Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko and the Top 25 Heavyweights of All Time

Sean SmithAnalyst IJune 13, 2011

Alistair Overeem, Fedor Emelianenko and the Top 25 Heavyweights of All Time

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    At this Saturday's Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum, some of the greatest heavyweight in MMA history will compete to move onto the semifinals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

    A main event fight between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum could produce the best heavyweight in the sport today. Also, Josh Barnett will attempt to win for the seventh straight fight against Brett Rogers.

    With the upcoming heavyweight fights and a UFC heavyweight title fight between Junior Dos Santos and Cain Velasquez on the horizon, let's take a look at the 25 greatest heavyweights ever to compete in MMA.

25. Sergei Kharitonov

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    MMA Record: 18-4

    Sergei Kharitonov is one of the more talented heavyweights in MMA history, but he has been inconsistent over the course of his career and hasn't placed his whole focus on MMA.

    Kharitonov holds wins over great heavyweights like Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum but has also suffered a disappointing loss to Jeff Monson in April 2009.

24. Aleksander Emelianenko

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    MMA Record: 17-4

    Very much like Kharitonov, Aleksander Emelianenko has squandered immense talent by refusing to dedicate himself to the sport.

    Still Emelianenko holds an impressive win over Kharitonov while with Pride, and his only losses in his first 20 professional fights came against Mirko Filipovic, Josh Barnett and Fabricio Werdum.

23. Andrei Arlovski

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    MMA Record: 15-9

    Andrei Arlovski's legacy has taken quite a hit after he has lost his last four fights, but Arlovski shouldn't be remembered for those losses as much as he should for his UFC career.

    While with the UFC, Arlovski became UFC Heavyweight Champion and defeated fighters such as Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum.

22. Antonio Silva

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    MMA Record: 16-2

    After being an underappreciated heavyweight for quite some time, Antonio Silva finally earned some much-deserved recognition by defeating a fading Fedor Emelianenko in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

    In addition to his win over Emelianenko, Silva also holds victories over a number of former UFC fighters including Ricco Rodriguez.

21. Alistair Overeem

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    MMA Record: 34-11, 1 NC

    Alistair Overeem might have the talent to climb up this list very quickly, but he will have to prove it against some elite heavyweights. If Overeem defeats Fabricio Werdum in his next fight, it will go a long way toward proving the hype that has surrounded him for the last few years has been deserved.

    To date, Overeem's best performances have come against fighters who were on the decline such as Mirko Filipovic and Igor Vovchanchyn.

20. Fabricio Werdum

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    MMA Record: 14-4-1

    Since leaving the UFC, Werdum has won all three of his fights and earned the biggest win of his career in a submission of Fedor Emelianenko.

    With that win, Werdum has become recognized as one of the best heavyweights in the world and will have a chance to validate that recognition if he can defeat Overeem in his next bout.

19. Ricco Rodriguez

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    MMA Record: 46-11

    In his first 15 professional fights, Rodriguez earned the UFC Heavyweight Championship and lost only once.

    During that time, Rodriguez earned wins over notable heavyweights such as Randy Couture and Andrei Arlovski.

18. Dan Severn

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    MMA Record: 99-18-7

    Dan Severn has failed in his last two attempts to earn his 100th career victory, but that really has no effect on what he has accomplished throughout his outstanding career.

    In Severn's first 50 fights of his career, his only losses came to legends Royce Gracie and Ken Shamrock and against the next three fighters on this list (Josh Barnett, Mark Coleman and Pedro Rizzo).

17. Josh Barnett

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    MMA Record: 29-5

    Josh Barnett may have an excellent opportunity to work his way back into the UFC if he can perform well in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix.

    Barnett's only losses of his career have come against Mirko Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Pedro Rizzo. Barnett also holds a 1-1 record against Nogeuira and Rizzo.

16. Mark Coleman

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    MMA Record: 16-10

    Mark Coleman has had a solid career, but his accomplishments have been slightly exaggerated. Coleman's biggest wins of his career came against Dan Severn and an aging Igor Vovchanchyn.

    Coleman lost to fighters such as Pedro Rizzo, Maurice Smith and Pete Williams while in his prime.

15. Pedro Rizzo

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    MMA Record: 19-9

    A long-time heavyweight contender, Pedro Rizzo fought for the UFC Heavyweight Championship three times, but he came up short each time.

    Sill, Rizzo holds wins over Mark Coleman, Dan Severn, Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, Ricco Rodriguez and more.

14. Maurice Smith

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    MMA Record: 12-13

    Maurice Smith's losing record doesn't look very good among the records for the rest of the heavyweights on this list, but Smith's MMA career got off to a rough start as he transitioned from kickboxing.

    Once Smith hit his stride, he became a tough fight for anyone and earned the UFC Heavyweight Championship with a win over Mark Coleman.

