There’s no better way to stick your neck out that coming up with a top 10 “anything” list. It just gets worse when you talk about combat sports like boxing, kickboxing or mixed martial arts. However, here it is, my top 10 list of heavyweight MMA fighters on the planet.
I need to tell you that when I decided to write down my top 10 list, I didn’t think it would take too long. I believed that I could easily pick 10 fighters that were heads and shoulders above the pack. It wasn’t that easy. I’m sure that there will be a lot of people who disagree with my picks, but isn’t that the point, to start a discussion of who’s the best and who is just there for a paycheck?
The 10th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world.
This was the toughest position to choose, really there could be 4 or 5 guys tied for this position, but I needed to choose one and it was Mark “The Hammer” Coleman. Mark Coleman was one of MMA’s pioneers, he established ground and pound as a valid MMA skill. In fact, Mark is still one of the most intense fighters in the game. Unfortunately his submission skills (both offensive and defensive) have not improved enough to be competitive with the top fighters in the world.
The 9th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
Rashad Evans is my pick for fighter number 9. Rashad is still relatively new to the fight game and his natural athletic ability is as good as it gets. With time Rashad will move much closer to the head of the pack, but for now, congratulations Rashad on your success and making it to the list!
The 8th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
Brandon “The Truth” Vera is certainly one of the most exciting heavyweight fighters in the UFC right now and I was tempted to put him in the top 5. However, he needs to beat a more substantial fighter than Frank Mir. While I have the utmost respect for Frank Mir, it’s apparent to me that he’s not the same fighter that he was before his accident. I believe that Brandon will be top 5 on next years list. He’s one quality win away from that (in my eyes).
The 7th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
Tim Silvia is the UFC’s heavyweight champion. Why is he only ranked #7, the only explanation I have is that I’ve never personally met anyone who likes to watch Tim Silvia fight. He keeps on winning, but I’m never impressed with his performances. Sorry Tim, that’s the way it is, you sit at number seven and if you don’t start winning fights in a more crowd pleasing manner, I’m afraid you’ll drop off the top 10 entirely.
The 6th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
It might surprise you that I put former K-1 fighter Mark Hunt in the top 10. It should surprise you that I put him above Tim Silvia, but I have my reasons. Last year Mark Hunt beat Mirko Cro Cop (by a very close decision) and he also held strong with Fedor Emelianenko, even on the ground, in the most recent Pride event.
The 5th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
Josh Barnett is my pick for the 5th best MMA heavyweight fighter in the world. Josh says his style is “pro wrestling”, but don’t mistake his performances as fake. Barnett combines general toughness and strength with much improved stand up and a stellar ground game. His fights are always exciting and often bloody. Josh is a former UFC heavyweight champion with victories over the likes of Randy Couture.
The 4th best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
A year ago I would have put Andrei Arlovski in the top 3, maybe even top 2, but his losses to Tim Silvia have me wondering. I don’t question Andrei’s skills, he’s an excellent stand up fighter with a strong ground game, I do question whether he is afraid of getting hit after losing to Tim Silvia’s by knockout. By the way, that is a fight he should have won, in my opinion Silvia got lucky (but he seems to do that a lot). I’m looking forward to seeing what 2007 has in store for Andrei.
The 3rd best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world
Who in their right mind would argue that Mirko Cro Cop belongs in the top 3 heavyweight fighters in the world? Now that Mirko has joined the UFC it’s clear that Tim Silvia’s days as champion are numbered. Mirko will hold the UFC heavyweight title in 2007, I’d put money on that one. Mirko’s strength is most certainly his striking, including the best high kicks in the business. Victim’s of Cro Cop’s left high kick is a list of MMA royalty…I wonder if he can get that kick 6 foot 7 (Tim Silvia’s height).
The 2rd best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world is none other than Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Nog for short. Nog has faces the absolute best of MMA and the only fighter who has consistently had his number is Fedor. He has beaten Cro Cop and most recently Josh Barnett. He is a talented master of submissions, has good stand up and as shown in his match against Bob Sapp, he is tough as nails and can take a punch.
The best heavyweight fighter in the world is Fedor Emelyanenko. There can be no argument, he’s beaten every other fighter on this list (at least those who’ve faced him). Congrats Fedor, you’re #1!
That’s it, my list of the top 10 heavyweight fighters in the world. Keep watching the fights.