UFC on Fuel TV 10 was headlined by a battle of Top 10 heavyweights.
No. 3-ranked Fabricio Werdum defeated No. 8-ranked Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira via second-round submission. The victory moved him closer to a potential title shot against the winner of Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos.
The heavyweight division continues to get better and better with each passing month. We are beginning to see more development in the division, and the UFC is reaping the benefits.
These are the UFC's top 10 heavyweights.
"Hapa" had a setback against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in 2012, but he returned with a dominant victory over Gabriel Gonzaga in April.
At 14-1-1 he is quietly moving his way up the ranks. Browne is one of the division's best pure athletes as well.
Browne continues to develop his all-around skills at Jackson's MMA. The 6'7" heavyweight has the physical tools to become a real threat in the division, and we have been able to see this happen. He takes a step up to the elite of the division in his next fight.
Browne is slated to meet Alistair Overeem in August.
Frank Mir doesn't get the respect he deserves. Unfortunately, a lot of folks will focus in on his back-to-back losses and forget who they were to.
Mir's two recent defeats came against Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier—the absolute elite heavyweights fighting today. There is no shame in that, and Mir has defeated the non-elite who have tried to pass him by.
The former heavyweight champion has a lot of options available to him. He is not one to back away from a challenge.
Because this is a ranking piece, Mir does have to fall. He is a better fighter than ninth overall, but other fighters are simply performing better at this time. A win in his next fight will move Mir right back up.
Antonio Silva only dropped to No. 4 in the official UFC rankings after being annihilated by Cain Velasquez at UFC 160. He should have fallen more, as he is not a top-five heavyweight.
Bigfoot has skills. There is no disputing that. However, he is a slow heavyweight with a questionable chin. The better athletes coming up will find it easy to get past what he offers.
Silva's rise in the division is owed to injuries and arrogance. Travis Browne injured himself in their fight and made himself an easy target for Bigfoot to finish, and Overeem underestimated the giant's power. Silva benefited.
After two embarrassing performances against Velasquez, Silva will have a long road back toward the top.
The former UFC Heavyweight Champion will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon later this summer against Frank Mir.
"The Warmaster" is a mainstay of most heavyweight rankings and brings an interesting dynamic to the division. He is one of the sport's best talkers and can back it up in the cage.
Since 2008, he has only dropped one bout, and that was to Daniel Cormier in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix finals. Cormier manhandled Barnett.
The former champion has his work cut out for him, but he has all the skills required to make another run toward the top of the division. His presence is a welcome sight in the UFC's heavyweight ranks.
Alistair Overeem was on an 11-fight unbeaten streak after defeating Brock Lesnar in his UFC debut. He was a step away from being awarded a title shot, and many viewed him as one of the division's top fighters.
Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva changed that.
After winning the first two rounds, a tired Overeem got rocked and finished by Bigfoot.
That performance dropped him down the ranks, but Overeem is still worthy of being near the top five. One bad round shouldn't change that, but he still has to prove himself. He'll get that chance against Travis Browne later in the summer.
When "Big Country" lost three of four between 2010 and 2012, it looked like he was just a middle-of-the-pack heavyweight, but he has since rebounded.
Nelson has reeled off three straight wins—all of them by knockout.
The rotund heavyweight has reasserted himself alongside the top of the division. His ground game and big power make him a tough out for any heavyweight. He is tough as nails. His career resurgence could lead him to a potential title shot if the chips fall just right.
He will step back inside the Octagon on June 15 against Stipe Miocic.
There has been discussion around the MMA world for some time that Daniel Cormier will eventually drop to light heavyweight, but that has yet to happen. Until then, Cormier remains one of the top-ranked heavyweights in the world.
The Olympian has kept his record clean. He's a perfect 12-0.
He has defeated ranked heavyweights Bigfoot Silva, Josh Barnett and Frank Mir. There is no denying his talents in the cage. He has incredible wrestling pedigree alongside massive power in his hands.
It is unlikely he will challenge for the title if Velasquez remains champion, but should Junior dos Santos defeat him, we could finally see Cormier get a title shot in the UFC. That is an exciting matchup to behold should it come to fruition.
Some may have Cormier ahead of Werdum, and that certainly has a valid argument attached with it, but Werdum has shown more well-rounded abilities in his fights.
The top-level submission artist has looked excellent in the stand-up department in recent fights. He continues to hone all of his skills to become a big threat in the division.
Werdum submitted Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC on Fuel TV 10, and that may have earned him a title shot.
Regardless of whoever you have at No. 3 and No. 4, those spots are clearly held by Cormier and Werdum. They have separated themselves from the pack behind the two division leaders.
These final two slides are academic.
Junior dos Santos is the No. 2-ranked heavyweight in the world for a reason. He is a devastating finisher who has had only one challenge in the Octagon.
The former heavyweight champion will once again challenge for the title against Velasquez later this year.
Dos Santos has all the tools to reclaim his title, and that series of fights is most likely not over even after they complete their third bout.
Not only is Cain Velasquez the best heavyweight on planet Earth, but he very well may be the greatest heavyweight of all time. Yes, better than Fedor Emelianenko ever was.
That is a bold statement to make, as Velasquez still has plenty of fighting to do, but what he has shown in the cage is nothing short of phenomenal. He mauls his opposition.
What Velasquez was able to do against Junior dos Santos was astonishing. He gave him no space and dominated the fight. If he does it again, there will be no question as to who the greatest heavyweight ever is.
It will be Velasquez.
The champion of the world is a dominant figure in MMA right now, and that does not look like it will change anytime soon.