MMA Power Rankings -- Heavyweight
Monday, Jan. 2
The Brock Lesnar Era officially came to a close at UFC 141, and it was a fast, lucrative run for the crossover WWE star. What will his legacy in the sport be? It's hard to say (particularly with the threat of a comeback always in play), but one thing is certain: Lesnar didn't duck anyone in his eight fights in the UFC. Considering he had but one professional tilt before debuting against Frank Mir at UFC 81 (that against Min-Soo Kim), it's impossible to downplay his time in MMA as a novelty. Brute strength and star power sold pay-per-views, but in the end Lesnar beat some of the game's best and defending his belt twice before struggling with the intestinal disease diverticulitis.
So Lesnar leaves the Power Rankings after a good run, and the guy that closed the curtain on him -- Alistair Overeem -- moves into the No. 2 spot. How impressive is Overeem? Considering all the distractions he went through in his training camp heading into UFC 141, pretty darn impressive. That body kick he landed on Lesnar could be felt and heard clearly from press row. Now the "Reem" books a date with UFC champion Junior dos Santos, who is fully recovered from knee surgery and ready to go. With dos Santos the division's best boxer, and Overeem's glowing credentials as a kickboxer, that fight promises to be a stand-up war with plenty of potential for fireworks.
Meanwhile Frank Mir moves up with his limb-breaking victory of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, and the migration of Strikeforce's best to the UFC is officially underway. By mid-summer, with the return of Shane Carwin and the infusion of Strikeforce's elite, the UFC's heavyweight division will look as stacked as its other classes. It's been forever since that's been the case. In fact, it's been never.