What to do with the heavyweight MMA rankings?

Is this man the world's number one heavyweight?

Prior to Fedor Emelianenko’s loss to Fabricio Werdum Saturday night, June 26, “The Last Emperor” had long been considered the number one heavyweight in the world.

A completely different discussion could be had on whether or not Fedor deserved his number one status, yet the fact remains nearly every organization and media outlet which had a system for deciding and publishing MMA rankings, had Emelianenko at the top of the heavyweight mountain.

Here is what the MMA heavyweight rankings looked like prior to June 26.

Heavyweight Rankings (206 to 265 lbs.)

  1. Fedor Emelianenko (31-1, 1 No Contest)
  2. Brock Lesnar (4-1)
  3. Shane Carwin (12-0)
  4. Cain Velasquez (8-0)
  5. Alistair Overeem (33-11, 1 No Contest)
  6. Junior dos Santos (11-1)
  7. Frank Mir (13-5)
  8. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-6-1, 1 No Contest)
  9. Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1)
  10. Brett Rogers (10-2)

(These come from the Independent World MMA Rankings which are voted on monthly by some of MMA’s most respected journalists and personalities and the rankings ProMMAnow.com¬†endorse).

The questions now are, where do you place Werdum who was ranked number nine, and where do you place Fedor who was number one?

Does Werdum automatically surpass everyone to become number one?

That is the same type of logic that would automatically drop Fedor to number nine, which is completely absurd after one loss….

Or is it?

It gets really interesting when you look at what top ten ranked fighters both Werdum and Fedor have faced which are still currently on this top ten list.

Fedor has faced three people on this top ten list: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Brett Rogers, and Werdum. He actually faced Nogueira three times. He defeated him twice by unanimous decision, and then their other fight ended in a No Contest. He submitted Brett Rogers, and got submitted by Werdum.

Now looking at who Werdum has faced currently ranked in the top ten; Alistair Overeem, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Junior dos Santos, and Fedor. He submitted Overeem, lost a unanimous decision to Nogueira, got knocked out by dos Santos, and submitted Fedor.

Because Junior dos Santos knocked out Werdum in Oct. 2008 at UFC 90, it does not seem to make much sense to place Werdum ahead of him in the rankings.

After Fedor’s loss, the number one heavyweight in the world now is likely Brock Lesnar. Fedor should probably drop to Lesnar’s previous spot at number two, and Werdum should probably move up to number seven or higher.

Alistair Overeem’s most recent victory against Brett Rogers was the first top ten fighter he has faced and beaten in many years, so to have him above Werdum in the rankings, especially since Werdum defeated him, is difficult to justify.

Of course their fight was four years ago and it does not mean as much for current rankings as if he had beaten him last year, but it should still hold weight when considering their position in the top ten.

The new Independent World MMA Rankings will be published on July 9th. Until then we will just have to speculate.

We would like to hear your thoughts on who you think is the new number one heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. Where is Fedor ranked now? Where is Werdum ranked? Is Brock Lesnar the number one ranked fighter in mixed martial arts? Is being number one the same as being “the best”?

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