Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings


Jan 29, 2009
Dave Mandel/

Fedor Emelianenko

1. Fedor Emelianenko (29-1-0, 1 NC)
Emelianenko's brutal sparking of Andrei Arlovski in their Jan. 24 Affliction headliner has given rise to fervent, polarized discussion over whether Emelianenko is supernatural or fortunate. Any discussion of the sport's heavyweight king is welcomed, though, as he should have another blockbuster heavyweight bout this summer, when he’s expected to meet Josh Barnett.

2. Andrei Arlovski (14-6-0)
For three minutes, Arlovski was better than ever while peppering the sport's heavyweight king, Fedor Emelianenko, from range. Then, one cruel flying knee attempt later, Arlovski was face down, out cold on the mat -- a brutal punctuation mark put on what began as Arlovski's finest performance.

3. Josh Barnett (24-5-0)
Barnett's Jan. 24 victory over Gilbert Yvel at Affliction's "Day of Reckoning" was hardly one of his finest. However, the victory, coupled with the triumph of Fedor Emelianenko, should set up a high-stakes heavyweight marquee for Affliction's third offering in the early summer.

4. Frank Mir (12-3-0)
In a fight that he was almost universally counted out of, the former UFC champion turned in the best performance of his career, technically trumping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira en route to becoming the first man to ever stop “Minotauro.” Now, sometime in 2009, Mir will have to duplicate his February win over Brock Lesnar to become the UFC’s undisputed heavyweight king.

5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1, 1 NC)
Nogueira, the early favorite in the UFC’s ad hoc heavyweight tournament, turned in a woeful performance against Mir, who completely took apart the former Pride heavyweight champion before finishing him off with punches in the second round. He’s still a top heavyweight, but Nogueira has a long way to go to erase memories of such a lopsided loss.

6. Brock Lesnar (3-1-0)
With the first legs of the UFC’s heavyweight tournament over, Lesnar will have the chance to make an enormous statement in just his fifth professional bout. He will take on Mir -- the man who handed him his first career loss at UFC 81 -- in a UFC heavyweight title unification match.

7. Randy Couture (16-9-0)
There is much hope for a fight with fellow fallen champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. That bout will have to wait, though, as "The Natural" is recovering from a nasty elbow injury. He had two abnormally large bone spurs mined from his elbow, and he’s also on tap for a leading role in Sylvester Stallone's forthcoming film “The Expendables.”

8. Tim Sylvia (24-5-0)
There’s no clear next step for Sylvia. The two-time UFC champion’s looking to drum up interest from Japanese promoters, as well as chasing a potentially lamentable bout with elder statesman Ken Shamrock, who would hardly offer Sylvia real competition.

9. Ben Rothwell (29-6-0)
A bout with Pedro Rizzo at Affliction’s Jan. 24 show did not materialize. Instead, Rothwell got in a tidy tune-up bout, bashing an overmatched Chris Guillen at Adrenaline MMA’s second event on Dec. 11.

10. Alistair Overeem (29-11-0, 1 NC)
Overeem has been experiencing a major resurgence in the MMA world, and the Dutchman turned in one of the most brilliant performances of his career in the kickboxing ring on New Year’s Eve. He completely destroyed K-1 World Grand Prix runner-up and resident bad boy Badr Hari in less than a round, bringing the hype surrounding the “Demolition Man” to critical mass.
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