In professional sports, it’s common to hear about the young up-and-comers in the league who will be the future of the sport. Once upon a time that was true when it came to the UFC heavyweight division. The problem now is that all those young and talented fighters are becoming old and are far past their prime. The division needs some youth to spice things up again.
Looking at the current top-10 rankings by the UFC, the average age of the top contenders is 33. That average doesn’t include Daniel Cormier, who remains ranked fourth even though he is moving to light heavyweight. The elders of the group are Mark Hunt (39), Josh Barnett (36) and Fabricio Werdum (36).
Junior dos Santos (ranked first) is the youngest among the contenders in the division followed by two 21-year-olds in Travis Browne and Stipe Miocic. Outside of dos Santos, there are no other 20-year-olds near the top-10. Of course this isn’t all the UFC’s fault. They can’t help who wins and who loses.
There is no doubt the heavyweight division is among the worst in the UFC. Investing in younger fighters could help the division in the long run, and there are fighters out on the market that can be purchased for a reasonable price. Though spending money on “unproven” fighters isn’t the UFC’s M.O., they need to do something for the division.
For instance, look at the former Bellator heavyweight champion Alexander Volkov. He is a young, rising talent who could prove to be a decent addition to the UFC. Without knowing whether or not Volkov still has contract obligations with the organization, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the UFC to pursue him.
Satoshi Ishii is another young fighter who the UFC could invest some time and money into. Ruslan Magomedov is also a decent, young fighter who could help the division. He defeated former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia in his last bout.
Youth can work wonders when it comes to saving a division. Even if that young fighter doesn’t end up as a top-five or three guy, they can still contribute and make things interesting in some form or fashion. It is a least a step the UFC can take in an attempt to save what used to be the most exciting division in the organization.