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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Stipe Miocic (2016-2018 and 2019-2021)

Grade: A+

Miocic is widely considered the greatest UFC heavyweight of all time for a reason and still owns the record for most title defenses in the division with three. In total, through two separate stints as champion, Miocic accrued six championship victories across eight consecutive title fights.

Miocic may be the poster child for an underdog as a UFC heavyweight as the now-consensus "GOAT" of the division was only favored in three of his championship appearances. With his win over Daniel Cormier at UFC 241, Miocic also became just the fourth two-time heavyweight champion in the promotion.

Now somewhat of a fan favorite, Miocic did not retain much recognition as such until his time as champion with each of his first three title fights ending with a first-round knockout. Regardless, Miocic entered his third title defense as a significant underdog to Francis Ngannou, whom many expected to be the next heir.

Ngannou understandably had all the momentum in the fight, backed by his historic power and unmatched physique. Miocic, while showcasing his own power, did not match the aesthetics of Ngannou, whom many believed the UFC wanted as the face of their company. But as he did once again, Miocic continued to defy the odds with a five-round decisive performance to retain his belt.

Miocic's championship run did not end the way most would figure for someone of his status, but he held the belt much longer than most initially predicted and bounced back from his initial loss to put a stamp on a trilogy with Cormier.