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

Hunter HomistekCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

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

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    "What if" is such a fun game to play.  

    "What if" Dominick Cruz weighed 205 pounds and could take on Jon Jones?  

    What if Anderson Silva was a lightweight?  

    MMA has divisions for a reason, but it is always fun to speculate on how fighters stack up against one another, weight classes be damned.  

    For that, take a look at the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, as ranked by your favorite bloggers here at B/R.  

    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: Chad Mendes

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 12-1

    Most Recent Fight: KO victory over Cody McKenzie at UFC 148

    Next Fight: At a bar near you (allegedly)

    Previous Ranking: N/A

    A nasty knockout thanks to a well-placed punch to the solar plexus of Cody McKenzie has Chad Mendes kicking off our top 25.  

    With phenomenal wrestling and an ever-improving standup game, Mendes is, without question, one of the best featherweight fighters in the world.  

No. 24: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 21-6

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Brandon Vera at UFC on Fox 4

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 21

    A technical knockout victory over Brandon Vera may not have won Mauricio "Shogun" Rua a light heavyweight title shot, but the Brazilian knockout artist remains one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world for his efforts at UFC on Fox 4.  

    With heavy hands and a well-rounded game, Shogun is a threat to any light heavyweight when he is in top form.

No. 23: Daniel Cormier

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 10-0

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

    Next Fight: vs. Frank Mir at untitled October 2012 Strikeforce event

    Previous Ranking: 24

    Despite not fighting since rankings last came out in June, Daniel Cormier moves up a spot on our list.  

    With a fancy new matchup with Frank Mir announced for October, Cormier has the chance to really make a name for himself in the heavyweight division in the upcoming months.  

    P.S. That is him doing the slamming, not getting slammed in the picture, as you probably knew.  

No. 22: Demetrious Johnson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-2

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

    Next Fight: vs. Joseph Benavidez at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 18

    Despite winning a unanimouse decision (see what I did there?) over Ian McCall at UFC on FX 3, Demetrious Johnson falls to no. 22 in our pound-for-pound rankings. 

    Have no fear for "Mighty Mouse," though; he has a chance to redeem his ranking at UFC 152 and earn a shiny new UFC championship belt in the process.  

No. 21: 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: 20

    Newly minted lightweight title challenger Nate Diaz continues our list at no. 21.  

    With an impressive win over Jim Miller at UFC on Fox 3, Diaz finds himself in a comfy position in the lightweight title picture: He's next in line.  

No. 20: Lyoto Machida

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 18-3

    Most Recent Fight: KO victory over Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 22

    With a devastating knockout finish over Ryan Bader at UFC on Fox 4, "The Dragon" finds himself in line for the winner of UFC 151's matchup between Jon Jones and Dan Henderson for the UFC light heavyweight championship.  

    More importantly, though, he jumps up two spots from last month on our prestigious list.  

No. 19: 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: vs. Martin Kampmann at UFC 154

    Previous Ranking: 23

    Is Johny Hendricks next in line for the winner of Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit?  

    A matchup with Martin Kampmann at UFC 154 will determine the bearded sensation's fate. Win and he's in, lose and he's...umm...old news. Nice save, Hunter.  

    Moving along... 

No. 18: Urijah Faber

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 26-6

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Renan Barao at UFC 149

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 14

    A longtime fan favorite and title challenger at both featherweight and bantamweight, Urijah Faber takes a little tumble in our rankings thanks to a unanimous decision loss to Renan Barao at UFC 149.

    While "The California Kid" came up short in that title eliminator matchup, he remains one of the top lighter-weight fighters of all-time and stays at a cozy No. 18 spot on our list.  

No. 17: Gilbert Melendez

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 21-2

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

    Next Fight: vs. Pat Healy September 29 at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy

    Previous Ranking: 17

    It must be hard being Gilbert Melendez.  

    Despite being one of the best lightweights in the world, Melendez's list of recent opponents is as follows: Josh Thomson (twice), Jorge Masvidal, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Shinya Aoki. 

    Who?

    Can we please just get this guy in the UFC already?  

No. 16: Gray Maynard

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 11-1-1 (1 NC)

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

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 15

    Gray Maynard slides a spot in our rankings after an uneventful month of July.  While "The Bully's" future is still under discussion, one has to think a big matchup is on the horizon.  

No. 15: Dan Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 29-8

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

    Next Fight: vs. Jon Jones at UFC 151

    Previous Ranking: 10

    Thanks to an almost year-long layoff, "Hendo" slides five spots to No. 15 in our rankings.  

    The wait, however, can prove to be very fruitful, as a light heavyweight title matchup with Jon Jones at UFC 151 looms. (Yes, I just said "fruitful" and "looms" in the same sentence.)

No. 14: Cain Velasquez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 10-1

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

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 13

    Cain Velasquez's victory over Antonio Silva was as dominant a win as we have seen inside the UFC Octagon, and the AKA standout earned a rematch with heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos for his efforts. 

    Or so it seemed.

    With rumors swirling that dos Santos wants Alistair Overeem, not Velasquez, as his next title challenger, I am leaving Cain's next fight as "TBA."  Things are definitely getting fishy with the heavyweight title picture, and we will have to wait for the smoke to clear before speculating further.  

