June 22, 2010 at 7:19 am #34704
I thought it only fair and right to post my own version of diablo’s HWs, especially after posting on his thread that I disagreed with the order of his picks without offering any specifics or alternatives of my own.
Basically, IMO all rankings come down to criteria.
What exactly are you basing your rankings on?
Wins and losses? Strength of opposition? Popularity and walkout wear sales? How much advertising the guy’s sponsors throws your website?
On this particular thread, I’m basing my HW rankings on fighters I have personally seen fight either in the arena or on my flatscreen. Most of these guys’ fights’ I’ve watched several times, and gave them all due consideration.
Simply put, my criteria is a basic one.
I’m ranking these men based on what I’ve seen them do in the cage in the last 2 calendar years, which in MMA is developmentally like 6 years, maybe more.
I don’t care if the guy was a god or a goof in the past, or in some other promotion, or was an Olympian, a former MMA champion, or an icon in the sport.
Or some or all of the above.
I’m only concerned with EXHIBITED strength, size, skill, speed/athleticism, relative strength of opposition, aggression, Octagon/cage control and end result, and only in the last 2 calendar years.
Everything else ranges from trivia to nostalgia to ancient history, and our sport is all about the now.
I’m sure there will be far more disagreement than agreement, but in fairness to diablo who did He11a work on his rankings, and thereby deserves He11a respect, I felt it only right to post some sort of response, and take whatever critcism comes my way.
On with the show…
1) BROCK LESNAR
Who would have thought it? Me, probably the site’s most vehement Lesnar detractor, giving the guy credit?
I still can’t stand the way the guy sometimes acts, and of course he took the title from my idol, but using my own posted criteria, which I consider to be the most relevent to the discussion, there is no way anyone else ranks at the top.
Also, if the Natural can forgive and now train with Lesnar, how can I run counter to Couture?
To the best of my considerable MMA knowledge, no HW has ever come to the cage, or before that the MMA ring, with the Neanderthalic physical tools and frighteningly effective skillset that Lesnar does. The man is a former NCAA D1 champion, and aside from his UFC debut submission loss to former champion Frank Mir, he’s silverback’ed his way to the “biggest” prize in MMA, the UFC HW title.
In the last 24 months no one has come close to in-cage performances I can only catagorize as Lesnarian, except maybe for…
2) SHANE CARWIN
You’ve all read it before.
No one hits like Carwin and no one [other than Lesnar] has his Neanderthalic abilities.
Not only has Carwin not seen round 2 of an MMA fight, but he hasn’t gone past the 4 minute mark.
In addition to being undefeated, the man knocked former HW contender Gabriel Gonzaga stupid WITH A JAB. In only his second pro fight, out in Hawaii, in a mere 22 seconds he choked a guy so severely that he had to be helped out of the cage and over to the EMT truck the promoter had on site.
He also finished former champ Frank Mir in a quicker fashion that Lesnar did, and did so without getting kneebarred in his first attempt.
For me the first 2 were easy.
In the last 2 years no one has rocked and rolled in the cage like the last 2 survivors of the Ice Age.
Now comes the tricky part…
3) FRANK MIR
I thought about this a lot. I really did. And I was very tempted to put Fedor here, but in the last 2 years Mir has faced, and beaten, a higher level of competition than Fedor has. Mir has exhibited muchly improved and effective stand-up and as always rocks a top shelf ground game.
Only the men at 1 and 2 have beaten Mir, while he’s gone on to submit Lesnar in 90 seconds, T/KO BigNog and strangle Chieck Kongo in impressive fashion.
Even Fedor couldn’t T/KO or submit BigNog, so ultimately I had to rank Mir a notch above.
Obviously I’m not a supporter of the man, mainly due to his inability to get a handle on his handlers.
Nonetheless in the last 2 calendar years Fedor has exhibited effective stand-up and grappling, winning all 3 of his fights by either T/KO or submission.
Subjectively I would rank Fedor a lot lower because his degree of opponent difficulty is so low, but the flipside argument is that he’s beaten a pair of former UFC champions in less than a combined 4 minutes, so I allowed my objectivity free rein and dropped Fedor at 4. I’m also extending Fedor some courtesy here, because I’m reasonably sure that he’ll beat Werdum in under 10 minutes, so I’m basically calling that a gimme and factoring it in to this thread.
If Fedor loses, or has a poor showing against Werdum, I reserve the right to revisit these rankings and adjust Fedor’s standing.
5) CAIN VELASQUEZ
In the last 2 calendar years CV has exhibited great in-cage wrestling and effective enough stand-up to snag a pair of Knockout of the Night bonuses. He is only the second man to ever finish BigNog, and I was impressed with his emerging Octagonal control against Ben Rothwell, an opponent who had SIX TIMES the MMA experience that CV did.
