For a few years now, I’ve been recording how many successful title defenses the reigning UFC champions had made at any one point in promotional history, to get an idea of how dominant each crop of champions has been throughout the years.
For example, in August 2009 there were 5 simultaneously-reigning UFC champions who had a combined 10 successful defenses between them, so their average is 2. In September 2005, 4 simultaneously-reigning UFC champions had a combined 2 successful defenses, so their average is 0.5.
I gathered this data for every day in UFC history (after championships as we know them were introduced in 1997) and plotted the results on the graph below.
Today, our 11 reigning champions hold a combined 9 successful defenses, giving them an average of 0.82 successful defenses each. The last time a group of reigning UFC champions averaged fewer successful defenses was over 11 years ago- March 1st, 2008.
Statistically speaking, the most dominant crop of champions in UFC history (pictured below) reigned between the 25th of May 2013 and the 6th of July 2013. The 9 reigning champions at that time had made 35 combined successful title defenses between them- an average of 3.89 successful title defenses each.
The days of multiple dominant, long-reinging champions like Silva, Aldo and St-Pierre ended less than six years ago, although when compared to our current champions it feels like much longer than that.
Max Holloway’s two successful title defenses are the most of all currently reigning male champions, whilst Amanda Nunes is the only female champion to have registered a single successful defense.