Where are all the great UFC heavyweights?
Cain Velasquez went down again and the UFC decided to replace him with Mark Hunt in a battle with Fabrico Werdum for the interim heavyweight championship.
Hunt vs. Werdum for the title? Hunt is a good fighter, but he’s not exactly the epitome of a mixed martial artist. He hits hard and he takes a great punch. He’s Roy Nelson, with a better chin. Werdum lost to Alistair Overeem in Strikeforce and although he is on a roll as of late in the UFC, he’s not the future of the UFC heavyweight division.
Unfortunately, the two best “heavyweights” in the world, Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones, are fighting as light heavyweights. If the UFC is ever going to experience a mainstream run beyond Brock Lesnar, it will need a heavyweight to come in take over. Velasquez is unreliable. He has not fought in more than a year and fought twice in 2013.
Prior to that, he fought the same two fighters (Junior Dos Santos and Bigfoot Silva) going back to 2011; Santos three times and Silva twice.
Velasquez will come back and probably win, but will he get injured again and not fight for another year after that?
Mike Tyson fought 15 times in 1985. He fought 13 times in 1986. Even when he was the heavyweight champion of the world, he fought. He defended the title four times in 1987. No one outside of the hardcore MMA fans really even knows the name of a UFC heavyweight. Sadly, ask someone on the street to name an MMA heavyweight and they would probably say Kimbo Slice.
Somehow, some way, the UFC needs to focus less time on its brand expansion, staging shows in China and Australia and instead work on developing heavyweights. The first thing the UFC needs to do is convince Cormier that he is being foolish and selfish by insisting on fighting in the light heavyweight division rather than as a heavyweight. What’s going to happen when Jones taps him out or knocks him out because Cormier is struggling to cut weight to make the light heavyweight limit? The UFC would have sacrificed one of its top heavyweight stars just because Cormier doesn’t want to fight his friend.
If you’re Jones, you need to take the ball and run with it. After defeating Cormier, he needs to jump to the heavyweight division. Can Jones beat Hunt and Werdum?
The UFC needs a dominate heavyweight to bring the spotlight to the sport. Whether that’s the return of Lesnar, or the arrival of Jones, the return of Cormier or the discovering the next big thing in a gym somewhere in America, the UFC needs to find a heavyweight star.