Post-UFC 121: Ranking the UFC's Top 10 Heavyweights

Sean SmithAnalyst IOctober 25, 2010

Post-UFC 121: Ranking the UFC's Top 10 Heavyweights

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    In more ways than one, UFC 121 ushered in a new era of the promotion's heavyweight division. Yes, a new champion, Cain Velasquez, was crowned.

    Overshadowed by Velasquez's win, Brendan Schaub and Jon Madsen showed that The Ultimate Fighter is still capable of producing contenders with impressive victories.

    This event certainly shook the division from top to bottom. So, let's take a look at the top 10 fighters the UFC's heavyweight division has to offer.

10. Brendan Schaub

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (Unanimous decision)

    Next Fight: TBA

    With his win over Gonzaga at UFC 121, Schaub has become a legitimate contender in the UFC.

    Schaub has voiced his desire to fight Frank Mir in his next fight. With the improvements Schaub has made since his loss to Roy Nelson in the TUF Finale, a rematch with "Big Country" could be an interesting fight at some point in the future.

9. Ben Rothwell

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Gilbert Yvel (Unanimous decision)

    Next Fight: TBA

    After tearing his ACL in his last fight against Yvel, Rothwell will be out of the Octagon until at least mid-2011. 

    Rothwell may not be on this list for long considering the way Madsen has been fighting. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Cheick Kongo and Gabriel Gonzaga will all be looking to return to the division's elite in Rothwell's absence as well. 

8. Randy Couture

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    Last Fight: Win vs. James Toney (First round submission)

    Next Fight: TBA

    Randy Couture is considering retiring from MMA to pursue his acting career. At 47 years old, who can blame Couture, who really has nothing left to prove in the sport.

    It is hard to imagine Couture ending his career with the circus that was his fight against James Toney. I suspect we will see "The Natural" back in the Octagon at some point. That return may come at light heavyweight, but Couture belongs on this list for now.

7. Roy Nelson

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    Last Fight: Loss vs. Junior dos Santos (Unanimous decision)

    Next Fight: vs. Shane Carwin @ UFC 125

    In his last fight, Nelson showed he could take some shots against dos Santos. He will certainly need to be able to take a shot when he faces Shane Carwin at UFC 125.

    Nelson will likely be the underdog heading into his next fight, but a win could propel "Big Country" right back into title contention.

6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    Last Fight: Loss vs. Cain Velasquez (First round knockout)

    Next Fight: TBA

    Nogueira was forced to pull out of his scheduled rematch with Frank Mir due to a knee injury. It is unlikely that Nogueira will ever fight for the UFC title again, but there is nothing wrong with being the gatekeeper to the top five of the UFC's heavyweight division after 40 professional fights.

5. Frank Mir

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Mirko Filipovic (Thrid round knockout)

    Next Fight: TBA

    Is there going to be a better time for Lesnar vs. Mir III? Mir is coming off a win against Cro Cop. However, his win was almost treated like a loss by Dana White because the fight lacked action until a knee by Mir in the third round sent Cro Cop to the ground.

    With Lesnar also coming off a loss, both fighters are in desperate need of an impressive win over a big name.

4. Junior dos Santos

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Roy Nelson (Unanimous decision)

    Next Fight: vs Cain Velasquez @ TBA

    Junior dos Santos earned a title shot after his win over Nelson at UFC 117. With Velasquez's quick dismantling of Lesnar, dos Santos' chance to be champion may come sooner rather than later.

    Dos Santos is a better technical striker than Velasquez, but the big question heading into the title fight will be whether or not Dos Santos can stop Velasquez's takedown attempts.

3. Shane Carwin

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    Last Fight: Loss vs. Brock Lesnar (Second round submission)

    Next Fight: vs. Roy Nelson @ UFC 125

    After his heartbreaking defeat in the championship fight against Lesnar, Carwin became a part of a steroid controversy. Because Carwin's alleged steroid use came prior to him fighting in the UFC, he will face no punishment.

    If Carwin can rebound with a win over Nelson at UFC 125, he could be right back in the mix for a title shot.

2. Brock Lesnar

9 of 10

    Last Fight: Loss vs. Cain Velasquez (First round TKO)

    Next Fight: TBA

    A lot of people expected Velasquez to give Lesnar some serious problems. I'm not sure anyone expected what took place at UFC 121. Velasquez thoroughly dominated Lesnar on his way to becoming the new UFC Heavyweight Champion.

    We will now see Lesnar's true competitive spirit. Can Lesnar make another run and regain his title, or is this the beginning of the end?

1. Cain Velasquez

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Brock Lesnar (First round TKO)

    Next Fight: vs. Junior Dos Santos @ TBA

    After quickly becoming the UFC Heavyweight Champion without taking much damage, we could see Velasquez make his first title defense very soon. If all goes according to plan, Velasquez will meet Junior dos Santos in a fight between two of the youngest, most talented heavyweights in the world.

    The Velasquez Era in the UFC's heavyweight division has begun, but Velasquez will face a major test right away in dos Santos.