10 MMA Champions Who Held World Titles Elsewhere

It isn't enough to just be a promotional champ...

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It goes without saying that to be a top star within the eco-sphere of Mixed Martial Arts, you need to excel in the discipline(s) of your choice.

The combat sport doesn't lend itself to novices just 'having a go' and a serious level of training/contests must be completed in order for you to arm yourself with effective weapons to use inside the octagon.

So it will be of no surprise to anyone that many of MMA's eventual champions have tested themselves at a World Championship level and some have prevailed to take the crown.

However, if you obtain a World Championship in your field, it is not a guarantee of success in this universe. Just ask 1999 FILA Wrestling World Champion, Yoel Romero, who is still to win his first piece of UFC gold.

With that being said, it doesn't hurt your chances of reaching the peak of this multifaceted sport when you conquer the world beforehand.

10. Fabricio Werdum (IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships Black Belt Gold Medal)

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Let's just read off a few of Fabricio Werdum's credentials, shall we?

European jiu-jitsu champion, Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Heavyweight Champion (x2), a Black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Judo and Muay Thai and Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Champion (x4).

You can see why this dude went on to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Werdum got into Brazilian jiu-jitsu due to being choked out (via triangle choke) by his former girlfriend's ex-boyfriend - as good a reason as any - and he probably has him to thank for his dominance as a fighter.

Werdum became a teacher of jiu-jitsu - when he was just a purple belt - in Madrid and all over Spain, after moving to the country to be closer to his mother. This experience catapulted Werdum into the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships and he would go onto claim the top prize in 2000 (at Blue belt Openweight and sub-100kg), 2003 and 2004 (both Black belt over-100kg).

The Brazilian would take this immense experience into his work in PRIDE, Strikeforce and the UFC, where he would defeat Cain Velasquez to become the Undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion.


Lifts rubber and metal. Watches people flip in spandex and pretends to be other individuals from time to time...