Thursday, February 1, 2007


As a monthly feature on the website, Todd Martin will rank the top MMA fighters in the world. The rankings take into account overall skill with a heavy emphasis on recent performance. They are designed to be a who's who listing for newer fans of the sport as well as a topic of debate for longer-term fans. Feedback is welcome and encouraged.


1. FEDOR EMELIANENKO The most dominant heavyweight in the history of the sport, with impressive wins over world class strikers, wrestlers, and submission masters.

2. MIRKO CRO COP Most impressive heavyweight in 2006, winning the Pride Open Weight Grand Prix and knocking out Wanderlei Silva.

3. ANTONIO RODRIGO NOGUEIRA Avenged a decision loss to Josh Barnett at Shockwave; best heavyweight submission specialist in the world.

4. JOSH BARNETT Former UFC heavyweight champion left to compete as pro wrestler in Japan, now has regained his status as one of the world's elite for Pride.

5. TIM SYLVIA UFC champ ranks fifth because he hasn't faced the same level of opposition as the top four, but he will have his chance to prove himself against Cro Cop.

6. FABRICIO WERDUM Sky's the limit if this BJJ master can improve his striking and wrestling.

7. BRANDON VERA Charismatic young star is likely to secure a big money deal after his UFC contract expires this year.

8. ANDREI ARLOVSKI "Pit Bull" looked unstoppable prior to back-to-back losses to Sylvia. Now must work his way back up the ladder.

9. SERGEI KHARITONOV Looked to be on a collision course with former training partner Fedor, but those ambitions were temporarily derailed by consecutive losses.

10. JEFF MONSON Rode a sixteen-fight winning streak into title shot with Sylvia.

RISING: GABRIEL GONZAGA---3-0 in UFC, including a spectacular knockout and a textbook submission clinic. A couple more wins might get him into the top ten.

FALLING: FRANK MIR---Hasn't been the same since motorcycle accident, and his career may be finished.

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