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Fightmania February Rankings

By on February 29, 2012

Though the biggest story was Frankie Edgar losing his UFC Lightweight Title to Ben Henderson, that was far from the only thing that happened this month to impact the rankings. Who moved up and who dropped in February? Read on to find out.

By the way, my flyweight rankings will debut in next month’s edition, which will work out nicely since the first round of the UFC’s tournament to determine a 125-pound champ will take place next month (this Friday, actually). Some might say, “Jon, aren’t you taking the easy way out by waiting to see what happens in the semi-finals before you do your initial flyweight rankings?” To them, I would say, “Why, yes. Yes, I am.”

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Renan Barao (7)
4. Miguel Torres
5. Scott Jorgensen (3)
6. Brian Bowles (5)
7. Masakatsu Ueda (6)
8. Brad Pickett
9. Bibiano Fernandes
10. Zach Makovsky

Barao garnered a sturdy decision win over Jorgensen at UFC 143. That’s the only real action we’ve seen among these guys in awhile, but business will pick up soon as bantamweights Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will coach the first-ever season of The Ultimate Fighter to feature live fights. They will fight once again at the conclusion of the show, with Faber badly needing a win if he ever wants to wear championship gold again.

Makovsky will face Eduardo Dantas in the Bellator cage in mid-April, while Ueda will fight in Bellator’s bantamweight tournament this year. Pickett faces the tough Damacio Page at UFC on Fuel 2 in April. Finally, Torres will attempt to make headlines in the cage and not on Twitter next month as he faces Michael McDonald. You’ll notice that the previously-ranked Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez are no longer included; they will be ranked as flyweights starting next month.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Hatsu Hioki
4. Kenny Florian
5. Diego Nunes
6. Marlon Sandro
7. Pat Curran
8. Dustin Poirier
9. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
10. Joe Warren (NR)

Dropped out: Bart Palaszewski (10)

Dustin Poirier won in impressive fashion over replacement Max Holloway at UFC 143, but will face a tougher task against top 15 featherweight and fan favorite Chan Sung Jung at UFC on Fuel 3 in May. The other fight among our top ten was between Hatsu Hioki and Bart Palaszewski, in which Palaszewski’s momentum was stopped by Hioki, who stifled him the entire way en route to a unanimous decision win. I still think Mendes is the number 2 featherweight in the world, though. I’d favor him over Hioki in a fight between the two.

Warren sneaks into the top ten as Palaszewski drops out. Many other sites have had him ranked for awhile, but I was hesitant after his knockout loss to Alexis Vila, as well as due to reservations about his fighting style. Oh well, there he is, now. Warren will get a chance to prove he belongs there when he fights Pat Curran on March 9. On the same night, Marlon Sandro will fight Roberto Vargas in the featherweight quarterfinals for Bellator’s sixth season. Nunes will face former lightweight Dennis Siver, who presumably will amputate a limb to meet the 145-pound limit, at UFC on Fuel 2.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

1. Ben Henderson (6)
2. Frankie Edgar (1)
3. Gilbert Melendez (2)
4. Gray Maynard (3)
5. Anthony Pettis
6. Shinya Aoki (4)
7. Jim Miller
8. Michael Chandler
9. Eddie Alvarez
10. Nate Diaz

Edgar lost his title to Henderson at UFC 144, and with it, the top position. I didn’t feel the fight belonged to Edgar, and my rankings reflect that belief. Meanwhile, Pettis’s electifying win over the tough Joe Lauzon allows him to move up past Aoki, though he stays at the fourth spot since Henderson leap-frogged him, as well.

Some great fights await us in this division. Miller and Diaz will clash in May on the UFC’s third Fox-aired event, while Aoki will come stateside to take on Alvarex in an April Bellator event.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Carlos Condit (6)
3. Nick Diaz (2)
4. Josh Koscheck (3)
5. Johny Hendricks (4)
6. Jon Fitch (5)
7. Jake Shields
8. Nate Marquardt (9)
9. Jake Ellenberger (8)
10. BJ Penn

Lots of action here this month, headlined by an interim title fight between Diaz and Condit that somehow sparked controversy, though I confess I still think the decision was a clear one. Between that and what I think was a pretty bad performance by Koscheck against Mike Pierce (Koscheck looked gun-shy, hesitant and awkward throughout), the top half of the rankings jumbled around a bit. I actually dropped Ellenberger a spot, too. Marquardt is back in the Zuffa fold after signing a Strikeforce contract, and he’ll earn his spot here. Diego Sanchez is a tough fighter, but Ellenberger shouldn’t have had so much trouble with him.

With the division largely held up by injuries, uncertainty and quasi-retirements, the only big fight coming up is Hendricks-Koscheck in May.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Chael Sonnen
3. Vitor Belfort
4. Mark Munoz (6)
5. Yushin Okami (4)
6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (5)
7. Hector Lombard
8. Luke Rockhold
9. Brian Stann
10. Michael Bisping

Aside from Okami’s shocking TKO loss to Tim Boetsch in a fight that Okami had controlled until the third round, nothing happened in the middleweight division in February. I hate to drop Okami as I don’t think the loss is indicative of his ability or standing in the division, but what can you do? He still beats nearly all of the fighters in this division, in my opinion.

