There's no question, after Fabricio Werdum's dismantling of Cain Velasquez, that he ranks as the #1 heavyweight in the world right now. But where should he rank among mixed martial artists all-time?
UFC 188 - Werdum takes over as #1 heavyweight
After losing a surprisingly close first round, Fabricio Werdum stayed focused and won the standup in round 2, rocking an increasingly sluggish Cain Velasquez. Werdum continued to win exchanges in the third round before administering a tight guillotine choke from the guard for the victory.
SportsRatings Heavyweight rankings updated through UFC 188
|Fighter||WC||Rating||Rated Record||June Results|
|2||1||Fabricio Werdum||HW||83.10||19-5-1||Beat #1 Cain Velasquez|
|1||2||Cain Velasquez||HW||52.50||10-2-0||Lost to #2 Fabricio Werdum|
|4||4||Junior dos Santos||HW||32.80||11-2-0|
|5||5||Fedor Emelianenko||HW||25.40||27-4-0||last win -36 months.|
|7||6||Ben Rothwell||HW||23.46||25-9-0||Beat #44 Matt Mitrione|
|8||8||Vitaly Minakov||HW||19.91||3-0-0||last win -14 months.|
Even though he held the UFC belt due to Velasquez's inactivity, he was not considered the "real" champ—until now.
But looking long term at Werdum's career, he has defeated the men considered the consensus top three heavyweights of all time: Fedor Emelianenko, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and now Cain Velasquez. When you've defeated the top three all-time, where does that put you?
According to our All-Time Rankings, it puts Werdum at #3 himself, knocking Velasquez to #4 among heavyweights. He and Velasquez switch positions at #7 and #9 among all fighters.
SportsRatings All-Time Mixed Martial Arts Rankings through June 13, 2015:
|June 13 rank||Fighter||Rating||Rated Record||Peak month; highest-rated win|
|1||1||Fedor Emelianenko||93.90||27-4-0|| peak rating: 11/2009
top win: 3/2003 #5 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
|2||2||Georges St. Pierre||91.39||23-2-0|| peak rating: 11/2013
top win: 11/2006 #19 Matt Hughes
|3||3||Jon Jones||84.81||15-1-0|| peak rating: 1/2015
top win: 3/2011 #21 Mauricio Rua
|4||4||Anderson Silva||78.50||31-6-0|| peak rating: 10/2012
top win: 8/2001 #35 Hayato Sakurai
|5||5||Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira||73.77||32-9-1|| peak rating: 12/2002
top win: 9/2001 #39 Mark Coleman
|8||6||Chris Weidman||72.82||9-0-0|| peak rating: 5/2015
top win: 7/2013 #4 Anderson Silva
|9||7||Fabricio Werdum||72.36||19-5-1|| peak rating: 6/2015
top win: 6/2010 #1 Fedor Emelianenko
|6||8||Lyoto Machida||71.94||19-6-0|| peak rating: 10/2009
top win: 3/2005 #18 B.J. Penn
|7||9||Cain Velasquez||70.76||10-2-0|| peak rating: 10/2013
top win: 12/2012 #26 Junior dos Santos
|10||10||Wanderlei Silva||65.88||34-12-1|| peak rating: 10/2004
top win: 12/2000 #14 Dan Henderson
Our All-Time chart is made by formula, making it completely objective but also a product of its algorithm's whim. Still, it gives an idea of what Werdum has accomplished when you note he has defeated the #1, #5, and #9 fighters on the list.
All three of those fights had interesting circumstances. Werdum beat Fedor by a triangle choke when Emelianenko rushed in foolishly to Werdum's guard; some say it was a fluke result. Werdum fought Nogueira late in Big Nog's career, when he was much less effective. And the fight with Velasquez came after Cain had a long layoff, and he was clearly gassed by the high altitude in Mexico City.
And Werdum has had some bad losses, for example the one-sided loss to Alistair Overeem that followed the Fedor win. In that fight Werdum dropped to the ground after every punch, hoping to draw Overeem in the way he did Fedor. It made for a laughable fight and was the reason many dismissed the Fedor win and Werdum's chance for realistic title contention in the UFC.
But Werdum's skill set continued to develop. He went from a one-dimensional jiu-jitsu specialist to a very well-rounded fighter over the course of 5 UFC wins. He beat the dangerous and iron-chinned Roy Nelson, punched out Mike Russow, and submitted Nogueira. Then came a surprise win over the surging Travis Browne, after which he KOed Mark Hunt with a knee.
He was a 4-1 underdog against Velasquez but he used his height advantage to good effect, leaning on Cain when against the cage and scoring with long jabs and front kicks out in the open. He survived the first round fairly unscathed and won the 2nd round very clearly. In the third he had Velasquez so tired it was anybody's fight, and he took advantage of a scramble to force a tap-out that no one expected.
Werdum's next opponent may be Junior dos Santos, which would make a very good fight. Stipe Miocic also ranks high in the UFC rankings, as does the rebounding Andre Arlovski, who like dos Santos holds a win over Werdum from several years ago. Whether or not Werdum can hold on to the top spot very long, he certainly has made things more interesting in the division.