13. Kevin Randleman

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    MMA Record: 17-16

    Like Maurice Smith, Kevin Randleman doesn't own a spectacular record, but he does have some outstanding wins on his record.

    A former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Randleman has defeated Maurice Smith, Pedro Rizzo, Renato Sobral and Mirko Filipovic.

12. Shane Carwin

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    MMA Record: 12-2

    After running through his first 12 opponents, which included former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir, Shane Carwin nearly defeated Brock Lesnar to become undisputed UFC Heavyweight Champion.

    However, Carwin ran out of gas in the second round and was forced to submit to an arm triangle choke.

11. Junior Dos Santos

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    MMA Record: 13-1

    Junior Dos Santos has run through his competition since joining the UFC and will now meet UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez.

    On his way to becoming top contender, Dos Santos has defeated great heavyweights such as Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic and Shane Carwin.

10. Tim Sylvia

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    MMA Record: 28-7

    Tim Sylvia has fallen a long way since his reign as UFC Heavyweight Champion. Still, Sylvia is tied for the most consecutive title defenses in the UFC's heavyweight division.

    During his career, Sylvia has defeated fighters such as Andrei Arlovski and Ricco Rodriguez.

9. Brock Lesnar

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    MMA Record: 5-2

    With the immediate success Brock Lesnar achieved in MMA, one has to wonder what could have been if Lesnar had immediately transitioned to MMA from college wrestling.

    Still, Lesnar has had a great career packed into a short amount of time. In only seven fights, Lesnar has defeated three great heavyweights and defended the UFC Heavyweight Championship twice.

8. Frank Mir

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    MMA Record: 15-5

    A former UFC Heavyweight Champion, Frank Mir holds one of the most impressive lists of heavyweight victories in the sport.

    Mir has defeated a number of great heavyweights such as Tim Sylvia, Mirko Filipovic, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar.

7. Cain Velasquez

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    MMA Record: 9-0

    Undefeated in nine professional fights, Cain Velasquez could be on his way to becoming one of the great heavyweights in MMA history. Already, Velasquez has defeated great champions such as Brock Lesnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

    Velaseuz's complete skill set makes him quite possibly the most well-rounded heavyweight champion since Fedor Emelianenko.

6. Bas Rutten

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    MMA Record: 28-4-1

    Although much of his career took place in the openweight division, Bas Rutten deserves recognition as one of the great heavyweights in MMA history.

    The former UFC Heavyweight Champion holds victories over fighters such as Kevin Randleman and Maurice Smith. Also, Rutten relinquished his UFC belt due to retirement.

5. Randy Couture

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    MMA Record: 19-11

    Speaking of retirement, Couture exits the sport as one of the great heavyweights of all time. Couture became a three-time UFC Heavyweight Champion despite also competing in the light heavyweight division for a large portion of his career.

    Couture earned wins over Tim Sylvia, Pedro Rizzo, Kevin Randleman and Maurice Smith while fighting in the heavyweight division.

4. Igor Vovchanchyn

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    MMA Record: 54-10-1, 1 NC

    Igor Vovchanchyn once held an incredible unbeaten streak of 34 consecutive fights. Prior to going on the decline, Vovchachyn defeated notables such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Mark Kerr and Gary Goodridge.

    Because the bright spots of Vovchanchyn's career came prior to the explosion in popularity of the sport, he will likely never get the recognition he deserves, but he is one of the great MMA fighters of all time nonetheless.

3. Mirko Filipovic

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    MMA Record: 27-9-2, 1 NC

    Mirko Filipovic's legacy has taken a massive hit as he has continued to compete well after he should have already retired. Still, Filipovic deserves to be considered one of the best heavyweights ever based on what he accomplished before coming to the UFC.

    In his five years of fighting prior to joining the UFC, Filipovic defeated Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Aleksander Emelianenko and Igor Vovchanchyn. During that time Filipovic's only unavenged losses were from a fight with Fedor Emelianenko and a split decision against Mark Hunt.

2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    MMA Record: 32-6-1, 1 NC

    Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira was also extremely successful prior to joining the UFC, and he even had some success early in his UFC career.

    In his nine years of fighting prior to his loss against Frank Mir at UFC 92, Nogueira's only unavenged losses had come against Fedor Emelianenko.

    During those nine years, Nogueira had won against fighters such as Tim Sylvia, Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Sergei Kharitonov, Ricco Rodriguez, Mirko Filipovic and Mark Coleman.

1. Fedor Emelianenko

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    MMA Record: 31-3, 1 NC

    Prior to his recent back-to-back losses against Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva, Fedor Emelianenko's only loss came via an unlucky doctor stoppage due to a cut in December 2000.

    Emelianenko is undoubtedly the greatest heavyweight of all time with wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Mirko Filipovic, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.

     

    Sean Smith is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. For the latest insight and updates on everything MMA, you can follow Sean on Twitter here.