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Fightmania May Rankings

By on May 31, 2012

The big boys ruled May, with many top heavyweights in action in both the UFC and Strikeforce. While Junior dos Santos showed why he is the number one heavyweight in the world, the Strikeforce World Heavyweight Grand Prix finally came to a close. Meanwhile, plenty of good fights in other divisions ensured that there would be more than a few changes throughout the rankings this month.

 

FLYWEIGHT DIVISION (125 LBS.)

1. Ian McCall
2. Joseph Benavidez
3. Demetrious Johnson
4. Jussier Da Silva
5. Yasuhiro Urushitani
6. Darrell Montague (8)
7. Louis Gaudinot (6)
8. John Lineker (7)
9. Mamoru Yamaguchi
10. John Dodson (NR)

Dropped out: Dustin Ortiz (10)

A few fights helped to re-order the bottom of the rankings in May. Montague rolled right over Taylor McCorriston just two weeks after defeating Kenny McClairn to move up three spots. Montague has won two in a row since losing to Ian McCall last August, and is looking to avenge that defeat by beating up anyone with a last name that starts with “Mc”, apparently. Gaudinot stays on top of Lineker after choking him out, but Lineker looked good while winning the first round of their bout, so he stays just one spot behind Gaudinot.

Finally, Ortiz drops out after a disappointing performance in a split decision loss to Josh Robinson. To fill the tenth spot, how about John Dodson, who dropped to 125 pounds after winning the last season of TUF and debuted at flyweight by defeating Tim Elliot on May 5?

The biggest fight looming in this division finally takes place on June 8, when Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson will settle the score, as long as the athletic commission doesn’t mess up the scores.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Renan Barao
4. Scott Jorgensen
5. Brian Bowles
6. Michael McDonald
7. Miguel Torres
8. Brad Pickett
9. Eduardo Dantas
10. Bibiano Fernandes

There was really no way that May could top April in terms of action in this weight class, so why try? Still, it’d be nice if the only news coming out of this division wasn’t bad news. That’s what we got though, when we found out that a torn ACL would keep Cruz out of his UFC 148 title defense against Faber.

I’m bummed to see the title and Cruz on the shelf, even if I figured the rematch between him and Faber would look a lot like their last encounter. Still, Faber will face Barao in a great fight (even if it’s for a fake title) which fight fans should be pumped for. Meanwhile, Jorgensen faces the hard-hitting Eddie Wineland on June 8.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Pat Curran
4. Hatsu Hioki
5. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (8)
6. Dennis Siver (9)
7. Chan Sung Jung (NR)
8. Dustin Poirier (7)
9. Diego Nunes (10)
10. Marlon Sandro (6)

Dropped out: Kenny Florian (5; retired)

Kenny Florian retires as the fifth best featherweight in the world, which is not too shabby of a way to end a career, as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile, Sandro suffered his second Bellator loss in five bouts, this time to Daniel Straus, who resides just out of the top ten. Benefiting from all of this are Pitbull Freire and Siver, who move up while idle into cozy spots in the top six.

Readers of my live blog for the latest UFC on Fuel event know how impressed I was with Jung, and he re-enters at number 7 on the list, while his victim, Poirier, drops to number 8. Nunes and Sandro round out the back end of the top ten. They’re both talented fighters, but you have to win to deserve a higher spot in the rankings than what they each currently occupy.

Jose Aldo, of course will face Erik Koch in Canada in July. Hioki, who passed on the chance to fight Aldo, will take on Ricardo Lamas in June. Mendes will get back into things with a fight he is widely expected to win as he takes on Cody McKenzie at UFC 148.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

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

There was a mix of performances among this crew in May, as Melendez looked gunshy in victory, Diaz was at his all-time best, Chandler demolished an overwhelmed opponent, and Cerrone looked like his old self while beating an unranked Jeremy Stephens. I think I had Diaz too low before, and he pretty much proved that point by stopping Miller in dominant fashion. Chandler drops simply because Diaz leap-frogs him, and I’d love to move up Cerrone but I have no place to put him.

You may be surprised to see Melendez drop. Well, he barely defeated an unranked Josh Thomson, and to be honest, I think Gray Maynard would beat him. We’re waiting to see Edgar and Henderson clear up the latest of many lightweight log jams this summer. Before that, Maynard will take care of business against Clay Guida on June 22.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Carlos Condit
3. Nick Diaz
4. Johny Hendricks (5)
5. Jon Fitch (6)
6. Josh Koscheck (4)
7. Nate Marquardt (8)
8. Jake Ellenberger (9)
9. Rory MacDonald (NR)
10. Martin Kampmann

Dropped out: Jake Shields (7; division change), BJ Penn (10; inactivity/retirement)

While we continued to wait for GSP to heal, Koscheck dropped a split decision to Hendricks that was closer on the scorecards than it should have been. Koscheck drops two spots as a result. Meanwhile, I finally dropped BJ Penn after a long period of inactivity, even if I still don’t believe he is really retired. It seemed like a good time to drop Jake Shields, too, who is moving up to 185. In their places step uber-prospect Rory MacDonald and the always-lurking Martin Kampmann.

Jon Fitch has a tough, but winnable fight against Aaron Simpson scheduled for July. Kampmann and Ellenberger will put on a show June 1. Marquardt takes on Tyron Woodley for the vacant Strikeforce Welterweight Championship on July 14.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

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

The Good, the bad, and the ugly for the 185ers goes like this:

The Good- Nearly everyone on this list is in action this summer. We’ve got Silva-Sonnen, Stann-Lombard, Munoz-Chris Weidman, Okami-Luiz Cane, Bisping-Tim Boetsch, Rockhold-Tim Kennedy all on tap.

The Bad- Unfortunately, none of these fights take place until July 7 at the earliest.

The Ugly- Vitor Belfort’s injured hand will keep him out of action for a while. Although as a person who prefers to not see Wanderlei Silva laid out on the canvas, I much prefer the new matchup with Rich Franklin to the Belfort-Silva bout.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

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

Nothing going on here in May. Jones defends his title next against Henderson in September. Shogun will take on Thiago Silva at UFC 149 in July. In August, Machida takes on Bader in a fight Machida sorely needs to get back into the mix. Davis welcomes former Strikeforce heavyweight Chad Griggs to the light heavyweight ranks in August.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

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

Cormier makes the jump to the top five with a high-quality win over the talented veteran Barnett. Mir, who lost a predictably one-sided bout to the champ dos Santos, slips a spot in the process, as do Nogueira and Barnett. Dos Santos and Velasquez each had nowhere to go, but certainly showed they deserved their spots in their dominant performances at UFC 146.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Anderson Silva
2. Jon Jones
3. Georges St. Pierre
4. Frankie Edgar
5. Jose Aldo
6. Dominick Cruz
7. BJ Penn
8. Dan Henderson
9. Joseph Benavidez
10. Ian McCall

Nothing different here. I will repeat (so I don’t get e-mails) that Benavidez ranks higher in the P4P rankings than McCall even though he trails him in the flyweight rankings because Benavidez previously held the number two spot at 135 pounds (a weight he obviously was too small for) for years. That defines P4P, even if the idea is imaginary journalist bullshit at its best.

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