UFC pound-for-pound rankings

Image ALT text goes here.It has been a while since a pound-for-pound rankings has been done on this site, but there is no time like the present. Here we go:

1. Anderson Silva (33-4) – Silva is still the pound-for-pound king due to his dominance in the middleweight division and his ability to finish his opponents.

2. Jon Jones (18-1) – I put Jones ahead of GSP because Jones really hasn’t lost yet. His one loss was a DQ where he essentially finished his opponent. Jones has shown well-rounded skills, winning with strikers, submissions and wrestling. He has truly dominated a division that was stacked a few years ago, the 205-pound division.

3. Georges St. Pierre (24-2) – St. Pierre has been on top of the 170-pound division for five years now, but his inability to finish opponents has gotten tiresome. St. Pierre has great wrestling and striking, but he doesn’t have the finishing ability of the top two on this list.

4. Jose Aldo (22-1) – Aldo can start making an argument to move up this list if he beats Anthony Pettis later this year. A win there may earn him a lightweight title fight. Aldo has tremendous striking, but he has shown the ability to fatigue over 25 minutes. That could be a problem as he starts fighting elite-level fighters.

5. Cain Velasquez (11-1) – The heavyweight champion is very light on his feet and he pushes a pace that can’t be matched in the division. He may not be the top striker, but that didn’t matter against Junior Dos Santos, as he constantly forced JDS to use energy. Velasquez never tired, but JDS did quickly.

6. Benson Henderson (19-2) – Henderson has some great skills, but he also isn’t overwhelmingly winning his recent fights. He isn’t losing them either, but his razor-thin decisions hurt his ranking on this list.

7. Renan Barao (30-1) – Barao doesn’t get a lot of credit for being as impressive as he has been. He is arguably the bantamweight champion, since Dominick Cruz has been out for so long. Sure the 135-pound division isn’t filled with a lot of big-name talent, but Barao has dominated all of the would-be contenders, including Urijah Faber. Barao hasn’t lost since 2005 and has 20 finishes since that time.

8. Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1) – Johnson is the fastest fighter in the UFC and he has great wrestling and conditioning. The 125-pound division doesn’t have a lot of superstars yet, but Johnson is the king of that hill and has looked impressive on top.

9. Gilbert Melendez (21-3) – Melendez gave a good accounting for himself in his UFC debut, nearly beating Henderson for the lightweight title. After a lengthy run as champion in Strikeforce’s lightweight division, Melendez looks to be a real force in the UFC’s 155-pound division.

10. Johny Hendricks (15-1) – Hendricks doesn’t have the look of a dominant MMA star, but he keeps beating the big names that get thrown before him. A great wrestler already, Hendricks has developed the most powerful hands in the welterweight division and he has now cleared out the division, leaving himself and St. Pierre on top. The two will meet later this year and that should be an epic fight.

Ranking Fedor Emelianenko among the MMA greats

nullLast week, “The Last Emporer” Fedor Emelianenko decided to call it a career following his first round KO win over Pedro Rizzo at a M-1 Global event.

It wasn’t the way many envisioned Fedor stepping away from MMA.

For a man that went undefeated for a 10-year span, Fedor should have been someone that ended his career in a blaze of glory.

Instead, he ended his career on a three-fight win streak over fighters that had passed their prime long before he did.

The lasting images of Fedor seem to be a tapout to Fabricio Werdum, a bloody face at the hands of Antonio Silva, and face-down body thanks to a big hand from Dan Henderson.

There is no shame in Fedor’s losses, as time makes cowards of us all, but we all hoped for greater things from Fedor. Perhaps greater than he could really achieve.

Fedor is following in the footsteps of many MMA legends before him.

There was a time that Tito Ortiz seemed unbeatable in the UFC. Now, he is not even top 10 in the light heavyweight division.

Chuck Liddell was untouchable when he finally won the UFC title, but he soon developed a glass jaw and simply couldn’t beat anyone.

Matt Hughes is still referenced as the greatest welterweight champion in UFC history, but he has not been a title contender for five years.

All of these men should have no shame. Nobody can sustain a level of performance that they achieved for very long.

Even today, the likes of Jon Jones and Anderson Silva appear to be flawless. But, there will be a day when they too must accept the fate of time.

