Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos: Power Ranking the Last 5 UFC HW Champions
While no man can seem to hold on to the UFC Heavyweight Championship for very long, Junior dos Santos is the newest title holder in the division that has had more of them than any other.
Excluding the interim title holders—Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin—the last five UFC Heavyweight Champions have been Tim Sylvia, Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
Let's take a look at who will be remembered as the greatest heavyweight champion of the modern UFC era.
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Cain Velasquez was one of the most impressive heavyweight prospects just three years ago, when he utterly decimated the likes of Brad Morris, Jake O'Brien and Denis Stojnic in his first three UFC bouts.
It took him just four more fights before he was UFC champion, knocking out Brock Lesnar to win the title.
Despite an entertaining title run, Velasquez suffered a severe tear of his rotator cuff, which left him unable to defend his belt for over a year. When he finally returned, he was knocked out in just 64 seconds.
Certainly a disappointing result, but this is far from the end for Velasquez, who is very much capable of regaining the title.
Junior Dos Santos
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It's difficult to determine where Junior dos Santos should be on this list. He has been utterly dominant thus far in his UFC career, but he obviously hasn't had the opportunity to defend his title at this point.
Dos Santos has the tools, however, to be a long-running champion. He's shown very few weaknesses up until this point, he's young and he trains with an excellent camp in Team Nogueira.
It's possible that dos Santos has a similar fate to Velasquez, but at this point, the future is bright for the newly crowned heavyweight champ.
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Tim Sylvia originally became the UFC Heavyweight Champion by defeating Gan McGee at UFC 41, but was subsequently stripped of his title for testing positive for anabolic steroids.
He obtained the title again against Andrei Arlovski at UFC 59 in a rather unbelievable affair in which Sylvia was nearly finished, but ultimately ended up knocking out his opponent. The immediate rematch was much less entertaining—a rather painfully boring five-round decision win for Sylvia.
Sylvia's second defense was again, a boring five round decision win over Jeff Monson in which he used his sizable reach advantage to pick apart his opponent.
While Sylvia's run to get to the title was impressive, his championship days were lackluster. He eventually lost his title to Randy Couture at UFC 68.
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A seemingly strange choice for the No. 2 slot, Brock Lesnar is the one of the only men to have successfully defended his heavyweight strap twice. No heavyweight has ever been able to make that third consecutive defense, however.
Lesnar had an interesting run to the title. He managed to get a title shot sporting just a 2-1 mixed martial arts record and a 1-1 record in the UFC. In fact, Lesnar has had more title fights than non-title fights at this point in his career.
Although his run to the title wasn't all that impressive, the fact that he was able to defeat Randy Couture, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin as a relative newcomer to the sport is.
Brock lost his title when he was stopped by Cain Velasquez in the first round at UFC 121, but he is just one win away from another shot at the belt when he takes on Alistair Overeem at UFC 141.
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A member of the UFC Hall of Fame and a legend in the sport, Randy Couture will likely be remembered as one of the greatest fighters of all time. It's not because he was incredibly dominant, but because he was constantly the underdog, facing significantly larger, younger fighters, all while remaining an extremely humble individual.
Couture retired just before his 48th birthday. The fact that he was able to compete at the highest level that late into his career is impressive in and of itself.
"The Natural" first became champion in 1997 at UFC Japan, defeating Maurice Smith. After being stripped of the title due to contact disputes, he regained it at UFC 28 by defeating Kevin Randleman. Couture then made two successful defenses, both against Pedro Rizzo. He then lost his title to Josh Barnett.
After a run as the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Couture returned to the heavyweight division, defeating the then-dominant Tim Sylvia. He then made another successful defense of his title by defeating Gabriel Gonzaga.
Brock Lesnar then took the title from Couture at UFC 91.