Dana White Talks Up the UFC Heavies But Fedor Emelianenko Looms

Fedor Emelianenko, the man who looms like a shadow over the UFC's heavyweight division.

Michael David Smith assesses the strength of the UFC heavyweight division, pivoting off Dana White's claim that the division is the strongest it's ever been:

With Brock Lesnar as the champion, Shane Carwin as the No. 1 contender and a nice mix of veteran fighters like Frank Mir, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko Cro Cop with young up-and-comers like Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos, I think it probably is true that the UFC's heavyweight division is more exciting right now than ever before.

But I also think it's important to note that heavyweight is also the only weight class in MMA where the generally recognized champion isn't under contract to the UFC or its sister promotion, the WEC. As long as Fedor Emelianenko is fighting with Strikeforce and M-1 Global, and not with the UFC, we'll be deprived of a true world heavyweight title fight -- no matter how exciting the rest of the heavyweight division is.

I've tried to make this point many times in the past, but this is why signing Fedor meant so much to Dana White and the UFC. Fedor is the undisputed #1 heavyweight in the world as confirmed by the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings and as long as he's fighting somewhere else, there will always be a shadow looming over the UFC heavyweight division. Even if Fedor loses, his linear title just moves somewhere else. In combat sports, to be the man you've got to beat the man.

Also take a look at this post from FightMatrix assessing the current rankings of the TUF 10 cast members. There may be a lot of new talent on the cast, but there's certainly a paucity of proven contenders.

UPDATE: The Brock Lesnar interview was old. My bad.

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