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SB Nation heavyweight rankings: Cain Velasquez takes over top spot

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Esther Lin

It should come as no surprise that Cain Velasquez is a clean-sweep pick for the No. 1 ranking in the SB Nation consensus heavyweight rankings after his tour-de-force performance at UFC 155.

And really, it also shouldn't come as a surprise that Junior dos Santos is a unanimous pick for the second spot, either. Velasquez and dos Santos have swapped the UFC heavyweight championship back and forth and have given each other their only UFC losses. Outside of fighting one another, the two are a combined 6-0 against the remainder of the top 10.

As for the rest of the new top 10, Roy Nelson made the biggest move of note, jumping up two spots from No. 10 to No. 8 after his knockout win over Matt Mitrione. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, meanwhile, moved up a spot to No. 6 after his smackdown of Dave Herman. Otherwise, things were relatively uneventful, as Daniel Cormier, Fabricio Werdum, and Frank Mir continued to hold down the 3-5 spots.

Each of the top nine fighters appeared on all six ballots.

This month's voters: Ariel Helwani and I from; Brian Hemminger and Tim Myers of, and Tim Burke and Dallas Winston from

(Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. At heavyweight, the currently affects Alistair Overeem, who as of this writing has not yet been re-licensed by the state of Nevada after serving time out due to elevated levels of testosterone).


  1. Cain Velasquez (11-1, 60 points) With Junior dos Santos likely needing time off, Velasquez vs. Overeem would seem next, assuming 1. Overeem is re-licensed and 2. He then defeats Antonio Silva.
  2. Junior Dos Santos (15-2, 54 points) The big question for JDS, is how does he respond after taking the first major beating of his career? Some strong fighters have never been the same after taking the type of abuse dos Santos suffered.
  3. Daniel Cormier (10-0, 45 points) Will he stay (at 265) or will he go (to 205)? Until Cormier makes an announcement, he stays ranked here.
  4. Fabricio Werdum (16-5-1, 43 points) On the sidelines awhile getting ready for the next TUF: Brazil with Big Nog.
  5. Frank Mir (16-6, 38 points) No news yet on the former champ's next move.
  6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (34-7-1-1, 26 points) See Werdum.
  7. Antonio Silva (17-4, 22 points) "Bigfoot" gets yet another shot at one of the big boys when he presumably meets Overeem on Feb. 2.
  8. Roy Nelson (18-7, 19 points) Did exactly what he needed to do against Mitrione. Now in "wait and see" mode.
  9. Josh Barnett (31-6, 16 points) A bigger question than whether he wins or loses on Jan. 12 is whether he'll return to the UFC afterward.
  10. Stefan Struve (25-5, 4 points) March 2 matchup with Mark Hunt falls squarely into the "fun fight" category.

Others: Travis Browne 2, Mark Hunt 1.