Fantasy Fights

Intelligent, unique MMA analysis

Heavyweights’ Records Against UFC-Quality Opponents

On my SILVA scores page, I list each fighter’s name, SILVA score, rAP, Fight Level, MMA record, and UFC record. While this is all useful information, there’s a lot of potentially useful information that isn’t included.

I feel that a great way to put a fighter’s record into perspective is to look at how he’s fared against quality opponents. While my definition of who a “UFC-quality” fighter is is rather arbitrary, it is based on real mathematical data that looks at a fighter’s record and each of that fighter’s opponents. When a fight would give a Victory Score of at least 65, that fight is considered to have taken place against a “UFC-quality” opponent. Examples of fights that have yielded a Victory Score of approximately this amount include Andrei Arlovski’s win over Paul Buentello (64.91), Shane Carwin’s win over Christian Wellisch (64.72), Fedor Emelianenko’s second win over Mark Coleman (65.14), and Brett Rogers’s win over Ron “Abongo” Humphrey (66.05). Buentello, Wellisch, Coleman, and Humphrey are examples of fighters on the fringes of “UFC-quality.”

Three things to note before I publish the list. First, Victory Score doesn’t view fighters the same way that SILVA does. While SILVA is more accurate than Victory Score in terms of rating fighters, because SILVA is based on Victory Score, I can’t use SILVA to determine which individual fights count as “UFC-quality” fights. Rest assured that the vast majority of fights that should be rated as “UFC-quality” are rated as such by Victory Score.

Second, not all “UFC-quality” wins are created equal. Ben Rothwell’s win over Gilbert Yvel (65.67) isn’t rated nearly as highly as, for instance, Fedor Emelianenko’s second win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (81.48). I’ll note when a fighter has a disproportionate number of wins against relatively weaker “UFC-quality” competition.

Finally, these records don’t include a fighter’s losses to opponents who are worse than the “UFC-quality” cut-off point. The result is that Gegard Mousasi (for example) has a 7-1 record against “UFC-quality” competition, meaning that because Mousasi’s overall record is 31-3-2, two losses and two draws are not included.

Without further ado, here is the list, with a minimum of five fights, ranked by winning percentage:

  • Cain Velasquez: 6-0
  • Daniel Cormier: 5-0 -Wins against Riley, Palelei, Cole barely qualify
  • Junior dos Santos: 7-1
  • Fedor Emelianenko: 11-2 – Includes 6-0 record in PRIDE despite 14 fights in the promotion
  • Antonio Silva: 9-2
  • Josh Barnett: 15-5
  • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: 16-6
  • Fabricio Werdum: 8-5
  • Mirko Filipovic: 13-8-1 -Record before loss to Gabriel Gonzaga was 12-3-1
  • Ben Rothwell: 6-4
  • Shane Carwin: 3-2
  • Brock Lesnar: 3-2
  • Tim Sylvia: 8-6
  • Chris Tuchscherer: 4-3 -Includes two wins in YAMMA, which barely count as MMA fights
  • Frank Mir: 5-4 -Wins in UFC against Traven, Williams, Abbott, Sims, Christison, Hardonk, and a 1-0 Lesnar aren’t UFC-quality wins as far as Victory Score is concerned
  • Jeff Monson: 11-9
  • Alistair Overeem: 10-10 -Since moving to heavyweight: 5-1
  • Joey Beltran: 4-4
  • Stefan Struve: 4-4
  • Brett Rogers: 3-3
  • Andrei Arlovski: 7-8
  • Cheick Kongo: 3-4-1
  • Pedro Rizzo: 6-8
  • Gabriel Gonzaga: 4-6
  • Pat Barry: 2-3
  • Aaron Rosa: 2-3
  • Tim Hague: 3-5
  • Roy Nelson: 3-6
  • Rob Broughton: 2-4
  • Mark Hunt: 3-7
  • Valentijn Overeem: 3-11
  • Gilbert Yvel: 2-11
  • James McSweeney: 1-6

The most telling record, to me, is the 3-6 of Roy Nelson. Jonathan Snowden took a lot of criticism when he wrote that Roy Nelson wasn’t a top-shelf fighter. He was absolutely right when he wrote that.

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