Who is the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time? (Part three)


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This is my third edition of the five of the greatest UFC-bred heavyweights of all time. For part two click here.

Ultimate Fighting Championship(UFC) has been around a mere 18 years and has seen some of the best fighters to date walk through its Octagon door.

The most notable fighter to not yet compete inside the "Sin City" cage has to be Fedor Emelianenko, who may also be the greatest heavyweight of all time.

This time last year fight fans were raving about how stacked the UFC heavyweight division was with the likes Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos leading the pack.

With the recent plight of injuries, the promotion's heavyweight division was overshadowed by the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix which features Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, "Bigfoot" Silva, Brett Rogers, Sergei Kharitonov and Josh Barnett.

Between 1998-2005 Japanese promotion Pride FC had three of the very best heavyweights ever in Emelianenko, "Minotauro" Nogueira and Mirko "Cro Cop." Those three would fight each other for the top spot which was undoubtedly held by "The Last Emperor."

I would love to see who you guys feel are the top five UFC heavyweights of all time and perhaps choose the one you think outranks them all.

Candidate #3: Tim Sylvia (28-7)


Notable Wins: Ben Rothwell, Paul Buentello, Andrei Arlovski (x2), Jeff Monson, Ricco Rodriguez, Gan McGee, Wes Sims, Wesley Correira, Mike Whitehead, Jason Lambert, Brandon Vera, Assuerio Silva and Tra Telligman   

Notable Losses: Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Nogueira, Frank Mir, Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Ray Mercer and Abe Wagner

Notable Accomplishments: Two-time UFC heavyweight champion and current Powerhouse World Promotions heavyweight champion

The "Maine-iac" is an absolute giant, standing at 6' 8" and clocking in anywhere between 265-300 pounds. While often criticized and hated by fans for his arrogance and demeanor, he has been a force as a UFC heavyweight.

A two-time UFC champion who came up alongside Matt Hughes, Jens Pulver and Robbie Lawler at the Miletich Fighting Systems (MFS) and became one of the best heavyweights ever.

The giant's beginnings started with a year of training under boxer and UFC vet Marcus Davis. He would go with friends to UFC 28 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he would be offered a chance to join the boys in Bettendorf, Iowa, by MFS trainer Pat Miletcih.

Sylvia would spend his early years of MMA in promotions like SuperBrawl and Extreme Challenge. He would amass wins over Ben Rothwell, Mike Whitehead (x2) and Jason Lambert.

In his first 13 fights prior to his UFC debut, he would go 13-0 with 11 stoppages.

The winning didn't stop there.


At UFC 39, Sylvia would face the hard-headed fan favorite Wesley "Cabbage" Correira to start his path to the title. Sylvia destroyed Cabbage and handed him his first loss by TKO in the second round. The win kept Sylvia's streak to 14 straight wins and no losses.

The UFC gave the "Maine-iac" a shot at the UFC heavyweight title that was held by Team Punishment's Ricco Rodriguez.

The battle would take place at UFC 41 in Atlantic City. Tim Sylvia looked cool, calm and collected while "Suave" appeared to have no interest in being there. He also came across like he had no respect for the path of bodies Sylvia had collected.


The opening bell rung and 3:09 later Tim Sylvia had knocked out the champion to claim his title. He had made a huge statement at 15-0 and as UFC heavyweight champion. His next test would have him against his biggest opponent, physically speaking.

Sylvia would face off against a skyscarper of a man in Gan McGee. McGee was a mammoth at 6' 10" and a whopping 265 pounds of force. The battle of the giants took place at UFC 44 in Las Vegas, Nevada._ttim_20sylvia5ufc44_sylvia_vs_mcgee_1_medium

Like all true champions, Tim Sylvia took on the challenge head first. Sylvia would overcome the size with skill and beat McGee soundly by way of KO early in round one.

The champion was undefeated and at the height of his young career until a test result came back. The Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) had discovered that Tim Sylvia failed his medical test with the use of steroid Stanozolol.

The NSAC handed down a six month ban and a fine of $10,000.

Sylvia spoke out and said he used the PED to help shed excess weight and voluntarily handed over his UFC heavyweight title.

A new and rejuvenated Tim Sylvia would face off against the upcoming sensation Frank Mir at UFC 48.

In what should have been his return to the title picture turned out to be another huge setback. The fight went to the ground where Sylvia was hovering over Mir and raining down shots. Mir grabbed a lose arm and applied a version of an armbar.



Mir had broken Sylvia's radius bone about  3 inches below the elbow. Sylvia full of adrenaline began to carry the 230+ pounds of Frank Mir off the ground. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight due to the arm breaking.

Sylvia contested the stoppage by even moving the grossly broken limb. X-Rays later revealed the arm was in fact broken and Herb Dean saved Sylvia from further injury. Sylvia later thanked Herb Dean for saving the arm from permanent damage.

Sylvia, now with a plate in his arm, made a brief stop for the SuperBrawl promotion to face Wes Sims before going back to the UFC. He made short work of Sims and got back into the UFC title picture against a soon-to-be rival.

