The Top 10 Heavyweights in MMA: B/R Official MMA Rankings for July

Hunter HomistekCorrespondent IJuly 2, 2012

The Top 10 Heavyweights in MMA: B/R Official MMA Rankings for July

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    They punch hard and knock people out, sometimes in fantastic rock em'-sock em' fashion.

    Really, what isn't to love about a professional heavyweight fighter? 

    The heavyweight division in MMA has recently seen an influx of fighters who have all the power of yesterday's heavyweights but also boast fantastic speed, conditioning and well-rounded attacks. 

    Truly, heavyweights today are as dangerous as ever, and the days of Tank Abbott-type brawlers are long gone. 

    In a heavyweight division that is as deep and skilled as ever, here are our top 10 heavyweights for the month of July. 

    These rankings are the combined efforts of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try and provide you with the best content on the Web.

No. 10: Roy Nelson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 17-7

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Dave Herman at UFC 146

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    If ever I am saved by a superhero, I want him to look exactly like Roy Nelson.

    The mullet.

    The beard.

    The belly.

    It's all just so perfect that I cannot even contain my joy every time Roy lands one of his haymaker overhand rights. 

    "Big Country" rebounded nicely from a loss to Fabricio Werdum when he was demolished (but refused to go down!), scoring a big knockout win over Dave Herman at UFC 146.

    For his efforts (and perfect physique), at No. 10, ladies and gentlemen: Mr. Roy Nelson. 

No. 9: Travis Browne

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 13-0-1

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Chad Griggs at UFC 145

    Next Fight: vs. Ben Rothwell at UFC on FOX 4

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    Heavyweight phenom Travis "Hapa" Browne makes his way into the top 10 thanks to a stellar performance at UFC 145, where he easily submitted Chad Griggs within the first round. 

    Browne is undefeated and polished but relatively untested, and his upcoming bout with Ben Rothwell will put his talents in better perspective. 

    Should he demolish Rothwell as he has other opponents like Griggs and Stefan Struve, he is ready for the big time. 

    For now, he remains at No. 9 on our list. 

No. 8: Mark Hunt

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 8-7

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Cheick Kongo at UFC 144

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Fan favorite Mark Hunt climbs a spot to No. 8 in our rankings, thanks to Shane Carwin's long layoff and Antonio Silva's loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 146. 

    Despite starting his UFC career ominously with a brutal submission loss to Sean McCorkle, Hunt has rebounded with three straight wins in a tough division and finds himself knocking on the door of contention. 

    Another big win for Hunt will put him right in the mix of top-5 UFC heavyweights, but for now, the "Super Samoan" will have to be content with the No. 8 spot. 

No. 7: Josh Barnett

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 31-6

    Most Recent Fight: Loss vs. Daniel Cormier at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 8

    The first non-UFC fighter on our list, Josh Barnett makes the No. 7 spot thanks to an impressive career resume and consistent desire to fight the top guys—outside of the UFC, that is. 

    Barnett is well-rounded with good conditioning, but he had no answers for Daniel Cormier's speed and athleticism in his last outing. 

    For Barnett to climb up the ranks, he will have to look better in the future than he did the last time we saw him inside the cage. 

No. 6: Antonio "Minotauro" Nogueira

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 33-7

    Most Recent Fight: Loss vs. Frank Mir at UFC 140

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 7

    Antonino "Minotauo" Nogueira has long been one of the heavyweight division's best fighters, and even a devastating submission loss to Frank Mir at UFC 140 cannot keep him out of our top 10. 

    Big Nog is always competitive, and he brings the polished game and fighting spirit that we all love to see inside the Octagon. 

    A consummate professional, Nogueira was—and still remains—one of the best heavyweights in the world. 

No. 5: Frank Mir

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-6

    Most Recent Fight: Loss vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 146

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 5

    Frank Mir may have just seen his last shot at UFC gold go out the window in losing to champion Junior dos Santos at UFC 146. 

    That said, Mir's incredible comeback from a devastating motorcycle accident remains one of the most inspiring tales in MMA history, and his incredible talents inside the Octagon cannot be discredited. 

    Even though the curtain may be closing on him, he remains a top-5 heavyweight, a testament to just how skillful he truly is. 

No. 4: Fabricio Werdum

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-5-1

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Mike Russow at UFC 147

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Fabricio Werdum is no longer just "the man that beat Fedor;" he is a legitimate title contender in the UFC's heavyweight division. 

    After easily dispatching of Roy Nelson and Mike Russow in his last two outings, Werdum is ready for the bright lights and big stage. 

    With a ground game that is as dangerous as any heavyweight's and rapidly improving Muay Thai, Werdum is a force to be reckoned with moving forward. 

No. 3: Daniel Cormier

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 10-0

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Josh Barnett at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Mr. Cormier, please come to the UFC. 

    Not so that I can see you fight the top guys, but just so I can use a different picture of you than this suggestive photo of you during Olympic wrestling trials.

    OK, maybe I'd like to see you in the UFC for that first part, too.

    Daniel Cormier is simply too good to be fighting in Strikeforce, and his recent destruction of Josh Barnett proved that he deserves one of the top guys in the UFC. 

    While nothing is set in stone at the moment, it is safe to say that day is rapidly approaching.  

    Once Cormier makes the leap to the big leagues, we will see just how high his seemingly endless potential truly is (and get some new pictures of him). 

No. 2: Cain Velasquez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 10-1

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Antonio Silva at UFC 146

    Next Fight: vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Cain Velasquez wants his belt back, and he made that perfectly clear in his bloody destruction of Antonio Silva at UFC 146. 

    UFC brass apparently agreed that Cain was ready for another shot at the heavyweight strap, and he is now set to rematch against the only man to beat him, current champ Junior dos Santos. 

    A win will catapult him to the top spot on the rankings, while a loss will leave him as the "guy who can beat everybody except the champion" who seems to pop up occasionally in UFC history (I'm looking at you, Kenny Florian). 

No. 1: Junior Dos Santos

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-1

    Most Recent Fight: Win vs. Frank Mir at UFC 146

    Next Fight: vs. Cain Velasquez at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 1

    UFC 146 brought a night of furious heavyweight action, but no fighter shined brighter than champion Junior dos Santos.

    There, Dos Santos proved why he has the belt and is widely considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world in his knockout victory over Frank Mir. 

    A rematch with Cain Velasquez is next up for the champion, and this figures to be his toughest test to date. 

    In their first meeting, dos Santos landed a hard punch early in the first round that dropped and ultimately finished Velasquez, but a rematch will almost certainly be a tougher test for "Cigano." 

    Another win will cement his status as the sport's top heavyweight and possibly the best UFC heavyweight of all time, while a loss will likely set up a trilogy fight. 

    Either way, the fans win, and that gives us something to look forward to in the upcoming months.