All CV needs IMO is some more size and experience, and he’ll leapfrog past Fedor and Mir.
6) JUNIOR DOS SANTOS
Another HW standout with a pair of KOoTN bonuses to his credit.
Some could, and will, make the argument that JDS should be ranked ahead of Velasquez, as he’s won more fights in a more impressive manner against somewhat better opposition, but the problem for me is one of exhibited ability.
Yes, JDS has exhibited a higher degree of stand-up than Velasquez, but Velasquez has exhibited more well-roundedness and superior wrestling, which are key in the HW class.
Also, JDS’s strength of opposition isn’t THAT much higher than that of Cain Velasquez.
And we’ve seen nothing EXHIBITED of JDS’ submissions and wrestling.
We ASSUME his grappling is top shelf because he trains at BlackHouse, but its just that, an assumption.
Velasquez has DEMONSTRATED more overall MMA ability in the last 2 calendar years against an almost equitable degree of opposition.
Therefore, he ranks higher right now than JDS.
The man is past his prime, that much is certain.
Its really a case of “not the years but the miles”, to use a classic car adage.
BigNog has had a LOT of fights where he took a LOT of damage, and he honestly can’t hang with the creme of the MMA HW crop these days.
However against anyone not in the top 10, BigNog would drop a PRIDEful performance and do BlackHouse proud.
However this 7 spot is tenuous at best, because the guy at number 8 has the potential to grab some serious traction in the sport if he’s ready to fully apply himself andf stay healthy.
Maybe another surprise to some of you who might read this.
In the past I’ve laid into The Reem pretty heavily for what I considered a lack of committment to MMA. I might have been right, or maybe not so much.
Nonetheless Overeem returned to North American MMA with a He11a impressive win over a large athletic striker in Brett Rogers.
As for what I considered his personal shortcomings, the man addresses those in his excellent online “biography” “The Reem”. Overeem seems to have come to terms with life as a 2 sport athlete [K-1 and MMA], seems to have resolved some if not all of his physical and multi-promotional issues, and is making IMO an honest good faith effort to reconnect with the North American fanbase, as he’s asking them to buy into his re-committment to MMA.
After giving it some thought I decided the only fair thing is to give him the benefit of the doubt, and the number 8 spot. If Overeem continues to shine in MMA, that number will go up fairly quickly.
Normally these rankings are a top 10 type deal, but using my thread-specific criteria I could only reasonably rank the above 8.
There are several fighters who based on their performances in the last 2 calendar years take a hypothetical 9 and 10 spot.
Fabricio Werdum, Brett Rogers, and yes even Roy Nelson.
Or, we could go in a new direction, and tab someone like undefeated Shane Del Rosario, who in the last 2 calendar years has won 6 fights, all by either T/KO or submission.
In truth the guy is still probably a year and 10 pounds of muscle away from the spotlight, but there is no denying he’s looked good against admittedly average competition, which is the main reason I didn’t hand him a definitive ranking.
Then there are fighters who still have the potential to step into the MMA HW spotlight if they either change camp, and/or fully re-dedicate themselves to MMA, such as Gabriel Gonzaga, Sergei Kharitonov and Andrei Arlovski.
The skill is there, but is the will?
In theory even Mirko CroCop is young enough to make another strong run in the UFC based on what we saw against Pat Barry.
But was that his swan song, or the start of something new?
Only time will tell.
Any of these guys could make the argument that they belong in the top 10, but its an argument I currently don’t buy into until I see a bit more effort and consistency.
And what about Antonio Silva, who is a relative unknown in North America, yet he’s won 5 of his last 6, including wins over former UFC HW champions Arlovski and Ricco Rodriguez?
And he took Werdum to a decision, so, y’know, he could also make the case for consideration.
In closing, if a gun were put to my head, I suppose I would go with Werdum at 9 and Del Rosario at 10.
Werdum has won 4 of his last 5 in the last 2 calendar years, and won those 5 by decision, submission, and T/KO, clearly demostrating his well-roundedness.
And Del Rosario is in some cases flat making his opponents look bad and himself look like a future contender.
What more can a guy at his keyboard ask from a pro MMA fighter?
