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B/R MMA Official Pound-for-Pound Rankings for January

Sal DeRoseCorrespondent IJanuary 3, 2012

B/R MMA Official Pound-for-Pound Rankings for January

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    It is the beginning of the year, and we here at Bleacher Report are bringing you the post-UFC 141, first-of-the-year, pound-for-pound MMA rankings.

    Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva all grace this list, but it is the fighters in between that will get you guessing.

    Who gained enough points to grace the top 25? Which are the craziest selections?

    Here are the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.

     

    These rankings are the combined effort of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try to provide you with the best content on the web.

25. Johny Hendricks

2 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 12-1

    Most Recent Fight: 1st Round KO victory vs. Jon Fitch

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: NR

     

    Johny Hendricks scored a big win over former top welterweight contender, Jon Fitch at UFC 141 last week. The knockout broke the welterweight division wide open and brought Hendricks into the top welterweights of the UFC.

24. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson

3 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 32-9

    Most Recent Fight: 4th round submission loss versus Jon Jones

    Next Fight: vs. Ryan Bader (UFC 144)

    Previous Ranking: NR

     

    Rampage Jackson has been a top light heavyweight for a long time now and his most recent loss to Jon Jones was for a shot at the belt.

    Unfortunately for Rampage, things didn't go as planned but now he has a shot to get back into the title picture with an upcoming fight against Ryan Bader in Japan at UFC 144.

23. Kenny Florian

4 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 14-6

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss versus Jose Aldo

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 23

     

    Ben Stiller look-a-like, Kenny Florian comes in at No. 23 after a title fight loss to Jose Aldo. Florian has fought all over in every conceivable weight class during his career.

    Now, Florian will return to lightweight after a two fight stint in the featherweight division.

22. Lyoto Machida

5 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 17-3

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd Round submission loss versus Jon Jones 

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 19

     

    Lyoto Machida comes in at No. 23 this time around after suffering a loss against Jon Jones at UFC 140 earlier in December.

    Machida's only three losses in his career have come against former UFC champions Rampage Jackson, Jon Jones and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

21. Ian McCall

6 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 11-2

    Most Recent Fight: 3rd round submission victory versus Darrell Montague

    Next Fight: vs. Demetrious Johnson (UFC on FX 2)

    Previous Ranking: NR

     

    Ian McCall is the first flyweight to make their way into these rankings and is set to make his UFC debut in Australia in March.

    McCall is part of the tournament that will determine the first UFC flyweight champion against names like Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson.

    McCall hasn't lost since he fought Dominick Cruz three years ago at bantamweight.

20. Chad Mendes

7 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 11-0

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Rani Yahya

    Next Fight: vs. Jose Aldo (UFC 142)

    Previous Ranking: No. 20

     

    Chad Mendes will finally get his title shot against Jose Aldo this month when he travels south to Brazil.

    Mendes has rose to the top with great wrestling and his improving striking that has earned him the moniker "Urijah Faber 2.0" after his teammate.

19. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

8 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 20-6

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss versus Dan Henderson

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 21

     

    Shogun Rua beat Forrest Griffin at UFC 134 to avenge an earlier loss. He then came in and faced Dan Henderson at UFC 139 and lost what is considered one of the greatest UFC fights ever.

    Shogun has yet to make moves for his next fight, but after his last fight fans might be waiting to see how great his next fight will be.

18. Alistair Overeem

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 36-11 (1 NC)

    Most Recent Fight: 1st round TKO victory versus Brock Lesnar

    Next Fight: vs. Junior dos Santos (TBA)

    Previous Ranking: NR

     

    Alistair Overeem finally makes his way into the rankings after a big win over former UFC heavyweight champion, Brock Lesnar.

    It was Overeem's first UFC bout and he did what he needed to do to knockout and send Lesnar into retirement.

    Overeem will now cash in with a title shot against Junior dos Santos sometime this year.

17. Gilbert Melendez

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 20-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Jorge Masvidal

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 17

     

    Melendez showed how complete a fighter he is with his win over Masvidal in December.

    The Strikeforce lightweight champion will be staying with the promotion instead of making the jump over to the UFC. With the depleted and un-amazing talent in Strikeforce, how long can Melendez stay on this ranking?

16. Cain Velasquez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 9-1

    Most Recent Fight: 1st round KO loss versus Junior dos Santos

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 15

     

    In November, Cain Velasquez suffered the first loss of his career in his first defense of his heavyweight title.

    Velasquez is still considered a top three heavyweight even after the loss because of his wrestling and striking ability.

    No word yet on who Cain will face in his first fight post-title.

15. Joseph Benavidez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Eddie Wineland

    Next Fight: vs. Yasuhiro Urushitani (UFC on FX 2)

    Previous Ranking: No. 16

     

    Joseph Benavidez is the highest ranked flyweight here and is considered the favorite to be the first UFC flyweight champion.

    Benavidez has only two losses in his career and both were decision losses to Dominick Cruz.

    After his tremendous success at bantamweight, flyweight could be where we really see just how good he is.

14. Gray Maynard

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 10-1-1 (1 NC)

    Most Recent Fight: 4th round TKO loss versus Frankie Edgar

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 14

     

    Unfortunately for Maynard his trilogy with Frankie Edgar ended with a knockout loss at UFC 136.

    Maynard couldn't capitalize on his back-to-back title shots and now finds himself in lightweight limbo now that a fourth fight with Edgar seems out of the question.

