UFC 145: UFC Heavyweight Rankings After Ben Rothwell vs. Brendan Schaub

Sean SmithAnalyst IApril 23, 2012

UFC 145: UFC Heavyweight Rankings After Ben Rothwell vs. Brendan Schaub

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    At UFC 145, heavyweights Ben Rothwell and Travis Browne made big statements by stopping respective opponents Brendan Schaub and Chad Griggs in the opening round. With their victories, Rothwell and Browne may have set up an intriguing matchup against one another that could send the winner skyrocketing toward the top of the heavyweight division.

    Aside from Alistair Overeem's failed drug test, the heavyweight division continues to become more and more intriguing after every UFC event. In two weeks, devastating strikers Pat Barry and Lavar Johnson will meet in a bout that is sure to produce fireworks.

    Before Barry and Johnson step into the Octagon at UFC on Fox 3, let's take a look at where Rothwell and Browne stand among the rest of the UFC heavyweights after their big wins on Saturday night. 

    The following rankings are computerized and do not include fighters who have not yet competed inside the Octagon since signing with the UFC, announced their retirement, been suspended, gone more than one year without competing or scheduled a fight in a new division.

Non-Ranked Heavyweights

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    Antonio Silva 

    After suffering a knockout loss against Daniel Cormier, Silva has joined the UFC roster as part of the removal of heavyweights from the Strikeforce promotion. Silva will be added to these heavyweight rankings following his UFC debut against Cain Velasquez at UFC 145

    Shane del Rosario

    Like Silva, Del Rosario is making his way into the UFC through the merger of the Strikeforce heavyweight division. Undefeated in 11 professional fights, del Rosario will enter these heavyweight rankings after meeting Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 146 in May.

28. Ednaldo Oliveira

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    MMA Record: 13-1-1, 1 NC

    Last Fight: Lost against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 142

    Next Fight: TBD

    In his UFC debut, Ednaldo Oliveira drew a tough matchup against a UFC veteran in Gonzaga.

    However, the Brazilian still showed that he does need to make some improvements in order to remain on the UFC roster. As it stands, Oliveira is the bottom dweller of the heavyweight division.

27. Christian Morecraft

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    MMA Record: 7-3 

    Last Fight: Lost against Pat Barry at UFC on FX 1

    Next Fight: TBD

    A strong first round against Stefan Struve and victory over Sean McCorkle had many labeling Christian Morecraft as a bright prospect in the heavyweight division.

    However, back-to-back knockout losses against Matt Mitrione and Barry have Morecraft in danger of losing his spot on the heavyweight roster. 

26. Oli Thompson

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    MMA Record: 9-3

    Last Fight: Lost against Shawn Jordan at UFC on FX 2

    Next Fight: TBD

    Oli Thompson's fighting style makes him an entertaining fighter, but the Englishman's lack of technique renders him one of the lower-tier heavyweights competing in the UFC. 

25. Chad Griggs

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    MMA Record: 11-2

    Last Fight: Lost against Travis Browne at UFC 145

    Next Fight: TBD

    After winning six straight fights, Chad Griggs was expected to provide a tough test for the up-and-coming Browne at UFC 145. However, Griggs was blasted with a flying knee and quickly submitted once the fight hit the ground.

    Griggs is a tough competitor, but his performance on Saturday showed he might not be ready to compete at the highest level.

24. Mike Russow

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    MMA Record: 15-1, 1 NC

    Last Fight: Won against John Olav Einemo at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Fight: vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 147

    With 11 straight victories, many might expect Mike Russow to sit higher on this list. However, none of the fighters Russow has defeated during that streak remain on the UFC roster.

    That being said, Russow's next appearance should mark a step up in competition, which would give the police officer a chance to make a big move in these rankings.

23. Dave Herman

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    MMA Record: 21-3

    Last Fight: Lost against Stefan Struve at UFC on Fuel TV 1

    Next Fight: TBD

    One of the more entertaining heavyweights in the UFC, Dave Herman's rise was halted by Struve in February. At 27 years old, Herman still has a promising future, but he may need start entering his fights with a more disciplined approach.

22. Rob Broughton

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    MMA Record: 15-7-1

    Last Fight: Lost against Phil De Fries at UFC 138

    Next Fight: TBD

    Coming off of back-to-back losses, Rob Broughton's UFC career could depend on a win in his next Octagon appearance. The British fighter was scheduled to fight Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142. However, Broughton was injured and removed from the bout.

