The Big Men on Canvas : A look at the Current State of Heavyweight

By | October 23, 2011 at 2:46 am | 2 comments | MMA

The UFC deal with FOX networks is one of the biggest pieces of news in the MMA world of all time, let alone this year, and in true UFC fashion they are debuting on the network this November with one of the most anticipated Heavyweight Championship fights of late. What I want to know, however, is what happens next for the biggest men in the business?

The Heavyweight division of any combat sport is one that draws alot of attention, however it is one that in MMA has often been regarded as the least competetive. In a sport that over the years has become all about the speed accuracy and technical ability of the fighters, all of which require a good helping of cardio endurance, it makes sense that the heavyweights have lagged behind. Having all that bulk to carry around, makes it harder to have enough gas to last and keep your technique high throughout. Many will say, and they aren’t wrong, that this is why Cain Velasquez is Champion today, because his cardio is freakish amongst most of the fighters in the heavyweight division. His amazing striking and ground and pound ability have something to do with it as well.

More than any other fighter in the heavyweight division Cain can sustain an aggressive attack for extended periods of time and that is why, even though I like Junior, I don’t see Dos Santos having a Chance in the upcoming Heavyweight title fight on FOX. Dos Santos over his career has shown signs of dangerous power, Knocking out Frabricio Werdum and (an admittedly past his prime) Gabriel Gonzaga , as well as a handful of submissions and TKO wins to punches. The problem is that he just isn’t aggressive enough for this level of competition, in his last two fights leading up to this title shot, he took two of the men with the most notoriously bad cardio in the division (Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin) into deep water and couldn’t finish them, winning by decision. A win is a win, for certain, but if Brock Lesnar could take down and submit an exhausted Shane Carwin in the opening moments of the second round, and Cain set a pace too fast for Brock to weather, then I don’t see Dos Santos’ timid, circle and punch style getting the job done as Mr. Brown Pride is looking to tear him in half.

Roy Nelson playing the part of Punching Bag does not a Contender Make

What comes next for the Belt after that? Certainly the world would like to see a Brock and Cain Rematch for the belt. In the moment Cain’s Victory over brock seemed dominant, but it was more surprising than anything, and if you watch that match again, Brock making 1 or 2 different decisions would’ve had him in that fight. The problem there is that Brock, in the interim, has suffered a relapse of his Divurticulitis and had to have surgery. He has been back in training for a while and is said to be 100%, but the UFC isn’t the sort of company to put a guy who’s been on the shelf and in the hospital for a while directly into a title match, no matter how big the draw would be.  Before Brock gets near to Cain (or Dos Santos, to be fair) he’ll have to go through Strikeforce mainstay and new UFC Heavyweight contract holder, Alistair Overeem. That will be at UFC 141 just before the new year, so it’s still a ways away, let’s just say I do like Overeem but I don’t see him being up for the challenge of a Brock Lesnar at 100%. Overeem has been on a win streak for a while now but I’d be lying if I said he was beating people of championship caliber in Strikeforce. Before that he spent alot of time in Pride beating guys you don’t know and losing to guys you do, like Lidell, Shogun and Big Nog. If Brock Lesnar is even close to what he was earlier in his career after this most recent surgery, He’ll beat Overeem easily and Alistair will be just another Strikeforce dissapointment, along with Jake Shields and others.

I'm sure to this day when Brock tells this story, it was 7 mexicans, not one.

It’s at this point where the Heavyweight division starts to show it’s true colors. Beyond the very top guys, you start to see a sea of guys that have similar levels of performance, and none that you can really see taking the belt. Let’s go through some of the top guys in the UFC in a little quick  run down.

 

  1. Shane Carwin – as mentioned, He’s tried over and over to improve his cardio, and I don’t think he has it in him
  2. Frank Mir – He’s all but done and he knows it, he’s already begun moving to broadcasting.
  3. Roy Nelson – Fat Fatty McFatfat
  4. Big Nog – He got himself a win in Brazil over Brendan Schaub, but he’s 35 and hardly the future
  5. Brendan Schaub – You really gotta beat Big Nog, man… you just gotta…
  6. Cheick Kongo – The Frenchman spent his career being cocky and beating up mid-carders, now he’s getting old and losing his snap
  7. Pat Barry – Pat Barry should be hiding in his house for the next couple years to avoid getting asked about that Kongo Knockout
  8. Mirko Cro Cop – Old and increasingly sad to watch get beat up.
  9. Matt Mitrione – Promising for a football player, but has a ways to go, he’s a cocky shit too
  10. Stefan Struve – Tall as shit.

 

So you see, if that 10 is your top 10 contenders outside of the upper echelon, you aren’t exactly the deepest division in the sport. Outside of UFC it doesn’t get any better. In Strikeforce, the Heavyweight Grand Prix has made everyone look worse and nobody shine. With guys like Werdum and Bigfoot currently in the top of the division, it’s hard to even tell if guys like Daniel Cormier at 9-0 are the real deal or just being graded on the curve. This is one division that really needs Zuffa to consolidate. When you drop even lower than Strikeforce you get guys like Bellator’s reigning Heavyweight Champion Cole Konrad, who is more marshmallow than man and the ever present stench of failure given off by Bobby Lashley and others who have more aspiration than ability.

Daniel Cormier proved that "Big Foot" was no match for "Ambiguously Gelatinous Midsection"

I don’t know what to conclude about the Heavyweight division in MMA today, except to say that it’s one of the division most in need of an influx of new talent. Guys like Christian Morecraft and Travis Browne are trying, and hopefully some of the younger and more exciting guys in Strikeforce get to test their mettle in UFC soon. For now though, I think Cain will have his belt for a good long while.

I’m a Comic, Radio Host, and MMA fan here on Knockout Lounge to bring insight and hopefully some laughs.
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2 Comments

  1. Cain (5 years ago)

    nice work lyon hart!! glad to have you contributing!

  2. Lyon Hart (5 years ago)

    I showed this piece to someone and they said “what about Shark Fights?” to which I responded “What about Shark Fights? Thier HW champ is Titties…” so there, put that in there for the record

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