This MMA Life

Luke Hutchinson
Luke Hutchinson

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The Heavyweight Division. What's going on?

January 22nd 2022, UFC 270. The last time and potentially the very last time that we seen the current undisputed UFC Heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou. His first defence and the unification of both heavyweight titles against former team mate Ciryl Gane; but you knew all of this anyway, especially with the constant reminder during the build up to the fight. After such a massive build up it produced a prety lackluster fight in the eyes of many MMA fans. With Ciryl now recapturing the interim belt since then.

Anyway, with the quick catch up finished, let's get into what this post is about: Is the heavyweight division lacking in interest and contenders? An aspect to look at will be today's top 5 compared to 2010's top 5. Note: 2010's rankings aren't from UFC's website, but you could arguably agree that the UFC fighters ranking is accurate, you can see them here: (https://rankingmma.com/world-mma-heavyweight-rankings-2010/)

As of October 13th 2022, the Heavyweight top 5's rankings is as follows; Ciryl Gane, Stipe Miocic, Curtis Blaydes, Tai Tuivasa and Sergei Pavlovich. Realistically the competition and the increase of skill set between now and then sometimes looks like night and day.

Let's get into the statistics (my favourite), The current top 5 have a total of 78 fights, and strictly in the UFC a total of 30 KO's, 2 submissions and 14 decisions. And for the Heavyweight class of 2010 a total of 71 fights, with 31 KO's, 9 submissions and 10 decisions.

I researched this because I decided that it could indicate that with the increased skillset and training there would be a higher differentiator, but surprisingly it's actually pretty close, for me it was how little submission victories there was. The answer to this? Frank Mir. With the importance of high level jiu jitsu in todays MMA circuit, 7 less submissions than before? Answer? Heavyweight knockouts, everybody loves to see them. Everybody wants that highlight reel. Remember when Ngannou orbited Overeem into Jupiter? I still cringe at it.

Anyway with all this being said, the competition today in my opinion, isn't entirely threatening outside of the top 5, perhaps with the exception of Tom Aspinal. Think about this, Francis Ngannou has beat three of 2022's top 5, and two of 2010's.

Would you consider Francis to be our Heavyweight GOAT simply because of this? Or are we sticking by Stipe Miocic being GOAT since he defended the belt 3 times consecutively, a feat that Cain Velasquez couldn't accomplish and many label him as the best there was? I'm a huge Stipe fan, always have been. But Francis has turned the game upside down, I just don't see where the competition is in the division right now, 2010 had some stellar heavyweights, maybe not better skill to skill wise, but the talent pool seemed varied.

There isn't a fight outside of the top 3 for that matter, to make any sense for Francis to come back and fight (if he actually returns to the UFC) the threat of wrestling calibre isn't there as much, submissions don't appear to be such a high threat either. I'd love to see Brock Lesnar shoot on Francis, Frank Mir to scramble with him on the ground, a toe-to-toe with Shane Carwin.

What's your thoughts on this? Are we going old school with 2010, or are we rocking with this year's current events? Leave your thoughts below!

Top comments (2)

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hannahwoking1 profile image
hannahwoking

Let's get into the statistics (my favourite), The current top 5 have a total of 78 fights, and strictly in the UFC a total of 30 KO's, 2 submissions and 14 decisions. And for the Heavyweight class of 2010 a total of 71 fights, with 31 KO's, 9 submissions and 10 decisions.

There’s nothing better than some good stats 😀

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lee profile image
Lee

perhaps with the exception of Tom Aspinall

I so wish Aspinall didn’t hurt his knee, he’s the anomaly in all of this