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A Complete List of the Current Bellator Champions

Here are the Bellator Champions across every weight class

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MMA continues to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and although the UFC is by far the big dog in the market—fans even mistake UFC for being the name of the sport—there are multiple organizations for fans to choose from. Bellator is easily the second biggest worldwide promotion. To help you get to know it better, here’s an introduction to every belt holder in the league. They are as follows:

 

  • Heavyweight Champion: Ryan Bader (27-5-1)
  • Light Heavyweight Champion: Ryan Bader (27-5-1)
  • Middleweight Champion: *Vacant
  • Welterweight Champion: Douglas Lima (32-7)
  • Lightweight Champion: Patricio Freire (30-4)
  • Featherweight Champion: Patricio Freire (30-4)
  • Bantamweight Champion: **Vacant
  • Women’s Featherweight Champion: Cris Cyborg (22-2-1)
  • Women’s Flyweight Champion: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0)

* = Rafael Lovato Jr. relinquished the title after being diagnosed with cerebral cavernoma

** = Kyoji Horiguchi vacated the title after getting injured

Heavyweight Champion: Ryan Bader (27-5-1)

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Astonishingly, Ryan Bader is just the fourth heavyweight champion in Bellator’s history. He won the title by beating all-time great Fedor Emelianenko at Bellator 214 last year, the same night he won the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix. The title was vacant before that. His MMA fight history is a who’s who of recent heavyweight and light heavyweight history in MMA, with names like Jon Jones, Rampage, Lyoto Machida and Tito Ortiz on there from his UFC run. Since debuting in 2007, Bader has proved himself in not one, but two different divisions...

Light Heavyweight Champion: Ryan Bader (27-5-1)

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...and that’s because he’s also Bellator’s light heavyweight strap holder. He won this one in 2017 after beating fellow former UFC fighter Phil Davis at Bellator 180. This was redemption for Bader who many believed couldn’t cut it at the top level after his UFC career left something to be desired. Popularised by Conor McGregor, Bader’s double champ status means that the proof about him as a fighter is in the pudding.

Middleweight Champion: *Vacant

TBD

Rafael Lovato Jr. (10-0) beat Gegard Mousasi in London fair and square (even if Mousasi doesn’t think so), which only makes what happened next all the more devastating. The undefeated champion then got the news that the cerebral cavernoma that he had previously been diagnosed with was more serious than initially thought of and in the weeks after the bout, multiple commissions in Europe stated that they would no longer clear Lovato to compete in the future. Going off of the advice of his doctors, he decided to take some time off and has not formally announced his retirement. Mousasi was booked to fight Douglas Lima for the vacant 185lb title until the pandemic hit. Speaking of Lima...

Welterweight Champion: Douglas Lima (32-7)

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Douglas Lima had a viral moment when he knocked out MVP and that gave him all of the momentum he could have wanted heading into his rematch with Rory Macdonald. It ended up being a fight that born again Christian was never really in, but never really out of. Lima edged it on the scorecards and won the championship along with the Welterweight Grand Prix and the prize of $1 million. Despite the fact that Bellator often plays second fiddle to the UFC, many believe that Lima would give the top UFC welterweights in the world a run for their money at the very least. A champ vs. champ bout with Kamaru Usman is a dream fight.

Lightweight Champion: Patricio Freire (30-4)

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Widely considered the best and most accomplished fighter in Bellator history, Patricio ‘Pitbull’ Freire made quick work of three time lightweight champion Michael Chandler in May of 2019, winning via TKO in just 61 seconds. It was Pitbull’s second fight in the division after he moved up years before to avenge his brother’s loss to Ben Henderson, a fight he lost due to injury. Freire is the kind of fighter organisations dream of...

Featherweight Champion: Patricio Freire (30-4)

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...and that’s because he’s one of Bellator’s two active double champions. Between all of the vacated titles and Bader and Freire reigning at the top of two divisions each, Bellator has just five titleholders across its nine divisions at the moment. 145lbs is certainly Pitbull’s bread and butter though. In 2013 he lost a title fight to Pat Curran but after rallying back in the division with a four fight win streak that same year, he won a rematch. He later lost the belt to Daniel Straus but beat Straus in 2017 and hasn’t lost a fight since. There’s value in avenging losses and all of that is what makes Patricio Freire arguably Bellator’s king.

Bantamweight Champion: **Vacant

TBD

Lighter weight divisions in MMA have been the norm for over a decade now but while names like flyweight GOAT Demetrious Johnson and bantamweight GOAT Dominick Cruz are popular, others fly under the radar. Kyoji Horiguchi is a name all MMA fans know, even if they haven’t seen him fight. In June of 2019, in his only Bellator fight, the Japanese fighter beat Darrion Caldwell to add the Bellator 135lb title to his resumé which already included the Shooto and Rizin bantamweight titles. He had to vacate it due to a knee injury, but you can’t change the past.

Women’s Featherweight Champion: Cris Cyborg (22-2-1)

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Cyborg’s UFC exit was unfortunate, with Dana White claiming the former champ was scared of a rematch with Amanda Nunes despite her real problem being with her contract. No problem though because Bellator was happy to have her and immediately gave her a fight with their 145lb champion Julia Budd back in January. Cris got the win in the fourth round and quickly became maybe the most popular fighter in the organisation.

Women’s Flyweight Champion: Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (11-0)

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Ilima-Lei Macfarlane is Bellator’s only undefeated champion, waving Hawaii’s flag high. She won the title against Emily Ducote and has defended it four times since, most recently at home in Honolulu against Kate Jackson late last year. It’s starting to look like Bellator might have trouble finding a formidable opponent for The Iliminator, which might be exactly the kind of fighter they need.

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