It's no secret that the heavyweight division is one of the most brutal in the UFC. The 265 lb weight class is never shy of knockouts that leave you speechless and hanging on the edge of your seat.
In preparation of one of the most anticipated heavyweight bouts to date, we take a look at a few of the heavyweight title fights that have helped shape the division into what it is today.
Brock Lesnar vs Frank Mir II
UFC 100 – July 10, 2009
This part two had everything you could have asked for in a heavyweight title bout: violence and a vendetta.
In the last meet up, Mir won in no time, submitting the heavyweight newcomer in less than two minutes. Unhappy with the outcome of the first meet, Lesnar came into this bout with a chip on his shoulder and a heavyweight title to defend. Mir was unfazed by the big guy persona and was confident in his previous performance against the popular wrestler.
The start of the bout almost mirrored the first, as the former WWE star took Mir down, but instead of prematurely going in for the kill, he was patient, making the bout already longer the previous. Lesnar had all the control, delivering a lot of damage to the face and body of the Nevada native, easily taking the first round.
Coming into round two, Mir had a more proactive mindset. He threw a knee and a left hook to try and gain the momentum. Going in for a flying knee, the heavyweight found himself on his back once again. Unable to break away, Lesnar didn't hesitate this time with heavy hands that earned him the knockout win in less than two minutes.
Lesnar left the Octagon as the undisputed UFC champion.
Cain Velasquez vs Junior Dos Santos
UFC 155 – December 29, 2012
Another sequel to add to your heavyweight title playlist.
In their first meeting, Junior Dos Santos shocked the world and knocked out Cain Velasquez to take the belt and become the new heavyweight champion. Being known for his emphatic knockouts, the Brazilian continued to plow through the division, gaining the spotlight with a win against Frank Mir. Dos Santos wanted to prove the first matchup against Velasquez was not a fluke and he came into the bout on a 10-fight win streak while looking for his second successful title defense.
Velasquez didn't care about the past and he put on a 25-minute show for his fans. Velasquez was relentless in his takedowns and pace, putting constant pressure on JDS. Round after round, the challenger put Dos Santos through the ringer and would not stop until the belt was back around his waist.
Daniel Cormier vs Stipe Miocic
UFC 226 – July 7, 2018
This super fight took place in a sold-out T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Daniel Cormier was moving up a class to attempt to become only the second “champ-champ” in UFC history, and Stipe Miocic was defending his title for the fourth time.
The short nature of the bout did not take away from the history that was made. The two heavyweights found themselves in a clinch early on. In no time, Cormier threw a perfect right hand to the chin and Miocic found himself on his back on the canvas. It was over, and DC earned the knockout and the belt just shy of the five-minute mark.
Stipe Miocic vs Daniel Cormier
UFC 241 – August 17, 2019
UFC 241 was the rematch we were all waiting for. In the previous bout, Daniel Cormier became the second “champ-champ” in taking the heavyweight title from Stipe Miocic. After a long year of waiting, Miocic was ready to reclaim what was his.
It was all DC in round one. He claimed control by throwing Miocic flat on his back and ended the round with some hammer fists to the face. Cormier's hand speed seemed to be his advantage in the first two rounds, as he landed nearly 80% of his significant strikes.
Eventually, the former champion made some changes to his game plan, throwing textbook left hooks to the body that slowly emptied DC’s gas tank. After that, all Miocic had to do was stay patient and attack at the right time. In the blink of an eye, Miocic pieced together some combinations to knock out the Louisiana native and recapture the title.
Francis Ngannou vs Stipe Miocic
UFC 260 – March 27, 2021
UFC 260 was a rematch between the greatest champion, Stipe Miocic, and the scariest contender, Francis Ngannou. In this bout, Ngannou showed us why he's nicknamed “The Predator.”
Ngannou came out early with some ground strikes and a head kick, but the two combatants went the full five in round one. In the second, a nasty jab pushed Miocic to the cage and that's when Ngannou swarmed. The champion regained his balance and attempted to gain the momentum back with a desperate punch. Feeling sure of his actions, he left himself defenseless and Ngannou took advantage. He sent a perfect short left hook that immediately dropped Miocic to the canvas.
Former heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier said, "When you go into a fight with Ngannou, you go to sleep."
Upcoming UFC Heavyweight Title Fights
UFC 285: Jones vs Gane
UFC returns to T-Mobile Arena with one of the biggest fights in UFC history as No. 1 ranked heavyweight contender Ciryl Gane and former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones collide in a Super Fight for the vacant undisputed heavyweight title.
UFC 285: JONES vs. GANE takes place Saturday, March 4 in Las Vegas with the main card at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT on ESPN+ PPV. The prelims will be seen on ESPN, ESPNNEWS and ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with the night’s action starting at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT with Early Prelims on ESPN+ (English and Spanish) and UFC Fight Pass.
Jones (26-1, fighting out of Albuquerque, N.M.) returns to the Octagon for the first time since February 2020 with his sights set on cementing himself as the greatest of all-time. Considered by many to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in all of MMA, he holds the UFC records for most title fight wins (14), most light heavyweight wins (20) and the longest light heavyweight win streak (13). Jones now plans to make a statement against Gane and secure a second divisional crown for his legacy.
Former interim UFC heavyweight champion Gane (11-1, fighting out of Paris, France) intends to make the most of his second shot at gold by delivering a career-defining performance. A high-level striker, Gane has entertained fans with impressive knockouts of Tai Tuivasa, Derrick Lewis and former UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos. He now aims to add his name to the history books by becoming the first man to finish Jones.
UFC 285: Jones vs Gane took place live from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 4, 2023. See the Final Results, Official Scorecards and Who Won Bonuses - and relive the action on UFC Fight Pass!