Gabriel Gonzaga (top) works his ground game against Justin McCully. - COPYRIGHT: Martin McNeil
That's according to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt Gabriel Gonzaga, who hasn't been particularly impressed with how the current crop of UFC heavyweights have been operating on the ground.
"Actually, I thought it was going to be better. Because when the years go by the people start to develop more skills. But I think the heavyweight division, the people don't have ground game skills how the other divisions have. Every single different division has a really high level black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu showing their skills there except heavyweights do not having good ground game skills. Mark Hunt yesterday showed a lot of mistakes in [his] ground game. Brendan Schaub's last fight too with.. I forgot his name, didn't show too much of ground game. They improve a lot in wrestling game to put the guys down, to throw the guys to the ground, that improve a lot but the ground game is still a little bit far from the other divisions."
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight number one contender Gabriel Gonzaga tells the gang at Pro MMA Now that he was underwhelmed by the grappling on display in recent bouts, including the Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson contest back at UFC 157 as well as the 265-pound battle between Mark Hunt vs. Stefan Struve at UFC on FUEL TV 8 last Saturday night in Japan. Notable exceptions to his list include Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Frank Mir and Fabricio Werdum, but outside of those three veterans, "Napao" says the division has a long way to go to catch up to the jits on display in other weight classes. Let's see if the Brazilian can lead by example when he takes on Travis Browne at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 Finale next month in Las Vegas.