If you look back on the history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight division, it was consistently one of the worst as far as UFC ranking weight classes in the company. If you asked me a couple months back, I would have said it was in the same spot due to injuries and other factors. The announcement that Junior Dos Santos would fight Brock Lesnar after coaching in The Ultimate Fighter brings the division back, even after losing its champion to injury.
UFC Ranking Breakdown:
UFC Ranking #1: Cain Velasquez – Undefeated Heavyweight Champion
Velasquez is currently on the shelf after having rotator cuff surgery, but has risen drastically in the sport since his debut in 2006. With huge wins over Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, he set up a title shot against Lesnar at UFC 121. It took him just 4 minutes and 12 seconds to knockout the champion and claim the gold.
Last Fight: Technical knockout victory over Lesnar at UFC 121
Next Fight: TBD/ Winner of Lesnar – Dos Santos fight
UFC Ranking #2: Dos Santos – Brazilian ready to advance to title shot
JDS already had a title shot ready if he wanted to wait for Velasquez to heal from injury. Instead of sitting and waiting, the heavy hitting JDS signed on to coach on TUF. With a 6 – 0 record inside the Octagon, the Black House team member has defeated former IFL Heavyweight Champion Roy Nelson, heavyweight title contender Gabriel Gonzaga, and Fabricio Werdum. JDS has only gone the distance in one fight over his four and half year career, winning eight fights by knockout and three by submission.
Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Roy Nelson at UFC 117
Next Fight: Lesnar at UFC 131
UFC Ranking #3: Lesnar – Former UFC champion looks to get his title back
Never has a fighter burst into the MMA game and garnered such hatred and admiration from the fans. With a 5 – 2 career record, 4 – 2 in the UFC, Lesnar has beaten some of the very best in the sport. He won the title by beating UFC Hall of Fame member Randy Couture, regained his title by beating future Hall of Fame member Frank Mir and fought off a big challenge from Shane Carwin. He doesn’t like to get hit a lot, and his passion for the sport has been questioned, so it will be interesting to see where he goes after his fight with JDS.
Last Fight: Technical knockout loss to Velasquez at UFC 121
Next Fight: Dos Santos at UFC 131
UFC Ranking #4: Frank Mir – Despite .500 record over previous 4 fights, still one of the best
Mir has gone 14 – 5 in his MMA career, and has been employed by the UFC for almost 10 years. His chin has been a question mark over his career (not as bad as Andrei Arlovski, I don’t think anyone is that bad). His last four losses have come by knockout or TKO, including his losses to Lesnar, Carwin, Brandon Vera and Marcio Cruz. The fact that he came back from a 2004 motorcycle accident shows how much he loves the sport, but that isn’t enough for him.
Last Fight: Knockout victory over Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic
Next Fight: Nelson at UFC 130
UFC Ranking #5: Shane Carwin – 12 – 1 career record
Most fans felt that Carwin would have been the man to take the title away from Lesnar, but at UFC 116, those hopes were destroyed by the champ. He has yet to step into the Octagon since the fight after having back surgery. His victories over Mir and Gonzaga propelled him to the title shot, and he’ll need victories like those when he gets back to fighting to be considered for another title shot.
Last Fight: Technical knockout to Lesnar at UFC 116
Next Fight: TBD/Rumors of a Kongo fight at UFC 131
When these rankings are updated again in a couple of months, don’t be surprised to see Stefan Struve who holds a 5 – 2 UFC record, Kongo or Nelson in these standings. Struve has shown major improvement in his MMA game since Dos Santos beat him in his MMA debut in February 2009.
Please comment below: do you agree or dis-agree with this UFC ranking breakdown?
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