Looking back, it is hard to imagine anyone will have the kind of run Fedor did during the first 10 years of the new millennium. He won 28 fights in that time without a single loss and fought the majority of the top fighters in the heavyweight division at that time. He also did so as an undersized heavyweight.

Anderson Silva has been unbeaten since 2006 and has done so very impressively, but in today’s age of MMA, with fighters evolving so quickly, you have to imagine someone will have his number sooner rather than later.

The same can be said for Jon Jones. A better, younger, and stronger Jon Jones is being built right now in gyms around the world.

Fedor did what few have. He managed to stay ahead of the game for 10 years. It is a feat that may never be repeated. For that reason, it is fair to call him the greatest heavyweight in MMA history and maybe even the greatest fighter in all of MMA history.

UFC 135 Recap – Jones backs up the hype

nullJon Jones has been as impressive as anyone in his short UFC career, but on Saturday, he continued to impress.

The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion ran through another opponent at UFC 135, beating Quinton “Rampage” Jackson by submission in the fourth round to retain his title.

The first three rounds saw Jones dictate the fight with his long reach, especially with his kicks. Jackson was never able to get inside that long reach, but did show some good takedown defense in the fight.

Once the fourth round came, Jones caught Jackson with a big straight punch that seemed to stun Jackson. The fight then soon went to the ground and Jones quickly secured a rear-naked choke and forced a tap of Jackson. It was just the second submission loss of Jackson’s career and his first since 2001.

Jones seemed to only hurt himself in the fight as opposed to take damage from Jackson. He appeared to injure his feet from throwing a number of kicks at Jackson. Hopefully he doesn’t have a broken foot so he and Rashad Evans can face off sooner rather than later.

In the co-main event, Josh Koscheck knocked out Matt Hughes at 4:59 of the first round to get his first win in over a year. Hughes put on an impressive striking display in the early portion of the round but eventually got cracked, and that led to the finish.

Hughes hinted that Saturday’s loss could be his last fight, but didn’t say the actual word “retire”. I will touch more on that tomorrow.

For full UFC 135 results, check out the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Middleweight Rankings

nullThe middleweight division had a big fight this past weekend but the result wasn’t too surprising.

Anderson Silva maintained his top spot in my top 10 middleweight rankings with his win on Saturday and it seems he has only one man that can truly pose a threat to his championship.

Here is a look at the top 10 in the 185-pound division in my eyes.

1. Anderson Silva (31-4) – Silva made Yushin Okami look like an amateur last Saturday and he has cemented himself as the best middleweight in UFC history. Next up for Silva will likely be a rematch of some kind, with either Chael Sonnen or Dan Henderson.

2. Chael Sonnen (25-11-1) – Sonnen hasn’t competed since pushing Silva to the limit last fall, but he is scheduled to face Brian Stann at UFC 136 in early October. Sonnen appears to be the lone hope to dethrone Silva someday, but the champion still managed to submit Sonnen despite an injured rib and 20 minutes of pummeling.

3. Vitor Belfort (20-9) – Belfort showed his explosive ability in his quick knockout of Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. He still may have the fastest hands in the division, but he missed his opportunity when he faced Silva back in February. A few more wins for Belfort may get him another crack at the title.

4. Yushin Okami (26-6) – Okami also had his chance, but couldn’t find a way to make his fight with Silva a grappling one. He seemed to passive and allowed Silva to get comfortable on his feet, and that is always a losing combination. Okami has to go back to the drawing board, and will likely need a long winning streak to get another title fight.

5. Michael Bisping (21-3) – Bisping is going to face off with Mayhem Miller later this year for a chance to propel himself into title contention. Bisping is still looking for a marquee win in his career and he hasn’t been terribly impressive since his TKO win over Denis Kang back at UFC 105 in 2009. Bisping needs an emphatic victory over Miller to really be considered a title contender.

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (14-2) – The Strikeforce Middleweight Champion is set to return to action next week against Luke Rockhold, who is good competition in the Strikeforce organization, but not a great opponent on the world stage. Someday, with Strikeforce slowly merging into the UFC, I would expect Souza to compete in the elite organization someday.

7. Brian Stann (11-3) – Stann faces his toughest test to date when he squares off with Chael Sonnen at UFC 136. Stann has established himself as a feared striker in the division with respectable grappling skills. In this fight, he will need to have tremendous takedown defense to keep the relentless Sonnen from getting top position.

