Feb. 7, 1997-July 27, 1997
"The Hammer" defeated Dan Severn late in the winter of 1997 to become UFC's first heavyweight champion. Severn carried the title of UFC Superfight Champion, a title he took from Ken Shamrock in 1996, in effect unifying the belts. Coleman offered, for the time, a rare combination of power, wrestling and competitive mindset, exemplified by his NCAA championship effort at Ohio State. He mastered -- some say invented -- the art of ground-and-pound, and was so dominant using rules of the day (i.e., head-butts) that they were eventually altered.