Top Ten Heavyweights in the UFC
1. Cain Velasquez- Although Cain has competition in the number 2 and 3 spots, I think he possesses the skills that are necessary to remain the UFC Heavyweight Champion. Velasquez has the heart of a champion. He is not the biggest heavyweight, but he is the most conditioned and he moves as smoothly as a Middleweight. Also, as we have seen against Brock and Minotauro; he hits just as hard as any of the biggest. Furthermore, Cain is smart enough to use his dominant wrestling against any striker that may be equal to him or possibly even better in the stand-up. The wrestling back-up is what will keep him the champion.
2. Junior Dos Santos- Dos Santos is knocking people out left and right! He hits very hard and can follow it up with vicious combos. His superior movement and striking is what allows him to keep knocking people out. Dos Santos can take on anyone in the heavyweight division, but I think that Cain’s wrestling pressure on top will nullify his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills. Cain vs. Dos Santos is going to be sweet! It could go either way, but I am leaning towards Cain by unanimous decision or referee stoppage via ground and pound beat down. Other than the number 1spot, Dos Santos will wipe out all other opponents.
3. Shane Carwin- Shane Carwin is the beast of all beasts. He is a gorilla that actually knows how to throw a punch! That first round against Brock made Carwin look like a hero. I hated seeing him lose in the second round, but hopefully he learns not to gas himself out anymore. Put him against Brock Lesnar again and Brock won’t be so lucky. Carwin is number three because out of all fighters I truly believe that he has the most ability to knock someone out with one hit. However, I am afraid that he does not have the ground game that is necessary to become the champion nor does he move as strategically as Cain or Dos Santos. But maybe he will surprise us one day if he works hard in the gym!
4. Brock Lesnar- Everyone knows it; you either love Brock Lesnar or you hate him. Well, so far I am part of the latter. But I am no fool, Brock Lesnar is huge and because of his athletic ability he moves like a middleweight when he has not worn himself out. That is a scary thing for the person standing in front of him. If Brock isn’t being out classed in a fight he is dominant because of how big he is. The problem is that he is pretty much stuck at number 4 in my mind because I don’t think he’ll ever develop the mixed martial arts ability to beat the number 1, 2, or 3 fighters to become the champion again. These fighters weren’t around before, or at least Dana White didn’t think these fighters were ready for a title shot yet. Besides numbers 1,2, and 3, I don’t think that any of the other heavyweights will ever be able to overcome the gorilla of a human being that Brock Lesnar is, no matter how good they are against other fighters. They just can’t do it.
5. Frank Mir- Mir has had a long and successful career in the UFC. He has more experience than most, not all, in the UFC. He has done a good job of evolving through dedication and hard work. He has always been a very well rounded fighter, so evolving like he has probably wasn’t as hard for him to do as it is for others. He is a very dangerous fighter and I would really like to see him fight for the championship again one day. I think the problem for him is the big size of Brock, the punching power of Carwin, and the wrestling and overall ability of Cain that will keep him from retaining the title. Most of us know that styles make fights and that is why I didn’t include Dos Santos in the last sentence. I think that Mir could have a chance with Dos Santos. It would be a great fight!
6. Cheick Kongo- Kongo is built like a tree trunk. I love the confidence that he has all the way from walking up to the octagon to the last minute of the fight. Even when he is losing he still looks confident. Remaining calm and staying confident is crucial for any good fighter. Also, his striking skills are brutal. His leg kicks can buckle anyone. I hope that he works to evolve in this sport by working on his ground game in the near future. If so, he will move right up in the rankings.
7. Minotauro Nogueira- Nogueira is one of the greatest heavyweights of all time. He has been through a lot of wars and I think it has taken a toll on him. But he is still game and because of his experience he is still able to beat most challengers except for the elite UFC heavyweights right now.
8. Travis Browne- Travis Browne is a tough dude to fight. He comes to knock people out and I believe that he is going to be able to test the waters in the heavyweight division. I predict that he will be matched up with a big name in his next fight whenever that may be.
9. Roy Nelson- I don’t see how anyone could question Roy Nelson’s heart and make any sense out of doing so. Nelson vs. Dos Santos was probably the most brutal 15 minutes that Nelson has ever experienced before. Even with the hard shots that Dos Santos landed, Nelson was still standing. He has knockout power but he needs to work on his cardio. I don’t think he will ever make it to the top of the list because I don’t think that he is very well rounded nor do I think he has the athletic ability to make it to the top even if he works on becoming more well rounded.
10. Pat Barry- I have Pat Barry last on the top 10 list (which by the way; is an impressive place to be, at the top 10 of the UFC heavyweight fighters.) He has had some tough fights and he has proven to be a worthy opponent. But I am interested in seeing how he answers his next test; Cheick Kongo. (Which I will be attending in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Can’t wait!) We have seen Barry take on Cro Cop and tough man Joey Beltran, but I think we need to see how he does against Kongo before he really starts getting attention.
I would like to end by saying that I see great potential in Matt Mitrione. I could not put him on the top 10 list because he hasn’t had enough experience nor has he fought any big names yet. Yet he has been running through his opponents despite being so new to the sport, which makes me think he will have a great future in the UFC. Mitrione is working hard to improve and I think that it is going to pay off.
By Brandon Beck