UFC 143 Results: Is Fabricio Werdum a Top 5 Heavyweight?

Andrew BarrCorrespondent IFebruary 5, 2012

Getty images
Getty images

Fabricio returned to the UFC in style at UFC 143, after more than three years away from the promotion, defeating the durable Roy Nelson by unanimous decision.

It was a fantastic performance from Werdum, whose striking looked better than ever. He was frequently able to tie Nelson up in a thai-clinch and land devastating knees, busting up his opponents face.

With the win, Werdum is now 4-1 in his last five fights, with his only loss coming to consensus top-three heavyweight Alistair Overeem. Aside from Nelson, Werdum has recently defeated other top heavyweights such as Antonio Silva and Fedor Emelianenko.

With the success Werdum has been having, there is no doubt that he is a top 10 heavyweight, but just how close to No. 1 does he rank? Is Werdum a top-five heavyweight?

Well, let's take a look.

The No. 1 heavyweight in the world, currently, is the UFC heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos.

Following that, numbers two and three are interchangeable, but belong to Alistair Overeem and Cain Velasquez.

After that, the picture becomes a touch murky.

Frank Mir has an argument for being ranked No. 4, given that he is on a three win-streak and is coming off a huge win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The fifth spot is tough to give to anyone, decisively.

Shane Carwin has been considered a top five heavyweight for a while, but is coming off two losses and has been out with an injury for a while—I'm comfortable with bumping him down the list.

Daniel Cormier and Josh Barnett could be considered, but Cormier has not proven himself enough to deserve the spot and Josh Barnett hasn't fought a top 10 opponent since he lost to Nogueira six years ago.

The only man worthy of the fifth spot, right now, is Fabricio Werdum.

Does Werdum have what it takes to climb even higher up the heavyweight ladder?

We'll find out in the coming months. After the win at UFC 143, expect Werdum to get a top opponent in his next fight. Frank Mir would make the most sense.

Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for BleacherReport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter @AndrewBarr8