In the main event of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s pay-per-view foray into Houston, Texas, “do Bronx” scored a second-round knockout of Michael Chandler to become the 11th man to wear the promotion’s lightweight belt. By doing so in his 28th UFC fight, he broke Michael Bisping’s record for the longest road to a title in company history. It was the validation of a UFC career that began over a decade ago, a few months shy of Oliveira’s 21st birthday. Over the years, the Brazilian submission wizard endured demoralizing setbacks, but he never stopped evolving and improving, and he now reigns over the deepest, most competitive division in all of mixed martial arts.
Here is the history of the UFC lightweight title. It tells a story of triumph over adversity and of turning away determined challengers: not only for the individual men who have held the belt but for the division itself.
Ben Duffy/Sherdog.com illustration