How many times has the UFC heavyweight division failed to deliver a dominant champion?
To answer this, one needs to know how many heavyweight champions the organization has crowned since its inception.
Seventeen times a heavyweight fighter has captured UFC gold and failed to protect his coveted asset in dominant fashion (and that does not include interim champions, which would bump the figure to 21). Eight times the champion failed to defend his title even once, and the record for consecutive title defenses?
Two, like the quantity of testicles in Lance Armstrong’s roided-up sack plus one.
The middleweight division has Anderson Silva, the welterweight division saw Matt Hughes and, currently, Georges St-Pierre dominate, and Jon “Bones” Jones took the light heavyweight division by storm and will not slow down any time soon.
Hell, even the featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, has defended his title three times since coming to the UFC in April 2011.
So, can a heavyweight champion find similar success? Will Cain Velasquez, after his five-round drubbing of Brazilian striking extraordinaire Junior dos Santos, be the first UFC heavyweight to defend his title more than twice?
Is a third title defense too much to ask?
Actually, yes, it is.
Look, heavyweights finish fights. It is no secret to fans who religiously watch the sport, and from a scientific standpoint, it makes perfect sense.
When you take four-ounce gloves and mount them on the end of bricks, that brick is still going to collide with substantial force. The heavyweights are big, strong dudes, and they are becoming increasingly more athletic and technically sound. The days of Tank Abbott are long gone; if you cannot do it all in the UFC’s heavyweight division, you simply cannot succeed.
Big, strong, and now fast and technically advanced?
That, my friends, is a recipe for a finish.
While Velasquez looked sensational in his rematch with Junior dos Santos at UFC 155, I just do not see him as “the guy” to dominate the division for years to come.
Many felt that about dos Santos. How did that work out for
them us (I’ll admit it…)?
The heavyweight division has a hulking behemoth of a man in Alistair Overeem looming in the distance. It features finishing specialists like Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum, Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt, who linger outside the cage door, patiently awaiting their chance at gold.
Oh, and that dos Santos guy that just lost?
He’ll be back, and he’ll be back better than ever.
The bottom line is that the heavyweight division is littered with too many finishers for a champion to dominate for any amount of time. This is not a knock on Velasquez—the guy is an animal—it is just an undeniable fact that is echoed in the sport’s history.
With his suffocating wrestling, ever-improving standup, unrelenting cardio and strong team behind him, Cain Velasquez looks every bit the part of a long-term UFC champion.
He just weighs a little to much to make that possibility a reality.