No. 13: Joseph Benavidez

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-2

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

    Next Fight: vs. Demetrious Johnson at UFC 152

    Previous Ranking: 16

    Joseph Benavidez has already had a fantastic MMA career by any standard, but the best may be yet to come for the Team Alpha Male flyweight.  

    A matchup with Demetrious Johnson for the UFC flyweight championship awaits him at UFC 152, and the winner will receive the first ever UFC flyweight strap.  

    Pretty cool, huh?

No. 12: Chael Sonnen

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 27-12

    Most Recent Fight: TKO loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 148

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 11

    MMA's best talker, Chael P. Sonnen, comes in at No. 11 after a humbling defeat to middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva at UFC 148.  

    With the loss, Sonnen not only dropped his second chance at the middleweight title, he may be done with the division for good.  

    Rumor has it Sonnen may be considering a move to light heavyweight, and such a decision opens up a new avenue of exciting matchups for the trash talking phenom.  

No. 11: 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

    Like Chael Sonnen, "Suga" might be considering a career move after dropping a bout to his division's champion in his last outing. 

    After falling to Jon "Bones" Jones at UFC 145, experts are speculating a move to the 185-pound division for Evans, where a title shot with Anderson Silva almost certainly awaits.  

    How fun would that be?!

No. 10: Renan Barao

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 29-1 (1 NC)

    Most Recent Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 149

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 19

    This month's biggest winner in the rankings is newly crowned bantamweight interim champion Renan Barao.  

    With an impressive victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 149, Barao extended his ridiculous undefeated streak to 29 fights and moved into the top 10 on our list.  

    Well done, Mr. Barao. Well done.

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 has found a home at No. 9 on our list for the third consecutive month.  

    With a title shot against welterweight champion and MMA superstar Georges St. Pierre in his headlights, though, things are about to either rise or fall dramatically for the Jackson MMA fighter.  

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

    Lightweight Frankie Edgar just loves rematches.  

    After rematch victories in title fights against BJ Penn and Gray Maynard already on his resume, Edgar looks to add another name to that list at UFC 150, where he will take on Ben Henderson for the second time this year.  

No. 7: Ben 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

    Well speak of the devil!  

    Ben Henderson has already defeated Frankie Edgar once in his career, so a second time should be no problem, right?  

    Time will tell, as the two lightweights clash for 155-pound supremacy at UFC 150 this Saturday, August 11.  

No. 6: 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

    Bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz falls to No. 5 on our list thanks to a bum knee keeping him out of action since July 2011.  

    All signs point to him being able to return in early-to-mid 2013, so a matchup with interim champion Renan Barao will then decide once and for all who the best 135-pound fighter in the world is today.  

No. 5: 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: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 6

    UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is a beast, and he has the ranking to show for it.  

    After destroying Frank Mir at UFC 146, it seemed "Cigano" was locked into a matchup with Cain Velasquez for his next title defense. 

    However, dos Santos has recently expressed more interest in kickboxing extraordinaire Alistair Overeem as his next opponent, so the champ's future remains in limbo at the moment.  

    Whether it is Velasquez or Overeem though, dos Santos is definitely in for a tough test in his next Octagon appearance.  

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 UFC 153

    Previous Ranking: 4

    Jose Aldo may not get the mass recognition of Georges St. Pierre, Anderson Silva or Jon Jones, but there is no doubt in his legitimacy as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters today. 

    Like the aforementioned trio of UFC superstars, Aldo has obliterated every opponent put in front of him and nearly cleaned out his division in the process.  

    A matchup with Erik Koch awaits Aldo at UFC 153, but the UFC is quickly running out of lambs to sacrifice to the beast that is Jose Aldo.  

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: 3

    Being out of action for so long is giving you a headache, eh Georges?  

    UFC 154 marks the return of GSP to the UFC Octagon, and fans, critics and analysts alike are chomping at the bit as the days dwindle down to the Canadian superstar's return.  

    Will he be the same fighter he once was, or will knee surgery hinder his explosive athleticism?

    Time will tell, and Carlos Condit will be there to find out firsthand.   

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: 2

    Jon Jones has annihilated his light heavyweight adversaries in unparalleled fashion, but the young phenom puts this run on the line against Dan Henderson at UFC 151.

    Can Jones avoid the famous "H-bomb," or is it lights out for "Bones" come fight night?  

    A win will drum up talks of a move to heavyweight, while a loss will have people questioning his drive and focus.  

    Which will it be, Jon?

    Set your cruise control to victory or crash and burn (into a pole)?  

No. 1: Bob Sapp

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    Alright, alright, just seeing if you're still with me here.  

    Moving on...

No. 1: Anderson Silva

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 32-4

    Most Recent Fight: TKO victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 148

    Next Fight: TBA

    Previous Ranking: 1

    Was there any question? 

    After dismantling his greatest challenge to date, Chael Sonnen, at UFC 148, Anderson Silva leaves no questions about who is the greatest fighter in the world.  

    It's him.

    And if history has told us anything, he's not going anywhere anytime soon. 

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