With a win over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 188, current UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez will not only confirm his status as “Baddest Man on the Planet” but also break a current UFC record.
As it currently stands no UFC Heavyweight Champion has been able to defend their title more than twice before losing the gold.
Of the twelve men to have held the UFC Heavyweight Championship, only four of them (Couture, Sylvia, Lesnar & Velasquez) have been able to defend the title twice before ultimately dropping the strap on the third defence.
It may be easier to win the Heavyweight strap than to defend it. Perhaps it’s because the harder you try to hold onto something, the easier it is for it to slip through your fingers. Or maybe it just comes down to the risk of fighting in the UFC’s most dangerous division?
When Cain enters the Octagon on Saturday night against Werdum in Mexico, not only does he have the crowd rooting for him but also the additional pressure to break the streak and become the first Heavyweight Champion to pick up three wins on the bounce cement himself as one of the best Heavyweights ever in the 265lbs division. Not much pressure then.
But not all the pressure sits with the Champion, if the challenger has been reading the stats then he may be equally as nervous going into this one. Aside from Andrei Arlovski none of the other four Interim Heavyweight Champions in UFC history (Arlovski, Mir, Carwin & Nogueira) have gone on to take the real Heavyweight Title when given the opportunity.
In fact even Arlovski didn’t beat the Champion to become the Champion, he was promoted from Interim Champion to Champion following Frank Mir’s road accident which left the Champion unable to fight.
Velasquez is the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion in UFC history of the seventeen different fighters to have held the strap and will be looking to leave Mexico with the record of being the first ever man in the Heavyweight division to defend the gold three times in a row.