UFC Heavyweight Champion: Why There Won't Be a Longstanding Champion Part 1
Back in the early 90's, the UFC had only a few prominent heavyweight fighters that were very dangerous with what they did.
Those guys were Ken Shamrock, Dan Severn, Mark Coleman, and Tank Abbott.
The World's Most Dangerous Man was once considered to best fighter of all time. That time is now long gone.
Shamrock is a submission wrestler, that gained a lot of popularity while fighting over in Japan, in their Pancrase Organization.
While fighting over there, he compiled a 17-3 record. Since then he has gone 27-13-2, recently breaking his five fight losing streak against a relatively unknown Ross Clifton.
Many people feel Shamrock should retire, and like everyone else, I agree.
He just isn't the same fighter anymore. He's made stupid decisions in trying to beat other fighters at their own game. This mistake can clearly be seen in his fights with Tito Ortiz and Don Frye.
Shamrock has no plans of retiring and according to bloodyelbow.com, he is slated to fight Mark Coleman in Australia.
Dan Severn was once a dangerous force in MMA, but that time has passed as well.
Severn is a definitive wrestler, that used his sheer size over fighters and won boring fights in the old days, by taking guys down and grinding out decisions. But then something happened.
Evolved fighters started coming into Mixed Martial Arts and outclassed Severn. MMA used to be the sport to decide who had the best fighting style. Now, it is the sport to see who utilizes all fighting styles the best.
He still fights to this very day, and has compiled a 93-16-7 record. He has shown improvement by winning a few of his fights by knockout and submitting fighters very quickly, but he isn't fighting anyone of value.
Mark Coleman was the first ever UFC heavyweight champion. When Coleman came into the UFC organization, he was like a rampaging gorilla.
His plan was simple. Go in there and take you down, and punch you until you quit.
Not a bad plan back then, when you were just fighting guys who knew only individual styles like wrestling, BJJ, or Boxing. Nowadays, the ground and pound assault can easily be avoided in many ways since almost everyone is well rounded.
The Hammer had a short stint in the UFC when he returned in 2008. After being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, he wanted to fight. Initially, he was supposed to fight Brock Lesnar, but that would have been suicide.
So, the UFC decided to give Coleman an easier task, fight guys that were more his own size and so he did.
During his tenure in the UFC he lost to Shogun Rua, beat Stephan Bonnar and was submitted by Randy Couture.
Following the loss to Couture, he was released from his contract. It is unknown what the Hammer will do next, but according to bloodyelbow.com, he is going to be fighting Ken Shamrock.
Coleman currently holds a 16-10 record in MMA.
Then, there is this guy, David "Tank" Abbott. The bar brawler that was one of the many faces of the UFC.
Tank is what I like to call the original gatekeeper to the UFC heavyweight title. If you could get past him, you could probably fight the champ.
Tank was a scary sight. He's a 6'0" 265 lbs bear with a long biker like beard that had one goal, to put his fist through your head.
Tank is no longer considered a threat to anyone, but will always be respected in the MMA community.
Tank now has a 10-14 record and still wants to continue fighting.
Once these guys were released from the UFC or decided to pursue other interests, the UFC's heavyweight division fell into turmoil at times. From 1997-2007, there weren't any heavyweights like we have now.
The organizations best fighters back in the late 90's to the early 2000's were guys like Randy Couture, Pedro Rizzo and Ricco Rodriguez.
From about 2003-2006, the UFC's heavyweight division was only Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.
Then in 2007, it was Couture, Gonzaga, Cheick Kongo, Cro Cop and Minotauro Nogueira.
Now, it is a much different story. The UFC has tons of heavyweight fighters and they are definitely a new breed of fighter.
When the UFC was created, it was made to find out what has the best fighting style. Shortly after, it was turned into the organization to see who the best fighter was.
Now, it is the organization that is looking for the best fighters, with the best fighting style, and the best technique.
The Original Heavyweights were one dimensional fighters like Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn.
The Evolved Heavyweights from them were guys like Mark Coleman and Randy Couture.
Now we have the New Breed. Heavyweights that are multi-dimensional, are gargantuan in size, and have unlimited cardio.
Let's take a closer look at some of the UFC's Heavyweight Talent.
This guy is without a doubt, a guy to take notice of. Standing at 6'3" and weighing in at 250 lbs., this guy looks like a competitor for the World's Strongest Man.
In his UFC debut he knocked out his opponent in seven seconds with some hard punches.
He comes from a wrestling background and has some powerful punches. I wouldn't be surprised if he gets in the mix for the heavyweight title by next year.
Napao is currently in a rut. The 6'2" 260 lbs, Brazilian has had ups and downs since losing to Randy Couture.
Unless he loses a lot of fights in bad fashion, the UFC should never let him go. Gonzaga is a good fighter that should never be counted out because of his talent and the potential he has to be champion.
He rose through the rankings to knockout Cro Cop and face Couture for the title, but lost. He lost his last fight to Junior Dos Santos, but I'm sure he'll bounce back.
My best advice for Gonzaga is to take some time off for awhile and train hard.
The French Kickboxer has got to be one of the best acquisitions the UFC has ever signed. He's a 6'4" 235 lbs, wrecking machine.
Although he is primarily a kickboxer, he has shown improvements in his wrestling, and has been working on his BJJ.
After defeating Paul Buentello last, he was slated to face Roy Nelson, but had to pull out due to back injury.
