B/R MMA Official Rankings for July: The Top 25 Pound-for Pound Fighters in MMA

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2012

B/R MMA Official Rankings for July: The Top 25 Pound-for Pound Fighters in MMA

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    The best fighters in the world are a constantly changing group. One bad performance, and a fighter can drop completely off of a top-25 list.

    One good performance, and a fighter's rank can skyrocket to make him one of the best fighters on the planet.

    Let's take a look at who the writers at B/R consider to be the top 25 pound-for-pound best fighters in the world.

     

    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.

No. 25: Martin Kampmann

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 20-5

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Jake Ellenberger at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale

    Next Fight: Johny Hendricks at UFC 154

    Previous Ranking: 25

    Martin Kampmann remains entrenched at the No. 25 spot on the pound-for-pound rankings. His last two wins have come over Diego Sanchez and Jake Ellenberger, two top-10 welterweights.

    Kampmann's next fight is rumored to be against Johny Hendricks for a No. 1 contender spot against the winner of Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit.

No 24. Daniel Cormier

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 10-0

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Josh Barnett at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    As we bring in new writers to the B/R ranking crew, we get new fighters making their way onto the list as well.

    Daniel Cormier was last seen at the Strikeforce card which he headlined against Josh Barnett, in the heavyweight grand prix finals.

    Cormier won by unanimous decision and catapulted towards the top of many people's heavyweight rankings.

No. 23: Johny Hendricks

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 13-1

    Most Recent Fight: Split decision victory over Josh Koscheck at UFC on Fox 3

    Next Fight: Martin Kampmann at UFC 154

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Johny Hendricks has been the biggest mover in the welterweight division in the last 12  months, scoring two huge victories over former title challengers Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck.

    Hendricks was hoping to get a crack at the winner of Carlos Condit and Georges St-Pierre, but he will instead face Martin Kampmann for a No. 1 contender spot.

No. 22: Lyoto Machida

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 17-3

    Most Recent Fight: Submission loss to Jon Jones at UFC 145

    Next Fight: Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4

    Previous Ranking: 21

    Lyoto Machida remains in the top-25 rankings, even though he has gone just 1-3 in his last four fights. In his defense, his three losses came at the hands of Jon Jones, Mauricio Rua and Rampage Jackson; not exactly the easiest competition.

    Machida will return to the Octagon to face Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4 next month.

No 21. Mauricio Rua

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 20-6

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Dan Henderson at UFC 139

    Next Fight: Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4

    Previous Ranking: 19

    Mauricio Rua remains in the top 25 and also remains ahead of the man he knocked out, Lyoto Machida.

    Shogun was last seen at UFC 139, where he had arguably the greatest fight in MMA history against Dan Henderson. Shogun lost a unanimous decision in that bout.

    He will return in the main event of UFC on Fox 4 against Brandon Vera.

No. 20: Nate Diaz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-7

    Most Recent Fight: Submission victory over Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 22

    In Nate Diaz's last fight, he was able to do something that no fighter before him had done: finish Jim Miller.

    Miller has lost four times in his career, to Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard, Benson Henderson and Diaz. Diaz was the only one to finish him.

    With three straight wins since returning to the lightweight division, Diaz earned the right to await the winner of the upcoming Frankie Edgar-Benson Henderson rematch.

No. 19: Renan Barao

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 28-1 [1 NC]

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143

    Next Fight: Urijah Faber at UFC 149

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Renan Barao is easily the hottest young prospect in MMA today. He has an outstanding record and scored a clear unanimous decision over the former title challenger, Scott Jorgensen.

    Barao will now face Urijah Faber for the interim bantamweight championship at UFC 149.

No. 18: Demetrious Johnson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-2-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision over Ian McCall at UFC on FX 3

    Next Fight: Joseph Benavidez at TBA

    Previous Ranking: 20

    Demetrious Johnson is a one-time bantamweight title challenger and soon-to-be flyweight title challenger.

    After earning a unanimous decision over Ian McCall, Johnson put himself in the finals of the tournament to crown the UFC's first ever flyweight champion.

    "Mighty Mouse" will face Joseph Benavidez at some point in the future.

No. 17: Gilbert Melendez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 21-2

    Most Recent Fight: Split decision victory over Josh Thomson at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 13

    The Strikeforce lightweight champion is one of only two non-UFC fighters considered to be amongst the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters in MMA. That just goes to show how good people consider Melendez to be.

    In his last fight, he barely squeaked by Josh Thomson, and dropped slightly from the level at which people used to think he was.

No. 16: Joseph Benavidez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-2

    Most Recent Fight: KO victory over Yasuhiro Urushitani at UFC on FX 2

    Next Fight: Demetrious Johnson at TBA

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Joseph Benavidez is considered by many to be the uncrowned flyweight champion of the world. With the close fights that Demetrious Johnson had with Ian McCall, many think that Johnson will not be able to compete with Benavidez.

    In Benavidez's career he has only lost twice, and both of those came at the hands of the bantamweight champion, Dominick Cruz.

    Benavidez will look to finally get a belt by beating Johnson at a date to be announced.

No. 15: Gray Maynard

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 11-1-1 [1 NC]

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 17

    The former lightweight title challenger, Gray Maynard, is almost universally considered to be a top-three lightweight in the world.

    Maynard was last seen in action at UFC on FX 4, where he earned a unanimous decision over Clay Guida in a fight that saw Maynard and not Guida be the fan favorite.

    Maynard will likely fight a top contender next.

No. 14: Urijah Faber

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 26-5

    Most Recent Fight: Submission victory over Brian Bowles at UFC 139

    Next Fight: Renan Barao at UFC 149

    Previous Ranking: 14

    The former WEC featherweight champion is up next, as Urijah Faber checks in at No. 14 on our list.

