The Current State of the UFC Heavyweight Division

Published on 24 April 2024 at 12:00

For the past three years, the UFC has only witnessed four Heavyweight title fights, one of them includes an interim title fight. Here is what has happened to the Heavyweight division in the last year and what upcoming events could happen.

Title Contention

Jon Jones put himself as the G.O.A.T of MMA after winning the vacant UFC Heavyweight title against Ciryl Gane at UFC 285, defeating the Frenchman by first-round submission. Since his title glory, Jones has been eyeing out a fight with Stipe Miocic as he has been seen as the greatest Heavyweight fighter in the promotion. 

Jones vs Miocic was set to take place in the main event of UFC 295 at Madison Square Garden, but after a pectoral injury during training, the Rochester-born fighter would pull out of the bout. Miocic would also pull out of the fight as he would only want to fight Jones for the undisputed Heavyweight belt.

Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich would take their places and fight for the Interim Heavyweight title in the co-main event. The English mixed martial artist previously fought Marcin Tybura at UFC London after a year absence due to injury, winning by first-round knockout. Pavlovich last fought at UFC Vegas 71, defeating Curtis Blaydes by first-round knockout with many of the MMA community believing that the Russian should have been next to fight the champion.

Aspinall would claim the Interim UFC Heavyweight Championship after knocking out Pavlovich in the first round which put the Heavyweight title contention in a peculiar spot. 

The Interim Champion would want to fight Jones for undisputed gold, Miocic would want the same but would not fight Aspinall and Jones wanted a better resume to his name by fighting Miocic instead of Aspinall.


The situation for the top five contenders

Tom Aspinall looks to be the deserving title challenger against Jon Jones after he defeated Sergei Pavlovich on just 17 days' notice. Now that the Salford-born fighter is the Interim Champion, he has been put on the rankings as the #1 contender.

Aspinall is set to fight in Manchester at UFC 304 with no opponent confirmed just yet. Many believe he could face against Curtis Blaydes and avenge his only loss in the UFC after that fight finished in 15 seconds due to a leg injury back in July 2022.

Ciryl Gane is the #2 Heavyweight contender and last fought at UFC Paris when he defeated Serghei Spivac by second-round TKO which redeemed his title loss at UFC 285. The former Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion was apparently offered to fight Aspinall and Pavlovich, but turned those fights down, leaving to question what is next for Bon Gamin.

Fighting out of Paris, Gane has not been on a winning streak due to losing his last two title fights against Jon Jones and Francis Ngannou. The 34-year-old is still seen as a dangerous opponent in the Heavyweight division with his last three victories ending by KO/TKO.


Sergei Pavlovich has been a scary knockout artist to watch in the UFC as after his TKO loss to Alistair Overeem at UFC Beijing, the Russian went on a six-fight first-round knockout winning streak as he defeated big names; such as Derrick Lewis, Tai Tuivasa and Curtis Blaydes.

The Orlovskii-born fighter is set to have his next Heavyweight bout at UFC Saudi Arabia in June as he will be taking on the #6 contender and fellow Russian, Alexander Volkov. If the #3 Heavyweight contender is successful, he may be back in title contention depending on how other fights pan out.


Stipe Miocic last fought at UFC 260 which was three years ago when he got knocked out by Francis Ngannou in the second round, losing his undisputed Heavyweight title. The Ohio fighter has been patiently waiting for another opportunity for UFC Gold as he still waits to step in the Octagon alongside 'Bones' Jones.

Miocic currently stands at #4 in the Heavyweight rankings due to his inactivity with the sport as it is unsure if we will ever see him fight again after the long delay for him to have one last shot for a UFC Championship.


Curtis Blaydes has been at the top of the Heavyweight rankings for a long time and surprisingly has never earned a shot for UFC Gold. 'Razor' Blaydes all four losses came in the UFC but have been split apart between every two to three years.

Many fighting fans seem confident that the Naperville-born fighter will face Tom Aspinall at UFC 304 for the Interim UFC Heavyweight title after earning an impressive second-round TKO victory over huge Brazilian prospect, Jailton Almeida, at UFC 299. If Blaydes does defeat Aspinall, he may just be the next fighter to come face-to-face with the Heavyweight Champion, depending on the situation.


Who do you believe is the rightful title challenge for Jon Jones? Which Heavyweight fighter are you most looking forward to seeing?


Written by Charlie Oxtoby


Instagram: charlie_oxtoby

MMA Instagram:

Twitter: Charlie_Oxtoby1

Add comment


There are no comments yet.