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Fightmania November Rankings

By on November 30, 2013

gsp beat upWith eight major events between the UFC and Bellator alone along with your usual huge array of smaller shows, it was a busy month for MMA. Factor in that only one of those events was a pay-per-view, and it was really a great month to be a fan. Some big fights took place, with one major champion (Bellator’s Pat Curran) losing his belt and another (UFC’s Georges St. Pierre) narrowly holding onto his. What effect did all of these November fights have on the rankings? Read on to find out.

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. John Dodson
4. Ian McCall
5. John Lineker
6. Jussier da Silva
7. Darrell Montague
8. Scott Jorgensen
9. Louis Gaudinot
10. John Moraga

While there were no fights among these gentlemen in November, there were three fights that featured athletes that are knocking on the door of this list: Dustin Ortiz TKO’ed Jose Maria Tome, while Josh Sampo submitted Ryan Benoit. Finally, Sergio Pettis, the 20-year old brother of Anthony Pettis, decisioned Will Campuzano- himself a top 15 flyweight- in his UFC debut.

The big fight coming up is between UFC champion Johnson and Benavidez on Fox next month. Jorgensen will fight Dodson next month in his flyweight debut. Meanwhile, Ortiz will fight Moraga at Ultimate Fight Night 35, while McCall welcome Brad Pickett to the division in March.

BANTAMWEIGHT DIVISION (135 LBS.)

1. Renan Barao
2. Dominick Cruz
3. Urijah Faber
4. Michael McDonald
5. Eddie Wineland
6. Brad Pickett
7. Bibiano Fernandes
8. Raphael Assuncao
9. Eduardo Dantas
10. Marlon Moraes

Barao and Cruz will face off on February 1, 2014 to finally decide who is the legitimate UFC Bantamweight Champion, and it’ll be a great fight. Faber will face McDonald in another outstanding contest in December’s UFC on Fox 9. At UFC on Fox 10, we’ll see Wineland take on Yves Jabouin. Pickett will be ranked here until spring, when he faces Ian McCall in his new home at 125 pounds. Dantas will defend his Bellator title against Rafael Silva next year.

FEATHERWEIGHT DIVISION (145 LBS.)

1. Jose Aldo
2. Chad Mendes
3. Frankie Edgar (4)
4. Cub Swanson (5)
5. Ricardo Lamas (6)
6. Chan Sung Jung (7)
7. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (8)
8. Daniel Straus (NR)
9. Pat Curran (3)
10. Dennis Siver (9)

Dropped out: Dustin Poirier (10)

Thanks to Daniel Straus, this division is kind of a mess now. Curran let me down (I had to be one of the media members who ranked him the highest) by dropping a unanimous decision to Daniel Straus, who wasn’t even ranked before. Curran drops all the way to ninth and Straus squeezes Poirier out of the rankings. Meanwhile, Pitbull moves up, having defeated Justin Wilcox by TKO to win Bellator’s latest featherweight tournament and get a shot at Straus and the belt. Keep in mind that Patricio owns a win over Straus already.

Aldo will defend his UFC title against Lamas at UFC 169. Before that, Poirier will face Diego Brandao at UFC 168, the same night when Siver and Gamburyan will fight. Edgar will face BJ Penn for a third time after they coach against one another in “The Ultimate Fighter 19”. In a great fight between two men just outside of the top ten, Darren Elkins and Jeremy Stephens will fight at UFC on Fox 10.

LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION (155 LBS.)

1. Anthony Pettis
2. Benson Henderson
3. Gilbert Melendez (4)
4. Josh Thomson (6)
5. Eddie Alvarez (7)
6. Nate Diaz (8)
7. Michael Chandler (3)
8. TJ Grant (9)
9. Gray Maynard (5)
10. Rafael dos Anjos

Pat Curran wasn’t the only Bellator champ to let me down this month. I also had Chandler ranked higher than most, and he dropped a split decision to Eddie Alvarez in one of the best fights of the year so far. Alvarez is no joke, of course, and he’ll move up while Curran drops a bit. Maynard will drop as well, after losing to Nate Diaz at “The Ultimate Fighter 18 Finale” less than an hour ago. Yes, I waited for that fight to post these rankings. That’s dedication, holmes. Donald Cerrone submitted Evan Dunham but will have to chill just outside of this list for now.

Pettis will be out until next year with partially torn knee ligaments. Henderson and Thomson will fight at UFC on Fox 10 to get the first crack at him when he returns. Diaz isn’t sure if he’ll fight at 155 or move up to welterweight again, but what else is new there? I mean, he also said he and Melendez are the best lightweights in the world, so there ya go.

WELTERWEIGHT DIVISION (170 LBS.)

