(“I don’t like ‘queer street’. Write that down in your little notebook.”)
In the aftermath of Fedor Emelianenko‘s upset loss to Antonio Silva last weekend — four months after Brock Lesnar was roughly stripped of his UFC title by Cain Velasquez — MMA’s global heavyweight picture is in a state of flux. So, we figured it was a good time to launch a new rankings feature on CagePotato. Every week, Ben, Mike and Chad will try to justify their top five rankings for each weight division, and we’re kicking things off with the big boys. Check out our thoughts below, and let us know how you see MMA’s current heavyweight top five…
1. Cain Velasquez: I think we can all agree he’s the top dog right now. In one fight, Brock Lesnar’s reputation went from “toughest S.O.B. on the planet” to “man-baby who goes fetal at the first sign of pressure.” You can blame/thank Cain for that. Aside from getting wobbled a couple times by Cheick Kongo, he’s cruised through all nine of his career fights with no difficulty whatsoever.
2. Junior Dos Santos: A future champion who has put together one of the most impressive contendership runs in UFC history. I think he’ll be able to add Lesnar to his list of scalps in June. And then…?
3. Brock Lesnar: With such a massive psychological hole in his game and just a 5-2 overall record, it’s weird calling Brock the third greatest heavyweight in the world. I’m not sure I agree with myself here. But until Werdum and Overeem face off in April, neither of those guys deserves to be called top three either.
4. Fabricio Werdum: He beat Fedor Emelianenko when Fedor was still technically the man. You can’t devalue that accomplishment even if the Fedor Era is now officially over. If he can take out Overeem (again), even the doubters will have to consider him an elite heavyweight.
5. Alistair Overeem: An inflated record littered with cans? Sure. The best heavyweight striker in the world, who would rape every other heavyweight not on this list, and probably Brock Lesnar as well? Yep.
1. Cain Velasquez: He’s the top heavy in the top company in the world. Nuff said.
2. Alistair Overeem: I firmly believe he got there through nefarious means, but at this point I have no reason to think The Reem is anything other than an absolute beast.
3. Junior dos Santos: Weird thing is, a lot of the guys who fault Overeem for not fighting top competition have JDS ranked No. 2. Hypocritical much?
4. Brock Lesnar: Much of the MMA world has left him for dead, but I still think it takes a very specific (and very rare) skill set to take Lesnar out.
1. Alistair Overeem: In spite of the fact that he lost to the only man on this list to test him, I don’t think that any one of them would touch him in a fight these days. We’ll soon know the answer after April 9, but remember who predicted he would beat Werdum when the time comes.
2. Cain Velasquez: Considering he only started training and fighting in MMA five years ago, Velasquez is a beast. I’m not convinced that he could take Overeem, considering the sheer strength and striking advantages the horsemeat connoisseur holds over him. Cain got his bell rung by Cheick Kongo. Overeem would crack it like the Liberty Bell.
3. Fabricio Werdum: Werdum is the quiet workhorse of the list who has the potential to beat any of the others, but before his massive upset win over Fedor, never really won the clutch fights he’s needed to to further his career. Another win over another top 5 heavyweight would raise his stock in the division considerably.
4. Junior Dos Santos: Dos Santos is the wildcard of the bunch. His stand-up prowess is undeniable, and his wins over Werdum and Roy Nelson are more impressive than those of most of the men in the top 3 have racked up the past few years, but the question is, how would he do against the 2011 version of Vai Cavalo, or even guys like Antonio Silva and Shane Carwin for that matter? If he can beat Brock Lesnar at the TUF 13 finale and Velasquez when they eventually meet, then I’ll be convinced that he deserves to be ranked higher.
5. Shane Carwin: Carwin almost beat Brock Lesnar, but a back injury coupled with a lack of proper conditioning and an adrenaline dump brought on by the excitement of knowing he was very close to becoming champion was his undoing. Now that his back has been repaired and he is working with GSP’s former strength and conditioning coach, Jonathan Chaimberg, I think we could see him get another title shot before the end of 2011, which he very well could win if he comes into the fight focused and prepared.