In the past we have seen divisions become somewhat stagnant due to how dominant champs were. We’ve seen this at welterweight with GSP, middleweight with Anderson Silva and light-heavyweight with Jon Jones.
With each of the aforementioned weight classes the champs cleared out their respective divisions and it became really hard for the UFC to first find a challenger and second to promote that fight.
Then for various reasons those champs are now gone and those divisions have become revived. Suddenly there are all sorts of interesting and meaningful fights to make. Well the same happened for the heavyweight division last night in Mexico.
Since 2011, and before last night, only four men have competed for the heavyweight title. Cain Velasquez had his trilogy with JDS and Frank Mir and ‘Bigfoot’ were challengers in the mean time. That is not a healthy situation and as a result the UFC created the interim-title and had Fabricio Werdum fight Mark Hunt for it last November.
It has been an exciting past few weeks that has revived the division. Now that Werdum is champ and that Velasquez is (sort of) out of the way there is an abundance of fights to make at the top of the division.
We have the revived career of Andrei Arlovski who silenced the critics and won over a new generation of fans with his incredible first round war with Travis Brown. Then there is Stipe Miocic who looked very good in defeat to JDS, many actually felt Miocic won that fight, and his domination of Mark Hunt. Both of the above fighters are tipped to be possible title challengers.
Last weekend we saw Ben Rothwell score a big win over Matt Mitrione and his weird/crazy post fight speech has every talking about him. As a result we now have a highly experienced heavyweight, who people are talking about and who is on a winning streak. He is waiting for his number one contender fight possible against either Arlovski or Miocic.
Outside of that we have the long-awaited fight between JDS and Alistair Overeem being mentioned again this past weekend. This is a fantastic fight that makes perfect sense for both fighters and will attract fans.
We also received a surprise from Shawn Jordan who made everyone take notice with his surprising hook kick and subsequent finish in his fight last week. Find me anyone who isn’t interested in seeing him compete again.
On the horizon we have Josh Barnatt vs. Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve vs. ‘Big Nog’, and the return of Todd Duffee against Frank Mir. Not to mention Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ and the plateau of exciting fights he could be involved in.
The heavyweight division, in just a few weeks, has been invigorated and is as exciting as it has ever been.