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By: Rich Hansen, MMATorch Columnist
After watching three top-ten heavyweights in Shane Carwin, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum lay feces covered stink bombs this week, I don't really want to have to think about the heavyweight division for a long, long time. As a result, I am inspired to get this week's divisional list written just as soon as I possibly can.
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos cannot come soon enough.
Here's the schedule for upcoming divisions:
June 28: Welterweights - Nate Marquardt debuts at WW on June 26
July 5: Bantamweights - Immediately after UFC BW title fight
July 12: Light Heavyweights
July 19: Middleweights
Heavyweight Rankings as of June 21, 2011
1.) Cain Velasquez - Anybody who ranks any heavyweight other than Velasquez as their number 1 heavyweight is merely trying to create controversy, and accordingly has zero credibility and should be ignored. Next fight: vs. Junior dos Santos, November 19 (tentative)
2.) Junior Dos Santos - After methodically disemboweling Shane Carwin at UFC 131, Junior Dos Santos has to be considered the best striker in MMA. Alistair Overeem might beat him in a K1 fight, but this isn't K1. Next fight: vs. Cain Velasquez, November 19 (tentative)
3.) Alistair Overeem - I love The Demolition Man, and 90% of his poor showing on Saturday was because of Fabricio Werdum's impression of Thales Leites, but the 10% that was his own fault is enough to move him down a notch in my eyes. Next fight: vs. Antonio Silva, TBA
4.) Brock Lesnar - Considering that he's a former NCAA, WWE, and UFC champion who has millions of dollars and a healthy family it is hard to call Lesnar cursed. But... Next fight: TBA
5.) Fabricio Werdum - As I write this I am sorely tempted to knock him down to about 42nd or so on this list, but the facts are that he was effective during the rare moments he chose to actually, you know, fight in his match against Overeem. His gameplan disgraced himself. Next fight: TBA (and I won't be watching it)
6.) Antonio Silva - I bet he wishes that he had the Werdum fight back. The Silva that fought Fedor has a good chance of defeating the Overeem that fought Werdum. Next fight: vs. Alistair Overeem, TBA
7.) Josh Barnett - I know that Brett Rogers is awful on the ground, but Barnett was phenomenal on Saturday night. That is, until he tried to cut a babyface promo. Babyfaced Assassin? Try Acnebacked Assassin. Next fight: vs. Sergei Kharitonov, TBA
8.) Fedor Emelianenko - The Henderson fight on July 30 is the most important fight of his career since the Cro Cop fight. If he loses to Henderson, his career as a meaningful figure in MMA is kaput. Next fight: vs. Dan Henderson, July 30
9.) Shane Carwin - It's never a good thing when people are abuzz about how good of a thrashing you can take. Next fight: TBA
10.) Frank Mir - I think we're going to see Mir vs. the winner of Schaub/Nogueira. I think we're going to see Mir cheering hard for Nogueira. Since those two fight in August, Mir might have enough time to fill in his tattoo. Right, Duane? Next fight: TBA
11.) Sergei Kharitonov - Kharitonov's striking is prodigious enough that Josh Barnett has to respect it. I am more stoked for this fight than any other upcoming heavyweight fight, sans Cain-JDS of course. Next fight: vs. Sergei Kharitonov, TBA
12.) Brendan Schaub - A win over Nogueira in Rio coupled with a hypothetical win over Mir could get him a title shot. And he should be favored to win both of those match ups, too. Quite a far cry from losing to Roy Nelson a mere 18 months ago. Next fight: vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, August 27
13.) Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira - Schaub and Nogueira are on opposite career elevators right now. However, if Nogueira wins he'll be right back "in the mix" due to the overall dearth of talent in the heavyweight division. Next fight: vs. Brendan Schaub, August 27
14.) Daniel Cormier - The problem with starting a career in this sport at the age of 30 is that you can't build slowly under the pretense of being a 'prospect'. Now 32, Cormier needs to continue to face tougher competition. Monson was a nice start, so now how about Arlovski, Griggs, or Rogers? Like I said, there's a dearth of heavyweight talent. Next fight: TBA
15.) Matt Mitrione - Be honest. When you were watching TUF 10, did you really think there were two guys in that house after Roy Nelson who would become top 20 in the division? Mitrione has become a respectable fighter, and knows how to sell himself as well as anyone. Next fight: Christian Morecraft, June 26
16.) Roy Nelson - Having great cardio for a super fat dude is kinda like being the hottest stripper at the old folk's home. Good for you, but that won't be of any use to you in the real world. You don't need to be 265 pounds to be competitive at heavyweight. Next fight: TBA
17.) Cole Konrad -The best of the non-Zuffa-Forza guys. Because he's never going to fight anyone ranked above him as long as he is tied to Bellator, he'll only rise due to attrition in the ranks. And since he's a Bellator champion, it might be two or three decades until he fights anyone... Next fight: TBA
18.) Cheick Kongo - "Cup" Cheick Kongo is at the crossroads. At 36 years old, he's not going to change his style dramatically, and his current style has only gotten him to the middle of the pack. If he's going to make a last run to relevance, he needs to dominate Pat Barry on Sunday night. Next fight: Pat Barry, June 26
19.) Dave Herman – Everybody’s favorite not-so-great-fighter-that-we-want-to-see-become-great fighter. Tons of potential, but he's undisciplined, sloppy, and doesn't have the dedication necessary to break through. Nothing pisses me off more than wasting one's potential. Next fight: TBA
20.) Shane del Rosario - Undefeated, but his best win is Lavar Johnson. Might be a while until we see him again, due to a car accident that kept him out of a scheduled fight against Daniel Cormier. Next fight: TBA
21.) Patrick Barry - If the fighting thing doesn't work out, Chippendales is always looking for guys with no fear of prancing abound in their tighty whities. Or, so I've heard. Fighting Kongo on Sunday night, I suggest packing a couple dozen extra cups. Next fight: Cup Cheick Kongo, June 26
22.) Travis Browne - All you have to do to become the flavor of the month in this division is to string together, um, one impressive knockout. Ask Todd Duffee, I mean TODDDUFFEE!!!!! how much success that guarantees. Let's allow Browne to develop slowly, ok? I know he's no spring chicken at 29 years of age, but he doesn't need to go from Struve to Mir, dig? Next fight: Rob Broughton, September 24
23.) Joey Beltran - He's made the best out of what God gave him, to be sure. Hey, at least I came up with something to say about him. Next fight: TBA
24.) Ben Rothwell - Mister IFL has only lost twice in the last 6-plus years, to Arlovski and Velasquez. He's been out of action for a year now, rehabbing. He has the talent to shoot up this list. The UFC agrees, because his return fight is a fight he's designed to win. Next fight: vs. Mark Hunt (see what I mean?), September 24
25.) Chad Griggs - Meh. Next fight: TBA
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