1. Georges St. Pierre
2. Johny Hendricks
3. Carlos Condit
4. Nick Diaz
5. Ben Askren (6)
6. Robbie Lawler (NR)
7. Rory MacDonald (5)
8. Demian Maia (7)
9. Martin Kampmann (8)
10. Jake Ellenberger (9)

Dropped out: Hector Lombard (10)

It’s extremely tempting to put Hendricks at the top spot, but St. Pierre has earned the benefit of the doubt, even if he didn’t earn that split decision victory. Robbie Lawler enters the list with a win over MacDonald, who drops a bit and gives Askren the chance to be much higher on the list than I’m comfortable with. That Lawler is so high on the list has more to do with the lack of faith I have in the bottom half of this list than my belief in Lawler, though I have been very impressed with him.

Hopefully, Askren will get to ply his trade in the UFC soon and we’ll all find out what he can really do. Meanwhile, Tyron Woodley is just outside of this list after a thundering KO of former top ten welterweight Josh Koscheck at UFC 167.

While we wait for GSP-Hendricks part two, Condit will face Matt Brown in December and give Brown the chance to prove he’s a top ten welterweight. Jake Shields and Hector Lombard will fight at UFC 171 to see if one of them can get back on the list, and MacDonald will try to get back on track against Maia at UFC 170.

MIDDLEWEIGHT DIVISION (185 LBS.)

1. Chris Weidman
2. Anderson Silva
3. Vitor Belfort (4)
4. Lyoto Machida (3)
5. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
6. Michael Bisping
7. Mark Munoz
8. Yushin Okami
9. Luke Rockhold
10. Tim Kennedy (10)

Dropped out: Francis Carmont (10)

I thought about it and ended up dropping Carmont out to include Kennedy after the former Army Ranger’s scintillating KO of Rafael Natal. Carmont will face Jacare at Ultimate Fight Night 36 with a chance to prove me wrong, of course. The big fight remains Weidman-Silva II, which happens right before the New Year at UFC 168. Belfort will likely get the winner after knocking out Dan Henderson at 205 pounds.

Okami will be fighting in the World Series of Fighting from now on, and yes, that name still sucks. Machida will face Mousasi in a fantastic February fight, and Rockhold will face Philippou at Ultimate Fight Night 35.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (205 LBS.)

1. Jon Jones
2. Alexander Gustafsson
3. Rashad Evans
4. Phil Davis
5. Lyoto Machida
6. Glover Teixeira (8)
7. Dan Henderson (6)
8. Chael Sonnen (7)
9. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
10. Gegard Mousasi

Evans defeated an undersized Sonnen, who would still be a top five fighter if he was a middleweight. Two other should-be middleweights, Belfort and Henderson, fought with Henderson going down to strikes for the first time in his long career.

Sadly, Jones will defend his belt against Teixeira, not Gustafsson, next. Gustafsson meets unbeaten Jimi Manuwa in March. Evans will face Cormier at UFC 170 as Cormier makes his light heavyweight debut. Henderson’s future is unclear at this point, but I still believe he’s a top ten competitor. It looks like Mousasi may be dropping to 185 permanently, so I’ll move him to middleweight when his fight against Machida happens.

HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (265 LBS.)

1. Cain Velasquez
2. Junior dos Santos
3. Fabricio Werdum
4. Daniel Cormier
5. Josh Barnett
6. Antonio Silva
7. Stipe Miocic
8. Travis Browne
9. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
10. Alistair Overeem

Nothing here in November, but that will change soon enough. Silva and Mark Hunt will fight in a great matchup next month. Cain and Werdum will face off at some point for Velasquez’s heavyweight title. Overeem will try to get back on track against another fallen star of the division, Frank Mir at UFC 169. The same night, we’ll see a gem of a matchup between the surging Browne and Barnett. Cormier is officially dropping to 205 pounds and will face Rashad Evans. I’ll rank him there as their fight draws closer.

POUND-FOR-POUND (No Limit)

1. Jon Jones
2. Anderson Silva (3)
3. Georges St. Pierre (2)
4. Jose Aldo
5. Dominick Cruz
6. Demetrious Johnson
7. Renan Barao
8. Cain Velasquez
9. Frankie Edgar
10. Anthony Pettis

A few thing about Silva leap-frogging St. Pierre. Don’t tell me that Silva lost and St. Pierre didn’t, because St. Pierre dropped three out of five rounds to Hendricks. Furthermore, Silva will be getting his belt back at the end of next month. Finally, pound-for-pound rankings are just imaginary journalist bullshit, anyway. They’re just as imaginary as any “superfight” between Silva and St. Pierre ever was. Hey, at least we can all agree Jones is the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport right now. Of course, he had his hands full recently, too. Unbeatable champions aren’t what they used to be, right?

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