The last month has been incredibly busy for the UFC‘s heavyweight division. In the month of February alone, three fight nights were headlined by heavyweight clashes that shook up the heavyweight division.
However, outside of fighting, we also saw some big news come in last night regarding the heavyweights. The UFC released former heavyweight champion, Junior Dos Santos (21-9) and former title challenger, Alistair Overeem (47-19, 1 NC).
Both men were ranked inside the top 12 at heavyweight so the news is shaking up the rankings a bit. The release of JDS wasn’t surprising, but Overeem had just headlined UFC Vegas 18 against Alexander Volkov (33-8).
Volkov looked better than ever and stopped Overeem in the second round. However, Overeem had won two in a row prior so the decision to release was rather interesting. Nevertheless, Overeem is no longer with the promotion.
After Volkov’s big win, we saw UFC Vegas 19 which was headlined by Derrick Lewis (25-7, 1 NC) and Curtis Blaydes (14-3, 1 NC). Both of these men were looking to stake their claim as a top contender and that’s exactly what Derrick Lewis did.
After Curtis Blaydes easily won the first round, Lewis put him to sleep in the second round. Lewis is now tied for the most knockouts in UFC history and he’s ranked second in the heavyweight division.
Last weekend at UFC Vegas 20, we saw the conclusion of the heavyweight main events. Ciryl Gane (8-0) took on Jairzinho Rozenstruik (11-2). It was the only fight that went the distance and it lacked for action, but Ciryl Gane dominated his way into the top five at heavyweight.
State of the UFC’s heavyweight division
After all of these fight nights, there is a big more clarity in the heavyweight division. At the end of this month at UFC 260, Stipe Miocic (20-3) will take on Francis Ngannou (15-3) for the heavyweight championship in a rematch.
After this fight, we already know what is next. Regardless of the outcome, Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) is getting the next crack at the heavyweight title. Jones vacated his light heavyweight championship to pursue the heavyweight title and he’s getting an immediate title shot.
I would say that whoever loses the title fight in March will likely face Derrick Lewis next. Lewis would be the number one contender if Jon Jones wasn’t moving up. Given where Stipe and Francis both stand, the UFC will likely let Lewis fight the winner after UFC 260.
With that, I believe that Volkov will likely be fighting Ciryl Gane next. Both are now ranked inside the top five and a win for either man would probably put them just one more win away from a title shot.
By the process of elimination, we could also see Curtis Blaydes and Rozenstruik fight next. Both are coming off of a loss, but both are still ranked inside the top six. The top of the heavyweight division is looking very exciting and I can’t wait to see how 2021 plays out for the big boys in the UFC.