August 2012 MMA Rankings: The 10 Best in Each Division

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterAugust 27, 2012

August 2012 MMA Rankings: The 10 Best in Each Division

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    Once per month, I put together a list of rankings in each weight class, from heavyweight to flyweight, for the USA Today consensus MMA rankings.

    I began sharing these rankings with you last month, and I'll continue to do so each month.

    These rankings are my own. They are not affiliated with the official Bleacher Report MMA rankings and should not be considered the consensus view of anyone else on the Caged In or Bleacher Report staff.

    With that disclaimer out of the way, let's get started with the big boys at heavyweight. 


1 of 8

    1. Junior dos Santos
    2. Cain Velasquez
    3. Daniel Cormier
    4. Alistair Overeem
    5. Fabricio Werdum
    6. Frank Mir
    7. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
    8. Josh Barnett
    9. Antonio Silva
    10. Travis Browne

    NOTES: We now know that Dos Santos (1) and Velasquez (2) will face off in the main event of the UFC's year-end card in December, barring injuries to either fighter. But they aren't the only top-10 fighters to square off between now and the turn of 2013.

    Cormier (3) and Mir (6) will face off on an undetermined Strikeforce card at some point in October. After that, Cormier will make his way over to the UFC to try to stake his claim as one of the world's best heavyweights.

    Barnett (8) will also have one final Strikeforce fight, but his tenuous relationship with UFC president Dana White makes his own return to the UFC far from a certainty. 

    Silva (9) and Browne (10) face off in the main event of UFC on FX 5 on October 5. It has the chance to be a statement fight for Browne, who could move from prospect to serious heavyweight contender with an emphatic win.

Light Heavyweight

2 of 8

    1. Jon Jones
    2. Dan Henderson
    3. Rashad Evans
    4. Lyoto Machida
    5. Mauricio Rua
    6. Phil Davis
    7. Alexander Gustafsson
    8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    9. Quinton Jackson
    10. Ryan Bader

    NOTES: The drama surrounding top-ranked Jones is well-documented, so we won't get into it. What we do know is that he'll defend his title against middleweight Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC 152 on September 22.

    Machida (4) was the next guy in line for a title shot, but his decision to turn down a title opportunity at UFC 152 may require him to now win another fight before getting a shot. I'd expect Henderson (2) to receive the next crack at Jones, providing his knee injury doesn't keep him on the shelf for too long.

    If that's the case, look for the winner of the December bout between Rua (5) and Gustafsson (7) to earn the next crack at Jones, assuming the champ gets by Belfort.


3 of 8

    1. Anderson Silva
    2. Chael Sonnen
    3. Chris Weidman
    4. Michael Bisping
    5. Tim Boetsch
    6. Mark Munoz
    7. Vitor Belfort
    8. Luke Rockhold
    9. Yushin Okami
    10. Brian Stann

    NOTES: The next big fight in the middleweight division pits Bisping (4) against Stann (10) at UFC 152 next month. The winner should be in line for a title shot.

    That's assuming that Silva (1) doesn't face Georges St-Pierre in a catch-weight bout in early 2013. Both fighters have said they want to fight each other, and they agree that a catch-weight bout of 178 pounds is the logical route to go.

    If St-Pierre beats Carlos Condit in November, I fully expect the long-awaited super fight between Silva and St-Pierre to finally happen, perhaps at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

    Until then, the rest of the division is in a holding pattern. I'd like to see a matchup between Weidman and Alan Belcher at some point later in the year.


4 of 8

    1. Carlos Condit
    2. Nick Diaz
    3. Johny Hendricks
    4. Jon Fitch
    5. Martin Kampmann
    6. Jake Ellenberger
    7. Josh Koscheck
    8. Ben Askren
    9. Rory MacDonald
    10. Nate Marquardt

    Georges St-Pierre is ineligible to be ranked due to USA Today's voting rules on inactivity.

    NOTES: Condit (1) faces St-Pierre (unranked) in the main event of UFC 154 in November. Hendricks (3) and Kampmann (5) also face off on the same card.

    MacDonald (9) will face B.J. Penn (unranked) at UFC on FOX in December.

    New Strikeforce welterweight champion Marquardt (10) enters the rankings for the first time.


5 of 8

    1. Benson Henderson
    2. Gilbert Melendez
    3. Frankie Edgar
    4. Gray Maynard
    5. Nate Diaz
    6. Jim Miller
    7. Anthony Pettis
    8. Clay Guida
    9. Donald Cerrone
    10. Michael Chandler

    NOTES: Henderson (1) will next face Diaz (5) after defending his title against Edgar earlier this month. Edgar, meanwhile, will make his long-awaited move to the featherweight division.

    Melendez (2) will face Pat Healy (unranked) in the main event of a Strikeforce show on September 29. 

    Maynard will face Joe Lauzon (unranked) at UFC 155 on December 29. 

    There are rumors of a grudge match between Pettis (7) and Cerrone (9), but nothing is official. 


6 of 8

    1. Jose Aldo
    2. Pat Curran
    3. Chad Mendes
    4. Ricardo Lamas
    5. Hatsu Hioki
    6. Dennis Siver
    7. Diego Nunes
    8. Erik Koch
    9. Chan Sung Jung
    10. Dustin Poirier

    NOTES: Aldo (1) will face Koch (8) in the main event of UFC 153, which takes place in Aldo's home country of Brazil in October. If Aldo is successful in his title defense, he'll likely face Jung (9) in his next bout.

    Mendes (3) was charged with battery stemming from a July bar fight. There's no word on how it will affect his fighting career, but I'd like to see him face new featherweight Frankie Edgar in a contender's bout whenever he's available.


7 of 8

    1. Dominick Cruz
    2. Renan Barao
    3. Urijah Faber
    4. Brian Bowles
    5. Michael McDonald
    6. Brad Pickett
    7. Eddie Wineland
    8. Scott Jorgensen
    9. Miguel Torres
    10. Eduardo Dantas

    NOTES: With Cruz (1) on the shelf until next year, the top of the division will remain stagnant for some time to come. There's a chance Barao (2) will face a new opponent before Cruz is ready to come back, and McDonald (5) remains the best choice available.

    Torres (9) recently revealed that he was cut from the UFC after losing to McDonald earlier this year. He has signed with Titan Fighting Championships, where he'll try to string together a few wins and make it back to the big stage.

    Dantas (10) was knocked out by unheralded Tyson Nam at a Shooto event in Brazil, an embarrassment for the reigning Bellator bantamweight champion. 


8 of 8

    1. Joseph Benavidez
    2. Demetrious Johnson
    3. Ian McCall
    4. Jussier Da Silva
    5. Yasuhiro Urushitani
    6. Darrell Montague
    7. John Dodson
    8. Chris Cariaso
    9. Louis Gaudinot
    10. John Moraga

    NOTES: Benavidez (1) and Johnson (2) will face off to determine the first UFC flyweight champion in the co-main event of UFC 152 on September 22. 

    Da Silva (4) and Dodson (7) will fight at UFC on FX 5 on October 5. The winner will likely get the first title shot at the winner of the Benavidez-Johnson bout.

    Moraga (10) enters the rankings after his dominant win over Ulysses Gomez.