UFC is definitely not a country for old men. With each passing event, there seems to be a call for at least one aging boxer to put down his gloves before it’s too late for them.
Although the world of MMA is only a young boxer’s game, over the years there are still some fighters who have been able to challenge Father Time and continue to thrive despite their advanced age.
Incredibly, some of the boxers on this list are still active with the promotion today, with some going on to win the octagon. It’s anyone’s guess how much longer they could go on, but it’s fair to say they’ve proven the clocks wrong on a number of occasions.
Here are five UFC fighters who defied Father Time.
# 5. Francisco Trinaldo – UFC welterweight division
While it’s rare for the fighters in the promotion to challenge Father Time in general, those who do tend to compete in the heavier weight classes of the promotion, where strength and endurance tend to be. more important than speed and reflexes – two properties that obviously tend to decrease over time.
That’s why current heavyweight contender Francisco Trinaldo is such an outlier. To be sure, the Brazilian is not a title contender right now, nor has he ever broken into the top 10 in either weight division he has competed in since making his octagon debut in 2015. 2012, but the fact that he’s still here is a miracle in itself. .
‘Massaranduba’ debuts in octagon after a hiatus in the first season of The ultimate fighter: Brazil. Fans would be forgiven for seeing him as a young prospect looking to break out onto the big stage for the first time.
However, while Trinaldo is definitely looking to break through, he was 33 years old at the time he faced Delson Heleno in his promotional debut and has been fighting professionally since 2006.
Since then, ‘Massaranduba’ has collectively set an impressive octagon record 18-7, competing in both the light and heavyweight divisions and winning multiple bouts in both.
More notably, despite his tendency to lose to tougher opponents, he’s been largely consistent, unchanged in his approach – tends to be heavy on kickboxing, with some grappling attacks and ground – and it doesn’t seem to have slowed down over the years.
When you think that he is now 43 years old, the fact that he is currently on a two-match winning streak is truly insane. Father Time doesn’t seem ready to catch him anytime soon.
#4. Andrei Arlovski – former UFC heavyweight champion
It can be said that very few boxers can challenge Father Time as impressively as Andrei Arlovski. In fact, there could be an argument that ‘The Pitbull’ has attempted to do so multiple times, making him even more remarkable.
Debuting in the octagon in 2000 at the height of his ‘Dark Ages’ promotion, Arlovski moved up the ladder, eventually defeating Tim Sylvia to claim the heavyweight title in 2005. However, after defending it twice, the Belarusian tennis player was dethroned. by Sylvia in 2006.
A contract dispute then led Arlovski to leave the UFC for new pastures. A four-game losing streak, with three of them coming by knockout, seems to indicate his time at the top is over.
However, ‘The Pitbull’ surprised everyone by putting together a winning streak and returning to the UFC in 2014 where he continued to dazzle fans by filming four consecutive wins to somehow climb back into the title fray.
However, Arlovski then slipped seriously, losing 5 rounds in a row. Given that the final against Marcin Tybura took place when the Belarusian turned 38, it seems his career is definitely over at this point.
Incredibly, though, Arlovski has continued to function, having won more games than he lost in the years that followed, and somehow currently on a four-fight winning streak despite turning 43 years old. in February. What’s even more amazing is that he seems to be more resilient now than he was in the beginning!
#3. Randy Couture – former UFC Heavyweight and Light Heavyweight Champion
The original definition of UFC’s Father Time, few fighters have ever achieved the success of Randy Couture in his advanced age. In fact, most likely there won’t be any older boxer to match his achievements anymore.
Couture made his UFC debut in the early days of the promotion, beating Tony Halme and Steven Graham to qualify for the UFC 15 heavyweight division in 1997. Even then he wasn’t a season chicken. spring. ‘The Natural’ turns 34 a month after the event.
Since then, the former Olympic wrestler has become the first fighter ever to beat Vitor Belfort, win the heavyweight belt by defeating Maurice Smith, leave the UFC for a while, and then wow everyone with his age comeback. 37 to reclaim the belt from the much younger Kevin Randleman.
When ‘The Natural’ finally lost the title to Josh Barnett in 2002 and then couldn’t beat Ricco Rodriguez for it after Barnett vacated later that year, it seemed his time was finally over. over. After all, he was almost 40 at that stage.
Somehow, however, Couture’s best years were just beginning. Instead of retiring, he dropped to 205 pounds and defeated the top two weightlifters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, claiming the light heavyweight title and becoming the first man over 40 to win gold. UFC.
His retirement from MMA in 2006 and then a year back at the age of 43 to win the heavyweight belt for the third time, defeating Tim Sylvia, only added to his legend. When Couture finally stepped out of the octagon in 2011, it was only a few months before his 48th birthday.
Nowadays, ‘The Natural’ is non-grata personality with the UFC thanks to his various feuds with the promotion’s management, but that can’t be taken away from his track record and it’s hard to imagine anyone coming out on top in the future.
#2. Aleksei Oleinik – UFC heavyweight
The oldest boxer currently competing on the UFC roster, Aleksei Oleinik, not only is he thriving at 44, but he’s showing no real signs of slowing down, making him a true fighter. challenge Father time.
What makes Oleinik unique is the fact that unlike many boxers who can fight in advanced age, Randy Couture included, he didn’t begin his MMA career at a later stage in life.
Incredibly, ‘The Boa Constrictor’ first fought professionally in his home country of Ukraine in 1996 at the age of 29. To be told the fact that he is still competing today, about 16 years later, would be an inaccurate way of saying it.
It wasn’t like Oleinik had ever taken such a long time to not fight. By the time he signed with the UFC in 2014 following his win over Mirko Cro Cop, he held a lousy 51-9-1 record, making him the most experienced fighter in the history of the tournament. .
Since then, Oleinik has been largely successful, setting an impressive octagon record 9-7. He has beaten highly regarded fighters like Fabricio Werdum and Mark Hunt, and is the only fighter in UFC history to knock an opponent with an Ezekiel, which he has done twice.
It’s anyone’s guess how much longer ‘The Boa Constrictor’ can compete for the top spot, but he’s still in superb form. Judging by his recent win over Jared Vanderaa, he’s more than capable of fighting at his 40s.
#1. Glover Teixeira – UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
When Glover Teixeira beat Jan Blachowicz to win the UFC light heavyweight belt in late 2021, he defied Father Time in the process. Incredibly, the Brazilian turned 42 two days before the win, making him the second-oldest first-time champion in the history of the tournament in the process.
Unbelievably, Teixeira is arguably in the best form of his entire career right now despite his advanced age. He’s won his last six games, finishing five of them before the final whistle, and hasn’t lost since the summer of 2018, when he was trailed by Corey Anderson.
It seems crazy to say this right now, but that showdown seems to indicate that Teixeira is downhill and won’t be able to compete for the top spot in the 205-pound division for much longer.
At that stage, the Brazilian fighter had been fighting in the UFC for six years, but his MMA career took much further back – 2002 to be exact. After winning the title to Jon Jones in 2014. and falling to the championship through unanimous decision, it looks like he may have reached his peak.
Then, to see him take down a champ that looks as good as Blachowicz did in that fight, is truly amazing. It makes Teixeira one of the most unlikely champions in UFC history.
Whether he can continue to hold his title for the foreseeable future against dangerous opponents like Jiri Prochazka is another thing entirely. For now, it doesn’t look like he’s ready to leave the top team, meaning Father Time will have to wait a little longer.
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