8. Mark Munoz (11-2) – Munoz will take on Chris Leben at UFC 138 in the highest-profile fight of his career. Munoz is a grinder that has some big punching power without the technique. His strength is his wrestling, but he will mix it up with anyone. He should probably stick to the wrestling in his bout with Leben.

9. Chris Leben (22-7) – Leben breaks into my top 10 list after his impressive KO of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Leben clearly has the striking power to beat anyone on this list, but lacks the grappling skills and pure boxing technique to really become a top 5 contender. His bout with Munoz will test how far his grappling has come and show if he is ready to make a serious run at the title.

10. Alan Belcher (16-6) – Alan Belcher will make his return to action in a couple weeks after an eye injury sidelined him for more than a year. Belcher was on his way to becoming a title contender before getting hurt. When he returns on Sept. 17, he will face off with Jason MacDonald, another UFC veteran. The long layoff will be something Belcher has to overcome, but a win over the submission specialist will be a nice start for his return.

Top 10 Light Heavyweight Rankings

nullI waited a week to release my latest light heavyweight rankings as I wanted to see how the UFC 133 main event turned out.

Rashad Evans did as I expected and beat Tito Ortiz, but his performance was very impressive and it made me consider putting him on top of the list.

You have to consider the quality of opponents that Evans has over Jones. Granted, Jones has been unphased in any fight. But, he also hasn’t fought the best of the best throughout his career.

Still, I left Jones on top for now, but No. 2 is a lot closer than he was a few months ago.

1. Jon Jones (13-1): Jones will defend his UFC championship next month against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, in his biggest fight to date. Jones has yet to face any adversity, but a win over Jackson would prove that he can handle almost anyone in MMA. Wrestling will likely be the key in this one, as I don’t think Jones will want to slug it out with Rampage.

2. Rashad Evans (16-1-1): Evans bulked up in his time away from fighting and he looks like a determined fighter. He seems angry based on what happened with Greg Jackson and Jones, and it seems to have improved his skills as opposed to hurt them. Evans is next in line for a title shot. Only time will tell if he and Jones will finally square off.

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson (32-8): Rampage has had some issues away from the cage, having his trainer decided to leave camp over “creative differences.” Still, Rampage says he is ready to go. He will face a fighter unlike anything he has really seen. It will be interesting to see how Rampage plans to attack Jones at UFC 135.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Heavyweight Rankings

nullThe rankings list has made its way back to the heavyweight division.

There have been a few shake ups in this group as of late, mainly near the top. Still, the division has remained pretty solid as we work toward the big meeting of Velasquez vs. dos Sanots.

1. Cain Velasquez (9-0): Velasquez will return in November to take on Junior dos Santos. It will be a tough test for the UFC champ, as he has not fought in nearly a year and is coming off a major surgery.

2. Junior dos Santos (13-1): dos Santos tore through Shane Carwin in an impressive victory that solidified his spot as the top contender to the UFC crown. Junior has proven he can out-strike a striker and stuff a takedown, but will he be able to handle the explosiveness and speed of Velasquez?

3. Brock Lesnar (5-2): Lesnar may not return anytime soon, but I still think he deserves a high ranking as he was able to beat some of the best on this list before getting injured. Lesnar is going to need to show he can handle getting hit when he returns if he hopes to contend for the title ever again.

4. Alistair Overeem (35-11): Overeem was able to beat Werdum without too much difficulty but wasn’t impressive in his own right. Now, some debate with Zuffa has gotten him taken off the rest of the Strikeforce Grand Prix and leaves his MMA future in question. Hopefully Overeem will return and maybe someday step inside the octagon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings

nullIt has been two months since my last pound-for-pound rankings list, and only one fighter on the list has competed in that time.

Bantamweight Champion, Dominick Cruz made his UFC debut, and successfully beat Urijah Faber, but his win wasn’t strong enough to move him ahead of Frankie Edgar. So, my top 10 is the same, but there could be some serious shakeups in the next few months with the UFC putting together a number of big fights in the fall and early winter.

