ESPN's MMA divisional rankings: Heavyweight

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

Updated: October 11, 2017, 10:33 AM 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 October 11.


Divisional Rankings

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


HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 pounds)

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: TBD

2. Alistair Overeem (43-15)
Wins don't get much closer than the narrow majority decision Overeem took over Fabricio Werdum at UFC 213. Overeem has fought just about every elite heavyweight on the planet at this point and cemented himself as one of the all-time greats. He only has eyes now for a UFC title.
Next: UFC 218 on Dec. 2, vs. Francis Ngannou

3. Fabricio Werdum (22-7-1)
Werdum was supposed to face Derrick Lewis at UFC 216, but ended up fighting Walt Harris instead. That went about as you'd expect: Werdum via submission in the first. He remains dangerous, even this late into his career.
Next: UFC Fight Night on Nov. 18, vs. Marcin Tybura

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

7. Francis Ngannou (10-1)
Ngannou is the most exciting heavyweight prospect the UFC has had in recent years, and he started off 2017 with a win over a ranked opponent, Andrei Arlovski. Ngannou still needs to prove himself against more ranked competition, but it's hard to argue with five consecutive finishes in the UFC.
Next: UFC 218 on Dec. 2, vs. Alistair Overeem

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: TBD

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: TBD

Brett Okamoto

ESPN Staff Writer

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