Hope you enjoyed the read…June 22, 2010 at 3:02 pm #58158
great write up but i gotta say im prob leaning more to diablos listJune 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm #58166
Great job , but you know as a Fedorian I can’t accept any rankings if Fedor is not on top of the list
On a serious note: If any of UFC HW prospects will clean up the division, then I can see #1 spot is taken by UFC fighter, but so far If Fedor keeps winning in his next 2 fights vs Werdum and Overeem I don’t see anybody takes the #1 spot from him.June 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm #58171
i was really hoping you’d restrain from ranking lesnar above carwin as carwin has acheived far more and will destroy lesnar next saturday…June 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm #58174
im confused how has carwin achevied more?June 22, 2010 at 4:22 pm #58176
petterson, im a carwin supporter and im telling you you are wrong…….if we compare opponents while carwin has more fights, lesnar has the better opponents- carwin last 2 gonzaga and mir, lesnar- couture, mir…lesnar is #1 in my book as well…….fedor is not the greatestJune 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm #58189
Much obliged for the kind words.
@ petterson – As for ranking Carwin above Lesnar, all I can say is look at my posted criteria for this thread. It talks about EXHIBITED in-cage performances.
Yes, Carwin has exhibited superior stand-up, but Lesnar has exhibited superior wrestling, speed, athleticism, Octagonal control, and fought a higher degree of oppositional difficulty.
Obviously if he beats Lesnar that will change, but IMO I don’t see that happening.
As I’ve posted many times before, subjectively I’m hoping that Carwin beats Lesnar like he caught him in bed with his female.
Objectively I think Lesnar has more tools to win, so thats I’m picking him by 2nd round ref stoppage.
And as for achievement, Lesnar is the UFC HW champion.
he took the belt from the most decorated MMA fighter in the sport’s history, and defended it against my number 3 fighter.
What higher MMA achievement is possible?June 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm #58206
Chris LeslieKey Master
I mean if we really want to get into the quality victories over guys then Cigano would be higher on all rankings…June 22, 2010 at 10:04 pm #58210
well jcohl it just so happens that the most decorated fighter in ufc history isn’t even ranked and chrisl you make a point but i feel to be number one you must have at least one victory over someone who is ranked say 5 or higherJune 22, 2010 at 10:37 pm #58214
The only issue I have with this list is Lesner being first. I’ll admit the guy is a great wrestler, but I still think it’s his unfair size advantage that lets him “perform” so well. Also I haven’t seen enough of his stand-up game to say that he is a very well rounded fighter.June 22, 2010 at 11:02 pm #58216
Great write-up jchol. About time you had an uber-post
And while I can’t openly support a Top 10 HW list that doesn’t have Fedor on top, I take solace in seeing Lesnar up there
And I’ve been thinking a lot….If Lesnar DESTROYS Carwin, or vice versa and Fedor just beats Werdum, I’ll CONSIDER dropping the Last Emperor to #2 until he has an outstanding performance.June 22, 2010 at 11:17 pm #58219
well hopefully the fedor is the greatest fighter ever talk will end when ubereem ko’s himJune 23, 2010 at 1:31 am #58226
Im realy interested to see if Fedor even takes the fight against Overeem. I think that he will beat Werdum(as do most)but wouldnt be surprised to see him fight Bigfoot Silva or Lashley as its obvious his handlers dont want him to lose.
For anyone who thinks that Overeem cannot beat Fedor, look at it like this. Could Overeem not just implement a similar gameplan as Orlovski minus the flying knee? Plus we saw what happened to Fedor when a 260 man got on top of him and started dropping bombs. Replace Rogers with Overeem in that top position and I thinkk its safe to say the Last Emperor wouldnt be waking up for quite some time.June 23, 2010 at 5:06 am #58235
@ eldiablo – I really liked your HW thread, so I guess it inspired me to rock out one of my own
@ chrisl – maybe I should have somehow rated the indivudal criteria in order of importance?
Yes, degree of oppositional difficulty is important, but not more important than exhibited skill in the cage.
At least not more important in my rankings. Your mileage may vary
And while JDS has looked impressive in the cage, Lesnar and Carwin have looked…absolutely frightening.
@ gunslinger & carls – In spite of all the commentary from Scott Coker on this thing, I’m still not 100% sold on the fact that M-1 Global is going to sign Fedor to fight Overeem.
If Vasya is indeed correct, and M-1 Global has Fedor fighting solely to promote and preserve MMA in Russia, and his “unbeaten” status is a big part of this effort, then IMO Overeem represents too big a risk to that unbeaten Fedor status, and they will find a way to swerve the fight, probably in favor of a Josh Barnett fight in Japan for DREAM or something, assuming Fedor beats Werdum.
@ petterson – the reason the most decorated fighter in MMA history, Randy Couture, isn’t on my top MMA HWs list is because he isn’t a HW, he’s a 205er.
If this was a “best MMA fighters in history” thread, Couture would be number one by virtue of his 5 championships in 2 different weightclasses…June 23, 2010 at 6:26 pm #58275
But jcohl he probably isn’t even a top ten 205′er or if so borderline
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.