13. Benson Henderson

14 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Clay Guida

    Next Fight: vs. Frankie Edgar (UFC 144)

    Previous Ranking: No. 18

     

    Despite not having a finish in the UFC yet, Benson Henderson has been utterly entertaining inside the cage.

    His last three victories over Mark Bocek, Jim Miller and most recently Clay Guida, have brought Henderson his first UFC title shot.

12. Urijah Faber

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 26-5

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd round submission victory versus Brian Bowles

    Next Fight: vs. Dominick Cruz (TBA)

    Previous Ranking: No. 12

     

    Urijah Faber will get his second shot at Dominick Cruz's bantamweight belt after he beat Brian Bowles by submission at UFC 139.

    Faber and Cruz will headline The Ultimate Fighter 15 in the show's debut on FX.

11. Nick Diaz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 26-7 (1 NC)

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus B.J. Penn

    Next Fight: vs. Carlos Condit (UFC 143)

    Previous Ranking: No. 8

     

    Super Bowl weekend, Nick Diaz will finally get his shot at a UFC belt when he fights Carlos Condit for the interim UFC welterweight championship.

    Diaz is coming off a hugely impressive win over B.J. Penn where he battered around the former two-time division champ.

10. Dan Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 29-8

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 11

     

    Dan Henderson has been one of the top fighters in MMA for a longtime.

    The former Pride and Strikeforce champ has won his last four fights and is well on his way to earning a title shot in his current stint with the UFC.

    His last two wins have come against two Pride legends, Shogun and Fedor Emelianenko.

9. Rashad Evans

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-1-1

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd round submission victory versus Tito Ortiz

    Next Fight: vs. Phil Davis (UFC on FOX 2)

    Previous Ranking: No. 10

     

    Rashad Evans has been waiting and waiting for his shot at former teammate, Jon Jones. Unfortunately for Evans, injuries have derailed their title fight and Evans has opted to stay active and will face Phil Davis in the beginning of 2012.

    With a win over Davis, Evans could finally cement himself as the No. 1 contender.

8. Chael Sonnen

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 27-11-1

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd round submission victory versus Brian Stann

    Next Fight: vs. Mark Munoz (UFC on FOX 2)

    Previous Ranking: No. 9

     

    Chael Sonnen has trashtalked his way back into title contention and backed it up with a huge win over Brian Stann.

    Sonnen has had only one fight since his loss to Silva in 2010, but regardless he will get a fight with Mark Munoz to determine the No. 1 contender for the middleweight crown.

7. Junior Dos Santos

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 14-1

    Most Recent Fight: 1st round TKO win versus Cain Velasquez

    Next Fight: vs. Alistair Overeem (TBA)

    Previous Ranking: No. 7

     

    JDS won his belt back in November and now already has first title defense lined up.

    When he returns from injury, JDS will face former Strikeforce, Dream and K-1 kickboxing champion, Alistair Overeem.

    JDS has slugged his way to the top with his impressive boxing skills. Now he will get a true test against another top striker.

6. Jose Aldo

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 20-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Kenny Florian

    Next Fight: vs. Chad Mendes (UFC 142)

    Previous Ranking: No. 4

     

    Jose Aldo use to be a very impressive featherweight. Then his time came in the UFC and he has earned two decision victories.

    Fans are starting to think he is playing it safe and maybe against Chad Mendes this month he will prove otherwise in front of his home country, Brazil.

5. Dominick Cruz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 19-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Demetrious Johnson

    Next Fight: vs. Urijah Faber (TBA)

    Previous Ranking: No. 6

     

    Dominick Cruz is recovering from yet another hand injury and in the mean time will coach opposite future opponent, Urijah Faber, for The Ultimate Fighter's first season on FX.

    Cruz hasn't lost at bantamweight and, in fact, hasn't lost since his first fight in the WEC against Faber.

    Since then Cruz has been on a tear and has beaten fighters with his untouchable boxing and great wrestling skills.

4. Frankie Edgar

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 14-1-1

    Most Recent Fight: 4th round TKO victory versus Gray Maynard

    Next Fight: vs. Benson Henderson (UFC 144)

    Previous Ranking: No. 3

     

    Frankie Edgar beat Gray Maynard in the epic ending to their trilogy. After being hurt early on—again—Edgar came back and rallied to finish Maynard.

    Edgar is now set to face Benson Henderson in Japan at UFC 144 in what will be an awesome main event for Japan.

3. Jon Jones

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-1

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd round submission victory versus Lyoto Machida

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 5

     

    Jon Jones had perhaps the best year of any fighter in MMA history.

    Wins over Mauricio Rua, Quinton Jackson, Ryan Bader and Lyoto Machida graced his 2011 resume.

    Now with two title defenses under his belt, Jones awaits his next challenger.

2. Georges St-Pierre

25 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 22-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory versus Jake Shields

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 2

     

    Even without having fought in almost a year, Georges St-Pierre comes in at No. 2.

    GSP was expected to face Nick Diaz at UFC 143 in February, but due to a knee injury he had to pull out.

    GSP won't be ready to fight until at least the near end of 2012, but in the mean time the interim belt will be defended by either Diaz or Carlos Condit.

1. Anderson Silva

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 31-4 

    Most Recent Fight: 2nd Round TKO victory vs. Yushin Okami 

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: No. 1

     

    Do I really need to make a case for him? Silva has been one of the top fighters since coming into the UFC and his numerous title defenses and wins in a different weight class put him here at numero uno.

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