Ranking the Entire UFC Heavyweight Roster

Kevin HessAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2011

Ranking the Entire UFC Heavyweight Roster

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    There are 25 fighters currently on the UFC's Heavyweight roster and this is the list that ranks them.

    This list is not going to be based on a "who beat whom three years ago" which ends up with the same top five fighters as everyone always sees.

    I'm going to factor in every angle and include reasoning for each fighter's rank. These rankings also do not reflect whom I think would win head-to-head in a matchup, for the most part.

    So sit back, relax, break out that big tub of buttery popcorn, and get your fingers ready to type up some disagreement comments!

25: Heath Herring

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    If the "Texas Crazy Horse" actually competed he wouldn't be in this spot.

    Since he hasn't fought since his last loss in August of 2008 to Brock Lesnar, I don't really see Herring to be deserving of being mentioned as a UFC Heavyweight.

    Though I will admit, I would like to see him return someday.

24: Oli Thompson

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    The British Strongman Competitor is looking to improve on his 9-2 win/loss record as he is a new addition to the UFC roster.

    There really isn't a lot to compare him to with the exception of a decision loss to fellow Englander, Rob Broughton.

    One attribute that he does bring to the Octagon is size. At 6'1" and maxing out at the 265 limit, he could be a force but at 31 years of age and starting to compete in MMA in only 2009, I don't see him making too big of a splash in the UFC.

23: Philip De Fries

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    Twenty-five year old Philip De Fries is another British import that the UFC has recently brought in from across the pond.

    This British fighter is a little different than most typical English competitors though with all seven of his matches resulting in wins by submission.

    His first test inside the Octagon will be against Oli Thompson and may determine who stays and who goes, even though they are both new to the roster.

    After studying Philip, he doesn't seem to mind mixing it up a little and does use an effective clinch that he can use to set up a take-down. Once on the ground, his submission skill has been enough against his opposition thus far.

22: Christian Morecraft

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    Christian Morecraft has a record of 7-2 with a loss to Stefan Struve and a dominant loss to Matt Mitrione.

    Morecraft is a big heavyweight but that may be the only thing going for him and even that seems to hurt him in the cardio department. He also seems to lack knockout power and finishing ability.

    Another loss and Morecraft could get his early exit walking papers.  

21: Mark Hunt

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    Mark Hunt, the once legendary Samoan who defeated Wanderlei Silva is on the backside of his career.

    Recently snapping a five year winless streak, Hunt is attempting to make a comeback and climb the ladder once again.

    Hunt's knockout power is still a threat to anyone in the ring but he is far past his prime as his skills have diminished and not improved since his days in Pride.  

    Hunt has a strong name but shouldn't be considered anywhere near the top anymore.

20: Rob Broughton

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    The third British fighter on this list might be the most promising.

    Broughton has a good mixture of skills and is a very large heavyweight.

    It remains to be seen if he can climb up the rankings but his next test is against Travis Browne, which should be a good test for both competitors.

    A win against Browne would defiantly jump him up a few spots.

19: Stefan Struve

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    The up and down career of Stefan Struve has been exciting and painful to watch.

    Struve is a MMA giant but his size is only matched by his heart as he has taken many brutal shots thus far in his UFC tenure.

    He has lost against every step-up in competition he has faced and his last loss to Travis Browne only sends his back in the rankings.

    Struve has a tough task ahead of him as Pat Barry looks to chop down the 6'11", 23-year-old fighter. The way Barry kicks, "chopping down" might be an accurate statement. If he gets off to a slow start as he typically does, Barry may end his night early.

18: Joey Beltran

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    Beltran has suffered defeats at the hands of Pat Barry and Matt Mitrione but saved his UFC career with a win over Aaron Rosa.

    Beltran is a gritty fighter and is solid competition for the middle-of-the-road competition. His toughness, as demonstrated in his fight against Pat Barry, is remarkable.

    He does bring a good set of skills to the ring but just hasn't been able to put everything together to date leaving him at gatekeeper status.

17: Stipe Miocic

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    Stipe is of Croatian descent. He is not Mirko Cro Cop.

