ESPN's MMA divisional rankings: Heavyweight

Brett Okamoto lists his latest standings within MMA's weight classes

Updated: January 4, 2018, 4:19 PM ET
By Brett Okamoto | ESPN

Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN's pound-for-pound rankings. Plus, check out our women's pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through Jan. 4, 2018.

Divisional Rankings

Heavyweight | Light heavyweight
Middleweight | Welterweight | Lightweight
Featherweight | Bantamweight | Flyweight
Women's bantamweight | Women's strawweight


1. Stipe Miocic (17-2)
The Baddest Man on the Planet doesn't seem to be slowing down. In 2014, Junior dos Santos beat Miocic in a five-round war. A rematch less than three years later was one-way traffic.
Next: UFC 220 against Francis Ngannou

2. Francis Ngannou (11-1)
Oh boy. Ngannou sky-rockets up the heavyweight rankings after laying absolute waste to Alistair Overeem at UFC 218 in December. He's still relatively young in his career, but it's quite clear he's a special, special talent.
Next: UFC 220 against Stipe Miocic

3. Alistair Overeem (43-16)
Overeem's KO loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 will only show up on his record as a single loss, but it will be interesting to see how much weight it carries moving forward. Overeem is as experienced as they come, but even so, that kind of loss has the potential of a lasting effect.
Next: TBD

3. Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1)
Werdum breezed through a five-round fight against an unranked (but game) Marcin Tybura in November. It was his second win in a six-week span. It's well understood at this point where Werdum ranks in this division. Will he ever reclaim his UFC title, though?
Next: TBD

4.  Cain Velasquez (14-2)
A healthy Velasquez is the best Velasquez. The former champion looked terrific in an absolute drubbing of Travis Browne in July. If he can stay healthy, he's a good bet to reclaim the UFC heavyweight title he has already won twice before.
Next: TBD

5. Junior dos Santos (18-5)
Sometimes you're the hammer, sometimes you're the nail. That's the heavyweight division. Dos Santos isn't done by any means, but he has had some rough nights in the Octagon. UFC 211 against Stipe Miocic was one of them.
Next: TBD

6. Ben Rothwell (36-10)
A terrific four-fight winning streak came to a screeching halt in April, as Rothwell was badly outclassed by former champion Junior dos Santos. He'll continue to hang around the title mix if he comes back strong, but he just lost a big opportunity to distinguish himself.
Next: TBD

8. Vitaly Minakov (20-0) 
The Russian heavyweight was stripped of his Bellator MMA title in 2016 due to inactivity. He has since found a home competing in his native Russia, recently defeating Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva there, and remains unbeaten now for seven years.
Next: TBD

9. Mark Hunt (13-11-1)
Hunt has just one win in the last 12 months, but it was a big one -- a convincing TKO over Derrick Lewis in June. At 43, it's hard to know exactly how much Hunt has left. But this is a volatile division and Hunt remains a player.
Next: UFC 221 on Feb. 10, vs. Curtis Blaydes

10. Derrick Lewis (18-5)
Lewis saw a six-fight win streak snapped in June, at the hands of Mark Hunt in New Zealand. Immediately after the fight, Lewis announced he was "probably" retiring from the sport. That was short lived, and he was booked to fight Fabricio Werdum -- only to pull out the day of the fight. We'll see if he turns this around.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Feb. 18, vs. Marcin Tybura

Brett Okamoto

ESPN Staff Writer



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