Originally Posted by MagnaNasakki
This is my stance. Chris Byrd was almost universally recognized as #1, no lower than #2, and Wlad, after Peter, #2, no lower then #3.
That's a pretty solid platform for establishing new lineage, honestly.
I just can't see who would be considered "consensus" #1 or #2 in place of either Wlad or Byrd at the time they fought.
Byrd was a great fighter, and he did well in fights against bigger guys like Golota and McCline - but the set of tools that Wlad best utilizes were like Kryptonite for Byrd. Wlad was simply all wrong for him. So in that sense, it didn't possess the normal anticipation a match-up between consensus #1 and #2 would normally warrant.
That said, they were still (at least to me) clearly the two best heavyweights out there at that time.