Grading every heavyweight champion in UFC history

The heavyweight division is in a bit of a stalemate as fans wait for the promotion to announce what it will do with Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic and Tom Aspinall.
Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) celebrates beating Stipe Miocic (red
Jul 7, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Daniel Cormier (blue gloves) celebrates beating Stipe Miocic (red / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
13 of 17

Cain Velasquez (2010-2011 and 2012-2015)

Grade: A-

If you ask Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez is the most skilled fighter of all time, and many expected him to be just that in his time as champion. Ultimately, Velasquez showed obvious signs of elite skill for the division but once again fell short of expectations largely due to injuries.

With four victories in title fights, all of which were fairly dominant, there is no denying that Velasquez could have been the fighter that the American Kickboxing Academy touted him as. Living up to his nickname as "Cardio Cain," Velasquez had pressure and a pace that was never seen before amongst heavyweights.

But for as much as Velasquez accomplished in the UFC, his two championship losses were still severe letdowns. Ending his initial title reign, Velasquez lost in just one minute to Junior dos Santos in a fight that he was heavily favored to retain. The loss came before he could even acquire a single title defense and the first loss of his career just one year after many were convinced of his greatness after dominating Brock Lesnar.

While Velasquez would rebound and gain his belt back in a rematch with dos Santos, his second reign would once again end surprisingly. Velasquez did add two title defenses, including a convincing and violent end to a trilogy with dos Santos, but lost to Fabricio Werdum by uncharacteristically fatiguing in the third round before falling victim to a submission.

Velasquez would rebound again with another dominant performance against rising star Travis Browne but would not fight for three more years after finally succumbing to his lingering injuries. Upon return, Velasquez was given the unenviable task of facing the surging Francis Ngannou, losing in just 26 seconds and never stepping foot in the octagon again.