Tim Sylvia, “five time UFC champion”

There was an interview with Tim Sylvia in this week’s CiN Weekly, a local newspaper dedicated to the “hip things” going on around the local area. Well, UFC 77 happens to be one of those events if you haven’t been paying attention, so there’s a big spread in there and this interview with Tim.

This question, in particular, raised an eyebrow:

Q: What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about you?

A: A lot of people just think I’m an a—hole or I’m mean because I’m 6-foot-8, 255 pounds, you know? When they first look at me, they think I’m scary, and then they get to know me and they say I’m a nice guy, I’m a gentle giant. I give off a persona of being a badass. I think it’s because I’m a five-time UFC champ.

I thought to myself: How can he be a five time champion?

When I think of “five time champion,” I think of someone winning the title five times. He certainly hasn’t won the title five times. He has won the title twice. He beat Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 and he beat Andre Arlovski at UFC 59 to reclaim the title.

He has defended the title three times. He has defended against Gan McGee (man, that heavyweight division was so beast back then, eh?), Andrei Arlovski and Jeff Monson.

Little known UFC factoid: They count title defenses as “times” you’ve “won” the championship.

Say what? That is complete bullshit. They can’t be serious, right? Then Sam mentioned that the UFC markets Matt Hughes the same way. I’ve never thought about it before, but he’s right. They market Hughes as the “nine time UFC champion,” when in fact he’s only truly won the belt twice.

However, they billed Randy Couture as a “three time UFC heavyweight champion” because he legitimately won the title on three different occasions.

I guess I don’t really have a point here, other than this little know fact is complete and utter bullshit. Successful defenses should not count as having “won” the championship again, especially not against someone like Gan McGee.

19 COMMENTS
  • I’ve noticed this a while ago I just wish they’d be consistent with it is all.

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  • Dan says:

    Weird.. I noticed a bio about matt hughes on a certain online poker website he’s now sponsored by and it calling him a “nine time” champion

    what a poser

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  • Sheesh says:

    Jesus dude!…This is the dumbest article ever. Did you just start watching MMA today or something?

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  • Matt Boone says:

    I used to hate that. Matt Hughes was big on that too, always calling himself a 5-time Welterweight champion, etc. (5 before he got it back and defended a few times obviously, but he was doing that for a while himself).

    Don’t they realize to the layman that’s thought of as them losing the belt 4 times, in the case of Hughes? It’s a lot better to say 2-time champion with 7 defenses or whatever. Oh well, to each his own.

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  • seb says:

    To defend the belt is worth more, in my opinion. If you’re a three time champion by this logic, you’ve lost it at least twice :)

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  • Gabber says:

    I kind of always thought that was messed as well, but I didn’t realize that every time they win, they get a new belt (or so I think) cause if you watch the UFC (Inside/Countdown/Dickwave) program in Randy’s place, he has *way* more then 4 belts in his cabinet (1 LHW win, 3 HW wins) so I just think they give him a new one every time.

    Can’t get blame Sylvia, five is easy for him, he can point with the left and count each digit on his right hand and always be right.

    Zing!

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  • According to that logic, Fedor would be the 13-time PRIDE Heavyweight Champion.

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  • Accomando says:

    “…I guess I don’t really have a point here, other than this little know fact is complete and utter bullshit. Successful defenses should not count as having “won” the championship again, especially not against someone like Gan McGee…”

    You don’t and heres why.

    The belt is up for grabs, someone wins it, get it?

    Seriously, your idea is dumb, in order to be a 6 time champ, you need to lose 5 times in your book for the fight to count as a title win?

    I can’t believe you posted this.

    As for Fedor being the 13 time defending champ, that is B.S. because the BELT wasn’t on the line, in typical PRIDE fashion, hence the fights were title fights, meaning no-one won a belt.

    Seb is dead on.

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  • Accomando says:

    -weren’t titile fights-

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  • Accomando says:

    Don’t get me wrong, it was an entertaining read.

    Also, I think they get a new belt after every title defense as well. I could be wrong.

    So sylvia might have 5 belts, thus bolstering the 5 time champ claim.

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  • Schlegel says:

    Seb and Accomando are completely wrong, If the belt is “up for grabs” each time then the one with the belt isn’t “defending” anything, he is trying to get something. And we all hear Bruce say the same thing, “the reigning, DEFENDING” Champ, so what is he defending if you say it is up for grabs each time? This isn’t a tournament anymore like back in the day, so Tim Sylvia is the two time champ, what the hell is a “Title Defense” if you win it new each time?

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  • Ben Fowlkes says:

    I agree that it seems silly to refer to him as a five-time champ simply because the belt was on the line all those times. Traditionally, five-time champ means won the belt away from someone five times. That’s how they do it in boxing (otherwise Evander Holyfield would be, what, the fifteen-time heavyweight champ? It just gets ridiculous that way).

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  • Adam Morgan says:

    I wish they would be consistent with it. Why call Couture a “three time champion” and Sylvia a “five time champion”?

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  • Accomando says:

    “…Traditionally, five-time champ means won the belt away from someone five times. That’s how they do it in boxing…”

    Thats because boxing has IBF, WBO, WBC, WBA, and Rings title belts. A

    Right now UFC is the only game in town, so thier belt is the “only” champion.

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  • Accomando says:

    “…Seb and Accomando are completely wrong, If the belt is “up for grabs” each time then the one with the belt isn’t “defending” anything…”

    Basically, the UFC is the only belt, a defense counts as a title win, thats the way it goes with the UFC. Get used to it. There are no other titles to win, once you are the champ, you don’t go and fight the Elite XC champ, or the KOTC champ.

    UFC is like the NFL. If a team wins the superbowl 2 years in a row, they are 2 time champions.

    That is how the UFC views thier belt, that its the only legitimate championship in each wieght class.

    Until they get serious competition, that is the way it will stay.

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  • Ahh, so Fedor didn’t have the title on the line every time, but it was for a few fights.

    Anyways, this is ridiculous.

    If you obtain the belt, and defend it over and over, you aren’t a 5-time champion. I find it stupid how the UFC touts guys for being 3-time champions, etc. Randy Couture was a legitimate 3-time champion. He lost and regained the title. That’s what it means.

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  • bubbafat says:

    5 time defending champ sure.

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  • bubbafat says:

    just cuz it makes it sound consecutive. I tell ya Zuffa knows how to market propoganda and spin. They are not idiots in that regard.

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  • gipper says:

    i don’t think it’s bullshit. i can’t beleive you wrote an article about this. you don’t have a clue on this one. most fighters will say defending the belt is tougher than winning it. every championship fight is a new fight and the belt is on the line. for those 5 rounds the belt isn’t the champs unless he can win it back.

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