1. Anderson Silva (28-4): Silva is still the most feared opponent of anyone in MMA due to his devastating and unique striking ability. Chael Sonnen is the only man to make him look beatable, but Silva still found a way to beat him by submission despite a serious rib injury. Yushin Okami is next up for “The Spider” at UFC 134, which will be a good test for Silva, who has an obvious weakness in wrestling.

2. Georges St. Pierre (22-2): GSP will return to action in October to take on Nick Diaz. The welterweight kingpin hasn’t been challenged much in his recent fights, but he also hasn’t been that impressive either. St. Pierre is in need of a dominant win with a finish to really be considered for the top spot.

3. Jose Aldo (19-1): Aldo is set to face off with Kenny Florian in early October, defending his featherweight title for the second time in the UFC. Aldo is similar to Silva in the fact that his striking is so strong that many opponents have a hard time coming up with a game plan that they can stick to when they face off with him. Florian will provide a good test for Aldo, but it may not be enough to beat “Junior.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Bantamweight Rankings

nullUFC 132 established who the top bantamweight in the world is.

The rankings haven’t changed too much in the last few months, but here is the latest top 10 in the 135-pound division.

1. Dominick Cruz (18-1) – Cruz (AP Photo) avenged his only loss in the division by taking a decision win over Urijah Faber. Cruz controlled the style and pacing of the fight and landed a lot more strikes. The bout was close, but Faber didn’t show me much to think he deserved to get the title.

2. Urijah Faber (25-5) – Faber gave Cruz the toughest fight he has to date in the division. He landed a few big punches and avoided the takedowns of Cruz. Faber proved he still has something left in the tank, but he needs to make some adjustments to beat Cruz. It will be interesting to see who is next for “The California Kid.”

3. Joseph Benavidez (14-2) – Benavidez has been relatively quiet as of late as he hasn’t fought since UFC 128, but he will take on Eddie Wineland at UFC Live 5. Benavidez has been in a tough spot as his teammate, Faber, has been contending for the title. Benavidez now has a chance to get back into the spotlight, but he needs an impressive showing.

4. Brian Bowles (10-1) – Bowles has earned a rematch for his title as he has two solid wins since coming back from his injury. Bowles lost to Cruz because of a broken hand, not because he was clearly beaten by the champion, so there is some question as to what he could do against Cruz. Given the way he lost the title, I think he deserves the next shot at it.

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Top 10 Featherweight Rankings

nullThe rankings schedule has made it way back to featherweight.

Not too much has changed in the division since I last came out with my 145-pound top 10, but we did have some debuts and a mild upset or too.

Here is a look at my latest top 10 for the featherweight division.

1. Jose Aldo (19-1) – Aldo is the champion and awaits his next opponent. It looks to be Kenny Florian, but a date and location have yet to be set. Aldo showed some signs of vulnerability against Mark Hominick, but still dominated a great deal of their 25-minute fight. Florian will need to be on top of his game to take Aldo’s title.

2. Chad Mendes (10-0) – The wrestling master has been labeled the No. 1 contender for Aldo, but he opted not to wait for the champion to heal up with some injuries and will now take on Rani Yahya at UFC 133, with his title shot on the line. Mendes likely has the grappling edge in this one, but will have to avoid the slick submissions of Yahya.

3. Kenny Florian (14-5) – Florian won his featherweight debut over Diego Nunes and now appears to be in line for a title shot. Florian didn’t look his best, but the first fight at a lower weight class is always the toughest. Florian will have a strong game plan to fight Aldo, the question will be if he can execute it?

Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullThe lightweight division is as impressive a group as any in MMA.

The top 10 list features a number of different styles and contenders, but each fighter could arguably beat everyone else on the list.

Still, here are my updated top 10 lightweight rankings.

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar holds on to the top spot as he still is the UFC champion. An injury kept him from facing Gray Maynard in their long-awaited trilogy fight, but those two should collide soon and be able to settle the score as to who deserves to be the champion.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard is still unbeaten but missed out on his opportunity to win the championship when he had Edgar beaten at UFC 125. Now, he will have to wait for a third shot at Edgar this fall where he can perhaps prove to the world that he is the top lightweight in the world.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez could legitimately compete for the UFC title, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that the UFC is tapping into Strikeforce, perhaps a champion vs. champion bout is in the near future. Until then, Melendez looks as if he will continue to tear up Strikeforce competition.

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