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How many fights does the body of a UFC champion possess in 2014?

By Zach Arnold | October 22, 2014

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Cain Velasquez out with a right knee injury, derailing the building of Ultimate Fighter in Mexico and the highly anticipated main event against Fabricio Werdum in Mexico City. In steps Mark Hunt. Werdum is putting his best motivation forward.

When Cain Velasquez fights, he is one of the most gifted giants we’ve ever seen. His determination to be the best has made him an incredibly gifted heavyweight. The problem is that, like Chris Weidman, he has the injury bug. The toughest champions in UFC also seem to absorb the most punishment to their bodies. In retrospect, it makes Georges St. Pierre’s decision to temporarily step away look smart.

The UFC has invested so much into promoting Cain Velasquez and for good reason. However, he has difficulty maintaining his health to frequently defend the championship. What do you do if you’re UFC? I don’t know.

Guys like Cain are once-in-a-generation type fighters. In MMA, generations usually last 7 years or so. How much longer will he be able to last as an upper echelon heavyweight? It’s the heavyweight division. The lifespan of a solid heavyweight lasts much longer than fighters in other weight classes. We’ll see more of the big man soon enough. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

Topics: Media, MMA, UFC, Zach Arnold | 55 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

55 Responses to “How many fights does the body of a UFC champion possess in 2014?”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    Let’s put some numbers behind this. In the last 4 years (and assuming the rest of the title fights this year happen)…. A UFC champion has averaged this many title defenses per year:

    2011: 1.86
    2012: 1.43
    2013: 2.13
    2014: 1.56

    I didn’t count interim title fights on there because lets be honest, that is really just a fancy #1 contender fight that the UFC is trying to get more attention for. Another startling statistic…. In the last 4 years, only FOUR championships have actually been defended 3 times in a year. They are:

    Light Heavyweight in 2011…. Lightweight in 2012….. Flyweight in 2013…. And Bantamweight in 2014. That is it.

    These belts just aren’t being defended enough.

    Personally, I think it is time to go away with the championship belts. They just aren’t sustainable. Try a yearly Grand Prix Tournament for each division. Have yearly champions like other sports do.

    And if they aren’t so sure about it, try it out first at Bantamweight & Flyweight first….

  2. Ryan says:

    how about get rid of 3 month training camps and this iron sharpens iron mentality that is injuring everyone? Years of a fighters’ careers are being lost in the gym. At what point do we look at the number of injuries and say something is definitely rotten with the way MMA training happens?

    Fighters think hitting the gym for two to three sessions a day is what it takes to be a champion. Instead, they’re just getting hurt. Constantly.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      I’m sure part of it is the training. I also think part of it is the sport itself. Most of the champions these days come from a wrestling background. So I looked at the 2014 Wrestling World Championships, and the average age of the Gold Medalists is: 23.5 years old.

      The average age of a current male UFC Champion is: 28.875.

      That is slightly more then 5 years older. I think this has a lot to do with all of the injuries. The perfect age to be a UFC Champion and have all of the necessary strength and experience…. Is also the age in which the body starts breaking down for wrestling and other grappling.

      Basically, the human body never intended for MMA to be a sport….

      • Ryan says:

        Yeah, so we agree the body basically only has so much mileage in it before it starts breaking down. So why are fighters putting themselves through such long training camps?

        Reminds me of the jiu jitsu schools I used to go to in Montreal. The hardcore ones were always full of people being injured, rolling with taped fingers and toes and ‘watch my neck it’s tweaked’ etc. Full on grappling and wrestling breaks a body down. And let’s not even talk about the kind of stupid sparring being done in a lot of gyms.

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          Wow, after 20+ years of mma people are finally starting to figure out what mom taught me long ago, fighting is bad. Fighters for the most part are basically mentally sick people.

    • Safari_Punch says:

      The body will often break down in the early 30’s from years of steroid abuse.

