By In Mixed Martial Arts

Under the Microscope: Analyzing Heavyweight Greats

“Heavyweight champions have always been bequeathed the title “Baddest Man on the Planet,” — and for good reason: With great size comes great power, and nothing is more captivating than feeling the ground quake beneath titanic warriors duking it out.

Heavyweight has been a steadily volatile division, with championship belts changing hands like batons. As such, compiling the shortlist was no easy task. Five men — Tim Sylvia, Frank Mir, Mark Coleman, Alistair Overeem and Don Frye — barely missed the cut, even though they could all be easily justified in these ranks. As such, they are considered Greatest of All-Time candidates, despite not being on the list. Ultimately, this is a statistical analysis first and foremost, and all of the honorable exclusions were found lacking in the same basic principal: Their win-loss ratios, compared to the strength of opponents faced, were lower than everyone else. Meaning, they had the worst records when accounting for the records of their opponents. The only exception to that rule was Randy Couture, whose ungodly record in title fights buoyed him into the final considerations. It is a tough pill to swallow, but decisions must be made.

On a final note of housekeeping, many of these G.O.A.T. hopefuls participated in various open-weight fights. These were only counted if their opponent weighed in above 206 pounds for the fight. As always, only fights that occurred in major organizations or against high-profile opponents counted towards these numbers, the only exception being the total winning streak. A case is made for each fighter as the Greatest of All-Time, and then those arguments are turned on their heads to present the counterweight. The aggregate of both biases will clear the air or stir up more dust. Either way, let the debates begin…”


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