The heavyweight title picture adjusted rapidly after UFC 146, where most of the top heavyweights battled it out on the first all heavyweight main card in UFC history. The night was a huge success and saw finishes in each bout, while Junior Dos Santos finished Frank Mir in the second to successfully defend his title.
The UFC never abandons winning strategies, so it looks like UFC 160 will host the next event that will be stacked with heavyweight talent. The main event will be Cain Velesquez defending his title since he took it back from JDS last December, which was over a year after he had lost it to the same man.
Now with Mark Hunt of all fighters holding the longest streak in the division at the moment, with a recently announced fight against JDS as the co-main event for UFC 160 heralding him as the latest Cinderella story, and most of the other contenders set to fight each other in the next few months, things are about to get interesting.
Read below as I list the soon to be contested top ten heavyweights in the world.
~ Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez ~
Cain roared back in to the spot light when he took back his belt from Junior Dos Santos last December at UFC 155. Junior had KO’d him previously at UFC on FOX 1 the year before.
Ironically both men will have switched positions for the third time now that JDS will be fighting before Velasquez as opposed to the other way around at UFC 160 in May. The man he will face next in his first title defense since regaining his belt will be Antonio Silva, of whom he KO’d with brutal ground and pound at UFC 146 last May.
(1)Junior dos Santos is coming off a loss for the first time in his UFC career, and Mark Hunt may find his Cinderella story coming to an end way before the minute before midnight. None the less, Hunt has an iron chin and a penchant for dropping serious bombs. Whoever comes out on top after this one, it will be hard not to bill the winner as the number one contender in the division.
(2)Daniel Cormier is coming in to the UFC as the last heavyweight champion in Strikeforce. Well kinda. He was the grand prix champ and I think it’s safe to say that if Overeem hadn’t been pulled from the tournament, the UFC may have lost their ‘bell of the ball’ in Overeem before he could pull some strong PPV numbers on the world’s biggest MMA stage. He will be fighting Frank Mir at UFC on FOX 7 in April.
(3)Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has been making one statement after another in his career recently. Who can doubt this man these days? He finished the last emperor, the ream, and undefeated rising star in Travis Browne. This unprecedented streak of success at the highest echelon of the sport is in part due to his underestimated skill set but also his ability to sense weakness in his opponents and capitalize in brutal efficiency.
(4)Alistair Overeem has a very impressive resume in combat sports. He’s the first fighter to hold multiple titles from major MMA promotions, plus being the latest M-1 Global kickboxing champion. These accomplishments are nothing to scoff at.
Yet his biggest accomplishments in his career may have been his downfall when he stepped in to the cage with Antonio Silva and wound up limp against the cage as Silva tee’d off on his slack jawed face in the third round. Since pulling out of his fight against JDS, it looks like Overeem will fall even further in to relative obscurity in the hunt for the title. Hopefully he can get back on track soon and make another run at the title.
(5)Fabricio Werdum was the first man to dethrone Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce. He then came in to the UFC and has been wrecking shop ever since. Of course regardless of his recent 5-1 record, it’s hard not to remember the time he was neatly folded up by an upper cut served up by none other than JDS, back in 2008.
He will be fighting Big Nog at UFC on Fuel TV 10 this June in Brazil. I’m sure he will be favorited to win that one and be in line for a top contender bout with whoever is near the top of the contender mountain by then.
(6)Mark Hunt won impressively last weekend when he KO’d Struve and walked away as the skyscraper fell. The only thing more impressive than his win at UFC on FUEL TV 8, is the fact that he’s now the heavyweight holding the longest win streak in the division. If he beats JDS in May, he will have come full circle as one of the worst heavyweights in UFC history to become one of the uncontested best in the world.
These last four spots are very debatable and up for conjecture as far as I’m concerned. But either way I flipped a coin and filled the last four slots.
(10)Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira