Who is the greatest heavyweight of all time and how do you decide who is? Throughout sports history the media, fans, coaches, players/athletes, have always debated who is the greatest of all time in their respective sport. In MMA, it is a little more extreme in my personal opinion because you have two men or women going to war, asserting their dominance over the other one. MMA is truly an unbelievable sport. But there is nothing like two heavyweights that meet inside the octagon and let their fists throw and put on a show for the entire world. The heavyweight division throughout the history of combat sports has not only shaped us the people as a culture, but has brought everyone together. Muhammad Ali and Mike Tyson of boxing, Cain Velasquez, Fedor Emelianenko, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, for MMA, are all representatives of the biggest and baddest humans on the face of the earth. So who is the greatest heavyweight of all time?
Let’s stick to the MMA world when comparing the all time greatest heavyweights. Do you categorize greatest of all time by accolades and accomplishments or do you go by who has the highest ceiling? Or both? I am going to do all of the above. Back in the day the Pride organization had the baddest heavyweights in the world who were all dismantled by Fedor Emelianenko who seemed unbeatable. At his highest high he seemed to be the greatest ever. You also have fighters such as Stipe who holds the record for most heavyweight title defenses in the UFC, but someone who is an undefeated heavyweight and also a champ champ named Daniel Cormier, who defeated Stipe. And lastly, someone who completely dismantled and ran through the heavyweight division, Cain Velasquez. So throughout heavyweight history, those are my final four contestants on who is the best heavyweight of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, Daniel Cormier, Stipe Miocic, and Cain Velasquez.
All of those fighters make legitimate cases to be the greatest heavyweight of all time. But here is what I believe people seem to have forgotten, the dominance of Cain Velasquez. He fights Francis Ngannou February 17th, and then I believe that will remind everyone his dominance. When you look at accomplishments, Cain not only has ran through the heavyweight division and became champion, it’s how he did it. As a heavyweight, he has a gas tank of that of a lighweight, and his wrestling overwhelmed every opponent he has faced. Mixed with a great boxing game and followed by great footwork, Cain is the total package. But who has he beaten? Cain has defeated legends such as, Junior Dos Santos, Travis Browne, Antonio Silva, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Cheick Kongo, Ben Rothwell, and Brock Lesnar. The accolades are their, the pure ability and talent is there, but the injuries are the only thing that I feel has held him back in the eyes of the people. So this fight against Francis will allow Cain to remind everyone, if victorious, why he is potentially the greatest heavyweight of all time.
Max Van Auken has been involved the combat sports world in a variety of ways. Whether it was training and competing, to now commentating, writing, and covering the sport of MMA. Max also is the co-host of the Locked Inn Sports Podcast with Max and Dave where they dive further in depth in a variety in MMA topics!