  3. Chuck says:

    If I could get a dime for every taped toe, finger, knee, elbow, etc. that I have seen in the seventeen years I have been grappling with wrestling/judo/BJJ (I am twenty-eight, so I started young) I could probably retire. Grappling is horrendous on the body. Broke my ring finger in the fifth grade wrestling (still messed up looking), cauliflower ear on my left ear (had it drained, still have the scars), injured my right foot last year, had to take two sabbaticals that lasted a combined seven months (feeling it right now because of how cold it is), knees feel weak in crappy weather (no actual injuries to my knees, just some wear and tear I guess), lower right side of my back in constant pain (I heard that is a hamstring issue. If I stretch that, I feel fine), a few mild concussions, got my left foot slammed on a radiator at a small judo promotional (hurt I guess the joint connecting the foot to the big toe) etc. Oh, the dumbest thing to happen to me? Got the top of my head bitten in a match! Still won though (judo match). Same match as how I hurt the lower right side of my back (I was doing osoto-gari, or the STO if you are a pro wrestling fan, and I hurt myself winning! Over-twisted my back to get the win).

    I’m still not nearly as bad off as others I have encountered that have been grappling for a fraction of the time I have had. A couple of people I know are always getting injured (whether because their bodies can’t take the abuse well, or they can’t protect themselves right, and may also go too hard against people better than they are). Some people just aren’t designed to take the punishment. I can’t even imagine the shape I will be in when I am forty.

  4. Fluyid says:

    MMA Junkie

    Source: Joe Lauzon forced out of UFC 180 fight with Diego Sanchez

  5. 45 Huddle says:

    Diego Sanchez now out too. So much for that Mexico card.

    Things have gotten so bad that Dana White is basically in hiding.

    They did it to themselves. They let the fighters abuse illegal drugs and turned a blind eye to it. Now all of their bodies are breaking down and fighters are cancelling fights at record numbers. This trend will continue to hurt them for years to come because of the ripple effect of the steroid use.

    If they don’t want this to happen, they need a real drug policy in place. It will take 5 or so years to autocorrect itself, but it will get slightly better.


    As I type this, Nevada is not even testing Belfort right now and the UFC has not stepped up themselves. They made their bed, and now they are lying in a pile of sh#t.

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      I’m a bit confused, Sanchez’s knee injury must have been prior to Lozons injury, or Diego is stupid enough to train even harder + blow out his knee after hearing his fight is off.

      Only 6 fights listed for 180? is that the main card? 5 fights are undercard material, Hunt Werd is a great fight but they need Cruz on the card to save it.

  6. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Also I think Cain is done here. 2 blown shoulders and blown knees, when he comes back mid next year he’ll get ko’d by Hunto, or subbed by Werd. Like you said he’s fought 2 guys in the last 5 years! their variety will be too much for him.

  7. rst says:

    Thats at least 2 golden wins for wonderful.
    And to think that Rumble whooped him like that.

    • rst says:

      Chad Mendes looked really good in this fight.
      I didn’t really know who he was before. So many people on the roster I dont really notice a lot of guys until a notable performance.
      Even though he didn’t win I know who he is now.
      And even though he’s lost to aldo twice, I wouldn’t mind seeing a 3rd match if Aldo doesn’t move from the weightclass soon.

      (Which he may not, anderson silva style.)

  8. rst says:

    I cant help but feel like ufc doesn’t intend for Hunt to win this (I dont think ufc has ever given him a fight they wanted him to win). Hunt just got a few good wins against strikers, but although his ground defense has improved he’s still unproven for any significant wrestling or sub defense, against a well proven sub player in Verdum.
    On paper it looks like Verdums fight to lose. I’d be duly impressed if Verdum out-strikes Hunt, which he could. It seems like a gimme for him to sub him.
    But Hunt doesn’t have all the time in the world to wait to be groomed either. So even if the opportunity is a malicious one, thats better then never getting an opportunity at all.

    • Diaz's packed bowl says:

      Yep, but it was ufcs only choice since their other HW fighters had fights lined up. Hunt is #4 and was next for a title shot anyway, and he’s nice and brown.

      Hunts one of my fav fighter so… Hunto ko!

      • rst says:

        I’m not sure there was a better choice.
        (Maybe AA, both coming off late career resurgences and AA/Verdum having a history. When they threw Verdum under the bus).
        But I’m sure Hunt wouldn’t chose it any other way.
        Its an opportunity.

        • Diaz's packed bowl says:

          Hunt went 5 rounds against a bigfoot high on testosterone so even though Werds got the superior BJJ, Hunt can now defend quite well.
          Very interesting fight.

