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Rose Namajunas reacts after her split-decision victory over Zhang Weili of China in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

UFC Strawweight Title Lineage

Recap every champion from the 115-pound division

In 2014, the world was introduced to the first group of women that would be competing in the UFC’s strawweight division, with the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter set to crown its first champion.

In 2014, the world was introduced to the first group of women that would be competing in the UFC’s strawweight division, with the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter set to crown its first champion.

Traditionally, the winner of the tournament would be awarded a UFC contract. Yet for the first time in the show’s history, 16 women battled to become a UFC champion, showcasing a new era of elite mixed martial artists.

Related: UFC Women's Flyweight Title Lineage | UFC Women's Featherweight Title Lineage | UFC Women's Bantamweight Title Lineage

Five women have been crowned champion in the division’s first seven years. Take a look back at the title lineage of the UFC’s strawweight division:

Carla Esparza (2014-2015)

UFC President Dana White presents Carla Esparza with the strawweight championship belt after submitting Rose Namajunas in the third round during The Ultimate Fighter Finale event inside the Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on December 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
UFC President Dana White presents Carla Esparza with the strawweight championship belt after submitting Rose Namajunas in The Ultimate Fighter Finale on December 12, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

In The Ultimate Fighter Season 20 Finale, finalists Carla Esparza and Rose Namajunas would close the season out to see who would be crowned the first UFC women’s strawweight champion. Esparza submitted Namajunas in the third round and would forever etch her name in the history books. Esparza’s reign would last for 92 days.

Watch Carla Esparza vs Rose Namajunas On UFC Fight Pass

Joanna Jędrzejczyk (2015-2017)

Check Out Joanna Jedrzejczyk Athlete Profile Here

Joanna Jedrzejczyk walks backstage after defeating Carla Esparza for the UFC women's strawweight title during the UFC 185 event at the American Airlines Center on March 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Joanna Jedrzejczyk walks backstage after defeating Carla Esparza for the UFC women's strawweight title during the UFC 185 event at the American Airlines Center on March 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

At UFC 185, Joanna Jędrzejczyk would be Esparza’s first challenger. The Polish kickboxer finished Esparza in the second round via TKO to become the new champion. With her win over Esparza, Jędrzejczyk would not only become the first Polish UFC champion, but she would also make history by becoming the first female European UFC champion.

The Polish champion would sit on top of the division from 2015-2017, successfully defending her title five times. Two years removed from being champion, Joanna Jędrzejczyk remains the longest reigning champion in UFC women’s strawweight history, with 966 days as champion.

Warrior Code: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Warrior Code: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
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Rose Namajunas (2017-2019)

Joe Rogan interviews Rose Namajunas after her victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their UFC women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Joe Rogan interviews Rose Namajunas after her victory over Joanna Jedrzejczyk of Poland in their UFC women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 217 event at Madison Square Garden on November 4, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa

At UFC 217, Rose Namajunas would be the sixth woman to challenge Jędrzejczyk for her 115-pound title. Fighting in the world-famous Madison Square Garden, Namajunas shocked the world that night, becoming the first woman to put away the Polish champion. Defeating Jędrzejczyk by TKO in the first round, Namajunas was now sitting on top as the best.

For her first title defense, Namajunas would face Jędrzejczyk in a rematch for the strawweight title. After battling for all five rounds, “Thug Rose” would win her rematch against the Polish striker to retain her championship. Namajunas’s first title reign would last for 554 days.

Top Finishes: Rose Namajunas
Top Finishes: Rose Namajunas
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Jessica Andrade (2019)

Jessica Andrade of Brazil celebrates after her knockout victory over Rose Namajunas in their women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 237 event at Jeunesse Arena on May 11, 2019 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jessica Andrade of Brazil celebrates after her knockout victory over Rose Namajunas in their women's strawweight championship bout during the UFC 237 event at Jeunesse Arena on May 11, 2019 in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa)

At UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Rose Namajunas headed South to defend her strawweight championship against top contender Jessica Andrade. In her home country of Brazil, Andrade knocked out Namajunas with a vicious slam to become the new champion. The Portuguese fighter would wear the crown for 112 days.

Read Jessica Andrade’s Athlete Profile Here

Bonus Résumé: Jessica Andrade
Bonus Résumé: Jessica Andrade
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Zhang Weili (2019-2021)

Zhang Weili of China celebrates after her victory over Jessica Andrade in their UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night at Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China.  (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC)
Zhang Weili of China celebrates after her knockout victory over Jessica Andrade of Brazil in their UFC strawweight championship bout during the UFC Fight Night on August 31, 2019 in Shenzhen, China. (Photo by Br

For the UFC’s first appearance in Shenzhen, China, the Fight Night card was headlined by strawweight champion Jessica Andrade defending her title against rising prospect, Zhang Weili. After winning three fights inside the Octagon, Zhang found herself challenging the champion nearly one year after her debut.

In the first round, Zhang showed no concern for the knockout power that Andrade typically threatened opponents with. Immediately bringing the fight to the champion, Zhang confidently slipped and countered Andrade’s power shots, slipping a final counter shot in that would rock the Brazilian. The challenger unleashed a barrage of crushing knees and elbows from the clinch, making Andrade stumble and collapse across the Octagon. Enough damage had been done to the champion for the referee to call an end to the bout.

Check Out Zhang Weili’s Athlete Profile Here

Rose Namajunas (2021-Present)

Rose Namajunas reacts after her split-decision victory over Zhang Weili of China in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
Rose Namajunas reacts after her split-decision victory over Zhang Weili of China in their UFC strawweight championship fight during the UFC 268 event at Madison Square Garden on November 06, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)

After losing the UFC women’s strawweight title, Rose Namajunas started her journey back to the top. Winning the championship at 25 years old, Namajunas was honest and open about the self-pressure and overwhelming attention that came with being a UFC champion. It was a lot for Namajunas to deal with at the time.

Check Out Rose Namajunas's Athlete Profile Here

With two years away from the title, Namajunas was able to get back in the Octagon and secure a split decision win over Jéssica Andrade. With a new level of confidence, Namajunas faced Zhang at UFC 261 in Jacksonville, Florida. A little over a minute in the first round, Namajunas was able to land a clean kick that would land flush on the jaw of Zhang. The champion immediately dropped to the canvas, allowing Namajunas to deliver the final shots to end the fight.

With the first-round knockout of Weili, Rose Namajunas became the first woman in UFC history to regain a championship.

UFC Breaking Barriers | International Women's Day 2022
UFC Breaking Barriers | International Women's Day 2022
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