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What is the current state of the heavyweight division? | Spinning Back Clique

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What is the current state of the heavyweight division? | Spinning Back Clique

Video Transcript

SIMON HEAD: It's been a big month for the UFC heavyweight division, guys. Alexander Volkov, Derrick Lewis and Cyril Gane all picking up big wins under the main event spotlight in the past month. But take a look at the division as a whole, guys.

What has been your biggest takeaway as you assess the state of the UFC heavyweight division so far in 2021? We'll do three minutes on the clock to kick off. And Ghost, you can lead off.

BRIAN GARCIA: Well my biggest takeaway is that unless your name is Francis Ngannou, Stipe Miocic, or John Jones, you probably aren't going to get a whiff of a title shot any time soon. And that's saying much, because this is a division that's now stacked.

Even if you go down to the guys that are ranked and eight, nine, 10, these are killers. These are top notch fighters. So it's going to be very difficult for them to be able to get a whiff of this title shot. Because what's going on here is that clog at the top, when you factor in possible rematches, and John Jones isn't going to sit around.

They're not just going to give him any guy coming off the bench, right? So guys are going to be sitting around I think for a while. Those mid-level guys, they're the ones that are going to have to do a lot, a lot of work. And don't forget, guys, here in Las Vegas, we're starting to turn the corner a little bit on our COVID numbers.

And when we turn that COVID-- that corner around, there may be fans. And do you really want to have this many big title fights, heavyweight title fights with no fans? I don't think so. What say you, Nolan?

NOLAN KING: Well, for me the biggest takeaway is, if you take a step back, right? It's hard sometimes when we're in the day to day, when we're so focused on the next big fight, to take a step back and think about the division's progress. And it wasn't too long ago that we were concerned about how there were no new fighters no, new challenges in at heavyweight.

That there was perhaps only one contender at a time and we didn't know what two or three title fights down the line was going to be. And now, we have a bunch of contenders, a stacked division, to the extent that there is a logjam at the top. There are like three guys right now that could be, in another universe, in that title position that Francis Ngannou who is in.

So I think this is a pretty damn good problem to have. It show us how far the heavyweight division has progressed and how there's these younger fighters that are on the come up. It doesn't have to be these guys that have been around for 10 years that are challenging for the title. There's fresh new blood in this division, a lot of new match-ups. Even amongst the top names in the division, not even just title fights. So for me, it's just about the division improving and how far it's come but Ghost-- excuse me, George, you might disagree with me on this one.

GEORGE GARCIA: I wish I could, but you laid it out great, Nolan. I think I'll just take it from there and add to it. Because it's an exciting time, all right. If you're a fan of the heavyweights in combat sports, I don't even need to tell you about boxing. They got some great killers going on over there.

But in our sport, we got the greatest of all time, Stipe Miocic. Right now defending, you know? He just ended his trilogy with Daniel Cormier, another great. And now he's got a clear cut number one contender.

I love it when it's number one against number two, no politics, Francis Ngannou. And then those killers that you guys mentioned, Gane, Volkov, Lewis. Almost consecutive weeks all getting big wins and putting their name in the hat. And of course that wild card John Jones and then even wilder card, Israel Adesanya.

Before John Jones he was saying, I could go to the heavyweight and maybe do some dancing around up there. So you never know. The diversity too, across geographically, Africa is represented. Russia, the United States, France. I love it. It's exciting times right now in this division.

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