  9. Nepal says:

    Interesting to see UFC 180 PPV has exactly 2 fights on it.

    Werdum vs. Hunt
    Ellen Berger vs. Gastelum

    The $55 PPV’s just keep getting better and better.

    • duck says:

      Yeah if you don’t count Dennis Bermudez (who just smashed Clay Guida and is ranked number 7) and has won 7 in a row in the UFC Vs Ricardo Lamas who has only lost to Jose Aldo, since dropping to 145, several years ago and is currently ranked 4th.

  10. Nepal says:

    Ok, if you want to split hairs, then 3 fights. I’ll definitely watch the Bermudez fight (but I watch all the fights) and he is a good fighter but really, they are 2 45’s that nobody but hard core would have heard of or care about. I mean they are 45’s. There are 3 members of the 145 fraternity. Aldo, Conner and now Mendez has joined, everybody else, meh.

    He did smash Guida and that is impressive mostly because nobody has been able to do that before, but come on, every body knows Guida sucks, the guy is just a horrific fighter that has found success at 145 due to whatever. Let’s not nut hug Denis because of that.

    • duck says:

      I would say Bermudez has potential to be a star, good looking latino fighter, well spoken and seems to be improving every time out, good wrestling and striking.

      Lamas doesn’t, the guy has no charisma and Aldo is simply a terrible match up for him.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    You can tell that the sport is dying out when this website hasn’t even posted a new article in 2 weeks. I can’t think of another time in the history of MMA where interest has been lower for the online community, including pre-TUF.

    • Jonathan says:

      45 Huddle,

      I couldn’t agree more. I just come here for the comments, to get your guys perspective and to occasionally add my own.

      • duck says:

        The interest is dying for you two because you can’t have your terrible UFC Vs Pride/Strikeforce/Affliction or whoever debates.

        • 45 Huddle says:

          Um no. It is dying because the UFC bloated their roster to where I know less then half of the fighters on each card. It is dying because they run 2 cards on the same day where it is impossible to follow. It is dying because of the injuries to the top fighters and now they almost never defend their belts. Would you like me to continue?

        • Jonathan says:

          To be fair, I was just a Pride mark, not an Afflication or Strikeforce mark.

          I just want to make that clear.

          PRIDE NEVER DIE!!!!!

  12. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    re ufc’s expansion…

    “It’s FINISHED! Over! Done!” emphases on “Overdone”

    Kirk Douglas-Ace in the hole

    Where’s your ace in the hole ufc?

  13. Kid Nate says:

    This is so ironic. Remember in the good old days how I would say that Zuffa was watering down their product and it would come back to haunt them and 45 Huddle would tell me how wrong I was and how Zuffa had a plan? Oh the ironies.

    But seriously, come back Zach! Miss reading your take!

    • 45 Huddle says:

      They WERE on the right path. They consolidated all of the divisions into one company. The next logical step was to have a weekly TV show with about 3 to 4 fights a week to showcase talent.

      Instead they went with “World F’n Domination” and everything went way downhill….

      • Safari_Punch says:

        This is what happens when a company is run by carnies. Station Casinos had to file bankruptcy before. I wonder how long before the UFC gets to that point.

  14. Megatherium says:

    Two more no name cards again this weekend. Even Zach has finally tapped, out, and who can blame him.

    Oh well, we have GLORY 18 to watch tonight. None of that boring wrestling to be seen there, as June White noted.

  15. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    wow! ufc beat out ONE FC with that aussi show, 11 of 11 finishes to ONEFC’s nine of ten finishes.

  16. edub says:

    Great card last night entertainment wise.

    Rockhold vs. Weidman would be a hell of a fight to promote if A) The UFC figured out how to promote big fights better in 2014, and B) If The Champions and challengers stopped getting hurt in camp.

  17. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    while waiting for zach to return, check out eddie bravo’s show… exposing government involvement in 911 jfk etc…

    • Alan Conceicao says:

      Eddie Bravo and that Ryan Dawson guy talking about “inflated Holocaust numbers” sent me googling, and wow, I guess it is possible to have a lower opinion of Eddie Bravo today than before.

