2014 hasn't seen any major heavyweight fights yet, but that will change over the next few months when everything kicks off. Obviously the champion reigns supreme, but there was quite a bit of disagreement among the panelists after that.
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites - Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Alex Giardini from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow.
Here's the chart:
(Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission or company suspensions are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. This disqualifies Antonio Silva from our rankings.)
It should come as no shock that UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was the unanimous choice for the top spot. He is currently on the shelf with a shoulder injury, which means he probably won't be losing his place at the top of the list anytime soon. Second spot went to Junior dos Santos, who has lost his last two bouts to the champ. JDS wasn't unanimous at two though - a couple of panelists had other fighters ahead of him for the spot.
The three spot features a tie, which should be decided pretty neatly when the two men - Fabricio Werdum and Travis Browne - face off on a Fox card in April. The fifth spot went to Josh Barnett, who got the rare unanimous vote from us in that slot. Mark Hunt was the last fighter that got a vote from everyone, and he's in the six position.
Seven through ten feature fighters that didn't make the grade for at least one panelist. Stipe Miocic sits at seven. There's a tie for eight between Alistair Overeem and Gabriel Gonzaga. And Frank Mir stayed on the list at number ten. Two other fighters - Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Roy Nelson - received votes but couldn't crack the list. Also, we didn't rank Daniel Cormier due to his impending move to light heavyweight.
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
Travis Browne (T3) vs. Fabricio Werdum (T3) - UFC on Fox 11, April 14th
Stipe Miocic (7) vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (T8) - UFC on Fox 10, January 25th
Alistair Overeem (T8) vs. Frank Mir (10) - UFC 169, February 1st