Since the UFC was first created, the heavyweight division has been the backbone of the company. Early greats like Mark Coleman and Randy Couture made names for themselves by becoming the company’s heavyweight champion. The problem the heavyweight champion has always had, is that he can’t seem to stay just that. The lack of up and coming talent and the fact that every heavyweight fighter possesses knockout power has kept the division inconsistent and unpredictable.
With multiple big heavyweight fights approaching in the UFC, the rankings could be shook up again. Newly crowned champion, Stipe Miocic will defend his belt for the first time against dangerous knockout artist Alistair Overeem, at UFC 203. Also, former champion Fabricio Werdum will take on Travis Browne in the co-main event of UFC 203.
The Inconsistent and Unpredictable UFC Heavyweight Division
Since Brock Lesnar won the belt from Couture back at UFC 91, there have been six different heavyweight champions. Cain Velasquez won the belt from Lesnar at UFC 121, then lost it in his first title defense against Junior Dos Santos. Dos Santos defended the belt once against Frank Mir, before losing it back to Velasquez at UFC 155. Velasquez defended the belt against Antonio Silva, then defended it again against Dos Santos in the final fight of their trilogy. UFC fans thought a dominant heavyweight champion had finally emerged, but once again, the inconsistency and unpredictability of the division proved to be too much.
Velasquez lost his belt to Werdum at UFC 188 in a huge upset that few saw coming. UFC fans wondered if Werdum might be the dominant champion everyone was waiting for. But at UFC 198, Stipe Miocic shocked everyone again by knocking out Werdum in the first round. Hoping on to the top of the cage, Miocic repeated, “I’m the world champion,” over and over in disbelief.
The power of the heavyweight fighters in the UFC is the main reason for the division’s inconsistency. It seems, many of the top UFC heavyweights have knocked each other out at one point or another. The promotion seems to be waiting for an up-and-comer to make a name for himself and take hold of the division. Currently, the record for most title defenses by a UFC heavyweight champion is two. The last man to accomplish that was Velasquez, and before him it was Lesnar.
The power of the heavyweight fighters in the UFC is the main reason for the division’s inconsistency.
Perhaps the reason why the heavyweight division is so inconsistent is because it’s full of veteran fighters who have all had their share of hard-hitting wars in the octagon. The more times a fighter is knocked out, the easier it is to knock them out again. The average age of the top-ten heavyweight fighters–according to ufc.com–is 35.5 years old. With the oldest fighter being eighth-ranked Mark Hunt at 42, and the youngest being the tenth ranked Derrick Lewis at 31-years-old.
Should Dana White have another season of The Ultimate Fighter featuring heavyweights? The company is definitely lacking in some young heavyweight talent. At this point, it’s hard to see what UFC fighter will take control of the division for more than a few fights. but current champion Miocic may have what it takes. However, history shows that he’s only got one or two title defenses in him before he loses the belt, just like the rest of the UFC heavyweight champions.