21. Gabriel Gonzaga

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    MMA Record: 13-6

    Last Fight: Won against Ednaldo Oliveira at UFC 142

    Next Fight: vs. Shane del Rosario at UFC 146

    After a brief retirement, Gabriel Gonzaga picked up a victory and returned to the UFC as a replacement fighter in January. In his return to the Octagon, Gonzaga defeated Oliveira by submission.

    Now, the 32-year-old will have a chance to re-establish himself in the UFC with a victory over the undefeated Del Rosario in May.

20. Matt Mitrione

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    MMA Record: 5-1

    Last Fight: Lost against Cheick Kongo at UFC 137

    Next Fight: TBD

    After winning his first five UFC fights, Matt Mitrione suffered the first official loss of his MMA career against Kongo. While he was defeated, the inexperienced Mitrione was far from dominated and may take the loss as a valuable learning experience.

19. Pat Barry

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    MMA Record: 7-4

    Last Fight: Won against Christian Morecraft at UFC on FX 1

    Next Fight: vs. Lavar Johnson at UFC on Fox 3

    After losing three of four fights, Pat Barry picked up an important knockout against Morecraft.

    Now, Barry will meet a fellow heavy hitter in Lavar Johnson. With a win, Barry can start looking to test his ground game and take a big step up in competition.

18. Lavar Johnson

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    MMA Record: 16-5

    Last Fight: Won against Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Fight: vs. Pat Barry at UFC on Fox 3

    In his UFC debut, Lavar Johnson finished the granite-chinned Beltran in an impressive performance. Should Johnson score a similar victory against a former professional kick-boxer in Pat Barry, he could be ready for a fight with a more highly ranked heavyweight.

17. Shawn Jordan

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    MMA Record: 13-3

    Last Fight: Won against Oli Thompson at UFC on FX 2

    Next Fight: TBD

    The 27-year-old Shawn Jordan continues to improve as a fighter and has won his past two fights against tough opponents in Thompson and Lavar Johnson. Whether he turns into a contender or not, Jordan is an entertaining fighter and should have a home in the UFC for a long time.

16. Stefan Struve

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    MMA Record: 23-5

    Last Fight: Won against Dave Herman at UFC on Fuel TV 1

    Next Fight: vs. Mark Hunt at UFC 146

    The 24-year-old Stefan Struve is a very promising young fighter, but he has suffered setbacks when given a step up in competition. At UFC 146, the towering Dutch fighter will attempt to avoid another setback against Mark Hunt.

    With a win over Hunt, Struve could put himself in position for a fight with one of the heavyweight division's elite fighters.

15. Phil De Fries

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    MMA Record: 8-1, 1 NC

    Last Fight: Lost against Stipe Miocic at UFC on Fuel TV 1

    Next Fight: TBD

    In February, Phil De Fries suffered the first loss of his career against Miocic. The 26-year-old submission specialist has the potential to be successful in the UFC, but he will need to improve his striking in order to bounce back in his next Octagon appearance.

14. Brendan Schaub

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    MMA Record: 8-3

    Last Fight: Lost against Ben Rothwell at UFC 145

    Next Fight: TBD

    Prior to suffering a knockout loss to Rothwell on Saturday night, Brendan Schaub was performing well and had his opponent hurt. However, Schaub's over-anxiousness led him into a left hook that quickly turned the tide.

    Schaub has now suffered three knockout losses in his short UFC career. Without having the ability to take heavy punches, Schaub is going to have a tough time making another run in the heavyweight division.  

13. Stipe Miocic

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    MMA Record: 8-0

    Last Fight: Won against Phil De Fries at UFC on Fuel TV 1

    Next Fight: TBD

    Undefeated in his first eight professional fights, Stipe Miocic has the makings of a future star in the heavyweight division. Miocic's mix of wrestling and boxing skills makes him a very tough opponent for any fighter he meets in his rise to the top.

12. Travis Browne

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    MMA Record: 13-0-1

    Last Fight: Won against Chad Griggs at UFC 145

    Next Fight: TBD

    Following his win over Griggs at UFC 145, Travis Browne is nearing top-10 status in the heavyweight division. Still undefeated in 14 fights, Browne can expect an elite opponent in his next Octagon appearance.

11. Cheick Kongo

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    MMA Record: 17-7-2

    Last Fight: Lost against Mark Hunt at UFC 144

    Next Fight: TBD

    Heading into his latest fight, Cheick Kongo had gone undefeated in four straight fights. However, despite his striking background, Kongo was no match for a former K-1 Grand Prix champion in Hunt and suffered a knockout loss.