    Faber has contended for the UFC bantamweight title and lost to Dominick Cruz at UFC 132. At UFC 149, he will face Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight title.

    He has wins over several top-10 fighters and is, without a doubt, one of the best fighters in the world today.

No. 13: Cain Velasquez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 10-1

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Antonio Silva at UFC 146

    Next Fight: Junior dos Santos at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Cain Velasquez is the former UFC heavyweight champion, and he is on a mission to reclaim the belt from Junior dos Santos.

    If Velasquez's last fight against Antonio Silva is any indication, there may be no stopping Velasquez. He took Silva down in mere seconds, and TKO'd him in the first round.

    Junior had better make sure his takedown defense is as good as ever for the rematch.

No. 12: Rashad Evans

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 17-2-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Jon Jones at UFC 145

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 12

    Rashad Evans fell short in his title-reclaiming effort against Jon Jones, but he'll certainly be back to fight for the title again.

    In the meantime, Evans is stuck in a Jon Fitch—pre-Johny Hendricks—type of situation, where he is one of the best fighters in the division, but may have nothing to offer the champion.

No. 11: Chael Sonnen

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 27-11-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2

    Next Fight: Anderson Silva at UFC 148

    Previous Ranking: 11

    What's there to be said about Chael Sonnen?

    He fights Anderson Silva in a rematch of their UFC 117 fight on Saturday, in what will likely be one of the biggest PPVs in UFC history.

    Every MMA fan is looking forward to this one.

No. 10: Dan Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 29-8

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Mauricio Rua at UFC 139

    Next Fight: Jon Jones at UFC 151

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Dan Henderson just gets better with age.

    At 41 years old, Henderson is as good as ever and will be fighting for a UFC title for the third time in September.

    Henderson has won six of his last seven fights, including knockouts at middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight. That's pretty impressive.

No. 9: Carlos Condit

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 28-5

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Nick Diaz at UFC 143

    Next Fight: Georges St-Pierre at UFC 154

    Previous Ranking: 9

    Carlos Condit is the interim UFC welterweight champion, and he won the title back in February when he defeated Nick Diaz by close unanimous decision.

    Condit then elected to sit out and wait for Georges St-Pierre to recover, and a title unification fight is scheduled for UFC 154.

No. 8: Frankie Edgar

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 14-2-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Benson Henderson at UFC 144

    Next Fight: Benson Henderson at UFC 150

    Previous Ranking: 8

    As a former lightweight champion and a man fighting at least one weight class higher than he possibly could, Frankie Edgar belongs this high on the pound-for-pound list.

    After UFC 150, Edgar will have fought the same three opponents in his last six fights. Win or lose, I'm sure he'll be looking for new opportunity.

    Perhaps the featherweight division is calling him.

No. 7: Benson Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Frankie Edgar at UFC 144

    Next Fight: Frankie Edgar at UFC 150

    Previous Ranking: 7

    The UFC's most recent official champion is also the lowest ranked of all the champions.

    Benson Henderson won the lightweight title when he defeated Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision at UFC 144 in Japan.

    Now Henderson will have a rematch with Edgar as the main event of UFC 150.

No. 6: Junior dos Santos

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-1

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Frank Mir at UFC 146

    Next Fight: Cain Velasquez at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 6

    The heavyweight champion of the world comes in at No. 6 this month, just like he did last month.

    At UFC 146, Junior dos Santos scored a TKO victory over Frank Mir, just as everyone assumed that he would. Earlier, on the same card, Cain Velasquez earned a No. 1 contender spot when he defeated Antonio Silva.

    Dos Santos and Velasquez are now rumored to have a rematch at UFC 152.

No. 5: Dominick Cruz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 19-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 132

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 5

    The Dominator is yet another fighter who was forced out of a fight due to injury. Cruz was set to face Urijah Faber for a third time in the co-main event of UFC 148, but a torn ACL forced him from the fight.

    When he returns, he will likely face the winner of the upcoming Faber-Renan Barao fight, which will take place as the main event of UFC 149.

No. 4: Jose Aldo

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 21-1

    Most Recent Fight: KO victory over Chad Mendes at UFC 142

    Next Fight: Erik Koch at TBA

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Jose Aldo remains in the No. 4 spot in the rankings. Aldo has decimated his competition at 145 pounds and was set to face Erik Koch at UFC 149, but an injury forced him from the card.

    His next fight will likely be against Koch, but nothing is set in stone.

No. 3: Georges St-Pierre

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 22-2

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129

    Next Fight: Carlos Condit at UFC 154

    Previous Ranking: 2

    Georges St-Pierre has finally dropped from the No. 2 spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.

    Some will be happy to see this change, and others will be absolutely livid. There are arguments for both sides, but the panel of writers has spoken, and St-Pierre is now No. 3.

    He will return to face Carlos Condit to unify the titles at UFC 154.

No. 2: Jon Jones

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 17-1

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Rashad Evans at UFC 145

    Next Fight: Dan Henderson at UFC 151

    Previous Ranking: 3

    It has finally happened: Georges St-Pierre is no longer one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters on the planet.

    Inactivity has ruined St-Pierre's momentum, as Jones has defeated three top contenders since St-Pierre's last fight.

    Jones will look to make it four top contenders when he faces Dan Henderson at UFC 151.

No. 1: Anderson Silva

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 31-4

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Yushin Okami at UFC 134

    Next Fight: Chael Sonnen at UFC 148

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Talk about a shocker, right?

    Anderson Silva remains entrenched as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, with 14 straight victories in the UFC, nine title defenses and 12 finishes during that time.

    Silva will face Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, this Saturday, only on PPV.

     

    Tim McTiernan is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. For the latest news on everything MMA, follow him on Twitter @TimMcTiernan.