The UFC heavyweight division has largely been a division that has been stagnant for years now. For years now, mostly older fighters that have been in the top 10. Here are a couple of heavyweights that have turned the tide and have the division looking bright.
In the UFC, heavyweights are known to get better with age since power is the last thing to go. However, this has led to a top 10 full of fighters that have already had their chance at a title, and only makes it more difficult for fresh blood to rise to the top. Recently, though, there has been an influx of younger fighters that are ready to contend for the title of Baddest Man on the Planet.
One of 2017’s breakout stars was the Cameroonian knockout artist who achieved dominant wins over Andrei Arlovski and scored one of the most brutal knockouts of the year against Alistair Overeem at UFC 218. Now while he ultimately came up short in his fight against champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 220, he’s still a young fighter whose potential has not yet been fully realized.
That was his first five round fight and only the 13th fight of his career. He also gave Stipe loads of trouble in the first round and had him hurt several times throughout the bout. It’s not hard to believe that Francis can come back stronger than ever and gain the title later in his career. Currently, it seems that a bout with Derrick Lewis is a possibility for his next appearance.
Coming off an impressive win at UFC London over Fabricio Werdum, the former Bellator heavyweight champion is now 4-0 inside the octagon. With his biggest win being the aforementioned one over the former champion Werdum, as well as a victory over Octagon mainstays Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve. Volkov has continued to improve in the octagon after struggling in his first fight against Timothy Johnson.
Volkov was someone who was apparently considered for the UFC 220 spot against Miocic prior to Ngannou winning at 218. The UFC clearly thinks highly of him, it’s not hard to believe that Volkov could soon be facing off against the heavyweight champion soon. Whether that be Stipe Miocic or Daniel Cormier.
Curtis “Razor” Blaydes has continued to wrestle his way through the heavyweight division, last defeating Mark Hunt at UFC 221. Blaydes is currently on a five-fight winning streak over fighters such as Oleksiy Olinynk and Cody East in a super satisfying fight to watch, as well as the legendary Mark Hunt. Blaydes is an extremely accomplished wrestler and with striking improvements, he can be an amazing fighter.
He will get a chance to show off his hands at UFC 225 where he takes on Alistair Overeem. If he can get the victory against Overeem, Blaydes would put himself in line for a fight against the champion or possibly in a top contender’s fight, possibly against the aforementioned Alexander Volkov.
By far the least accomplished fighter on this list, as well as lowest ranked. Tai Tuivasa is a heavy-handed Aussie whose two favorite activities are knocking out other heavyweights and drinking beer out of a shoe. Tuivasa is currently 2-0 in the Octagon, with first-round knockout wins over Rashad Coulter and Cyril Asker.
Tuivasa is scheduled to take Andrei Arlovski who refuses to disappear and is now on a two-fight winning streak. If Tai can win that bout in good fashion he can cement his place as a top 10 heavyweight and one of the main prospects to watch at heavyweight.