On November 15, 2014, after the debut season of “The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America,” UFC Heavyweight Champion and the current king of heavyweight MMA, Cain Velasquez will defend his title against number one ranked challenger Fabricio Werdum. The two will meet in the main event at “UFC 180 – Velasquez vs. Werdum” at the Mexico City Arena in Mexico City in a fight that will air live on pay-per-view.
Velasquez is returning after a lengthy absence due to injury and as the UFC Heavyweight Champion nears his return and the Heavyweight MMA season draws closer, it seems apropos to take a look back at some of the other kings of heavyweight mixed-martial-arts history.
Today, exclusively here at MMANews.com, we will begin our two-part look at the top ten most dominant heavyweight champions in MMA history. Without further ado, let’s jump right into the list!
Update: Part 2 of the “Top 10 Most Dominant Heavyweight Champions In MMA History” has now been published, check the link on the last page of this feature.
10. Tim Sylvia
On February 28, 2003, “The Maine-iac” Tim Sylvia received a shot at the UFC Heavyweight Championship. It was the first defense of newly crowned champion Ricco Rodriguez’s reign and Sylvia seemed like an easy win for the man who had a one-loss record at the time and the bragging rights of being the guy who dethroned the legendary Randy Couture.
Sylvia had different plans.
On that February evening at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Sylvia shocked the world, dispatching of Rodriguez with a vengeance at only three minutes and nine seconds of the first round.
Sylvia’s reign officially began.
Unfortunately for Sylvia, however, he was stripped of the title on October 15, 2003, for popping hot on a post-fight drug test. Luckily for Sylvia, it would not be his only reign as champion.
Sylvia would have a bumpy return to the Octagon, defeating journeyman fighter Gan McGee via first round TKO in his first fight back. In his second appearance in the Octagon since being stripped of the title, Sylvia would lose a chance to win back the now vacant UFC Heavyweight Championship against Frank Mir. At UFC 48 in June of 2004, the submission specialist Mir caught Sylvia in an armbar and snapped his forearm in half in an iconic image MMA fans will always remember.
After compiling a 4-1 record since his last title opportunity, Sylvia would receive yet another shot at the seemingly invincible Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski, the man who handed Sylvia his one loss in the aforementioned 4-1 run.
At UFC 59 in April of 2006, “The Maine-iac” would knock out “The Pitbull” in the first round to become only the second person in UFC history to become a two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion.
Sylvia would go on to successfully defend the title in a rubber-match against Arlovski, securing a win in a lackluster five-round fight that went to the judges, as well as another unexciting decision win over Jeff Monson before dropping the title to Randy Couture in March of 2007.
Having been one of few men to hold the UFC Heavyweight Championship on two different occasions, something only three other UFC fighters can claim (Cain Velasquez, Frank Mir and Randy Couture being the others), Sylvia certainly deserves the respect of being labeled one of the top ten most dominant heavyweight champions in MMA history.