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Fightmania May Rankings

By on May 31, 2011

These last two months haven’t been all that bountiful when it comes to elite mixed martial artists plying their trade. Even when they have, such was the case with Georges St. Pierre, Jose Aldo, Nick Diaz or Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, the results have not exactly been surprising. Still, we’ve had some movement towards the bottom of a number of divisions, and a continuing flood of injuries that have deprived us of great fights will hopefully subside as the summer heats up.

A word about my rankings: they aren’t presented as fact, and I encourage your feedback. First, though, please take a look at my rankings manifesto so you have some insight as to why I might rank one fighter over another. Also, keep in mind that this isn’t an exact science, though I’m more than happy to explain my rationale.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)
1. Dominick Cruz
2. Urijah Faber
3. Joseph Benavidez
4. Brian Bowles (5)
5. Scott Jorgensen (6)
6. Miguel Torres (4)
7. Demetrious Johnson (10)
8. Takeya Mizugaki (7)
9. Masakatsu Ueda (8)
10. Brad Pickett (9)

We’ve seen some activity here, most notably when Demetrious Johnson defeated Miguel Torres by unanimous decision in what I thought was a very competitive bout. Torres is still ranked a spot above Johnson because the fight was simply too close to warrant Torres dropping three spots or Johnson jumping four spots. The most notable matchup here in the near future is certainly that of Urijah Faber taking on Dominick Cruz at UFC 132 for Cruz’s bantamweight belt.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)
1. Jose Aldo
2. Manny Gamburyan
3. Diego Nunes
4. Hatsu Hioki
5. Marlon Sandro
6. Chad Mendes
7. Kenny Florian
8. Michihiro Omigawa
9. Josh Grispi
10. Dustin Poirier

Aldo obviously holds onto the top spot following his hard-fought but clear victory over Mark Hominick. I’d love to have Hominick in here, but there’s no one I can justify dropping, though I’m not going to be surprised if Omigawa isn’t on this list in another six months or so. I’m excited to see Florian’s featherweight debut at UFC 131, as well as Tyson Griffin’s own entrance in the division at UFC Live 4. Both will be jumping right into the deep water, as they’ll face Diego Nunes and Manny Gamburyan, respectively. More recently, rumors have abounded that Hioki, who just vacated his Shooto title, is headed to the UFC.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)
1. Frankie Edgar
2. Gilbert Melendez
3. Gray Maynard
4. Eddie Alvarez
5. Shinya Aoki
6. George Sotiropoulos
7. Anthony Pettis
8. Jim Miller
9. Melvin Guillard
10. Dennis Siver (NR)
Dropped out: Tatsuya Kawajiri (10)

I love me some Tatsuya Kawajiri, but I’m not sure Siver ever deserved to be dropped from this list in the first place. Kawajiri only lost to Gilbert Melendez, but it was a horrible looking loss and skepticism in non-Zuffa athletes is at an all-time high because of the difference in competition elsewhere. Aoki and Melendez both looked great in their recent victories but can’t move up without doing a little more. It would have been nice to see Edgar-Maynard get settled for once and for all; I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more than one UFC lightweight who is better than Maynard.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)
1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Jon Fitch
3. Josh Koscheck (4)
4. Nick Diaz (5)
5. Jake Shields (6)
6. Thiago Alves (3)
7. BJ Penn
8. Carlos Condit
9. Martin Kampmann
10. Rick Story (NR)
Dropped out: Diego Sanchez (10)

Had to drop Sanchez when Story put in work against the incredibly tough Alves. I really wonder how the weight cut is affecting Alves, who doesn’t seem to be enjoying huge strength advantages for putting himself through hell before each event’s weigh-ins. I begrudgingly dropped Alves to sixth, though I’m a big believer in his abilities when he’s got a full tank of gas to work with. His takedown defense is not so bad anymore, but he needs to work to get his back off of the cage in clinch situations.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)
1. Anderson Silva
2. Chael Sonnen
3. Yushin Okami
4. Nate Marquardt
5. Demian Maia
6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
7. Vitor Belfort
8. Hector Lombard (10)
9. Brian Stann (NR)
10. Michael Bisping (9)
Dropped out: Jorge Santiago (8)

What a mess this division is. Sonnen is going to be out for awhile, Marquardt is at 170 (will rank him there starting next month) and a couple of the non-UFC representatives have a lack of talented opposition besides the fighters they’ve already faced.

Santiago had to go after the exciting, yet disappointing Stann loss. Stann joins the rankings ahead of Bisping, who I’d love to see him fight. Hector Lombard just keeps on destroying fools, and the rest is pretty much the same. Of note is Silva’s next title defense against Okami during the UFC’s upcoming return to Brazil.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)
1. Jon Jones
2. Rashad Evans
3. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
4. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
5. Lyoto Machida
6. Dan Henderson
7. Forrest Griffin
8. Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal
9. Gegard Mousasi
10. Ryan Bader

Not much to see here. Rampage decimated (but couldn’t put away) Hamill, and he’s not going anywhere from that. Machida similarly can’t move ahead of Rampage, even with a crane kick KO over Randy Couture himself. Jones is maybe, maybe not ducking Rashad Evans, who will face Phil Davis next. I have Davis just outside of the top ten, by the way. A lot of these guys don’t have a whole lot going on or are taking on first ballot Hall of Fame heavyweights in the near future.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (up to 265 LBS.)
1. Cain Velasquez
2. Brock Lesnar
3. Fabricio Werdum
4. Fedor Emelianenko
5. Shane Carwin
6. Alistair Overeem
7. Junior dos Santos
8. Antonio Silva
9. Frank Mir
10. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

Can’t move Mir up for his often-entertaining, but ultimately plodding victory over the extremely winded Roy Nelson last Saturday. Meanwhile, dos Santos will have a chance to prove that he’s underrated when he faces Carwin in the cage. Lesnar won’t be able to fight until next year, which is a bummer for those who love rooting for and against him. Fedor, of course, has his much talked about catchweight fight against Dan Henderson coming up.

POUND FOR POUND (No Limit)
1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Anderson Silva
3. Jose Aldo
4. Frankie Edgar
5. BJ Penn
6. Dominick Cruz
7. Jon Jones
8. Lyoto Machida (9)
9. Rashad Evans (8)
10. Jon Fitch

Nothing much going on here, except a little market correction toward the back half of the list by advancing Machida past Evans. Evans is a very good overall fighter, but Machida’s record of dominance redeems him past his recent losses for me.

E-Mail Jon Hartley

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