    Stipe is a Heavyweight that shows potential to climb up the ladder, into the top 10 at some point.

    Stipe is a Golden Gloves Champion and a high caliber Division I wrestler out of Cleveland State, which could be a dangerous mix for the Heavyweight Division.

    He carries good size being 6'4" tall and weighing around the 240 pound mark.

    His first test in the UFC will be against Joey Beltran at UFC 136.

16: Pat Barry

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    There is nothing more I want to see than Pat Barry compete with the highest level of Heavyweights but the problem with that is that he has lost some key matchups to Cheick Kongo and Mirko Cro Cop.

    What I really don't understand is how he lost those fights which leaves me thinking that his mental game isn't there yet.

    Barry brings probably the strongest striking game to the Heavyweight division but until he gets his head straight and his ground-game up-to-par, he may be stuck as a sideshow attraction.  

15: Travis Browne

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    Call me a non-believer with this one.

    Browne is 11-0-1 but just doesn't have what it takes to make it all the way in the UFC, at least to me.

    Browne struggled against Cheick Kongo and just barely escaped with a draw because of a point deduction.

    Browne isn't getting a step up in competition either as his next fight is against Rob Broughton.

14: Mirko Filipovic

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    It was really hard for me to rank Mirko Cro Cop because you know he still has something left in the gas tank but in reality you know he is not a top tier fighter anymore and don't want to see him get seriously injured trying to reclaim his once lethal status.

    With maybe his last fight in the UFC coming up and retirement on the horizon, Cro Cop has been given yet one more opportunity to fight under the UFC banner against Roy Nelson.

    Cro Cop has proven he can stand-in with the upper-echelon athletes but just isn't able to pull out the victory. Cro Cop still remains as a top name in the division and has the skills to defeat most fighters that are not ranked in the top 10.

13: Roy Nelson

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    I remember all of the praise that Roy Nelson USED to get and now all that is said about him is that he should move down in weight.

    Regardless, Nelson is another fighter who falters against top-competition. It shouldn't be a surprise though; he has done it his entire career.

    Even with all of that being said and the pressure on him from the UFC and Dana White, Nelson still is a threat to climb the ladder once again.

    His skills are above average and is a threat to anyone outside of the top five. If he does find a strength training program as it appears he has done, he may finally be able to jump over that hurdle which prevents him from stepping forward in his career. 

12: Ben Rothwell

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    Rothwell has been injured with an ACL tear and inactive for quite awhile now so it will be interesting to see how he comes back when he faces off with Mark Hunt at UFC 135.

    Rothwell has the skills to compete with the upper tier of UFC fighters but will probably not see the top five during his time with the UFC.

    Regardless of how he used to perform, it remains to be seen if he can perform like he once did.

11: Brendan Schaub

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    Brendan Schaub just went from a possible title shot to now being ranked outside of the top 10.

    Schaub has picked up some quality wins over Mirko Cro Cop and Gabriel Gonzaga yet his knockout loss to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has sent "the Hybrid" back to the drawing board. This leaves the question, where does Schaub go from here?  

    It will be interesting to see who Schaub gets matched up against in the future as he is surely to fight some younger competition that will test his ground game and now his chin.

10: Dave Herman

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    The 26-year-old Dave Herman has one fight under his belt in the UFC and as far as expectations are concerned, I look for him to be one of the top fighters in the near future.

    Herman is 21-2 with one of those losses being a disqualification and has recorded 15 knockout victories.

    Herman is being given a tough test in Mike Russow and that should determine who will be considered a top contender, sending the other back for a couple more fights to prove himself.

    Herman is a solid striker and should be considered a threat to anyone that is willing to stand with him.

9: Cheick Kongo

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    It almost pains me to place Cheick Kongo in this position but he has earned it.

    Kongo can defeat most middle-ranked fighters and has been considered a gatekeeper for many years now. Though with his latest victory over Pat Barry, he has once again found himself inside the top 10.

