With the current landscape of the UFC’s heavyweight division seemingly in complete disarray with the recent news of it’s current champion, Brock Lesnar, being sidelined for an indefinite amount of time due to a nasty intestinal infection, it now seems as if a certain “Pitbull” out of Belarus could have a more profound impact on the promotion he sides with, now, more than ever before.
An unlikely candidate to be the most sought after free agent in the business having been knocked completely unconscious in his two previous outings in the cage, Andrei Arlovski has the type of star power and mass appeal that could serve to give either the UFC or Strikeforce a significant advantage in the ongoing, and ever crucial heavyweight war.
One could look to boxing as a prime example of the impact the biggest, most dangerous fighters have on combat sports. When there was a marketable, dominant champion such as Mike Tyson, Muhammad Ali, or even an Evander Holyfield at the top of the heavyweight mountain, boxing flourished. On the other side of that coin, the title reigns of fighters such as Wladimir Klitschko or Larry Holmes can be viewed as dismal times for boxing, when the sport took a significant hit in it’s mainstream fan base.
The main point being, the heavyweights are as vital to mixed martial arts as they are in any of the other form of fighting sports. The general public grasps the concept that the reality of the matter is that big man generally beats little man, especially when we’re talking about the top athletes of the sport. Everyone wants to know who the absolute baddest man on the planet is. It’s been that was since the day’s of the Ancient Romans.
When you look at the talent pool of the heavyweight rosters over at the UFC and Strikeforce, without Brock it doesn’t appear that either side holds a considerable advantage. I’ll list the top guys in both organizations and you can be the judge.
- Shane Carwin
- Cain Velasquez
- Junior dos Santos
- Cheick Kongo
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
- Frank Mir
- Gabriel Gonzaga
- Todd Duffee
- Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Alistair Overeem
- Brett Rogers
- Fabricio Werdum
- Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva
- Shane Del Rosario
- Roger Gracie
- Lavar Johnson
Now granted, the current UFC heavyweight roster looks a little bit thicker than that of the competition, but throw Andrei Arlovski on the end of that Strikeforce list and things aren’t looking nearly as lopsided as before.
Andrei has a long history of getting paid well for his involvement in a televised scrap, and I’d imagine that the bidding war that ensues to pin down Arlovski will leave him as one of the highest paid athletes in the sport.
Can you think of a single fighter on either promotion’s list of heavyweights that you wouldn’t want to see Arlovski throw down with right now?
Arlovski vs. Velasquez; I’ll take it. Arlovski vs. Mir; That one’s been a long time coming. Arlovski vs. Overeem; You see where I’m going with this.
As soon as Andrei is secured to either promotion, any doubts as to the depth or the validity of the respective division would be almost instantly erased.
So let the games begin, and let the best heavyweight division of mixed martial arts emerge the victor.