Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson straps the UFC BMF Title around Jorge Masvidal's waist at UFC 244 (Zuffa LLC)

In the world of mixed martial arts, few accolades are as coveted – or as controversial – as the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s BMF (Baddest Mother F***er) title.’

A unique blend of spectacle and sport, the BMF title encapsulates the bravado, audacity, and sheer fighting spirit that define the UFC. Yet, despite its high-profile debut, many fans consider the BMF title as just another marketing gimmick by the UFC. And although it’s not recognized as an official UFC championship, it’s still highly sought after by fighters in the promotion.

Today, we take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of the UFC’s BMF title.

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Origins of the BMF Title

The genesis of the BMF title traces back to UFC 244 on November 2, 2019, when the UFC decided to crown the “Baddest Mother F***er” in the sport. And ultimately, it was an occasion that came about by pure chance.

In fact, it was fan-favorite fighter Nate Diaz was largely responsible for imagining the BMF title. After defeating Anthony Pettis at UFC 241, Diaz took to the mic and claimed that he was the “baddest mother f***er in the game,” before challenging the cage-side Jorge Masvidal to a fight in the future.

UFC president Dana White admitted that the promotion wasn’t really considering Diaz vs. Masvidal but attention from fans and media swayed their opinion.

“When Nate did his interview that night, he basically said ‘this is for the baddest mother(expletive) in the game,” White said. “So, you know, this is one of those fights that, after that interview, started to build a life of its own through the fans and the media. We didn’t seriously start talking about this fight until maybe a couple weeks later in a matchmaking meeting.”

It was at this point that a ‘crazy’ idea popped into White’s head.

“I said to my guys, ‘Listen, tell me if I’m crazy, but what if we think about actually having a ‘baddest mother(expletive) in the game belt,’ and my guys loved it, and we started talking about it, and we went into the design team at the UFC. We started to design it,” White said.

The First BMF Title Fight

The grand stage for the first-ever UFC BMF title fight was none other than the iconic Madison Square Garden in New York City.

The inaugural BMF title fight pitted two of the most charismatic fighters in the UFC against each other – the street-fighter-turned-professional, Jorge Masvidal, and the gritty, never-back-down brawler, Nate Diaz. The stakes were high, the crowd was electric, and the world was watching as these two warriors stepped into the Octagon.

The fight was an intense exchange of powerful blows and stinging shots, demonstrating the tenacity and resilience of both fighters. Masvidal, determined to etch his name in UFC history, opened up a nasty gash over Diaz’s right eye with an elbow and a kick in the first round. Despite the severe cut, Diaz showed his indomitable spirit, refusing to back down and returning fire with stinging shots of his own.

However, the fight was not destined to reach its natural conclusion. Before the fourth round could commence, the fight was abruptly halted due to a doctor’s stoppage. Diaz’s eye injury was deemed too severe to continue, and Masvidal was declared the winner by third-round TKO (doctor’s stoppage).

In the aftermath of the fight, both fighters expressed their dissatisfaction with the anticlimactic ending. Masvidal, despite being crowned the inaugural BMF champion, sported a disappointed face, knowing that the fight’s conclusion was not the decisive victory he had envisioned. On the other hand, Diaz, ever the warrior, was ready to continue the fight and seemed surprised by the doctor’s decision to stop the bout.

“I told Nate right now, I swear we’re running it back,” Masvidal said after being awarded the UFC BMF title. “Let’s run it back. I don’t like to leave the ring like this with my opponent conscious. There’s only one way to do it and that’s to baptize them. I didn’t get to baptize Nate.

“We’re going to run it back. Don’t worry, it’s going to happen again.”

Post the victory, Masvidal held the BMF title until an unforeseen event in 2023. On May 16, Masvidal announced his retirement from mixed martial arts at UFC 287, leaving the BMF title vacant.

This marked the end of the first chapter of the BMF title, a chapter filled with courage, controversy, and, above all, the spirit of fighting.

The Return of the BMF Title

The retirement of Jorge Masvidal marked the end of an era, leaving a void in the world of UFC. The BMF title, once proudly held by Masvidal, was now without a holder. Yet, as is often the case in the ever-evolving world of mixed martial arts, where one chapter ends, another begins. And so it was with the return of the BMF title.

