piece. Alongside Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard which saw them win one each and share a stalemate.
In these rematches, the champion going into the bout retained their belt 80% of the time.
Six times the winner of the initial bout would be the challenger in the rematch.
Five of the first bouts took place outside of the UFC. Leaving 15 fights in which it was an all UFC affair.
Two individuals make duel appearances on the list meaning they feature in a combined 20% of these rematches.
38 fighters make up this list, 31 of which have won UFC gold.
Seven have despite being 2-0 in these rematches held a UFC championship.
The longest gap between the first and second fights sits at 2,646 days.
The earliest fight happend in 1998 and the latest was 2021, soon to be 2022.
The Fights Where the First Was Outside the UFC
John Lober vs Frank Shamrock
Fight one: Super Brawl 3 January 17th 1997
John Lober def. Frank Shamrock via split technical decision
Michael Bisping is the comeback king. Having won two fights after losing the first.
Rematch for UFC Light Heavyweight championship: UFC Brazil, October 16th 1998
Frank Shamrock def. John Lober via TKO, 7:40 round 1
Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami
Fight One: Rumble on the Rock 8, January 20th 2006
Yushin Okami def. Anderson Silva via disqualification, 2:33 round 1
Rematch for UFC Middleweight championship: UFC 134, August 27th 2011
Anderson Silva def. Yushin Okami via TKO, 2:04 round 2
Uriah Faber vs Dominick Cruz
Fight One: WEC 26, March 23rd 2007
Uriah Faber def. Dominick Cruz via guillotine choke, 1:38 round 1
Rematch for UFC Bantamweight Championship: UFC 132, July 2nd 2011
Dominick Cruz def. Uriah Faber via unanimous decision
Anthony Pettis Vs Benson Henderson
Fight One: WEC 53, December 16th 2010
Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson via unanimous decision
Rematch for UFC Lightweight championship: UFC 164 August 31st 2013
Anthony Pettis def. Benson Henderson via armbar, 4:31 round 1
Ronda Rousey vs Miesha Tate
Fight One: Strikeforce: Tate vs Rousey, March 3rd 2012
Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate via armbar, 4:27 round 1
Rematch for UFC Women Bantamweight championship: UFC 168, December 28th 2013
Ronda Rousey def. Miesha Tate via armbar 0:58 round 3
Fights That Happened Inside the UFC
Randy Couture vs Victor Belfort
Fight One: UFC 15, October 17th 1997
Randy Couture def. Vitor Belfort via TKO, 8:16 round 1
Rematch for UFC Light Heavyweight championship: UFC 49, August 21st 2004
Vitor Belfort def. Randy Couture via TKO, 5:00 round 3
Evan Tanner vs Rich Franklin
Fight One: UFC 42, April 25th 2003
Rich Franklin def. Evan Tanner via TKO, 2:40 round 1
Rematch for the UFC Middleweight Championship: UFC 53, June 4th 2005
Rich Franklin def. Evan Tanner via TKO, 3:25 round 4
Chuck Liddell vs Tito Ortiz
Fight One: UFC 47, April 2nd 2004
Chuck Liddell def. Tito Ortiz via KO, 0:38 round 2
Rematch for the UFC Light Heavyweight championship: UFC 66, December 30th 2006
Chuck Liddell def. Tito Ortiz via TKO, 3:59 round 3
BJ Penn vs George St-Pierre
Fight One: UFC 58, March 4th 2006
George St-Pierre def. BJ Penn via split decision
Rematch for the UFC Welterweight championship: UFC 94, January 31st 2009
George St-Pierre def. BJ Penn via TKO, 5:00 round 4
Frank Mir vs Brock Lesnar
Fight One: UFC 81, February 2nd 2008
Frank Mir def. Brock Lesnar via kneebar, 1:30 round 1
Rematch for UFC Heavyweight Championship: UFC 100, August 11th 2009
Brock Lesnar def. Frank Mir via TKO, 1:48 round 2
Gray Maynard vs Frankie Edgar
Fight One: UFC Fight Night: Florian vs Lauzon
Gray Maynard def. Frankie Edgar via split decision
Rematch for UFC Lightweight Championship: UFC 125, January 1st 2011
Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard fight to split draw. Frankie Edgar retains
Michael Bisping vs Dan Henderson
Fight One: UFC 100, August 11th 2009
Dan Henderson def. Michael Bisping via KO, 3:20 round one
Rematch for UFC Middleweight championship: UFC 204, October 8th 2016
Michael Bisping def. Dan Henderson via unanimous decision
Rafael dos Anjos vs Donald Cerrone
Fight One: UFC Fight Night: Condit vs Kampmann 2, August 28th 2013
Rafael dos Anjos def. Donald Cerrone via unanimous decision
Rematch for UFC Lightweight championship: UFC on Fox: dos Anjos vs Cerrone 2, December 19th 2015
Rafael dos Anjos def. Donald Cerrone via TKO 1:06 round 1
Amanda Nunes vs Germaine de Randamie
Fight One: UFC Fight for the Troops 3, November 6th 2013
Amanda Nunes def. Germaine de Randamie via TKO, 3:56 round 1
Rematch for UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship: UFC 245, December 14th 2019
Amanda Nunes def. Germaine de Randamie via unanimous decision
Robbie Lawler vs Rory McDonald
Fight One: UFC 167, November 16th 2013
Robbie Lawler def. Rory McDonald via split decision
Rematch for UFC Welterweight championship: UFC 189, July 11th 2015
Robbie Lawler def. Rory McDonald via TKO 1:00 round 5
Michael Bisping Vs Luke Rockhold
Fight One: UFC Fight Night: Rockhold vs Bisping, November 8th 2014
Luke Rockhold def. Michael Bisping via guillotine, 0:57 round 2
Rematch for UFC Middleweight championship: UFC 199, June 4t 2016
Michael Bisping def. Luke Rockhold via KO, 3:36 round 1
Stipe Miocic vs Junior dos Santos
Fight One: UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs Miocic, December 13th 2014
Junior dos Santos def. Stipe Miocic via unanimous decision
Rematch for the UFC Heavyweight championship: UFC 211, May 13th 2017
Stipe Miocic def. Junior dos Santos via TKO, 2:22 round 1
Cláudia Gadelha vs Joanna Jędrzejczyk
Fight One: UFC on Fox: dos Santos vs Miocic, December 13th 2014
Joanna Jędrzejczyk def. Cláudia Gadelha via split decision
Rematch for UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship: UFC Team Joanna vs Team Cláudia, July 8th 2016
Joanna Jędrzejczyk def. Cláudia Gadelha via unanimous decision
Amanda Nunes vs Valentina Shevchenko
Fight One: UFC 196, March 5th 2016
Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision
Rematch for the UFC women’s Bantamweight championship: UFC 215, September 9th 2017
Amanda Nunes def. Valentina Shevchenko via split decision
Israel Adesanya vs Marvin Vettori
Fight One: UFC on Fox Poirier vs Gaethje, April 14th 2018
Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori via split decision
Rematch for UFC Middleweight championship: UFC 263, June 12th 2021
Israel Adesanya def. Marvin Vettori via unanimous decision
Now we’ve looked at the prior history of UFC rematches. Can Leon Edwards do the unthinkable? With plenty of upset names above he wouldn’t be the first to stamp his name in the history books in shocking fashion. As far as rematches go this fight is as high level as it gets.
Does Leon Edwards win gold this Saturday at UFC 278?