The Rankings: The Heavyweights: Feb 13, 2012


The Rankings are just that – The MMA Manifesto’s rankings of the best fighters in mixed martial arts today.  Check back every Monday and Friday for our rankings of a different weight class.  Next up: The Heavyweights. 

Voting Panel: Jeff Fox – The MMA Manifesto, speeds – Sports Two MMA Forum, Dave Hunter – 2010 MMA Manifesto Pick ‘Em Contest Champion, Dave Kelsey – 2011 MMA Manifesto Pick ‘Em Contest Champion, Sanford & Son – old school MMA head and Slavoj Žižek zealot, Sean Malone – Inside The Cage, and Barry Oh – Fedor apologist and rock star.

1) Junior dos Santos – UFC Heavyweight Champion – 70 points (out of 70)

junior dos santos champion

    Record: 14-1
    Last Five Fights: 5-0 
    Record vs Top 10: 2-0 (W-Velasquez, W-Carwin)
    Next Fight: vs #3 Alistair Overeem – UFC 146 – May 26th (rumoured)

No surprise here, as JDS solidified his place as top dog of the heavyweights in his quick dispatching of Cain Velasquez.  But can he do the same versus Alistair Overeem?

2) Cain Velasquez – UFC – 60 points
    Last Five Fights: 4-1 
    Record vs Top 10: 2-1 (L-dos Santos, W-Lesnar, W-Nogueira)
    Next Fight: vs #4 Frank Mir – TBA (rumoured)

Former champ Velasquez will be looking to bounce back against a resurgent Frank Mir this summer.  A win there should put him in line for a shot at getting his belt back.

3) Alistair Overeem – UFC – 59 points
    Last Five Fights: 5-0 
    Record vs Top 10: 2-1 (W-Lesnar, W-Werdum, L-Werdum)
    Next Fight: vs #1 Junior dos Santos – UFC 146 – May 26th (rumoured)

The best striker in the heavyweight class had an impressive UFC debut, pummelling Brock Lesnar into retirement.  His fight versus dos Santos for the heavyweight title should be explosive.

4) Frank Mir – UFC – 47 points
    Last Five Fights: 4-1 
    Record vs Top 10: 3-2 (W-Nogueira, L-Carwin, L-Lesnar, W-Nogueira, W-Lesnar)
    Next Fight: vs #2 Cain Velasquez (rumoured)

Just when it looked like we could write off Frank Mir as a top heavyweight, he wins three straight and four of five (including being the first – and only – man to tap out Big Nog).  He’s in real deep water his next fight against Cain Velasquez, though.

5) Fabricio Werdum – UFC – 35 points 
fedor vs werdum

    Record: 15-5-1
    Last Five Fights: 4-1 
    Record vs Top 10: 1-3 (L-Overeem, L-dos Santos, L-Nogueira, W-Overeem)
    Next Fight: TBA

Werdum’s striking looked superb his last fight versus Roy Nelson.  However, as the above shows, he hasn’t fared very well against the top 10 heavyweights in the world, and you’d have to assume his next fight would be against someone on our top 10 list.

6) Josh Barnett – Strikeforce – 33 points 
    Last Five Fights: 5-0 
    Record vs Top 10: 1-1 (L-Nogueira, W-Nogueira)
    Next Fight: vs #8 Daniel Cormier – TBA

The Warmaster (nee The Baby-Faced Assassin) will look to leave Strikeforce as its Heavyweight Grand Prix champion before trying to regain the UFC Heavyweight Championship he never actually lost a decade ago.

7) Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – UFC – 22 points 
    Last Five Fights: 2-3 
    Record vs Top 10: 2-4 (L-Mir, L-Velasquez, L-Mir, W-Barnett, L-Barnett, W-Werdum)
    Next Fight: TBA

While he doesn’t seem to have any plans as such, perhaps it is time for Big Nog to hang them up.  His 35-year-old body has taken a beating over the years, including getting his arm brutally broken by Frank Mir in his last Octagon appearance.

8) (tied) Daniel Cormier – Strikeforce – 19 points 
    Last Five Fights: 5-0 
    Record vs Top 10: 0-0
    Next Fight: vs #5 Josh Barnett – TBA

His outstanding wrestling ability coupled with his striking skills makes Daniel Cormier a real bright heavyweight prospect.  However, he’s never faced an elite heavyweight like he will when he tangles with Josh Barnett (whenever that finally occurs).

8) (tied) Shane Carwin – UFC – 19 points 
    Last Five Fights: 3-2 
    Record vs Top 10: 1-2 (L-dos Santos, L-Lesnar, W-Mir)
    Next Fight: TBA

Speaking of bright heavyweight prospects, there wasn’t one brighter than Shane Carwin not too long ago.  Back-to-back defeats, coupled with nagging, serious injuries have derailed his train, however.  He’s hoping for a comeback in mid-2012.

10) Brock Lesnar – UFC (retired) – 10 points
      Last Five Fights: 3-2 
      Record vs Top 10: 2-3 (L-Overeem, L-Velasquez, W-Carwin, W-Mir, L-Mir)
      Next Fight: TBA (retired)

It says much about the heavyweight class that a fighter who has declared himself retired from the sport still makes our top 10 list.  Or perhaps it’s the fact that fighters always seem to have trouble sticking to their retirement plans that has persuaded our voting panel.

Bubbling under: Antonio Silva, Cheick Kongo, Travis Browne, Brendan Schaub, Fedor Emelianenko.

Check back this Friday for our Light Heavyweight rankings

About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.