Heavyweight Shuffle: The Low-Down on the Big Boys
STUDIO MMA, VENICE, CA — Yesterday, in Nottingham, Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve pounded Stipe Miocic into a stupor, forcing referee Herb Dean to wave off the contest. At just 24-years old, Struve [25-5 MMA] is now 9 and 3 in the UFC, his only losses coming to Junior Dos Santos, Roy Nelson, and Travis Browne. He has 23 finishes in 25 fights and is riding a 4-win streak. Does this secure Struve’s place among the top-5 in the division? Not quite. Here is the StudioMMA MMA heavyweight top-10 list:
1. Junior Dos Santos
2. Cain Velasquez
3. Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum
4. Daniel Cormier
5. Alistair Overeem
6. Travis Browne
7. Stefan “Skyscraper” Struve
8. Frank Mir
9. Josh “Warmaster” Barnett
10. Antonio “Minotauro” Nogueira
In addition to Struve’s dominant UFC on Fuel TV performance, this has been an eventful past few weeks for the over-205-pound division. On September 19, Frank Mir disclosed an injury that has forced him to pull out of his scheduled Strikeforce contest with the skyrocketing Daniel Cormier [10-0 MMA]. And, so far, Zuffa has struggled to find a replacement for the November 3 event. Dana White revealed to MMAJunkie.com yesterday that Matt Mitrione [5-1-0 MMA] turned down an opportunity to face Cormier in Strikeforce rather than keep an already-scheduled bout with Phil De Fries [9-1-0 MMA]. This was surprising and disheartening to Dana White, as surely it is to a large segment of the MMA community. Said White to MMAJunkie,
It fucking makes me sick. Listen, you don’t want big opportunities, I hear you. I get it, then. All I can say is, I guess [Mitrione] doesn’t want big opportunities. I get it. Duly noted.
Once again, it has become clear that turning down an offer from Zuffa is the preeminant faux pas in MMA these days.
Who will fill in against Cormier? Brazilian powerhouse Fabricio Werdum [22-5-1 MMA] does not have a pending match-up and recently told BloodyElbow.com that he would take on Cormier if Zuffa came calling. A win for Vai Cavalo would potentially earn him a title shot against the winner of the December 29 Dos Santos-Velasquez championship rematch.
Meanwhile, this weekend at UFC on FX, Travis Browne [13-0-1 MMA] and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva [20-4-0 MMA] step into the Octagon together. A win for Browne would put him on the fast-track toward a title shot as that would be four straight, including a recent 1st-round submission of Chad Griggs. A victory for Bigfoot would reestablish his legitimacy in the division, while a loss — his 3rd in a row — might place him on the cutting room floor.
Also, Big Nog and Pee Wee will go at it at UFC 153 in two weeks. Dave “Pee Wee” Herman [21-4-0 MMA] and Anotonio “Big Nog”/”Minotauro” Nogueira [33-7-1 1NC MMA] are both coming off of losses: Herman to a Roy Nelson overhand right and, more memorably, Nogueira to a Frank Mir kimura that snapped his upper arm. Both men need to impress to remain in the upper echelon of the heavyweight class.
The once somewhat anemic heavyweight division has come to life. Strap in and get ready for a wild ride over the next 6 months!