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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Tim Sylvia (2003-2004 and 2006-2007)

Grade: C+

Sylvia is never given credit as one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history largely due to his lackluster fighting style but remains amongst the most accomplished champions in promotional history.

Following Randy Couture, Sylvia would be the second fighter in heavyweight history to become a champion twice. Initially winning the belt in 2003 at 15-0, Sylvia had the physical tools to give many opponents problems though was often criticized for using his 6'8" frame to point fight.

During his first title reign, such claims from fans were less prominent with two first-round knockout wins to start his command. However, Sylvia would test positive for illegal substances after his first title defense win over Gan McGee, causing the UFC to strip his title as they did to Josh Barnett. Sylvia was granted an immediate opportunity to regain the belt but suffered his first professional loss to Frank Mir.

The Sylvia hate club would begin to take shape after his loss to Mir but the heavyweight would string together another large win streak and find his way back to the UFC title picture, winning the belt once more against Andrei Arlovski. It is hard to give a two-time titleholder just a C but at this moment in MMA, many of the valuable names at heavyweight were not in the promotion, giving little reason to be impressed with uninspiring victories over a lower level of competition.

As unfortunate as it was for Sylvia, fans desperately wanted to see him lose the belt as he was unfairly compared to Fedor Emelianenko.

Much of fan distaste has to do with poor timing and nitpicking greatness, as Sylvia still accumulated five championship victories. But given his opportunity to do more with his career, the frustration is understandable.