10. Roy Nelson

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    MMA Record: 16-7

    Last Fight: Lost against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 143

    Next Fight: vs. TBD at UFC 146

    Despite losing three of his past four fights, Roy Nelson's wins over the likes of Brendan Schaub, Stefan Struve and Mirko Filipovic are enough for the former The Ultimate Fighter winner to hold a spot in the top-10 of the heavyweight division.

    Nelson was expected to meet Antonio Silva at UFC 146, but the Brazilian was removed from the matchup to replace Frank Mir in a fight against Cain Velasquez. A replacement opponent for Nelson has not yet been named.

9. Ben Rothwell

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    MMA Record: 32-8

    Last Fight: Win against Brendan Schaub at UFC 145

    Next Fight: TBD

    After a poor performance against Mark Hunt, Ben Rothwell rebounded in a big way by knocking out Schaub at UFC 145. With the win, Rothwell is ready to make a run at a heavyweight title shot.

    If he is able to make a quick turnaround, a rematch of a fight he won against Roy Nelson could even be a possibility at UFC 146. 

8. Mark Hunt

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    MMA Record: 8-7

    Last Fight: Won against Cheick Kongo at UFC 144

    Next Fight: vs. Stefan Struve at UFC 146

    Since being submitted by Sean McCorkle in his UFC debut, Mark Hunt has won three straight fights and legitimately became a heavyweight contender with a knockout win over Kongo.

    If Hunt can can keep his fight against Struve standing and score another knockout, he could land a fight with one of the heavyweight division's top fighters.

7. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

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    MMA Record: 33-7-1, 1 NC

    Last Fight: Lost against Frank Mir at UFC 140

    Next Fight: TBD

    Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira nearly avenged his loss to Mir at UFC 140, but the American rallied back and broke the Brazilian's arm with a kimura. Still recovering from the arm injury, Nogueira doesn't have another fight lined up, but he remains one of the best heavyweights in the UFC.

6. Fabricio Werdum

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    MMA Record: 15-5-1

    Last Fight: Won against Roy Nelson at UFC 143

    Next Fight: vs. Mike Russow at UFC 147

    Fabricio Werdum did have a poor performance against Alistair Overeem, but the Brazilian has also recently defeated Nelson, Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Silva. It could be said that Russow is a step back for Werdum, but a win in his home country at UFC 147 would do wonders for the heavyweight's confidence as he makes a run at a rematch with champion Junior dos Santos.

5. Frank Mir

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    MMA Record: 16-5

    Last Fight: Won against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 140

    Next Fight: vs. Junior dos Santos at UFC 146

    Since losing to Shane Carwin, Frank Mir has won three straight fights and arguably become the second-best heavyweight in MMA, considering Alistair Overeem's failed drug test.

    As such, Mir will serve as Overeem's replacement in a title fight against dos Santos at UFC 146. Becoming champion again with a win over dos Santos would solidify Mir as one of the greatest heavyweights in MMA history.

4. Shane Carwin

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    MMA Record: 12-2

    Last Fight: Lost against Junior dos Santos at UFC 131

    Next Fight: TBD

    For those who will argue that Shane Carwin doesn't belong so close to the top of this list after two straight losses and a long layoff, he does risk removal from the rankings unless he fights before early June, which is obviously unlikely at this point.

    Right now, Carwin's dominant knockout of Frank Mir is all that is keeping him near the top of the heavyweight division.

3. Cain Velasquez

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    MMA Record: 9-1

    Last Fight: Lost against Junior dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1

    Next Fight: vs. Antonio Silva at UFC 146

    With Frank Mir's move to a title fight against dos Santos, Antonio Silva has replaced Mir as Cain Velasquez's opponent at UFC 146. The bout will mark the beginning of Velasquez's attempt to reclaim his heavyweight title after being knocked out by dos Santos in one of the most important events in UFC history.

2. Alistair Overeem

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    MMA Record: 36-11, 1 NC

    Last Fight: Won against Brock Lesnar at UFC 141

    Next Fight: TBD

    After failing a pre-fight drug test before his title fight against Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem has lost his chance to fight for the belt. Unless Overeem has a very good excuse at his hearing with the commission this week, he will also lose his spot in these rankings if he is suspended.

1. Junior dos Santos

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    MMA Record: 14-1

    Last Fight: Won against Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1

    Next Fight: vs. Frank Mir at UFC 146

    Following Alistair Overeem's removal from UFC 146, Mir will be the first challenger in Junior dos Santos' reign as heavyweight champion. After a dominant run to the top of the division, dos Santos has the potential to become a long-reigning champion if he continues to force his opponents into stand-up fights.

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