An accident to Frank Mir had him out of action for several months. In what would be the first of many debated Interim Championships, Tim Sylvia would face Belarusian striker Andrei Arlovski.

At UFC 51 the two met for the very first of what would be a trilogy between them. Arlovski would nail one straight down the pipe and send Sylvia crashing to the mat. Sylvia, while trying to get back to his feet, got caught in an Achilles lock.


Fans and critics never knew just how good Arlovski was on the ground and the win stunned even UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.

Sylvia would do another small regional appearance with the IFC against Mike Block which he won by TKO.

Sylvia would start from first base again as he piled up wins against Tra Telligman and a number one contender's shot over Assuerio Silva to face nemesis and UFC champion Andrei Arlovski.


UFC 59 featured a stacked card and the UFC heavyweight title was the main event. Tim Sylvia had shown a knack for falling down the ladder but rising right back up. Arlovski was showing dominance while Sylvia waited in the weeds.

The fight was a shoot out and early on "The Pitbull" seemed to have knocked out Sylvia. Sylvia regained conscious and knocked out Arlovski seconds later. The crowd exploded with such a ballsy performance and warrior ending.

The third and final meeting between these two at UFC 65 was not the desired outcome. A very cautious Sylvia did what ever he could to hang onto the gold. He used his size and laid a lot upon the smaller Arlovski for a five round decision victory.

Sylvia would successfully defend the title against grappler Jeff Monson, who could not negate the reach and size of the much bigger Sylvia and lost a five round decision.

The critics began to turn on a once explosive KO-artist who seemed to play fights safe now. Fans wanted the young Sylvia who had 10+ stoppages in his first 15 fights.

The fans would find their reason to watch Tim Sylvia defend his UFC title in the form of a legendary challenger.

On January 11, 2007 on a Spike TV show "Inside the UFC," Joe Rogan announced he had a big announcement. The fans held a collective breath of excitement.

Randy Couture announced he would be taking on UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.

At UFC 68 Sylvia was the heavy favorite against Randy Couture who had just been knocked out twice by UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.


Like something out of a movie, Randy Couture decked the much bigger Sylvia with an over hand right early in round one. Couture continued to bull Sylvia for another four rounds. After 25 minutes of humbling, Sylvia had lost his UFC title to Randy Couture.

Sylvia would face a rising star in very small heavyweight Brandon "The Truth" Vera to get his road back on track. The fight showed that Vera had no business against Sylvia as he was soundly bullied by him for three rounds.

"The Maine-iac" would face his first of two Pride FC legends when he fought Antonio Nogueira at UFC 81.Rodrigo-nogueira_tim-sylvia_medium

Sylvia did very well against the BJJ wizard but an error in judgment led to his demise. He went to the ground with "Minotauro" and got choked out for his mistake.

A money dispute and the request to leave the UFC gave Sylvia an opportunity that very few UFC fighters got, a shot at Fedor Emelianenko.

Highly recognized clothing brand Affliction was venturing into doing their own mixed martial art shows. The talent was there for their debut with Affliction: "Banned."

The show featured MMA stars like Josh Barnett, Pedro Rizzo and Matt Lindland.


The main event featured Fedor against Sylvia for the newly-founded WAMMA heavyweight title. The title was not the main focal point of this bout. It was a UFC fighter coming at a very high level against "The Last Emperor."


The fight lasted less then a minute as Fedor blasted through Tim like a hot knife into butter. On the feet he was dominated then choked out in a flash. As much as Sylvia may have wanted to show a better performance, the astounding six-figure payday soothed some of his wounds.

Tim like a carny would venture from town-to-town in smaller regional shows and against opponents who some may say have no business being in the ring.

After his loss to Fedor and needing another payday, Sylvia accepted a fight against world-class boxer Ray Mercer in an MMA fight.


Word was they had an agreement for no kicks and no take down. Sylvia, against best interest, agreed and proceeded to get knocked out at just nine seconds of round one.

Another embarrassing display for a wealthy pay sum.

Sylvia, not seeming to take fighting as serious as evidenced by his massive bulge, was on a path back to the UFC or Strikeforce. He piled up wins over Jason Riley, World's Strongest Man Mariuz Pulzianowski, Paul Buentello and Vince Lucero.

He was fighting at over 300+ pounds in super heavyweight bouts but was not gaining much traction on his way back to the top by fighting at weights not sanctioned by the Unified Rules of MMA.

His last fight to date was against The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 contestant Abe Wagner. The show received much criticism for having the least talented fighters for a show. There were evident signs of poor conditioning and technique.

The fight was a chance for Sylvia to prove himself once and for all that he may be a legit top 15 heavyweight. Wagner brought the fight to Sylvia and defeated the former champion by TKO in the first round.

So Maniacs, where do you think "The Maine-iac" ranks among the greatest UFC heavyweights of all-time?

Candidates 4 and 5 coming soon.

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