Silva-Sonnen will meet again this summer, while Belfort will settle things once and for all with Wanderlei Silva after the two coach against one another in the first season of TUF: Brazil. Jacare returns to action this weekend against Bristol Marunde, who should give him no trouble. Stann will face Alessio Sakara in April in a fight that he should win, but which should be entertaining nonetheless. The bout will take place at UFC on Fuel 2.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

1. Jon Jones
2. Rashad Evans
3. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
4. Dan Henderson
5. Lyoto Machida (6)
6. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (5)
7. Gegard Mousasi
8. Ryan Bader (NR)
9. Phil Davis (8)
10. Alexander Gustafsson (9)

Dropped out: Forrest Griffin (10)

I think we’ve seen the last of Rampage as a meaningful contender after his performance against Bader, who enters the top ten on the strength of his performance against Rampage at UFC 144. Some may think I have Bader too high, but I think he’s more well-rounded than either of the two. I believed in Bader before the Tito Ortiz loss, and I think he’s back on track.

Gustafsson will face Lil’ Nog in April, who fellow up-and-comers Davis and Bader have already defeated. It’s a shame that Griffin drops out this month, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him hang ‘em up after his next bout with Tito Ortiz. Meanwhile, the Jones-Evans fight in April is still the biggest fight the division’s seen in a while. Henderson will be watching it with great interest.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

1. Junior dos Santos
2. Cain Velasquez
3. Alistair Overeem
4. Fabricio Werdum
5. Frank Mir
6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
7. Josh Barnett
8. Daniel Cormier
9. Fedor Emelianenko
10. Shane Carwin

No movement this month. Werdum looked great while bashing Roy Nelson, but that’s not going to bump him into the top three in the world. We’ll have to see who he fights next or if he gets a crack at the winner of dos Santos-Overeem in May. If Overeem wins, I don’t see him getting a title shot due to their awful Strikeforce fight. Who knows, maybe we’ll see Mir-Werdum?

Velasquez is rumored to be the welcoming committee for Antonio Silva when he comes to the UFC fold. Meanwhile, remember the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix? Yeah, that thing is finally ending this weekend, as Barnett and Cormier will do battle in what may prove to be the last Strikeforce heavyweight bout.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Georges St. Pierre
3. Jon Jones (4)
4. Frankie Edgar (3)
5. Jose Aldo
6. Dominick Cruz
7. BJ Penn
8. Lyoto Machida
9. Rashad Evans
10. Dan Henderson

The inactive Jones moves up, thanks to Edgar dropping his title fight to Ben Henderson. I only dropped Edgar one spot; the decision was close, plus he wasn’t even really cutting weight to hit 155 pounds (as Dana White loves to remind us).

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2 comments
  1. Mick says:

    How do we get to Big Nog at #6 when he lost his last fight to Mir not six months ago?

    Koscheck #4 Welter and Ellenberger #9. Wow am I stupid. I can’t find that line of thought anywhere in the huge empty voids of my brain.

    Seems to me Ellenberger would crush the whiner Koscheck. That is standing or on the ground. Remember Koscheck has become a “knockout artist” with not so many ko’s and always with the overhand right. He is a one trick pony with one front leg broken.

    I am just so mean. I have not a moments reservation saying I’m sorry………….
    if I was.

  2. Jon Hartley says:

    Big Nog is ranked that high more because of a lack of confidence in the guys below him. I suspect the winner of Barnett/Cormier will leapfrog him, but neither guy has a win over anyone who is currently ranked. Cormier has a better recent win than Barnett with his win over Bigfoot Silva, but I want to see how he fares against Barnett. Carwin is really in trouble with all these injury woes and I have doubts about him in any fight lasting more than two minutes, anyway. Fedor, well, he lost three in a row. What can you do there? Most people don’t even have him ranked, but I think that’s crazy. Let’s not forget that Nog knocked the crap out of Brendan Schaub (a good young HW) and had Mir in deep trouble before he foolishly stopped the ground and pound and went for a sub instead.

    With Koscheck, I understand. He hasn’t looked like a #4 in awhile. I could see Hendricks or Ellenberger being in his spot; I just don’t feel they’ve completely earned it yet. Agreed that Koscheck looked like garbage against Pierce and yeah, the so-called “knockout power” seems to have ruined him as he has no interest in effective standup technique anymore.

    Thinking about it, you can make a strong argument for Ellenberger on top of Shields and Koscheck down further. If Koscheck fights like he has lately against Hendricks, he’ll lose for sure and that will fix itself.

    Thanks for posting. I rarely get any comments on my rankings, which is surprising since they’re a completely subjective thing.




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