There is no better time to discuss the all time greats than after the fall of one. On Saturday night, in Mexico City, Cain Velasquez made his long awaited return to the Octagon. Aside from his flash knock out loss to Junior Dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1, Cain’s record was untouchable. He was a favorite coming into the fight against Fabricio Werdum, but Werdum had other plans.

We have a new champion, and a new perspective. Cain Velasquez is beatable, and Werdum has evolved over time into one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in the history of the sport. This week’s edition of The List will be a focus on the Top 5 heavyweights champions of all time. The majority of the fighters on the list will be from the UFC, but there will surely be at least one man that managed to build his name in other promotions.

1. Fabricio Werdum

They say that a fighter isn’t the true Champion until he has defended his belt at least once, but Werdum is the exception to that rule. At 37 years of age, he has captured the UFC heavyweight championship. A decade after most athletes hit their peak, he has evolved into a legitimate champion. The future is unknown, and his stock may fall if he doesn’t hang on to the belt long, but he has beaten the best of the best. The three big names that come to mind are Fedor Emelianenko, Cain Velasquez, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Werdum will go down as an all time great, no matter what happens from here on out.

2. Fedor Emelianenko

Emelianenko’s nick name is “The Last Emperor.” That nickname is perfect for Fedor. He is a living legend that built his name with out ever stepping inside the Octagon. Casual fans will even reference his name when talking about the earlier years of MMA. This is a Russian fighter whose reputation was built, not on charisma or public speaking, but on pure skill. He defeated all of the greats of his time, and many of them ended up being big names in the UFC. There are literally too many top level fighters that he defeated to narrow down a small list. Two days ago he would have been at the top of this list, but he did lose to the now current UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum.

3. Cain Velasquez

Cain Velasquez was thought to be the guy to take Fedor’s place in the greatest heavyweight of all time category. He has beat the very best fighters of the modern era, but on Saturday night, things changed. He returned to the Octagon after a well documented lay off and was handed his second loss. This loss was quite different than the first one, though. When Junior Dos Santos knocked out Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1 it was easy to dismiss it as a flash knock out after Velasquez beat Dos Santos not once, but twice following the loss. What Fabricio Werdum did to Velasquez on Saturday night was beat him everywhere. It was shocking, and unexpected to most. One thing we know about Velasquez is that he is resilient and the odds that he will have his hands on that title again are very high.

4. Randy Couture

Randy Couture is one of the most well known names in the history of the sport. He fought for or defended a UFC championship a total of fourteen times. Being the top billed fighter that many times is unheard of. His first championship bout in the UFC was back in 1997, and his last was in 2008. While his record is far from perfect, his accolades are undeniable. He has been crowned the UFC heavyweight champion three times, a record that has yet to be surpassed.

5. Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar only had eight professional MMA fights. What he did in that short period of time is remarkable. It’s not so much about who he beat or the professional record that he has, but how he did it. Brock Lesnar generated so many UFC pay-per-view buys that he is still used as the bench mark. When people talk about the big draws that we have today, Brock Lesnar is sure to come up in the conversation. The money he generated was incredible, but more importantly, he helped move the sport to the main stream by accessing a much larger market than MMA has ever had. His role in the sport will never be forgotten.

About The Author

Michael Davis
Director, Business Development/Senior Staff Writer

Michael Davis is a seasoned professional in the world of finance. In recent years, he has worked for Fortune 500 companies and consulted at one of the largest hedge funds in the world. After working closely with a mixed martial arts management company, he realized he could apply his skills to the sport he loved. The culmination of his professional experience and passion for MMA have led him to his role as Senior Staff Writer and Director of Business Development at The MMA Corner.