From The Mailbag: 2/2/07

Nate from South Jersey writes:

Great page guys…

What are your thoughts on the UFC’s heavyweight division? The last few fights with Sylvia have been really lackluster at best, obviously Arlovski is still one of the better heavyweights, but we’ve seen enough of Sylvia vs. Arlovski. Is the fight between Sylvia and Couture just a publicity stunt/sign of despiration by the UFC similar to the Hughes - Gracie fight last year? What can the UFC do to bring fans to the table to watch heavyweight fights, or as they just gonna continue to be semi-undercards?

Thanks

Thanks for the props Nate…

The UFC’s heavyweight division has improved greatly since last year. The reason why Tim Sylvia’s recent fights have been so lackluster is best stated by Randy Couture himself in that he believes Sylvia is not fighting to win, but fighting not to lose. You can tell that Sylvia is thinking defense first in his fights - He’s trying to avoid getting hit, only taking opening when they are given to him instead of being aggressive and creating them himself. Sylvia has denied that this is his mindset but it’s obvious that he isn’t the same Sylvia we have seen when he was moving up the ranks at the start of his career and when he was trying to win his belt back at UFC 59.

The Sylvia-Couture fight isn’t a publicity stunt of any means. Anyone who has seen Couture fight knows that he is just as dangerous at heavyweight as he is at 205 lbs. Couture has made it known that he was itching to step back into the Octagon ever since he announced his retirement. Moving up to heavyweight is good for him as he has bulked back up to his natural weight of 225 lbs since he retired. At Randy’s age, it’s best that he doesn’t go through the rigors of cutting weight as it takes a strong physical toll on one’s body, especially at his age, when the chance that he might not be able to fully recover in the 24 hour period before the fight is so strong.

As far as the UFC trying to improve the division, aren’t we seeing now that with the additions of Mirko Cro Cop and Heath Herring? Dana White has made it known that he is trying to sign as much top talent as possible this year so I’m certain that those two won’t be the only big additions to the UFC’s heavyweight division this year. I think the UFC should go ahead and build up multiple contenders just like they did at welterweight. This way contract disputes, injuries, and things that would prevent a fight from happening can be worked around. Andrei Arlovski, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Brandon Vera (if he realizes that he needs to actually been an elite fighter before he gets paid top money) are already in line for a title shot if they win another fight or two. Having multiple fighters like them in the division would bring a lot of the excitement back…

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