Last year, the UFC heavyweight division appeared decimated.
Former champions Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski left for far bigger money offers from Affliction. Mirko Cro Cop, the most publicized PRIDE signing, looked unimpressive in losing two of three UFC fights and was let go with the feeling he wasn’t worth his enormous paycheck. Randy Couture, the company’s top heavyweight star, had a bitter divorce with UFC. And the biggest star of the PRIDE roster, Fedor Emelianenko, never came to terms with the company.
UFC’s reaction was to build for the future, taking three huge wrestlers who were all unproven in the sport. Just one year after the divisional low point, that influx of talent led to the division’s rehabilitation.LINK