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
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Fabricio Werdum (2015-2016)

Grade: B

With his career resume, there is a chance that Werdum is the greatest champion to never defend the UFC belt. Having held the interim title before upsetting Cain Velasquez to become an undisputed champion, Werdum is often-forgotten and underrated in the long history of heavyweight.

When his career is all said and done, Werdum will likely be remembered for submitting Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce in 2010. Werdum also achieved gold in the UFC but did falter once his expectations were set, giving him a good but not great final score.

His championship tenure will focus on the win over Velasquez which was an impressive victory but many forget his knockout of Mark Hunt seven months prior. As a submission specialist, Werdum was expected to look for takedowns against Hunt but finished the former kickboxer on the feet with his striking.

Following the two eye-opening title victories, the UFC awarded Werdum with his first defense in his native Brazil but as a betting favorite, Werdum would suffer a one-punch knockout in the first round to Stipe Miocic. Just like that, as incredible as his rise to the top had been, it had ended once he showed signs of a potentially dominant reign.

Never seeing much consistent success after losing the belt, Werdum is still competing in 2024 in Gamebred Bareknuckle MMA.