B/R Official Rankings for June: The Top 10 Bantamweights in MMA

Vince Carey@@vcareymmaContributor IJune 4, 2012

B/R Official Rankings for June: The Top 10 Bantamweights in MMA

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    There really weren’t any meaningful bantamweight bouts in the month of May, but a fight between two ranked fighters at UFC 145 carried over from April.

    Michael McDonald continues to gain ground on the elite in the bantamweight division this month, climbing another spot in the rankings, and his UFC 145 opponent Miguel Torres has been dropped from the list entirely.

    June sees another fight between ranked fighters, and that’s just the calm before the storm, as July is going to be a huge month in the bantamweight division.

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

10. Eddie Wineland

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 18-8-1

    Most Recent Fight: Loss to Joseph Benavidez at UFC LIVE 5

    Next Fight: Scott Jorgensen at UFC on FX 3 

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    The first-ever WEC bantamweight champion has yet to win a bout in the UFC, but he still has enough good on his resume that he cracks the top ten in June.

    Wineland replaces Miguel Torres in the 10th spot, after Torres dropped out due to his loss to Michael McDonald.

    Wineland is set to fight later this week against Scott Jorgensen, and a win there will likely move him up a few spots in the rankings.

9. Bibiano Fernandes

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    Promotion: DREAM

    Record: 11-3

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Antonio Banuelos at Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 9 

    One of the best fighters not currently fighting in the UFC, the current DREAM bantamweight and former DREAM featherweight champion has been impressive enough to earn a slot on this list despite facing less-than-stellar competition.

    Bibiano Fernandes has been tearing up the competition in Japan over the last three years, making a name for himself by winning two separate tournaments under the DREAM promotion.

8. Eduardo Dantas

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    Promotion: Bellator

    Record: 14-2

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Zach Makovsky at Bellator 65

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 8 

    The new Bellator champion has made a name for himself over the last year, and he has already become the top bantamweight not under the Zuffa banner.

    Eduardo Dantas is quite possibly the next great fighter in MMA, and while Bellator’s 135-pound roster is deeper than some of the others, it still lacks exciting matchups for Dantas.

    Hopefully, Dantas will eventually make his way to the UFC and we’ll be able to see if he truly is a top ten fighter.

7. Brad Pickett

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 21-6

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Damacio Page at UFC on Fuel 2

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 7

    It’s hard to find a fighter as exciting as Brad Pickett in any weight class, but in a division full of finishers, “One Punch” sticks out.

    He may not be the most talented fighter in the division, but Pickett makes up for it with heavy hands and a lot of heart and has become one of the steadiest contenders at 135 lbs.

    He hasn’t fought since he defeated Damacio Page in April, but his return fight will end up being a tough one against a top guy.

6. Scott Jorgensen

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 13-5

    Most Recent Fight: Loss to Renan Barao at UFC 143

    Next Fight: Eddie Wineland at UFC on FX 3

    Previous Ranking: 6

    One of the most entertaining fighters in the bantamweight division, (which is saying quite a bit), Scott Jorgensen has fought just about everyone at the top of the 135-pound ladder.

    Jorgensen hasn’t won the bantamweight title yet, but he looks like he’s continuing to improve with each fight and could easily find himself fighting for the title again in the future.

5. Brian Bowles

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 10-2

    Most Recent Fight: Loss to Urijah Faber at UFC 139

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Despite losing his last fight to Urijah Faber at UFC 139, Brian Bowles is still one of the top contenders in the UFC’s bantamweight division.

    The former WEC champ has been injury prone so far in his UFC career, but when’s he’s been inside the cage, Bowles has looked impressive.

    Bowles doesn’t have an opponent lined up at the moment, but look for him to fight someone strong as he looks to get back on track in the division.

4. Michael McDonald

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Miguel Torres at UFC 145

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 5

    It seems that after being given a full month to take in Michael McDonald’s knockout win over Miguel Torres, the B/R panel has decided that “Mayday” deserves an even bigger rise in the rankings.

    McDonald has looked extremely impressive as of late, and as reportedly under consideration to fight Urijah Faber for the interim title in July, a spot that eventually went to Renan Barao.

    For now, it looks like McDonald is going to have to earn another victory over a top contender at 135 in order to get a title shot.

3. Renan Barao

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 28-1 [1 NC]

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143

    Next Fight: Urijah Faber at UFC 148 

    Previous Ranking: 3

    Dominick Cruz’s loss is Renan Barao’s gain, as the champion has been forced away from the cage for the foreseeable future due to a torn ACL and Barao has been given an opportunity to win his first UFC title at UFC 148.

    While Barao has been one of the most heralded prospects in MMA for a few years, his big wins over Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen catapulted him into title contention and he is only a win over Urijah Faber away from winning the belt.

2. Urijah Faber

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 26-5

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Brian Bowles at UFC 139

    Next Fight: Renan Barao at UFC 148

    Previous Ranking: 2

    The one time face of the WEC has been hunting for UFC gold since the moment he entered the Octagon, and on July 7, Urijah Faber will get his shot when he fights Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight title.

    Faber has won two of his three fights inside the UFC, with the lone loss coming from the champion Dominick Cruz, and he has continued to be one of the most popular fighters in MMA since leaving the WEC.

1. Dominick Cruz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 19-1

    Most Recent Fight: Defeated Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6

    Next Fight: N/A

    Previous Ranking: 1 

    Being a champion has its perks, the least prestigious of which is getting the top spot in the B/R rankings.

    Dominick Cruz has definitely earned his spot, as he’s beaten three guys on the list and two of the top three on the flyweight list as well.

    Using his superior footwork and cardio, Cruz has outworked the majority of his Zuffa opponents and has defended his title three straight times since beating Brian Bowles in the WEC.