In Ronda Rousey’s interview with Ellen, she said something that made me pause. Truth be told, she said several things that made me (and many others) do a double take. But one item in particular stood out. She mentioned being tired, possibly from the number of fights she’s been in recently.
Three title fights in nine months does sound like a lot, but nothing too insane. So, with the fervor of a mega-nerd, I dove into UFC title fight histories to see if anyone else had been unfairly burdened with this mighty weight. I looked at any fighter who had been involved in three-consecutive title fights, either as champion or challenger with a time frame of 300 days (roughly 10 months).
There were 37 instances of a fighter having three title fights inside of 300 days. It should be noted that some fighters (which I’ll get into more detail later) had four title fights, with the first and third and the second and fourth taking place less than 300 days apart. So, technically, two different instances. Anyway, of those 37 occurrences, only seven included the bout where the champion lost their belt.
Here’s a chronological look.
The very first case might be the most impressive. Frank Shamrock won what eventually became the light heavyweight title on 12/21/97, defeating Kevin Jackson. He then beat Igor Zinoviev on 3/13/98 and Jeremy Horn on 5/15/98. That means Shamrock, in the dark age days of the UFC, had three title fights in just 145 days. He also beat John Lober on 10/16/98, giving him another three-fight stretch in 217 days.