Tai Tuivasa’s ceiling: How far can he take it?
Tai Tuivasa is the type of fighter “who is always down to get down.” The Australian native has never, however, been in the discussion for a title shot. In fact, he has never really been in the discussion of forging a path to a title shot.
This, however, has greatly changed. Following his incredible knockout of top-five heavyweight and former title challenger Derek Lewis at UFC 271, Tuivasa proved that he belongs with the very best in the division.
Coming into the fight ranked 12 in the heavyweight division, the win over Lewis bumped Tuivasa into the division’s top five. In fact, with the recent announcement of rank changes, “Bam Bam” is now sitting at third. What an incredible night for the young rising star. The question, however, is how far can he take it?
Now riding a five-fight winning streak, with knockouts over Stefen Struve, Harry Hunsucker, Greg Hardy, Augusto Sakai, and just last Saturday Derek Lewis. Despite perhaps not having a jaw-dropping resume, this last win really did serve as an announcement that Tuivasa has arrived and is knocking on the door of a title fight.
One issue however is who is above him. Stipe Miocic sits right above him, with Ciryl Gane and heavyweight Champion Francis Ngannou above that. Not to mention the anticipated heavyweight debut of Jon Jones. All of which have extremely technical boxing and kickboxing. Their advanced technical styles typically offer a great path to victory over someone who loves to ‘stand and bang.’ Tuivasa has had trouble with very technical fighters in the past as well, as we saw in the Junior dos Santos fight a few years back.
That said, Tai Tuivasa is only 28-years-old and has improved in great strides over the past few years. Improvements that he will only continue to make. His rapid improvements and recent performances make it hard to say what exactly his ceiling may be. It is hard to see him being able to out-perform the technicality at the very top of the heavyweight division, but then again, this is the heavyweight division and Tuivasa most definitely has one-punch knockout power.
So, it may be tough to see him capturing the heavyweight crown, but it is safe to say that he may find himself in a title fight very soon.
As a recent graduate from Lewis-Clark State College with a B.S. in History, Bjorn first fell in love with mixed martial arts when he watched UFC 196. As a contributor for MyMMANews, Bjorn matches his love for MMA, history, and writing.