State of the UFC’s heavyweight division entering 2021

MMA, Stipe Miocic

2021 will usher in a new day in the heavyweight division. As we enter January 2021, it has been three years since UFC heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic (20-3), fought someone not named Daniel Cormier (22-3, 1 NC).

At UFC 220 back in January of 2018, Miocic defended his title against Francis Ngannou (15-3). Ngannou was being billed as the next big thing having destroyed every contender the UFC had put in front of him.

However, Miocic showed off his greatness that night shutting out the French contender. However, Miocic would lose his title in the summer of 2018 when he was knocked out in the first round by Daniel Cormier.

The UFC then angled for Cormier to face Brock Lesnar in a superfight. The proposed matchup with Lesnar was supposed to be Cormier’s last UFC fight. The fight never materialized and Cormier went on to defend his title against Derrick Lewis (24-7, 1 NC).

Cormier defeated Lewis and waited for the Lesnar fight. Again, it never came together so Cormier decided to give Stipe Miocic a rematch at UFC 241. After dominating the fight early, Cormier got knocked out by Miocic in the fourth round.

After that fight, Miocic needed to take some time off. A year later, Miocic and Cormier finished their trilogy at UFC 252 in Cormier’s last fight. Miocic won the fight by unanimous decision cementing himself as the heavyweight GOAT.

UFC’s heavyweight division in 2021

With the Miocic – Cormier trilogy behind us, it’s time for the UFC’s heavyweight division to move on in 2021. However, Miocic will face a familiar foe in his first title defense of the year. He will once again take on Francis Ngannou.

Ngannou’s losses to Miocic then Derrick Lewis might have been the best thing for him. He’s rededicated himself to the sport and he’s looked untouchable since. After losing a decision to Lewis, Ngannou is 4-0 with four first round knockouts.

Not only that, but none of those opponents have gone more than 71 seconds. The UFC’s predator looks better than ever and he’s expected to face Miocic in March for the heavyweight title.

Another exciting aspect of the heavyweight division in 2021 is the arrival of Jon Jones (26-1,1 NC). Jones is widely considered to be the greatest fighter of all-time and he’s finally decided to move up to heavyweight.

After reigning over light heavyweight for nearly a decade, Jones is preparing for a shot at the heavyweight title. He’s expected to face the winner of Miocic – Ngannou over the summer or early next fall.

Other Contenders

Behind Jones there are a number of compelling contenders. Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes (14-2, 1 NC) are expected to faceoff in 2021. They were supposed to fight in November, however, Blaydes tested positive for COVID and the fight was scrapped.

Both contenders have multiple fight winning streaks. A win for either man would put them in great position. The guy to really watch out for is Ciryl Gane (7-0). Gane just knocked out JDS at UFC 256 and is poised to be a top contender.

Of course, Alistair Overeem (47-18, 1 NC) and Alexander Volkov (32-8) are two others to watch out for. They headline a Fight Night in February. Of course there’s still Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-1) out there who’s ranked third at heavyweight at the moment.

Miocic is finally done with Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones is entering the heavyweight picture. Francis Ngannou looks better than ever and there’s a ton of hungry and dangerous contenders behind him. Should be a fun year at heavyweight in 2021.

UFC: Dana White is interested in booking Brock Lesnar – Jon Jones

The combat sports world has been buzzing over the past few days after learning that former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar (5-3, 1 NC), was a free agent. Lesnar’s merchandise was pulled off the WWE website, and it’s been reported that they couldn’t come to terms on a new deal.

Of course, many quickly pointed out a potential MMA return for Lesnar. Scott Coker of Bellator pointed out potentially matching him with Fedor Emelianenko. However, I believe he still has an active UFC contract. At least, Dana White said that a couple of years ago.

Lesnar was going to return to the UFC to fight Daniel Cormier after Cormier won the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic at UFC 226. Lesnar even entered the USADA testing pool. That fight never came together, and Lesnar stayed with the WWE. Now, White seems to be interested in Lesnar fighting another top UFC star.

Lesnar – Jones in the UFC?

If Brock Lesnar is actually interested in fighting again, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is the only fight that makes real sense. I don’t see Lesnar at 43 years old coming back for a title run. He might just want to come back for one big show that’ll generate a massive payday for him.

Jon Jones is stuck right now. He’s moving up to heavyweight, but he’s not the first in line for the title. The UFC has stated over and over that Francis Ngannou (15-3) will be getting the next crack at Stipe Miocic. So until that fight, Jones will wait on the sidelines.

Nobody wants to see Jones fight a contender like Curtis Blaydes or Derrick Lewis. They want to see him fight for the title or fight someone extremely entertaining. That’s where Brock Lesnar enters the UFC‘s train of thought.

Jones has expressed interest in fighting Lesnar in the past. Lesnar always told Jones to be careful what he wished for. A Jones – Lesnar fight is really a win-win situation for the UFC. It’s not really a massive risk for Jones in fighting a 43 year old Lesnar, and it would be a big payday. As White pointed out, it would be a good introduction to heavyweight for Jones.

I’m not convinced that this fight will actually happen, but it is one that would make sense in a weird way. While it’s not the fight it once would have been, I’m all in for seeing Jon Jones fight Brock Lesnar in the UFC.

Brock Lesnar hits free agency; Could he come back to the UFC or Bellator?

Yesterday news starting to leak out that former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar (5-3, 1 NC), was a free agent. PW Insider was the first to report that Lesnar’s contract with the WWE had expired.

Since the news broke, many have discovered that the WWE has pulled all Lesnar merchandise from their website. Of course the news has prompted many in the sports world to ponder what is next for Brock Lesnar.

Could the former UFC heavyweight champion make his return to MMA at 43 years old? Lesnar had previously entered the USADA Testing Pool in his effort to come back and challenge Daniel Cormier for the heavyweight title after their exchange at UFC 226.

UFC or Bellator for Lesnar?

We all know now that Lesnar did end up deciding to not return for the fight with Cormier. Instead, Lesnar decided to stick it out with the WWE instead of making his return to the UFC.

Bellator President Scott Coker came out yesterday and said that they would be interested in signing Lesnar if he’s available. Coker told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani, “Yes, if he’s truly available. Fedor vs. Brock is interesting. It’s the fight that never happened!”

Of course the problem with that is the fact that Lesnar is still technically under contract with the UFC. Dana White announced in late 2018 that Lesnar still had an exclusive MMA deal with the UFC. He said that Lesnar still had fights left on his contract.

We have not seen Brock Lesnar inside a UFC cage competing since UFC 200. That night, Lesnar won a decision over Mark Hunt. Of course, Lesnar went on to test positive, and the fight was overturned to a no contest.

Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) took to Twitter yesterday to give his thoughts on fighting Brock Lesnar. Jones had called Lesnar out after he defeated Daniel Cormier in hopes of making a super fight with the former heavyweight champion.

Lesnar is one of the three greatest draws the sport of mixed martial arts has ever seen. Him alongside Conor McGregor and Georges St. Pierre were all superstars. Lesnar was truly the first mega star given his background and popularity in the WWE.

It will be interesting to see if Lesnar decided to come back to the UFC or Bellator, retire from everything, or perhaps sign a new pro wrestling deal with AEW. Time will tell, but it’s definitely a situation to monitor.