UFC Heavyweight Rankings: UFC 266 features a battle of the fifth and sixth-ranked fighters

ufc heavyweight rankings
Sep 7, 2019; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Curtis Blaydes (red gloves) reacts against Shamil Abdurakhimov (blue gloves) during UFC 242 at The Arena. Mandatory Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

Although heavyweights may not be the most technical of the various divisions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it always remains a popular weight class when the elites of the division clash.

There are few things better than seeing combatants near 265-pounds go toe-to-toe in the Octagon. With that in mind, here are MixedMartialArts.com’s top-10 UFC heavyweight rankings:

UFC Heavyweight rankings

10. Tom Aspinall (11-2)

ufc heavyweight rankings
July 26, 2020; Abu Dhabi, UAE; Tom Aspinall (red gloves) of England celebrates after his victory over Jake Collier (blue gloves) in their heavyweight fight during the UFC Fight Night event inside Flash Forum on UFC Fight Island. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via USA TODAY Sports

On the heels of another impressive showing in the co-main of UFC Vegas 36, Tom Aspinall has landed in our top-10. The brightest heavyweight prospect from the UK in nearly a decade has become a must-see fighter over four showings in the Octagon. He has competed in the UFC four times and earned finishes each fight. With the last two against notable names in Andre Arlovski and Sergey Spivak.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

9. Augusto Sakai (15-3)

Augusto Sakai was one of the hottest fighters in the division until he ran into striking buzz saws in Alistair Overeem and Rozenstruik in his last two fights. Nonetheless, his notable wins in the promotion so far, and being the rare top-10 heavyweight barely in his 30s makes the Brazilian a formidable talent with serious potential.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

8. Marcin Tybura (20-7)

After a difficult 2019, where he lost twice by knockout, Marcin Tybura has grown as a fighter and is in the midst of his best run inside the Octagon. In winning five straight, and his last three against top-15 level talent in Ben Rothwell, Greg Hardy, and Walt Harris, he has seemingly put his KO weaknesses behind him. He is one of the better grapplers in the division and is only getting better. He will get a massive test next at UFC 267 against Alexander Volkov. If he can beat the Russian, Tybura’s win streak will become more than just a streak of favorable matchups.

  • Next fight: vs. Alexander Volkov at UFC 267 (October 30)

7. Alexander Volkov (33-9)

There is no question that Alexander “Drago” Volkov is a top-10 heavyweight. However, his biggest knock is when the time comes to firmly establish himself as a top contender against other elite big men, he has come up short. Like he has in fights against Lewis, Blaydes, and in June against Gane. He remains a dangerous fighter in the division, but one that continues to hover outside the top five. His UFC 267 bout against Marcin Tybura will be a chance to push him closer to the top-five with a big win.

  • Next fight: vs. Marcin Tybura at UFC 267 (October 30)

6. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (12-2)

Jairzinho “Bigi Boy” Rozenstruik has been impressive in his eight-fight UFC run. Yes, he has lost twice, but that came against the current champion and one-half of the upcoming interim-title bout. In just two years he has risen into the upper echelon of the weight class and became a feared talent for his striking prowess and power. At UFC 266 he will be challenged by the best wrestler in the division in Blaydes. The ultimate litmus test for any gifted striker in MMA.

  • Next fight: vs. Curtis Blaydes at UFC 266 (September 25)

5. Curtis Blaydes (14-3)

Losing to Derrick Lewis in February was a major setback for Curtis Blaydes. Once again, “Razor” used an impressive win streak to get back into the title picture, and a first-round knockout denied him a championship opportunity. Nonetheless, he still remains an elite heavyweight and the best wrestler in the division. He will get another serious test on September 25 at UFC 266, in the form of Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

  • Next fight: vs. Jairzinho Rozenstruik at UFC 266 (September 25)

4. Derrick Lewis (25-8)

ufc heavyweight rankings
Oct 6, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Derrick Lewis (red gloves) reacts after beating Alexander Volkov (blue gloves) during UFC 229 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

If not for the existence of Ngannou, Derrick Lewis would be considered the scariest fighter in the division. Not because of a technical striking style that’s second to none. No, he is a man that just has absurd power in his fists and he knows how to use it. His failed bid at the interim title at UFC 265 against Ciryl Gane drops him a spot, but he is still a very scary man in the division.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

3. Stipe Miocic (20-4)

Despite losing the heavyweight championship for the second time in March, Stipe Miocic’s place as the best UFC heavyweight of all time remains, for now. The big question is what will be his next booking? A trilogy with Ngannou, to settle the score once and for all? Will he take another long hiatus, which has been his modus operandi in recent years? Similar to the champ, Miocic’s path forward is unclear.

  • Next fight: No fight booked yet

2. Ciryl Gane (10-0)

Ciryl Gane’s meteoric rise through the UFC heavyweight division in just two years has been extremely impressive. However, his path to an interim title fight hasn’t been a path of terror where he used heavyweight power to pummel foes. No, in little time “Bon Gamin” has shown to be one of the most technically skilled strikers in the weight class, while also having power commensurate with his size. At UFC 265 he showed both in completely outclassing Derrick Lewis and earning the interim heavyweight title by technical knockout. Next he will face the

  • Next fight: Expected to face Francis Ngannou in unificiation bout next

1. Champion: Francis Ngannou (16-3)

Francis Ngannou is one of the most terrifying forces in mixed martial arts. He has the sort of power in his hands that could stun an elephant, and he has shown every bit of it in his recent wins over Cain Velasquez, Junior Dos Santos, Jairzinho Rozenstruik, and former champion Stipe Miocic. “The Predator” is a wrecking machine that now owns the heavyweight title, and is officially “The Baddest Man on the Planet.” Ciryl Gane looks to be next for the new champ in a talent-rich heavyweight title unification bout.

  • Next fight: Expected to face Ciryl Gane in unificiation bout next