Commentary

Sherdog's division-by-division rankings

For the first time since Sherdog.com started publishing divisional rankings, a single promoter dominates one weight category. The division? Light heavyweight. The promoter? UFC.

Originally Published: November 27, 2007
By Sherdog.com

For the first time since Sherdog.com started publishing divisional rankings, a single promoter dominates one weight category. The division? Light heavyweight. The promoter? UFC. Bolstered by high-profile free-agent signings and the development of its own fighters, there's no doubting the depth of talent that resides at 205 pounds. How do other divisions stack up?

Check out the division-by-division rankings by clicking on the links below.

Who is the world's best fighter, regardless of weight class? See Sherdog's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through Nov. 26:

HEAVYWEIGHTS (205-265)
Fedor Emelianenko
1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0, 1 NC)


After a profile free-agent sweepstakes, "The Last Emperor" and his handlers have opted for MMA's top heavyweight to become the face of M-1 Global. With the bulk of quality heavyweights elsewhere, the obvious issue is Emelianenko's ability to retain his top status if he is facing inferior heavyweight opposition. That trend continues with Emelianenko fighting mammoth Korean Hong-Man Choi on New Year's Eve in Tokyo.


2. Randy Couture (16-8-0)

Just when it seemed Couture couldn't capture any more headlines in 2007 after his underdog demolitions of Tim Sylvia and Gabriel Gonzaga, "The Natural" resigned from the UFC. The Couture-Emelianenko fight now seems all but impossible. If anything, Couture's next battle will be a legal one, as he attempts to get out of his contract with Zuffa.

3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (30-4-1, 1 NC)

Nogueira will have only competed once in 2007, taking an unnecessary but almost disastrous third win over Heath Herring in July. Thankfully, with the UFC title picture now up in the air, a bout with former champion Tim Sylvia could be in order for early '08, which is exactly the kind of matchup fans were looking for when this whole UFC-PRIDE thing went down.

4. Tim Sylvia (24-3-0)

After his domination at the hands of Randy Couture in March, Sylvia underwent successful back surgery and took apart rising contender Brandon Vera last month. A win over a borderline top-10 heavyweight and the relative stagnancy of the rest of the division sees the former UFC champion rise to the fourth spot in these rankings. With a potential bout against Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira looming, "The Maine-iac" may be poised to move even further up the list.

5. Josh Barnett (20-5-0)

After an incredibly active 2006 in which he fought seven times, Barnett has not competed in 2007. The next action for "The Babyface Assassin" will be in December, when he has both a pro wrestling match in Antonio Inoki's IGF and a catch wrestling bout against Hikaru Sato in Pancrase. Given that Barnett is one of the few elite-level heavyweight competitors the sport has, such excursions are frustrating, to say the least.

6. Gabriel Gonzaga (8-2-0)

Gonzaga flirted with championship glory but was brought back to earth against a more experienced foe in Randy Couture. The 28-year-old Brazilian will begin his journey to another chance at being champion on Jan. 19, when he looks to avenge his first career loss to countryman Fabricio Werdum.

7. Andrei Arlovski (11-5-0)

The former UFC champion has one fight left on his deal with Zuffa and won't be seeing action until he re-signs or gets out of the deal. Worse yet, his bargaining power is hampered by his losses to Tim Sylvia and his lackluster effort against Fabricio Werdum in April. The last thing MMA needs is another top heavyweight not competing.

8. Fabricio Werdum (9-3-1)

After a dismal UFC debut in April against Andrei Arlovski, Werdum will head back to England in January for another tall task in former foe Gabriel Gonzaga. Werdum handed "Napao" the first loss of his pro career in September 2003 in their native Brazil, and he will need to replicate his effort to maintain his standing as a top heavyweight.

9. Cheick Kongo (11-3-1)

Speaking to the power of a win over a name opponent, Kongo, who is still fairly limited as a mixed martial artist, finds himself ranked after his impressive decision victory on Sept. 8 over Mirko Filipovic. The tall, powerful striker is a danger for anyone on the feet, but quality grapplers may still have their way with the Frenchman.

10. Mirko Filipovic (22-6-2)

After losing to Kongo, "Cro Cop" is just 1-2 since joining the UFC ranks after winning the 2006 PRIDE Open-Weight Grand Prix. Filipovic needs time off and a serious re-evaluation of his career if he's going to approach top-five status again.