Top 10 Bantamweight Rankings

nullAfter weeks of rankings, we have finally reached the bantamweights.

The 135-pound division is strong from top to bottom and filled with exciting fighters.

Here is a look at my top 10 bantamweights in MMA.

(If you need to go back and find my pound-for-pound, heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, welterweight, lightweight, or featherweight rankings, click on the links)

1. Dominick Cruz (17-1) – Cruz gets my top spot as he is the UFC champion and one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world. Cruz’ style has been very tough for his opponents to figure out as he is constantly on the move. His striking is crisp and his wrestling goes very unrecognized and is really what allowed him to beat the likes of Joseph Benavidez and Scott Jorgensen.

2. Joseph Benavidez (14-2) – Benavidez could arguably be a flyweight but he still excels at 135 pounds. His explosive wrestling and striking have allowed him to beat the best in the division and a pair of decision losses to Cruz are the only black marks on his record. Benavidez is somewhat stuck in the shadows of teammate, Urijah Faber, who will get the next title fight and perhaps leave Benavidez without a place to go in the division.

3. Brian Bowles (9-1) – There is still a lot to be discovered with the former WEC champion. His lone loss was against Cruz, where he suffered a broken hand that stopped the fight. Bowles has big power and some good chokes. He gets Takeya Mizugaki at UFC 132, which should be a good test to see if he is ready to make another run at the title.

4. Urijah Faber (25-4) – The longtime face of the WEC is now looking to win UFC gold for the first time when he takes on Cruz at UFC 132 in July. Faber is still a tough opponent, but his period of dominance has clearly run its course. He was handled pretty well by featherweight champ, Jose Aldo, and Eddie Wineland proved to be a tougher test for Faber than he probably should have been. Faber will have his hands full with Cruz, as Cruz’ lone loss was to Faber back in WEC debut at 145 pounds. Cruz is a much different fighter now.

5. Miguel Torres (39-3) – Torres is still a big threat in the division and one of the few 135-pounders that may be able to match the length of Cruz. Torres has bounced back since suffering a two-fight losing streak in 2010, and will now face Demetrious Johnson at UFC 130, looking to get his third-straight win.

6. Scott Jorgensen (11-4) – “Young Guns” is somewhat of a gate keeper in the division. He is able to beat some of the best, but struggles against the elite. He never mounted much offense in his loss to Cruz last December, as his wrestling wasn’t up to Cruz’ level and his striking was far inferior. Jorgensen has been stopped just once in his career, but he will have to string together some impressive wins to get back into the title picture.

7. Brad Pickett (20-5) – Similar to Jorgensen, Pickett is just a scrapper that may never get to that elite-level status. He has tremendous heart, which will allow him to win some close fights, but he still struggles against superior wrestlers, and he doesn’t have the technical strikers to best guys like Benavidez and Torres.

8. Demetrious Johnson (8-1) – “Mighty Mouse” sent a big message to the division when he beat Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto back at UFC 126 and now he will square off with Torres in the biggest fight of his career. The short and stocky firecracker will bring the fight to Torres, but he will have to get inside Torres’ reach. If Johnson can get a win, he will jump into the top 5 of the division.

9. Masakatsu Ueda (12-1-2) – The former Shooto champion suffered a surprising loss about a year ago, but has gotten back on track with a pair of victories. While it is hard to compare his level of competition to that of fighters in the UFC, Ueda’s record is enough to earn some respect nationally.

10. Eddie Wineland (18-7-1) – Wineland showed in his decision loss to Faber that he still has something to offer in the octagon. He has been consistent with his performances and has just two losses since 2008.

  

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