Big fighters, thin division. The UFC can hardly scrape together 30 fighters. The Bellator champion is Alexander Volkov, and they’re not doing a tournament this season. No wonder we’re not going to see a split into cruiserweight and heavyweight divisions any time soon.
Updated March 13
Cain Velasquez (9-1 UFC, 11-1 overall): Avenged his loss to Junior dos Santos in emphatic fashion. He has beaten Kongo, Rothwell, Nogueira, Lesnar and Silva. Time to go around again. Next: Antonio Silva, May 25
Antonio Silva (2-1 UFC, 2-2 Zuffa, 18-4 overall): “Bigfoot” lost to Cormier and Velasquez, but he KOd Overeem (Feb. 2). Next: Cain Velasquez, May 25
Fabricio Werdum (4-2 UFC, 4-3 Zuffa, 16-5-1 overall): The Man Who Took Down Fedor (before that become the hip thing to do) has a loss to Overeem. Now coaching against Big Nog in TUF Brazil 2. Next: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, June 8
Daniel Cormier (0-0 UFC, 4-0 Zuffa, 11-0 overall): Big-time wrestler coming over from Strikeforce with a lot of momentum, beating Silva and Barnett among others, and an unbeaten record. But he won’t fight teammate Velasquez. Next: Frank Mir, April 20
Junior dos Santos (9-1 UFC, 15-2 overall): 1-1 vs. Velasquez. Yes, Cain’s win was convincing, but surely we’ll see a trilogy here unless someone falls badly out of form. He has beaten Werdum, Struve, Cro Cop, Gonzaga, Nelson, Carwin and Mir. Next: Alistair Overeem, May 25
Travis Browne (4-1-1 UFC, 13-1-1 overall): Hawaiian beat Struve among others before first loss to Silva (TKO-1). Next: Gabriel Gonzaga, April 13
Shane Carwin (4-2 UFC, 12-2 overall): Former interim champion still only has two losses. The bad news: Between injuries and his losses to Brock Lesnar (whom he nearly finished in the first round) and dos Santos, he hasn’t won since 2010. And he’s 38.
Mark Hunt (4-1 UFC, 9-7 overall): Once a cautionary tale of squandered talent, now on FOUR-fight streak, the last a brutal KO of Struve (March 2).
Cheick Kongo (11-5-1 UFC, 18-7-2 overall): He has 11 UFC wins now despite the occasional setback. Next: Roy Nelson, April 27
Stipe Miocic (3-1 UFC, 9-1 overall): Great start. Lost to Struve (Sept. 29). Next: Soa Palelei, June 15
Alistair Overeem (1-1 UFC, 2-1 Zuffa, 36-12 overall): Strikeforce heavyweight champion beat Werdum and Lesnar but had issues with drug testing and Antonio Silva (Feb. 2). Next: Junior dos Santos, May 25
Stefan Struve (9-4 UFC, 25-6 overall): Skyscraper had four wins in a row before Hunt broke his jaw (March 2).
Gabriel Gonzaga (9-5 UFC, 14-6 overall): Fought Couture for title in 2007. Beat Rothwell (Jan. 19). Next: Travis Browne, April 13
Frank Mir (14-6 UFC, 16-6 overall): Former champ lost three title fights in the last three years. Next: Daniel Cormier, April 20
Roy Nelson (5-3 UFC, 18-7 overall): TUF ringer/grappling ace. Next: Cheick Kongo, April 27
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (5-3 UFC, 34-7-1 overall): PRIDE legend still beating everyone but Mir (twice) and Velasquez. Next: Fabricio Werdum, June 8
Pat Barry (5-5 UFC, 8-5 overall): Entertaining longtime kickboxer. Next: Shawn Jordan, May 25
Phil de Fries (2-2 UFC, 9-2 overall): Losses to Duffee and Miocic. Next: Matt Mitrione, April 6
Dave Herman (1-3 UFC, 7-3 overall): Lost three in 2012 but to good competition. Last: L Nogueira, Oct. 13.
Matt Mitrione (5-2 UFC, 5-2 overall): Nelson KOd him when he took short-notice bout. Next: Phil de Fries, April 6
Christian Morecraft (1-3 UFC, 7-3 overall): Lost last two. Last: L Barry, Jan. 20.
Soa Palelei (0-1 UFC, 18-3 overall): “The Hulk” lost a UFC bout in 2007 but returns after eight-fight win streak. Sure, one against Bob Sapp, but still. Next: Stipe Miocic, June 15
Ben Rothwell (2-3 UFC, 32-9 overall): IFL veteran has been inconsistent. Is Schaub his biggest recent win? Lost to Gonzaga (Jan. 19).
Brendan Schaub (5-3 UFC, 9-3 overall): Beat Cro Cop and Gonzaga, took two straight KO losses, then smothered Johnson (Feb. 23) despite a ref who stood them up while he was punching. Weird.
Todd Duffee (2-1 UFC, 8-2 overall): Back in UFC after awkward exit.
Lavar Johnson (2-2 UFC, 2-3 Zuffa, 17-7 overall): Recovered from shooting in 2009 to have a good run in Strikeforce. Had no answers for Schaub’s wrestling.
Shawn Jordan (2-1 UFC, 3-2 Zuffa, 13-4 overall): Beat Johnson in Strikeforce and beat Russow (Jan. 26). Next: Pat Barry, May 25
Shane del Rosario (0-2 UFC, 11-2 overall): Rough start in UFC with two KO losses.
Geronimo dos Santos (0-0 UFC, 32-14 overall): Well-traveled Brazilian on 11-fight streak.
Nandor Guelmino (0-0 UFC, 0-1 Zuffa, 11-4-1 overall): Not a Star Wars character but an Austrian in late 30s.
RECENT RELEASES (from UFC)
Mike Russow (4-2 UFC, 15-3 overall): May have peaked with dramatic KO-3 of Todd Duffee. Lost to Jordan (Jan. 26).
Josh Barnett (7-2 UFC, 32-6 overall): UFC champion of the distant past (4-1 record) has had some drug-testing issues and lost to Cormier. The “UFC” link by his name may die soon — he and Dana White say a deal has fallen through.