GOAT Talk: The heavyweight division’s all-time greats
There is always a great conversation to be had when MMA fans start talking about who is the greatest of all time.
Opinions range from record to box office, to steroids, to marketability, and so on. Everybody’s opinion is different especially when you talk all-time, but here are my heavyweight GOATs.
5. Cain Velazquez (14-3)
Cain Velasquez is a two-time UFC Heavyweight champion while compiling a 12-3 record in the promotion.
When he recaptured the heavyweight championship, he became the first fighter in UFC history to post triple digits in significant strikes landed with 111 as well as double digits, 10, in takedowns landed in a single fight. Velasquez owns the longest heavyweight championship reign (896 days). Velasquez has the most knockout wins in UFC Heavyweight history (10) – tied with Derrick Lewis. He has the highest significant strike percentage (57.62%) in the heavyweight division. If he wasn’t so prone to injury he would’ve been higher up on my GOAT list.
4. Randy “The Natural” Couture (19-11)
Randy Couture competed in a record 16 UFC title fights (including tournaments) and in those 16 fights he holds the record for the most wins in UFC heavyweight championship bouts with six.
The king of “dirty boxing” is the only fighter over the age of 40 to win a UFC championship fight. His record in the UFC is 16-8, not overly impressive but Couture won the UFC 13 heavyweight tournament championship, the UFC heavyweight championship three times, and won the UFC light heavyweight championship twice. His body of work dictates that he be considered a heavyweight GOAT.
3. Stipe Miocic (19-3)
Some people will have an issue with his ranking but it will make sense once you see the top two.
Miocic is a two-time and current UFC heavyweight champion after recently beating Daniel Cormier to regain the title. He defended his championship three times and holds the record for most consecutive successful title defenses in the history of the UFC heavyweight division. Miocic also holds the record for fight night bonus awards at nine, the most in the UFC heavyweight history.
The stat that stood out the most to me is that he holds the record for the most strikes landed in a fight with 361 which he accomplished against Mark Hunt. Miocic has GOAT written all over him.
2. “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (38-6)
He has been called the greatest of all time from the likes of former combat sports fighters in Chuck Norris and Mike Tyson to the likes of MMA fighters such as Junior Dos Santos, Fabrício Werdum, Jose Aldo, and Georges St-Pierre.
Emelianenko was the PRIDE FC heavyweight champion from 2003 to 2007. After a controversial loss in December 2000, “The Last Emperor” went unbeaten in 28 consecutive fights up until June 26, 2010. His run included wins over four former UFC champions, one Pride FC champion, one former and two future K-1 kickboxing champions, and two Olympic medalists.
Some will question the level of competition he faced during his run as he never fought in the UFC which is believed to have the best level of competition in MMA. However, his GOAT status is not up for debate.
1. Daniel “DC’ Cormier (22-2)
“DC” is the second of four fighters in UFC history to hold titles in two weight classes simultaneously and the first and only fighter to defend titles in two weight classes.
While in Strikeforce, he won the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix and prior to that, the King of the Cage heavyweight title. He has won a championship in every organization that he has been a part of. His record stands at 19-2 (1 NC) between his days in Strikeforce and currently in the UFC. He has lost only once as a heavyweight.
His only losses have come to fighters that will go down as arguably top 10 fighters of all-time. Those being Jon Jones and the aforementioned Miocic.
Cormier is no doubt the heavyweight GOAT.
I hope this sparks some good MMA conversations- let the debates begin.
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The Scrap’s Lee Brown is a 22-year Air Force Vet, fan of all sports – especially UFC, NFL & NBA, and cohost of Lee N Keys Real Talk Podcast. You can follow Lee on Twitter (@Levanstian757) and Instagram (@Va121Lee).