Next week I'll put together a new list of the Top 10 heavyweights in mixed martial arts, and for the first time since I've been making those lists, Fedor Emelianenko won't be on top. Instead (barring something unforeseeable) I'll have the Brock Lesnar-Shane Carwin winner at No. 1.
But not everyone thinks Lesnar vs. Carwin absolutely determines the top spot in the heavyweight division. Former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett and UFC commentator Joe Rogan both made recent comments in which they said the top of the heavyweight division isn't quite as clear as it might seem.
"I don't think Lesnar and Carwin can surpass Fedor in ranking," Barnett told Fight Hub TV, via Zach Arnold. "I don't think either one of have done anything near his accomplishments, recently or career-wise. I think it's folly to put those two guys above Fedor in any way, shape, or form. I feel like Werdum, he got clipped by dos Santos in a good shot on the feet but if they were to fight again I don't necessarily think it would go that way and I think styles make match-ups."
Barnett is obviously right that neither Lesnar nor Carwin has accomplished as much in his career as Fedor, but I think Top 10 rankings are about where fighters are right now, not about what they've done in the past. So it's hard for me to buy the idea that the Lesnar-Carwin winner would still be ranked below Fedor.
For his part, Rogan says people shouldn't forget about Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos in their Top 10 rankings.
"I don't think you can discount Cain Velasquez and you got to include him in that heap and I also think you have to include Junior dos Santos, especially considering the fact Werdum just beat Fedor and then Junior dos Santos knocked out Werdum," Rogan told MMA30.com, again via Zach Arnold. "I think there's quite a few guys in the mix right now and the big ones right now are Carwin, Velasquez, and dos Santos. Those are the three in the UFC that are the big threats. ... I don't rank either one any higher than the other until they face each other, I don't think you can. I think it's a really interesting mix of heavyweights right now. The division's very exciting."
The argument Rogan is making is basically an argument for not even having rankings, and just letting the fights play out and seeing what happens. Nothing wrong with that if that's how you feel, but a lot of fans like seeing fighters ranked in handy list form. I know I do. And the next time I arrange the heavyweights, I'll put Lesnar or Carwin first.