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‘Sylvia Gives Ngannou Gane Some Problems!’

SB Nation 07/10/2022 Drake Riggs
© Photo by Ryan Born/Getty Images

Before there were champions like Francis Ngannou and Stipe Miocic, Tim Sylvia was a pillar atop the Heavyweight division in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

Between both eras of champions was Brendan Schaub who won The Ultimate Fighter 10 (TUF) to earn his spot on UFC’s roster in Dec. 2010. Retiring in 2015, Schaub has remained an avid follower of the sport.

The aforementioned Sylvia held UFC gold on two occasions, first in 2003 before recapturing it in 2006. In total, Sylvia defended the strap three times over his two reigns and let people know it, wearing his belt in public wherever he went. “The Maine-iac” is widely regarded as one of the more underrated fighters in mixed martial arts (MMA) history. For Schaub, he believes the giant would fit in rather comfortably against 2022’s best.

“To me, Tim Sylvia has to be one of the scariest guys to ever compete in UFC,” Schaub said on his YouTube channel when watching old fights with Frank Mir. “6-foot-7, good footwork ... Even Tim Sylvia now, if you think about the champion of the UFC now in Francis or you think about Ciryl Gane, I mean, I would put a prime Tim Sylvia against any of them.

“Ridiculous wrestling, couldn’t take him down,” he added. “He’s a monster. I was watching his highlights the other day like a weirdo and I was like, ‘This guy in his prime could compete right now.’ You look at the champs now, man, Tim Sylvia could give Francis and Ciryl Gane some problems. He was such a savage.”

The current champion, Ngannou (17-3), is just one defense into his reign thus far, defeating Gane (11-1) in Jan. 2022 via a strong unanimous decision performance to kick things off (watch highlights). Since then, Gane has rebounded in impressive fashion, defeating Tai Tuivasa with a third round knockout in UFC’s Paris debut this past Sept. 2022 (watch highlights).

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