With Stipe Miocic’s win Saturday night at UFC 220 he has become the only man to defend the belt three times consecutively. This feat has led many fans and pundits alike to start claiming Stipe the greatest of all time. Is he really though? To know the answer to that question, you have to look at the resumes of his closest competition. While a single title run that now contains more defenses than any other is obviously impressive, other fighters have won just as many and even more title fights than Stipe has. Depending on how seasoned of a fan you are this may or may not surprise you.

Let’s take a look at the fighters who have both tied and surpassed Stipe’s record in title fights. Keep in mind that the only fighters who made this list are fighters with at least four wins in heavyweight title fights, and while I do not think that is the sole measure of greatness it is perhaps the most important.

Cain Velasquez (4-2)

  • Brock Lesnar W
  • Junior dos Santos L
  • Junior dos Santos W
  • Antonio Silva W
  • Junior dos Santos W
  • Fabricio Werdum L

Cain is a peer of Stipe who has unfortunately been out due to injury more often than not in the last few years. After vanquishing his greatest rival, Junior dos Santos, in a classic trilogy, Cain seemed poised to be the man who would break the record and be known as the greatest of all time, but an upset loss to Fabricio Werdum changed that. As it stands to see as Stipe has managed to remain undefeated and win all four of his title fights in a row, I’d have to say I’d rank him above Cain. Supposedly Cain is working on coming back, and if he does a fight between Stipe and Cain would likely decide who the greatest heavyweight of all time is.

Tim Sylvia (5-4)

(2 losses were interim title fights)

  • Ricco Rodriguez W
  • Gan McGee W
  • Frank Mir L
  • Andrei Arlovski L (int)
  • Andrei Arlovski W
  • Andrei Arlovski W
  • Jeff Monson W
  • Randy Couture L
  • Minotauro Nogueira L (int)

While Tim Sylvia can lay claim to having five championship wins, he also has the most losses. He is rarely mentioned among the greats of the sport nowadays, mainly because other than his rivalry with Arlovski the UFC heavyweight division at that time was considered lackluster and severely lacking in elite talent. No offense to Gan McGee and Jeff Monson, but they’re not exactly hall of fame caliber competition. While Sylvia did come out on top as the best the UFC had to offer for a while and deserves more due than he gets, I’d say being one win shy with a better quality of competition gives Stipe the edge over Sylvia.

Randy Couture (6-3)

  • Maurice Smith W
  • Kevin Randleman W
  • Pedro Rizzo W
  • Pedro Rizzo W
  • Josh Barnett L (should be NC)
  • Ricco Rodriguez L
  • Tim Sylvia W
  • Gabriel Gonzaga W
  • Brock Lesnar L

Longtime considered to be the UFC’s greatest heavyweight champion, Randy Couture was, at one time, 4-0 in title fights himself. His first reign was cut short without losing a match due to a desire to compete in Japan for a more substantial payday. However, “Captain America” returned to reclaim the belt he never lost and defended it twice against Pedro Rizzo in one barnburner and one dominant performance, before “losing” it to Josh Barnett. I put “lose” in quotation marks because the result of this fight would have been overturned under the modern rules as Barnett tested positive for steroids. Similar to Jones/Cormier 2 or Brock Lesnar/Mark Hunt the battle is a No Contest and Randy should have never lost the belt in that fight. Regardless he did lose his next match to Ricco Rodriguez and go down to Light Heavyweight for awhile, where I hear he did quite well. His most legendary fight though would be his return from retirement to dethrone Tim Sylvia. Sylvia had taken over in Randy’s absence, becoming the oldest champion the sport has ever seen. Randy would defend the belt a final time against the younger Gabriel Gonzaga before losing to the much larger Brock Lesnar. With six total wins as well as three defenses, I think Stipe needs to win at least one more before being in the conversation to have surpassed Randy Couture.

Fedor Emelianenko (4-0)

  • Minotauro Nogueira W
  • Minotauro Nogueira W
  • Mirko Cro Cop W
  • Mark Hunt W

Fedor is the biggest enigma in MMA and the only other man who can lay claim to 3 title defenses in one reign. Despite claims of being a can crusher(which he was) he also defeated 5 UFC Champions and held the Pride title at the same time Sylvia held the UFC title at a time when it was undoubtedly the larger prize in the sport, a fact lost on many newer fans. Despite claims of a weak resume the competition Fedor faced was far greater overall than any other heavyweight of his era, except perhaps by Randy Couture. The two never met so who is the greatest of the two is a debate that will rage on in message boards for years to come, but the fact remains he never lost a title fight and remained undefeated nearly ten years. Again, I think Stipe is at least one win away from being in the conversation with Fedor, and a win over Cain would certainly help his credibility.

Stipe Miocic (4-0)

  • Fabricio Werdum W
  • Alastair Overeem W
  • Junior dos Santos W
  • Francis Ngannou W

In short, Stipe is on the precipice of doing something that has eluded every other heavyweight of the past has been able to do in MMA, and that is sweeping every other great fighter of his era. Randy and Fedor never faced each other, and Sylvia lost to both. If Stipe can beat Cain he would genuinely cement himself as not just the greatest of his era, but the greatest of all time. He’s certainly among the greats, but he’s not the undisputed greatest yet.

What are your thoughts on Stipe Miocic? Do you think that he is the GOAT in this day and age? Be sure to tell us all about it and more in the comment section below or you can tweet us (@PowerRank_More). Also, be sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow us on our Instagram page for all of the latest information from Power Rankings and More.

Published on 1/26/18 at 6:20 PM EST. Photo credit: LA Times.
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