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ESPN's MMA divisional rankings: Heavyweight

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. 3.


Divisional Rankings

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


HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 pounds)

1. Stipe Miocic (16-2)
Four months after knocking Fabricio Werdum out cold to win the UFC championship, Miocic was back at it with another first-round finish over Alistair Overeem at UFC 203. With ice in his veins and lead in his hands, Miocic is looking like he might be the long-term champ this division has never had.
Next: TBD

2. Fabricio Werdum (21-6-1)
Werdum rebounded from a title loss to Stipe Miocic in May with another dominant showcase against Travis Browne -- his second win over Browne in less than three years. Afterward, Werdum landed a front kick to Browne's coach for getting out of hand, just for good measure.
Next: TBD

3. 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

4. Alistair Overeem (41-15)
Overeem came close to winning the UFC title in September, knocking Stipe Miocic down with a left hand and nearly locking in a guillotine. It wasn't meant to be, however, and now Overeem will need to bounce back from the 10th knockout loss of his career.
Next: TBD

5. Junior dos Santos (18-4)
The former champion bounced back from a knockout loss to Overeem in a major way, as he dominated Ben Rothwell in a five-round decision in April. The performance should silence any whispers of JDS losing a step for the time being.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Feb. 19, vs. Stefan Struve

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

7. Josh Barnett (35-8)
A battle between two former UFC champions ended well for Barnett, as he submitted Andrei Arlovski in the third round of a fight in September. It feels like Barnett has been relevant in this division since the sport began, and that doesn't seem likely to change soon.
Next: TBD

8. Travis Browne (18-5-1)
After suffering another lopsided loss to Fabricio Werdum, Browne's career is pretty much in a free fall. He had some bad luck at UFC 203, dislocating his finger early on. Bad luck or not, Browne needs a win in the worst way.
Next: UFC 208 on Feb. 11, vs. Derrick Lewis

9. Andrei Arlovski (25-13)
Arlovski finds himself in the midst of a three-fight losing streak, none of which have gone the distance. He has rallied from a skid like this before, but that was five years ago.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Jan. 28, vs. Francis Ngannou

10. Vitaly Minakov (18-0)

The Russian heavyweight was stripped of his Bellator MMA title in May due to inactivity. It's still unclear when we should expect to see Minakov fight next, but the 31-year-old has been very good in the cage when he has actually been in it and is unbeaten in six years.
Next: TBD