Post UFC 124: Ranking the Top 10 Heavyweights in the UFC

Sean SmithAnalyst IDecember 12, 2010

Post UFC 124: Ranking the Top 10 Heavyweights in the UFC

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    For the second straight fight, Stefan Struve escaped the grip of defeat to capture victory.

    In his last fight, Struve overcame a first-round beating to defeat Christian Morecraft.

    At UFC 124, Sean McCorkle had Struve in what looked to be a fight-ending kimura. Struve intelligently backed himself into the cage to defend the submission attempt. An excellent reversal put Struve in full mount, which soon led to a TKO win over McCorkle.

    Struve is now 5-1 in his last six fights, but will wins over somewhat modest competition be enough to put the 6'11" fighter into the top 10 UFC heavyweights?

10. Ben Rothwell

1 of 10

    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 Struve has been fighting. Many other fighters will be looking to break into to the division's elite in Rothwell's absence as well. 

9. Brendan Schaub

2 of 10

    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.

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. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

4 of 10

    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.

6. Roy Nelson

5 of 10

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

    Next Fight: TBA

    Roy Nelson was scheduled to take on Shane Carwin at UFC 125.

    However, Nelson has run into some contract problems recently. As a result, it is unknown when his next appearance in the Octagon will be. Nelson has said that he expects to fight in 2011, though.

5. Frank Mir

6 of 10

    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. Shane Carwin

7 of 10

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

    Next Fight: TBA

    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.

    Carwin was scheduled to face Roy Nelson at UFC 125, but that fight has since been canceled.

3. Junior Dos Santos

8 of 10

    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.

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

10 of 10

    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.