Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings


Oct 31, 2008
Dave Mandel/

Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko
1. Fedor Emelianenko (28-1-0, 1 NC)
If there has been one criticism of MMA's premier heavyweight, it's that Emelianenko hasn't met the best of his contemporaries over the last three years. He responded with a 36-second thrashing of Tim Sylvia in July, and he will look to further prove his supremacy over the division on Jan. 24 when he takes on another former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, in the headliner of the second Affliction bill.

2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-4-1, 1 NC)
Although the TUF 8 coach is still locked into a bout with former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir later this year, the future for Nogueira has gotten more interesting with the return of Randy Couture to the mix. Now, should Nogueira defend his interim version of the UFC heavyweight crown, 2009 will see "Minotauro" take on either Couture or Brock Lesnar in a high-stakes heavyweight affair.

3. Andrei Arlovski (14-5-0)
2008 offered Arlovski a great opportunity to rebuild himself, and he did so brilliantly. With his knockouts of Ben Rothwell and Roy Nelson, he has earned himself the biggest fight of his career -- a meeting with the sport's finest heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko, in the main event of Affliction's sophomore effort on Jan. 24.

4. Josh Barnett (23-5-0)
Barnett's management nixed hopes of him facing Fedor Emelianenko in January as the headliner for Affliction's second event. Unfortunately, Barnett's proposed participation on the Nov. 1 Sengoku card didn't come to fruition either.

5. Tim Sylvia (24-5-0)
In the biggest fight of his career, Tim Sylvia was summarily smashed by Fedor Emelianenko in a humbling 36 seconds. Although his missteps have come against the top heavyweights in the world, Sylvia has lost three of his last four and he is a year removed from his last win in a suddenly active heavyweight division.

6. Ben Rothwell (29-6-0)
Rothwell validated himself with a gutsy performance against Andrei Arlovski. He was looking to get back into the ring against Pedro Rizzo on Affliction's slated Oct. 11 follow-up card, but the postponement of the event left him in the lurch temporarily. The Miletich product may still meet Rizzo on the rescheduled January Affliction bill.

7. Alistair Overeem (28-11-0, 1 NC)
Overeem was dominating the early going of his bout with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, but he didn't get the chance to seize victory due to his errant knees ending the bout prematurely. The Dutchman is still amidst one of his hot streaks, though, and may find another highlight reel to add to it Nov. 9 if a bout with Gary Goodridge comes to fruition in his native Netherlands.

8. Junior dos Santos (7-1-0)
After causing a stir in the blogosphere with some nasty mittwork leading up to UFC 90, Junior dos Santos used Fabricio Werdum's face as a focus mitt in one of the year's bigger upsets. Whether or not the young protégé of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is legitimately one of the best heavyweights in the world remains to be seen, but for now, no one can take his nasty knockout of Werdum away from him.

9. Fabricio Werdum (11-4-1)
Perhaps there's no sport with liver underdogs than MMA. Unfortunately, Werdum didn't heed history, and he had his UFC title hopes splattered courtesy of a brutal uppercut from fellow Brazilian Junior dos Santos. Instead of awaiting the winner of the UFC's forthcoming heavyweight tournament, Werdum has been knocked down the ladder of contention.

10. Gabriel Gonzaga (9-3-0)
Gonzaga took an easy two-minute submission win over Justin McCully in July with little surprise. "Napao" figures to be a heavy favorite again in his slated November bout at UFC 91 against Midwesterner Josh Hendricks.
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