Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings


Sep 11, 2008
Dave Mandel/

Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko

1. Fedor Emelianenko (28-1, 1 NC)
With three years of inferior opposition, the status of the sport's finest heavyweight had started to drop, and many questioned whether "The Last Emperor" still had it. Although he seemed as unaffected as ever, Emelianenko brought the MMA world to a hush with the most impressive performance of his career on July 19, destroying two-time UFC champion Tim Sylvia in 36 brutal seconds.

2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1, 1 NC)
Although “The Ultimate Fighter 8” coach remains locked into a bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir in December, the future for Nogueira has gotten more interesting with Couture’s return. Now, should Nogueira successfully defend his interim UFC heavyweight crown against Mir, it could set the stage for a high-stakes heavyweight affair against Couture or Lesnar next year.

3. Tim Sylvia (24-5)
In the biggest fight of his career, Sylvia was summarily smashed by Emelianenko in a humbling 36 seconds. Although his most recent missteps have come against the two top heavyweights in the world, Sylvia has lost three of his last four and is in major need of a sterling win to remain an elite heavyweight.

4. Andrei Arlovski (13-5)
After being penciled in to face Emelianenko at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Oct. 11, Arlovski saw the opportunity slip through his fingers when the Russian was relegated to the sidelines with a hand injury. Arlovski was ready to tackle Josh Barnett in the main event at “Day of Reckoning,” until the promotion postponed the show.

5. Josh Barnett (23-5)
Finally back in a major promotion with top-notch heavyweights, Barnett has won eight of his last 10 bouts. He avenged one of his five career defeats at Affliction “Banned” in July, as he waxed Brazilian veteran Pedro Rizzo.

6. Fabricio Werdum (11-3-1)
Werdum will meet fellow Brazilian Junior "Cigano" dos Santos at UFC 90 “Silva vs. Cote” on Oct. 25 in Chicago. Unfortunately, the real story surrounding the Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout is the cloudy UFC heavyweight title picture. That may lead to Werdum taking another tune-up fight after Santos, as he awaits his shot at gold.

7. Gabriel Gonzaga (9-3)
Gonzaga took an easy two-minute submission win over Justin McCully in July and figures to be a favorite again in his slated November bout against Josh Hendricks at UFC 91 “Couture vs. Lesnar” in Las Vegas.

8. Mirko Filipovic (23-6-2)
After a series of injury setbacks, "Cro Cop" is finally set for a major-league heavyweight tilt. At Dream 6 on Sept. 23, Filipovic will face his first serious competition in a year when he takes on the surging Alistair Overeem.

9. Ben Rothwell (29-6)
Rothwell validated himself with a gutsy performance against Arlovski at Affliction “Banned.” Booked to face Rizzo at Affliction’s postponed Oct. 11 event, Rothwell finds himself in a holding pattern.

10. Alistair Overeem (28-11)
Currently riding high on one of his impressive winning streaks -- it has included dominant victories over Paul Buentello and Mark Hunt -- the mercurial Dutchman has looked sensational of late. Overeem will have the chance to further entrench himself as a premier heavyweight on Sept. 23 when he meets Filipovic at Dream 6.
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