With the failed signing of Fedor and the letter of resignation from Couture, the UFC is now left with a Heavyweight Division that is going to have a very hard time supporting a champ as the legitimate No.1 in the world. In the coming months and the early part of next year there are a number of fighters who will stake a claim for the belt. Depending on who becomes champ, the UFC is going to have varying levels of difficulty when it comes to marketing them as the World’s best. Let’s examine the situation:
Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera
There is no denying ‘Minotauro’ is a great Mixed Martial Artist and no doubt in the top 3, or at the least top 5 heavyweights in the world. However, if he were to beat Cheick Kongo and then the winner of Vera/Sylvia (or just, as been speculated) for the title, the UFC will have an extremely hard time selling him as the No.1 when Fedor has demolished him twice.
If Tim Sylvia manages to get past Vera and then Noguiera/Kongo the UFC is left with a champ who was never really popular to begin with and also has just been man-handled by a 44 year old legend, who many believe should still be fighting inside the octagon.
If Cheick Kongo gets passed Noguiera it will be something spectacular in itself, and if he then manages to defeat either Sylvia or Vera the UFC will have crowned a champ who is untarnished. By untarnished I mean a fighter who has not fought either Couture or Fedor and therefore has the chance to be built upon as the No. 1 Heavyweight without any previous losses to the other proclaimed “top dogs“. It also helps Kongo’s cause that he is a 6 foot 4, ripped, imposing figure, who looks like he could demolish anything with a pulse. The fact that Kongo is a Frenchman that can’t speak English could pose some marketability problems for the UFC but Kongo as Champ does have its advantages over the previously stated pair.
If the UFC ever works out negotiations with Andrei and he manages to work his way up the rankings and eventually becomes champ (while being head of the ‘Jerry Springer Show ‘ security no less) then the UFC has a chance for a very marketable champ with a claim to the No.1 crown. If the Arlovski of old returns, then many an MMA fan will be once again reviving comments on how some believe Arlovski to be a bad match up for Fedor and how he’d be too quick for Couture. These are a lot of ifs, and before he or the UFC goes on and starts supporting these grandiose claims, Arlovski HAS to be beat Tim Sylvia in such a fashion that no one will ever bring it up again.
Brandon ‘The Truth’ Vera
The best case scenario for the UFC in having the world’s best heavyweight is if Brandon Vera demolishes everything in his path on the way to the title. If this is done the UFC gets a heavyweight champ, that is not tarnished by losses to either Couture or Fedor (better yet, undefeated), gives a great interview and is an explosive and exciting fighter.
There you have it. The UFC is in quite a mess at the moment and really need the cards to fall their way for them to get out of it. But let’s face it, that really hasn’t been happening lately.