Cheick has come close multiple times on getting a shot at the title but has been slowed down by losses to Heath Herring, Cain Velasquez, and Frank Mir. With this injury, he'll have some time off, time to train once he's healthy and time to study his competition while recovering.
It's always been about timing with Cheick. Let's see if he can sway the time in his favor.
Mir is the real life version of Rocky Balboa. No matter how many times you knock him down, he just keeps coming back, better and stronger.
Mir has always been a big guy, standing at 6'3" and usually weighing in between 245-255 lbs, but after his defeat to Brock Lesnar at UFC 100, Mir realized he needed to bulk up.
After some hard training and strict dieting, Mir added on at least 30 pounds of muscle and now has to cut to the heavyweight limit of 265 lbs.
Mir isn't in the mix for the title now after witnessing his defeat to Shane Carwin at UFC 111.
Recent Statements by Roy Nelson suggest that he may face Mir in the next few months.
Mirko Cro Cop
The Croation Sensation, is not in the mix for the title, but definitely wants the UFC gold.
He's had some trouble coming into the UFC because he's never trained with the cage too often and is facing some really tough opponents.
Standing at 6'2" and weighing around 220 lbs., Mirko is one of the smaller heavyweights.
A lot of people feel Crop Cop isn't the same fighter he used to be, but I am going to quote Mirko's next opponent, Pat Barry's statement, "Mirko is the same fighter he always was, it's just that everyone else has elevated their game to the point that they are more evolved than him."
I find this to be very true. Cro Cop is still just a kickboxer that transitioned well to MMA. I want him to do well, but I doubt it will happen due to being outclassed by three of the UFC's best heavyweights, and there are plenty more big heavyweights out there for Mirko to deal with.
Big Nog is without a doubt a legend in the sport. After 11 long years of battles, he's compiled a 32-6-1(1) record.
Standing at 6'3" and weighing about 230 lbs, Nog is one of the average sized guys at heavyweight.
Making a name for himself over in Japan's Pride organization, Minotauro was at one time considered the best in the world and nicknamed, the Terminator, due to the fact that he couldn't be finished.
Sadly, the myth that Nogueira could never be finished in a fight is long gone now ever since he lost to Frank Mir by TKO and Cain Velasquez by KO.
There's a lot of talk saying that Minotauro is past his prime and he's taken so much damage in the past that he is unable to hang with the young fighters anymore.
I doubt this is the case, but we will see in his next fight or not if Nogueira has returned to his old self.
Junior Dos Santos
Junior is no joke in the heavyweight division. He's 6'3" weighs about 235 lbs and is a tornado sweeping through the UFC ranks.
Every guy he comes in against is top caliber, starting with Fabricio Werdum, crumbling Stefan Struve, to smothering Cro Cop, dismantling Gilbert Yvel, and eventually knocking out the one and only, Gabriel Gonzaga.
Many people feel he is the most deserving of a title shot right now against Lesnar, but he's going to have to wait for both Carwin and Velasquez to get their chance first. But don't worry, he'll get his chance soon enough.
Carwin is next in line for a title shot and many people feel he is the one that will dethrown Lesnar or give him the most rouble since he is virtually the same size.
Standing at about 6'3" and having to cut to 265 lbs, he is a monster just like Lesnar.
On top of that, he has some dangerous knockout power that just buckles guys at the knees.
For me, it's a toss up between him and Lesnar in my eyes.
Brown Pride isn't the only thing this guy is bringing into the octagon, but a whirlwind of pain for everyone in front of him.
Just like Junior Dos Santos, Cain has been steamrolling fighters left and right, from Cheick Kongo to Minotauro Nogueira. He's in line for a shot at Lesnar's title after Shane Carwin, and I do see him raising hell in the heavyweight division to get what he wants.
At 6'1" 240 lbs., Cain is a small heavyweight, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in speed, cardio, athleticism, toughness and brute strength.
I'm putting my money on Cain to be the next champ of the UFC and for a long time.
Currently, the King of the Octagon, Lesnar is sitting on top of his thrown right now and is just itching to beat some guys down.
He's the champion and is a well deserving one. Quite simply, he beat the champion before him.
At an imposing 6'3" and naturally walking around 300 lbs. of solid muscle, this mammoth of a man cuts to make the 265 lb. limit with ease and looks good every time.
Lesnar is a freak athlete as my favorite commentator, Joe Rogan, states very frequently.
As big as he is, he has a shit load of cardio, a lot of power (which was showcased in his fight with Heath Herring,) and freakish speed.
He's like the bad guy you face at the end of a video game that is impossible to beat.
But with the way the heavyweight division looks now, Lesnar has a lot of guys to look out for.
First up is his long lost twin, Shane Carwin. Let's see if Shane has what it takes to win the belt from the guy who appears unbeatable as of now.
All I can say, is that the heavyweight division now is not meant for an average sized heavyweight.
Guys like Couture and Cro Cop can't own a division against guys that are at least 6'3" and have to cut to 265 lbs.
If they can't get past guys that are around 6'2"-6'3" and weigh between 230 and 240mlbs, they need to reconsider the division they are fighting in.
Lets face it, the heavyweight division is now the land of the giants and it looks like it is going to stay that way for awhile.
Those are just a few of the guys I have lined up for this topic.
Part Two will be coming soon.
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