Lost in the midst of all the commotion about Fedor Emelianenko's earth-shattering first true defeat last night is the fact that a man actually won: Fabricio Werdum. After being unceremoniously dumped from the UFC for refusing a smaller contract when Junior dos Santos knocked him out at UFC 90, Werdum was largely neglected by all but the most hardcore fans. In the span of one night he went from top contender in the UFC to essentially an also-ran. Now, he's the belle of the ball.
Werdum is criminally underrated, to be honest. His record of 14-4-1 is highly comparable to fighters such as BJ Penn (15-6-1) and Randy Couture (18-10), both widely regarded as legends of the sport. To be fair, the two former UFC champs have done remarkable things over many years and even different weight classes, but Werdum has never lost to terrible fighters. His four losses come against, in order, Sergei Kharitonov, Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera, Andrei Arlovski, and dos Santos. JDS is the only man to ever finish Werdum.
The ADCC champion has solid victories over Gabriel Gonzaga twice, Alistair Overeem, Aleks Emelianenko, Brandon Vera, and Antonio Silva to go along with his now signature win against Fedor. Our USA Today/SB Nation Rankings had Werdum as the 9th best heavyweight, but with the win over #1 he is surely likely to clim that ladder. I'll say he's Top-5, maybe even sniffing at Top-3 on my heavyweight rankings. Where do you have him?