On the latest episode of Inside MMA Bas Rutten presented his own ranking of the top ten heavyweights:
- Alistair Overeem
- Fedor Emelianenko
- Brock Lesnar
- Junior dos Santos
- Fabricio Werdum
- Cain Velasquez
- Shane Carwin
- Frank Mir
- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
- Antonio Silva
Bas is a likeable and knowledgable guy, he's a legend of the sport, but like anyone else who puts together his own list, Bas's list is debatable.
As an example, Overeem -- or Ubereem, the new and improved monster we see today -- hasn't lost an MMA fight since losing to Sergei Kharitonov in 2007, and excluding a No Contest with Cro Cop, he's finished all his opponents in the first round, except for Buentello, who he stopped in the second. He's been in fantastic form lately, yet despite tearing through his opponents, none of them -- except for a couple of arguable exceptions -- would even be considered to be in the top 20.
He has still been impressive because despite fighting lesser quality opponents he has won very convincingly even though he was expected, even obligated, to do so. His most recent victory was over Brett Rogers whom he threw about with ease in a one-sided beatdown, a guy who Fedor -- a perennial number one and arguably the best fighter of all time -- struggled with (before he knocked his head into the stratosphere).
But despite Overeem's improved physique and winning streak, I would have to disagree with Bas because, as I mentioned earlier, the quality of Overeem's opponents is not enough to justify placing him right at the top of the list above many other guys who are in the mix fighting their fellow top ten constituents. I would, however, certainly place him at number 4 or 5, but he would have to fight a few top ten guys to be placed any higher.
As for Fedor, Bas made a good point that he's suffered only one loss recently and now many people are writing him off like he's a can, as though he's overrated and isn't worth all the hype which surrounds him. But of that loss, he got caught by a BJJ master. He was impatient, he was reckless, and he was dry. It was a mistake of his own, perhaps an overestimation of his ability to shrug off a submission attempt. But he wasn't beaten down or dominated, he underestimated Werdum's chance of success (possibly due to never, in his whole career, being submitted by anyone in an MMA fight). He's human, he made a mistake, and I wager he would still be the favorite if they were to fight again today. So Bas's positioning of Fedor, though arguable, is certainly justified.
Many might scoff at Brock being placed at number 3, but like Bas said, he'd like to see Brock not shy away from getting hit, where he tends to hold his head away awkwardly, evidently not quite used to being hit like a fighter should be. He's not quite comfortable at striking and it'll eventually be his downfall and I can understand how some could see that Overeem and Fedor have a great chance of defeating him. But Overeem's resume and Fedor's recent form -- losing to Werdum and apparently starting to lose interest -- aren't quite enough to place them above Brock, the champion of the best MMA promotion in the world in a division with six fighters in the top ten.
It's also good to see Bas giving due credit to Antonio Silva who seems to get overlooked by a lot of people. He's a tough and durable fighter whose recent form more than justifies his place in the ten.
To conclude, overall, despite the glaring audacity to place Overeem at top spot because "he's from Holland" (which Bas jokingly admitted), Bas's list is well put together and is for the most part correct, at least for the reason that the right fighters are in there and the placement is close to the proper order of things. More or less.