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 March 5, 2018.

Divisional Rankings

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


1. Stipe Miocic (18-2)
Doubt Miocic at your own risk. One of the most dominant heavyweights of all time went into his record-breaking third title defense in January as a betting underdog. When the dust settled, it was still Miocic on top.
Next: UFC 226 on July 7, vs. Daniel Cormier

2. Francis Ngannou (11-2)
Ngannou's bid for UFC gold came up short against Stipe Miocic in January, but only a fool would jump off this bandwagon. Ngannou lost to a versatile, experienced foe in Miocic -- who we are now calling the best heavyweight of all time. That's nothing to hang your head over. Ngannou's future remains bright.
Next: TBD

3. Alistair Overeem (43-16)
Overeem's KO loss to Francis Ngannou at UFC 218 will only show up on his record as a single loss, but it will be interesting to see how much weight it carries moving forward. Overeem is as experienced as they come, but even so, that kind of loss has the potential of a lasting effect.
Next: TBD

4. Fabricio Werdum (23-7-1)
Werdum breezed through a five-round fight against an unranked (but game) Marcin Tybura in November. It was his second win in a six-week span. It's well understood at this point where Werdum ranks in this division. Will he ever reclaim his UFC title, though?
Next: UFC Fight Night on March 17, vs. Alexander Volkov

5. 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

6. 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

7. 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

8. Derrick Lewis (19-5)

Lewis pulled out a late finish against Marcin Tybura, at a UFC Fight Night event in February. The man's victories aren't always pretty, but no one can doubt the knockout power. It's always there, even when our man looks completely gassed. We look forward to what's next.
Next: TBD

9. Curtis Blaydes (9-1)
A former junior college wrestling champion, Blaydes has found his groove in the UFC. After suffering a TKO loss to Francis Ngannou in his UFC debut in 2016, Blaydes is 4-0, including a signature win over Mark Hunt in Australia. Momentum is currently on this Chicago native's side.
Next: TBD

10. Alexander Volkov (29-6)
Volkov is 3-0 since signing with the UFC in 2016, and deserving of a big name opponent. The 29-year-old would be considered an underdog against the majority of the top names in his division, but with 19 knockout wins to his name, he's not a heavyweight you want to sleep on.
Next: UFC Fight Night on March 17, vs. Fabricio Werdum