In a surprising turn of events, the UFC announced the return of the BMF title in 2023. The stage for this resurrection would be UFC 291, set to take place in Salt Lake City on July 29, 2023.

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The contenders vying for the title are no strangers to one another – Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje, two fighters whose history and rivalry only add to the drama and anticipation of the upcoming bout. Their first clash in 2018 was a spectacle of sheer skill and grit, a fight that ended with Poirier claiming a fourth-round TKO victory and subsequently being regarded as one of the very best fights of the year — if not the best.

And that’s exactly why the UFC decided to attach the BMF title to this fight.

“Every Tuesday we’re in there [the war room], and as we were putting that card together for Utah, we thought that Poirier and Gaethje is such an awesome fight,” White said. “Masvidal retired, so we put the BMF [up for grabs].”

“You have no idea how many of these fighters want to fight for the BMF title,” White commented. “They all want to fight for that belt. It’s fun, it’s different, so we’ll do it again.

“When you think about doing it in the first place, [Masvidal and Diaz] were the two right guys, and so are these — these are the two right guys [for the second BMF title fight]. Whether that thing is in play, or not in play, that fight is what it is. Everybody wants that belt, so what the hell?”

Their upcoming fight is not just about the BMF title; it’s about revenge, legacy, and redemption. Gaethje, the hard-hitting lightweight, is seeking revenge for his previous loss to Poirier. Poirier, on the other hand, is looking to reinforce his dominance and add another high-profile victory to his illustrious career. With the BMF title up for grabs, the stakes are high for both fighters.

As the MMA community eagerly awaits this epic rematch, one thing is clear – the return of the BMF title has injected a new sense of excitement and anticipation into what was already a highly-anticipated rematch. But many fans could also argue that Dustin Poirier vs. Justin Gaethje 2 can stand on its own legs, and doesn’t need a gimmick attached to it to help promote the fight.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jorge Masvidal pose for a photo following Masvidal's victory at UFC 244 (Zuffa LLC)
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jorge Masvidal pose for a photo following Masvidal’s victory at UFC 244 (Zuffa LLC)

The Legacy and Future of the BMF Title

The BMF title, despite its relatively short history, has already left a lasting mark on the UFC. It encapsulates the spirit of what it means to be a fighter, a champion, and indeed, the “Baddest Mother F***er.” It’s an honor that extends beyond records and rankings, instead celebrating the fighter’s spirit, tenacity, and audacity.

The title’s legacy, though currently defined by the likes of Jorge Masvidal, is set to enter a new chapter with the Poirier vs. Gaethje rematch. Whichever fighter emerges victorious will not only claim the title but also help shape its future. Will it continue to be a one-off special attraction, or could it become a recurring accolade, a title that the winner will seek to defend? Only time will tell.

What is certain, however, is that the BMF title has captured the imagination of fighters and fans alike. Its return has reinvigorated interest in the sport and brought a new level of anticipation to UFC 291.

As Poirier and Gaethje prepare to square off in the Octagon, the world will be watching, eager to see who will be crowned the next “Baddest Mother F***er.”

What is the BMF title in the UFC?

The BMF (Baddest Mother F***er) title is a one-of-a-kind belt in the UFC. It was first introduced in 2019 for a fight between Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz at UFC 244. The title serves as a symbol of ultimate supremacy in the UFC, celebrating a fighter’s spirit, tenacity, and audacity.

Who was the first holder of the BMF title?

Jorge Masvidal was the first and, until UFC 291, the only holder of the BMF title. He won the title by defeating Nate Diaz at UFC 244 in 2019.

Why did Jorge Masvidal get stripped of the BMF title?

Masvidal retired in 2023 and therefore the BMF title became vacant.

Who are the next contenders for the BMF title?

The BMF title will next be contested between Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje at UFC 291, which is set to take place in Salt Lake City on July 29, 2023.

What does the BMF title mean for the UFC and its fighters?

The BMF title, despite being non-traditional, symbolizes the spirit of what it means to be a fighter in the UFC. It celebrates not just fighting skills but also the unyielding resolve and relentless pursuit of greatness that define the world’s most formidable fighters.

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