In some weight classes, fighters have gone on incredible title defense streaks over the course of years. In regards to UFC heavyweights, that kind of streak is a rare thing to see. Heavyweights are constantly stacked against opponents with vicious knockout power and their career, and indeed their lives, can be changed in an instant with just one punch.
Lets see if Stipe Miocic is really the greatest heavyweight
These facts are what make the current UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic such a phenomenon. There is no one who has been more successful at heavyweight in the UFC than Miocic. Boasting a 19-3 record with 14 KOs and three title defenses at heavyweight, he’s already the most successful heavyweight in UFC history.
Even after losing in a controversial fight vs Daniel Cormier, he has redeemed that loss to win back the title where he currently sits. Miocic also holds the record for most fight night bonuses as a heavyweight, with nine.
No one can rightfully deny that Stipe is one of the most dominant heavyweight champions in UFC history, but can we declare him truly the greatest of all time?
To answer that question we have to consider that there have been several different eras in MMA. What first started as a sport where fighters had their stylistic specialty, we are well into the era of the well rounded complete fighter. The competition has also become much more fierce as well, with more MMA fighters now compared to the past.
While all this would back up the case for Miocic being the greatest of all time, let’s compare him to a few other heavyweights to determine. Unfortunately like many dream matchups in sports, Stipe will likely never face any of these fighters.
From the time Cain stepped into the octagon, you could tell this man was an absolute force of nature. Coming from an NCAA wrestling background, Cain was a mean knockout machine. Winning the title from Brock Lesnar in 2011, Cain would go on to face some of the best fighters of the time like Junior dos Santos, Antonio Silva, and Fabricio Werdum, with varying degrees of success.
Cain is one of the most feared heavyweights of all time for his sheer ferocity and strength. Combining years of wrestling experience with hard hitting punch combinations and an incredible drive, he is one of the most respected heavyweights anyone could face.
While Cain was a sensational fighter, we will always be left to wonder how much he could have accomplished in this sport. After an injury filled career and a lackluster comeback fight, it’s unlikely we will see Cain again.
While he had an impressive 14-3 record with 12 KOs, Stipe Miocic has only lost his title once so far, and has already redeemed that loss to Daniel Cormier. As of now, the edge has to be given to Stipe for his body of work and beating some of the best pros in the game, including all of the fighters that have beaten Cain at one point or another.
Couture is a respected legend in the UFC. Being a two weight class, five time champion, his body of work speaks for itself. Starting his MMA career late in life, he still managed to amass a 19-11 record before hanging up the gloves. When we talk about pioneers of the sport, Couture fits that description to the letter.
Respected as he is, the question remains who is the better heavyweight and unfortunately, we have to give the edge again to Stipe Miocic. Couture competed in a time where fighters were still more focused in one style or another, and leveraged his advantage as a top tier wrestler to win. Stipe competes in a time where everyone is a well rounded fighter, and still has managed to beat some absolute legends of the game. Even though he has yet to hold the title as long as Couture, Stipe wins with a better record, better opponents, and still has a future ahead to prove himself even more.
Now we have reached the absolute legend of the sport, one of the most feared men in MMA history. With a pro record of 39-6, 15 KOs and 15 Submissions, his body of work is extensive to say the least. Fedor has competed in numerous different promotions like Strikeforce, Pride and Bellator. No one can deny that he is one of the most feared fighters of all time, with a win streak that lasted over 9 years.
While it might be blasphemy to say that any heavyweight could possibly be better that Fedor, we have to consider the facts when we discuss the greatest of all time. The fact is, Fedor never fought in the UFC. He has beaten several past UFC fighters like Chael Sonnen, Rampage Jackson, Frank Mir and others, but this was late in their careers, in other promotions.
While he and Stipe have fought a few of the same opponents, it is hard to compare their records as they are competing in different eras. While many would disagree, we have seen numerous indications that UFC fighters are in a different class than any other promotion and thus, Stipe has fought better fighters than Fedor. When we look at the lackluster performances of the heavyweight legend Mirko Cro Cop after coming to the UFC, or recently the absolute blunder of Ben Askren coming to the UFC, this only backs up that statement.
While Fedor certainly has the credentials and the history, Stipe has beaten some of the best in the game today. If Stipe wins his upcoming rubber match with Daniel Cormier, it will appear that he is in the position to run the UFC heavyweight division for many years.
Embed from Getty Images