From UFC heavyweight champion to the preliminary card for ONE FC, Tim Sylvia has learned the hard way that fame is, in fact, fleeting.

Despite lobbying to get back into the UFC’s heavyweight division, Sylvia is here, on a preliminary card, fighting someone who hasn’t fought in almost two years.

The circumstances are tough, and although he may have earned a UFC title or two, Sylvia is now coming off a loss. And actually it should be two losses, but Andrei Arlovski didn’t ask permission from the referee to end his fight with Sylvia utilizing soccer kicks.

Since exiting the UFC in 2008, most of Sylvia’s fights have come in smaller promotions, and a good portion have also come above the 265-pound heavyweight limit at super heavyweight.

It’s sad to see a fighter drop this low after achieving the amount of success Sylvia has. After all, he was one of the meanest UFC heavyweights in his time, stealing the title not once but twice. He defended each captured title at least once. Although he did fight in a weak UFC heavyweight division at the time, capturing the title for one of MMA’s top promotions is a feat in and of itself.

Outside of the UFC, Sylvia has gone 7-4, plus the no-contest versus Arlovski, but of those seven wins, not one is against a truly notable fighter. Also, his four losses have come against middling—and sometimes embarrassing—competition. Removing the loss to Fedor Emelianenko, Sylvia has lost to Abe Wagner, Satoshi Ishii, and let’s not forget his nine-second knockout loss to boxer Ray Mercer.

At age 37, Sylvia has seen his skills clearly diminish in his time outside of the UFC. Even ONE FC is realizing how little of a draw Sylvia has become. The fighter of years past hasn’t appeared in a long time, and while he may have clamored for a second chance in the UFC following a 7-1 stretch in his post-UFC years, his fall has been noted by many fans.

Unfortunately, Sylvia hasn’t done anything of note since his departure from the UFC. Big name win? No. Title? No.

Sylvia had a lot of good reasons to leave the UFC, but he hasn’t capitalized. To make a long story short, his hopes of leaving the promotion for greener pastures and bigger paydays were quickly vanquished when Emelianenko choked him out in just 36 seconds. Now we’re here, discussing his fall from the top. The man who rampaged through the UFC and has currently knocked out 20 opponents is just not there anymore.

When he takes to the ONE FC cage against Tony Johnson this weekend at the promotion’s ninth offering, he’ll have reached a point where he’s no longer fighting for another bid at the UFC. Instead, he’ll be fighting to regain a little bit of dignity and respect.

Photo: Tim Sylvia (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.