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The new UFC champions in 2020

Justin Gaethje celebrates after defeating Tony Ferguson in

Justin Gaethje celebrates after defeating Tony Ferguson in their Interim lightweight title fight during UFC 249 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena on May 9, 2020 in Jacksonville, Florida. Credit: Getty Images/Douglas P. DeFelice

When the calendar year 2020 began, a total of 84 men and women had been able to call themselves a UFC champion. That includes interim champions as well, of which only six never ascended to undisputed champion.

Here's a look at who has added themselves to that list so far in 2020.

Justin Gaethje, UFC lightweight interim champion

Gaethje landed 72 percent of his significant strikes (143-for-197) en route to stopping Tony Ferguson in the fifth round at UFC 249 on May 9 to win the interim lightweight title. Gaethje and Ferguson lived up to the billing with an action-filled fight, but Gaethje showed his maturation as a fighter but staying in control the whole way until referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout.

Petr Yan, UFC bantamweight champion

The 135-pound title was vacated when champion Henry Cejudo retired after defeating Dominick Cruz at UFC 249 in May. Yan won the title at UFC 251 on July 11 with a fifth-round stoppage of Brazliian legend Jose Aldo. Yan, from Russia, pounded Aldo into a turtled position before referee Leon Roberts eventually stopped the bout with 1:36 left.

Deiveson Figueiredo, UFC flyweight champion

Figueiredo almost was the first name on this list in 2020, but he failed to make weight for his February fight against Joseph Benavidez for the vacant flyweight title. This time, he was on weight. And this time, on July 18, on Fight Island, Figueiredo again beat Benavidez, earning a technical submission with a rear-naked choke with 12 seconds left in the first round.

Jan Blachowicz, UFC light heavyweight champion

At age 37, Blachowicz has been on quite a run the past two years. It culminated in him winning the vacant UFC light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 253 on Sept. 26. Blachowicz controlled most of the first round and ended it with 24 seconds left in the second round. He connected on a left hook to the side of Reyes’ head, who then wobbled, stumbled and fell. Błachowicz quickly finished him on the ground to become the 13th fighter to win the UFC's 205-pound title.

New York Sports