USAT/SBN December 2010 Consensus MMA Rankings: Heavyweight

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Cain Velasquez 99 UFC 1
2 Brock Lesnar 92 UFC 2
3 Fedor Emelianenko 89 M-1 Global / Strikeforce 3
4 Fabricio Werdum 87 Strikeforce 4
5 Junior dos Santos 84 UFC 5
6 Shane Carwin 83 UFC 6
7 Frank Mir 76 UFC 7
8 Alistair Overeem 75 Strikeforce 8
9 Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira 70 UFC 9
10 Antonio Silva 51 Strikeforce 10
11 Josh Barnett 46 Strikeforce 11
12 Brett Rogers 37 Strikeforce 12
13 Brendan Schaub 30 UFC 13
14 Roy Nelson 30 UFC 14
15 Cheick Kongo 24 UFC 15
16 Andrei Arlovski 23 Strikeforce 16
17 Ben Rothwell 22 UFC 17
18 Pedro Rizzo 21 Free Agent 18
19 Mirko Filipovic 20 UFC 19
19 Gabriel Gonzaga 20 UFC 19
21 Cole Konrad 19 Bellator 22
22 Mike Russow 18 UFC 23
23 Tim Sylvia 17 Free Agent 24
24 Stefan Struve 16 UFC 25
25 Jeff Monson 13 Free Agent 26

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

There hasn't been a whole lot of good news for fans of heavyweight MMA lately.

#1 Cain Velasquez is out for six to eight months for shoulder surgery.

#2 Brock Lesnar hasn't been heard from since his loss to Velasquez at UFC 121. The rumors are mounting as to Lesnar's next move.

#7 Frank Mir is hoping Lesnar will coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Mir. That will set up a lucrative rubber match for the pair.

#5 Junior Dos Santos is a possible alternative to Lesnar. JDS was next to fight Cain for the title, but he could face Mir or Lesnar for an interim belt.

#3 Fedor Emelianenko has been torturing Strikeforce with interminable contract renegotiations and may fight in February. It's doubtful that he'll face Strikeforce champ #8 Alistair Overeem.

If they can actually pull it off, the rumored Strikeforce heavyweight tournament possibly featuring Fedor, Overeem, #4 Fabricio Werdum, #10 Antonio Silva, #11 Josh Barnett, #12 Brett Rogers, #16 Andrei Arlovski and Sergei Kharitonov could dramatically impact the rankings in this division.

Given the UFC's sudden struggles at heavyweight -- Cain is out, Brock is exposed and may be holding out, Junior Dos Santos can't get a fight, #6 Shane Carwin is injured, Mir isn't looking so hot, #14 Roy Nelson is in a contractual limbo -- Strikeforce is seemingly well positioned to leap frog into the dominant fight promotion at heavyweight IF they can actually pull off the tournament.

That won't be easy given Fedor, Werdum and Overeem's contractual and scheduling demands, Josh Barnett's difficulties with the licensing process after multiple failed drug tests, and the need for Rogers, Arlovski and Kharitonov to pick up some wins before their careers head permanently in the wrong direction.

Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings. We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.

We are now moving to what JCS of Fight Matrix has described as assumed rankings in an attempt to rank fighters who move between weight classes. This has been the biggest problem with the consensus rankings and we believe this new methodology will rectify that.

Let's take Anderson Silva for instance. 87% (13 of 15) of our panelists have him at Light Heavyweight and 100% (15 of 15) at Middleweight. On the 13 ballots that ranked Silva at 205, we took the average (21.2). We then reduced that number by half the percentage of Light Heavyweight ballots that he was not included on. Say he's not on 30% of them, then we do a 15% penalty on the average that we found in the previous step. That number is then used instead of the usual "normalization number" to provide points from those not ranking the fighter in the weight class in question. This avoids fighters being excessively penalized by confusion about which weight class they belong.

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