Since the UFC restarted on May 9, we have seen four pay-per-views, eleven fight nights and three UFC on ESPN cards. In that time, rankings have shifted, new contenders have emerged, old contenders showed why they are still in line for a title and champions showed why they are still at the top.
The UFC was the first major sports organization to get back in action following the COVID-19 shutdown and they have yet to slow down. Fight cards are being pumped out almost weekly with main contenders and champions headlining all of them.
One of the most intriguing divisions since the restart has been the heavyweight division. The title scene has been interesting for the past couple years as Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier have passed the belt back and forth in their first two bouts.
The rubber match finally came at UFC 252. After their first two fights ended by knockout, both fighters came in prepared and cautious drawing out their final fight to a unanimous decision in Miocic’s favor. Following the match, Cormier officially retired from fighting ending his eight-year UFC career and leaving an opening for the next challenger for the title.
However, these top two are not the only heavyweights that have showed they belong. Francis Ngannou has looked like one of the most dominant fighters this year. Ngannou is riding a four-fight win streak, with all four ending by knockout in the first round. Three of those four wins came within the first minute of the fight.
“Ngannou has the type of power and conditioning that makes him too dominant to be beat,” said IUP student, Caitlyn McMaster (senior, religious studies) “I see him quickly getting the title and not letting it up for a very long time.”
Yet, Miocic and Ngannou do not make a division on their own. The top of the heavyweight division is stacked with power and potential. Alistair Overeem has won four of his last five and continues to put himself in position for a final title run.
Jairzinho Rozenstruik is a rising star in the division with only one loss in his professional career from Ngannou. Curtis Blaydes has an almost identical story with his only two losses in his seventeen-fight career coming from Ngannou.
Lastly, former light heavyweight champion and No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, Jon Jones, announced his move to the heavyweight division. The heavyweight division is riddled with possible champions and will only get more entertaining as the year continues.
Multiple champions have also solidified their spots at the top of the division. Seven title fights have taken place since the return.
Henry Cejudo solidified his spot as one of the best of all time with another title defense. He deemed the fight as his last as he relinquished the title and retired from fighting all together.
The vacated title fight took place two months later with Petr Yan looking dominant with a knockout victory over Jose Aldo. Amanda Nunes, Kamaru Usman and Alexander Volkanovski retained their respective titles and showed why they are on top.
Looking ahead, the fight night on Sept. 19 is sure to please. The main event features Colby Covington taking on rival and top contender, Tyron Woodley. Both fighters have exchanged their fair share of blows on the microphones, at the press conference and the same will be expected in their fight.
“Colby’s got a good pace and he can keep it up,” said Jesse Brown (graduate student, student affairs in higher education). “Tyron needs a good hit but that’s just not reliable enough. Either way, I think it’ll be a good fight.”
We will also see the returns of Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone and Johnny Walker as they both try and get back in the win column. The entire card will be one that you do not want to miss.