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Fightmania January Rankings

By on January 31, 2017

McGregorJanuary wasn’t as star-studded a month as December, but there were still a few fights that promised to shake up the rankings a bit, along with a random Bellator fight or two among some elder statesmen for added entertainment. Let’s take a look at where the rankings stand after January.

As always, these rankings are subjective. To read a rather extensive explanation of my methodology, check out the rankings manifesto.

FLYWEIGHT DIVISION (125 LBS.)

1. Demetrious Johnson
2. Joseph Benavidez
3. Henry Cejudo
4. John Dodson
5. Jussier da Silva
6. Kyoji Horiguchi
7. Wilson Reis
8. Magomed Bibulatov (9)
9. Matheus Nicolau Pereira (10)
10. Sergio Pettis

Dropped out: Zach Makovsky (8)

It was no surprise that Johnson defeated challenger Tim Elliott at the finale to the 24th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Benavidez will get the next crack at the champ, but he’s already lost to him twice. Who else can challenge him, though? Makovsky dropped out of the rankings following a split decision loss to Dustin Ortiz, giving “Fun Size” his fourth loss in five fights. Unfortunately, da Silva had to pull out of his fight in January against Sergio Pettis.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Cody Garbrandt (3)
2. Dominick Cruz (1)
3. TJ Dillashaw (2)
4. Marlon Moraes
5. Jimmie Rivera
6. Raphael Assuncao
7. Bryan Caraway
8. John Lineker (9)
9. Thomas Almeida (10)
10. Aljamain Sterling (8)

Dropped out: Urijah Faber (6; retired)

Amanda Nunes wasn’t the only person to pull off a huge upset at the end of 2016, as Cody Garbrandt finished off another great year with a startling destruction of Dominick Cruz, who hadn’t lost a fight in almost 10 years, despite going through several serious injuries. It appears that Garbrandt will defend his title against Dillashaw in 2017. Assuncao landed a big win over Sterling this month.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Conor McGregor
2. Jose Aldo
3. Frankie Edgar
4. Max Holloway
5. Cub Swanson
6. Anthony Pettis
7. Jeremy Stephens
8. Charles Oliveira
9. Ricardo Lamas
10. Doo Ho Choi

McGregor is already balking at the opportunity to face one of the two top lightweight contenders after winning his shiny new belt. He’d rather face Floyd Mayweather, but it doesn’t seem like that will ever happen. Aldo wanted to take on Max Holloway, but it’s unclear if that will happen. Edgar is fresh off a win over Jeremy Stephens.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

1. Conor McGregor
2. Eddie Alvarez (1)
3. Rafael dos Anjos
4. Donald Cerrone
5. Khabib Nurmagomedov
6. Tony Ferguson
7. Edson Barboza
8. Will Brooks
9. Nate Diaz
10. Michael Chandler

Brooks did not look good against Alex Oliveira, but Oliveira was six pounds overweight and Brooks had a broken rib early in the fight, so I’m giving him a pass for now.

Lots of interdivisional fun happening here. Alvarez’s next title defense will be against not someone on this list, but featherweight champ Conor McGregor. Dos Anjos will face Ferguson on Nov. 5. Cerrone was supposed to fight Robbie Lawler next month, but instead will face Kelvin Gastelum. I’m still not sure he’ll stay at 170 lbs. for the long haul. Nurmagomedov will take on Johnson on Nov. 12, and he’ll need an impressive performance if he wants to be in title consideration.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Tyron Woodley
2. Robbie Lawler
3. Stephen Thompson
4. Demian Maia
5. Rory MacDonald
6. Andrey Koreshkov
7. Carlos Condit
8. Rick Story
9. Ben Askren
10. Kelvin Gastelum

Woodley and Thompson will face off at UFC 205 for Woodley’s shiny new belt. It’s unclear who MacDonald will face in his Bellator debut. Koreshkov’s next Bellator opponent is more clear, as he’ll defend his belt against Douglas Lima. Gastelum is set to face Donald Cerrone in a great fight at UFC 205.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

1. Michael Bisping
2. Luke Rockhold
3. Chris Weidman
4. Yoel Romero
5. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
6. Lyoto Machida
7. Derek Brunson
8. Robert Whittaker
9. Gegard Mousasi (10)
10. David Branch (NR)

Dropped out: Vitor Belfort (9)

The biggest development here was Bisping’s unanimous decision victory over the unranked Dan Henderson in his first title defense. The winner of Weidman and Romero next month figures to be the obvious next step for the British champion. Rockhold can get his name back in the mix with a win over Jacare at the end of November. Meanwhile, Mousasi’s dominant win over Belfort allows him to move up and takes Belfort out of the rankings for what may be the final time in his storied career. I may be setting myself up for frustration due to the lack of competition in the World Series of Fighting, but I’ll put dual champion Branch in there in the tenth spot for now.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

1. Daniel Cormier
2. Anthony Johnson
3. Alexander Gustafsson
4. Glover Teixeira
5. Phil Davis
6. Ryan Bader
7. Jimi Manuwa (10)
8. Ovince St. Preux (7)
9. Liam McGeary (8)
10. Nikita Krylov (9)

Johnson will take on Cormier for the title in December, which is the division’s biggest available fight with Jones on the shelf due to his positive drug test. In Bellator, McGeary will defend his title against Phil Davis on November 4. Jimi Manuwa looked outstanding while taking out St. Preux this month, which leads to some big changes in the rankings. Krylov will take on fellow up-and-coming hotshot Misha Cirkunov in December.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

1. Stipe Miocic
2. Fabricio Werdum
3. Cain Velasquez
4. Alistair Overeem
5. Junior dos Santos
6. Ben Rothwell
7. Vitaly Minakov
8. Josh Barnett
9. Andrei Arlovski
10. Mark Hunt

Nothing happened here in October, as many of these guys just fought in September and don’t have their next bouts announced. Miocic is planning on taking the rest of the year off, while Minakov is waiting for his Bellator contract situation to resolve as he hopes to jump to the UFC.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Demetrious Johnson
2. Daniel Cormier
3. Dominick Cruz
4. Conor McGregor
5. Eddie Alvarez
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Tyron Woodley
8. Frankie Edgar
9. Jose Aldo
10. Raphael dos Anjos

Nothing happened here in January, but February promises the chance for some changes.

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