    I don't expect this to last very long as his next fight comes against Matt Mitrione, which should knock Kongo out of the top 10. Yet, if somehow he does earn himself another win, Kongo will be looking at be placed somewhere near the top five in the division.

8: Shane Carwin

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    I don't really care about what sport you're in, if you lose two straight, you fall back in the rankings.

    Carwin has done just that and his in last loss, he was utterly dominated.

    In no way do I think Carwin is done but he isn't a young fighter. He is primarily a stand-up fighter and uses his wrestling to keep the fight standing. I also think he can defeat most fighters in the UFC, if healthy but as of today, he needs to climb the ladder.

    I really question the state that Carwin is in after his surgery because he just didn't look the same against Junior dos Santos but I do look forward to him rebounding.

    The UFC needs this guy to get back on the winning path as soon as possible as he is an important piece of the UFC Heavyweight Division.

7: Mike Russow

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    Before you gasp in shock and say, "how do you rank Russow ahead of Carwin," look at the facts.

    Carwin is 0-2 in his last two fights.

    Russow is 10-0 in his last 10 and 14-1 in his career.

    Russow brings knockout power and a strong wrestling game, earning him a top 10 position and a chance to earn his way into title contention with a win over Dave Herman.

6: Matt Mitrione

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    What is there not to like about Matt Mitrione.

    He looks like he genuinely loves what he does and in turn the fans give him that love right back.

    Mitrione has turned his career in the UFC into a very successful one since his stint on The Ultimate Fighter. He is set to face Cheick Kongo next and start being considered a serious contender with a victory.

    There are still some question marks about Mitrione but as long as he keeps winning there really isn't anything to dispute.  

5: Brock Lesnar

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    Serious question marks should be placed all over Lesnar whenever he makes his return because he never appeared to be the same after his last return from surgery. When he returned from the same surgery last time he nearly was stopped in the first round by Shane Carwin and was then knocked out in the first round by Cain Velasquez.

    To say the least, Lesnar looked like he lost his dominant appearance and aura.

    Even though he didn't look that good he still has some big wins on his resume including a win over Frank Mir, Randy Couture and Shane Carwin.  

    Lesnar's ranking at fifth is due to injury time and his performance in his last return have resulted in a slip in the rankings.

4: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    Nogueira scored a huge win over Brendan Schaub and improved his status in the heavyweight division by leaps and bounds.

    Nogueira might never hold onto the UFC title again but he has certainly earned himself another chance to compete for it.

    "Big Nog" earns himself fourth in the rankings due to his name recognition, competition level and making a successful return to the UFC after multiple knee and hip surgeries against a top five opponent at the time.

3: Frank Mir

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    Love him or hate him, Frank Mir has positioned himself back into the top three of the Heavyweight division.

    Mir has rebounded with a knockout win over Mirko Filipovic and dominant decision win against Roy Nelson.

    Mir now sits idle and awaits a challenge from a top contender such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brock Lesnar, a possible matchup with Alistair Overeem if signed or even filling in for an injury to either Junior dos Santos or Cain Velasquez.

    No matter who his next opponent is, the longest tenured UFC Heavyweight doesn't appear to going anywhere anytime soon.

2: Junior Dos Santos

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    If this were based off of a power list or if a title weren't involved, Junior dos Santos would easily be the number one guy on this list.

    JdS has scored an eight fight winning streak with seven of those coming inside the UFC as he looks to add one more win on his quest for the UFC Heavyweight Championship over current Champion, Cain Velasquez.

    JdS will surely find himself in a fight and might find himself fighting off of his back as that has been the biggest question mark on him so far. I will remind you though, he has passed every test so far.

1: Cain Velasquez

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    No surprise here as the UFC Heavyweight Champion reigns supreme on this list.

    There is one major concern on Velasquez and that he is coming off of surgery to his shoulder, which is difficult to overcome.

    Velasquez will need every ounce of strength as he and Junior dos Santos headline the initial show on Fox.

    So far he has scored big wins over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar but has struggled with Cheick Kongo. Will JdS be able to take the title off of Velasquez? Only time will tell.  

    Thanks for reading and let me know what you think!