The UFC is about to kick off what could be their most significant period of growth ever this weekend with UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos; the promotion is pulling out all the stops for their debut on network TV, offering up one of the most significant heavyweight title fights ever for the occasion.
Strip away the fanfare surrounding the beginning of the UFC’s seven-year broadcasting deal with Fox networks, and Velasquez vs. dos Santos may not seem as important or glamorous as it’s currently being made out to be. Hell, put it on the top of a pay-per-view and it probably wouldn’t outsell Brock Lesnar vs. Alistair Overeem, a non-title fight. Even with the ballyhoo over the UFC’s debut on Fox, Velasquez vs. dos Santos doesn’t carry with it the breathless aura that Fedor Emelianenko vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic did during the Pride era. So, how can anyone get off calling this the best heavyweight fight of all time?
Velasquez and dos Santos may both be young and still growing in the sport, but they are currently the two best heavyweights that MMA has ever seen. Though they haven’t yet achieved the legendary status of fighters like Randy Couture, Fedor, or Cro Cop, Velasquez and dos Santos have respectively put together two of the most impressive records in the sport, with blisteringly exciting performances to back the numbers. They are both well-rounded and supremely skilled and, though they each have their particular strong suits, they can both go tit-for-tat with the best in the world in any aspect of the game.
Velasquez and dos Santos are currently the two best big men competing in the sport and the sport is currently in its most potent incarnation yet – not necessarily a far cry from, but certainly a different, more difficult sport than what MMA was when Fedor and Cro Cop met back in 2005 – making this the best heavyweight fight yet. In another five years, there will be two new heavyweights who’ve taken the sport to even higher plateaus gearing up to fight what will be the new best heavyweight fight ever. Until then, we’ve got Velasquez vs. Dos Santos. Enjoy.