      • Diaz's packed bowl says:

        If you actually did research the 6,000,000 number you would find that it was promoted even before WW1. And it has been consistently reduced by millions with the most accurate account being in the 200,000 range.

        the number was predetermined, jewish religious belief is that in order to regain Israel 6,000,000 must be bumped off, jews say god told them so.
        6 million was used to popularize and promote the Palestinian mandate, and later the US recognition of the state of Israel. But what happened to Palestine? They have been holocausted in plain site while the US aids them. they have gone from owning 85-90% of the land pre-ww2 to 10% and that land is surrounded by Israeli military checkpoints.

        How can a people claim to have suffered so much, yet commit the same fascist pograms and mass murders to people who had absolutely nothing to do with their suffering?

        Watch the David Cole video, he’s a jew who researched it thoroughly. Its not just some anti jewish fantasy to report that 6,000,000 was myth, rather 6,000,000 is the jew fantasy.

  18. rst says:

    Friggin Shogun.
    His head and heart just aren’t in the sport right now.
    This is just getting absurd and embarrassing.

    Surprisingly he’s not even that old to look so burnt out.
    He’s only 32. But he’s looked pretty much visibly disinterested for at least 2 years.

    The best thing for him now has got to be stepping away for awhile like GSP did and thinking about it.
    He’s young enough he can take off a year or two (or 3) and still come back with a few more years left to try again if he still wants to.
    Mark Hunt is 40.

    Thats just not fun to watch anymore.
    Thats not entertainment.

    • klown says:

      I agree rst. That was sad, not fun to watch at all. I don’t want to watch Shogun sustain any more damage in the cage.

  19. JV says:

    With their crappy strategy/poor vision the UFC is playing a pivotal role in actually decreasing interest in MMA (At least in North America). I see some fans still energetic about MMA but for something different… hell, ANYTHING other than the UFC.

  20. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    Hunt vs Werdum sounds the end of an era. This is Pride, pride of a champion. Too bad this fights not in japan.
    Werdum and Hunt for hard core fan… really represent the toughest pride stains to remove from your mind! And then after pride…of course manhandling Hapa or casually triangle arm barring Fedor, to the face plant walk away KO of the un-ko’able man!! These guys, These GUYS!

  21. Safari_Punch says:

    I figured Hunt verses Werdum would have brought Zach back for sure. A PRIDE “Cinderella Man” story for Hunt. Contrasting the man who first beat the Cyborg known as Fedor in Werdum. Both the best the UFC can offer seven and a half years after Dream Stage Entertainment sold out to Zuffa. Maybe some sort of back story about why their paths never crossed in Japan. A Cro Cop tie-in.

    Come on Zach. You know you want to.

    • 45 Huddle says:

      The card is garbage. For the first 8 fights, no fighter has even 2 UFC wins.

      It is a 3 fight card and those 3 fights are not even that special.

  22. Megatherium says:

    UFC 180 seems to have been a final personal ‘180’ away from UFC for a lot of people here.

  23. Diaz's packed bowl says:

    UFC 180 the end of an ear!

  24. Smith says:

    So, anyone know what happened to Zach?

    • duck says:

      Probably in the midst of writing a story about the CSAC, that only, him, Greg somebody and one or two others who probably work/worked for the CSAC actually care about.

  25. 45 Huddle says:

    I guess Zach Arnold was just ahead of the curve.

    I, like many fans, have been really down about the UFC as of late. I was really hoping that they would learn the lesson from a bad 2014 and re-adjust things for 2015. Today’s schedule announcement shows they have learned absolutely nothing and are doubling down on their stupidity.

    8 months with at least 4 events. July has 6 events and the first one doesn’t even start until July 11th.


    • duck says:

      3 of those events will be in Vegas on the same week, you know International Fight Week, hardcore fans will be able to travel from around the globe and watch 3 cards, one of their usually stacked July PPVs and presumably some fighters convention.

  26. Megatherium says:

    Yes, and the fact that they don’t learn anything is going to make for a very painful downhill ride over the next few years. Have you looked at the UG board lately? People are jumping ship in big numbers. It’s amazing how the support base has dwindled to an UG minority so quickly. I can’t even imagine the shambles this promotion will find itself in in two or three years.

  27. JV says:

    It has been nearly a month without a news story, please update your readers on what is going on.

  28. rst says:

    Where’s Boss?

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