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5 Greatest UFC Heavyweight Champions in History

Paul Benson
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
7.00K   //    Timeless

#4 Tim Sylvia

Former two-time Heavyweight Champion, Tim Sylvia
Former two-time Heavyweight Champion, Tim Sylvia

Two Reigns

Three Defences

Whilst not as widely regarded or fondly remembered as others on this list, there can be no doubt as to Tim Sylvia's legacy in the UFC when it comes to the Heavyweight Championship.

Sylvia had won the first 14 fights of his MMA career when he lined up opposite defending Champion, Ricco Rodriguez at UFC 41 on February 28, 2003. 

Sylvia dispatched the Champion with ease in only his second fight inside the Octagon and successfully defended the title versus Gan McGee, a giant that dwarfed even the six foot eight inch Sylvia, standing a shade under seven feet tall.

McGee had only ever been defeated once in his 13 MMA fights but proved no match for the Champion who knocked him out in under two minutes.

Post-fight, Sylvia failed a drugs test and was stripped of the title. Nine months later, he returned to face Frank Mir with the title on the line. Sylvia suffered his first ever loss when Mir sickeningly snapped his arm. The former Champion wanted to continue but with his arm uselessly dangling by his side he was in no condition to do so.

Sylvia cemented his legacy when he regained the Heavyweight Championship defeating Andrei Arlovski, a man who had previously defeated him by submission, via Knockout. Sylvia defended the strap against Arlovski successfully in the third match of their series at UFC 61. He defended the title a second time against Jeff Monson before succumbing to veteran, Randy Couture in a colossal upset at UFC 68.

After losing a contest to Brazilian legend, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81 on February 2, 2008, with the interim Heavyweight title at stake, Sylvia departed UFC, never to return. However, the giant's history with the belt was long and successful and should never be discounted.

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