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2012 MMA Stock Report: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 25 Fighters

Scott HarrisFeatured Columnist IVOctober 18, 2016

2012 MMA Stock Report: Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 25 Fighters

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    What a difference 10 months makes.

    The 25 fighters on this list started 2012 as the top-ranked guys in the sport. Between all the events, injuries, controversies and whatnot, a lot of them won't end the year in nearly the same place as they began.

    We wanted to see whose stock has risen and fallen this year, so we revisited Bleacher Report's official Top 25 fighter rankings released Jan. 1. Then we broke out the most recent rankings and a few other comparison points. If you're like me, the fact that some of these guys were considered top-25 fighters in January will elicit come chuckles. Things change fast.

    This list ranks the top 25 fighters as of Jan. 1. Their rankings as of the most recent list are noted in each slide, although it wasn't the only factor that goes into the stock movement.

    So how did your faves fare? Did they lose, gain or simply maintain? Read on.

25. Josh Koscheck

2 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    Josh Koscheck came into 2012 with a nice head of steam after steamrolling Matt Hughes in September 2011. Then a split-decision win over Mike Pierce was followed by a split-decision loss to Johny Hendricks. Then a back injury kept him out of a fight with Jake Ellenberger. And the steam evaporated. 

24. Lyoto Machida

3 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Up

    Lyoto Machida put himself back in the win column with an impressive knockout of Ryan Bader. The win also put him back in the light heavyweight title picture. Until, you know, Chael Sonnen showed up.

23. Frank Mir

4 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 18

    Stock report: Down

    Junior dos Santos beat Frank Mir so thoroughly at UFC 146 that fans and pundits questioned Mir's desire to continue fighting. A November date with Daniel Cormier dissolved after a Mir injury. So yeah...not exactly a banner year for the former heavyweight champ.

22. Yushin Okami

5 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    In August, Yushin Okami righted his ship a bit by dominating Buddy Roberts. But it could take a lot longer to completely wash away the taste of that comeback-for-the-ages loss in front of his countrymen to Tim Boetsch at UFC 144.

21. Hatsu Hioki

6 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    Things seemed to be unfolding according to plan when Hatsu Hioki decisioned Bart Palaszewski in Japan and put himself in a position to challenge Jose Aldo for the featherweight title. But things went off the rails when Hioki said he wasn't ready for the shot.

    His honesty and thoughtfulness were admirable, but unfortunately for Hioki, his suspicion proved correct when he lost to the opponent he received instead, Ricardo Lamas.

20. Chad Mendes

7 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 24

    Stock report: No movement

    Yes, Jose Aldo gave him a bad beating. But most people expected that to happen, as Aldo is one of the world's best. Mendes rebounded with a gut-punch KO of Cody McKenzie, which people also expected. Looks like it's Even Steven for Mendes.

19. Urijah Faber

8 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 22

    Stock report: Down

    Urijah Faber was unable to solve Renan Barao in their battle for the UFC bantamweight title. And an injury to regular champ, rival and opposing The Ultimate Fighter coach Dominick Cruz temporarily derailed their rubber match, which is also the biggest fight in Faber's foreseeable future.

18. Gray Maynard

9 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 15

    Stock report: Up

    Gray Maynard's win over Clay Guida and Frankie Edgar's departure to the featherweight division put Maynard right back in the mix for the lightweight title.

17. Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson

10 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    It's entirely possible that we're witnessing the end of the Rampage era. He wanted to fight in Japan again, and did so, even slamming opponent Ryan Bader once in vintage Rampage fashion. But he ended up losing the fight.

    Subsequently, he pulled out of bouts with Mauricio Rua and Glover Teixeira, citing injuries in both case. He has now called out Teixeira following Teixeira's victory at UFC 153; we'll see how that comes together.

16. Cain Velasquez

11 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 14

    Stock report: Up

    He lost his title last November. Then he bloodied Antonio Silva. Now he has a shot to regain the strap against Junior dos Santos later this year. And he also switched to Metro PC. It's all coming to Cain in 2012 so far.

15. Alistair Overeem

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    Alistair Overeem hit a tiny speed bump on his road to world domination when the Nevada State Athletic Commission slapped him with a nine-month suspension for a failed drug test. It will be interesting to see who the UFC brain trust gives him upon his return to action.

    Interestingly, Overeem's mystique may have grown even stronger while he sits on the sidelines.

14. Benson Henderson

13 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 2-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 7

    Stock report: Up

    Benson Henderson beat Frankie Edgar for the title in Saitama Super Arena and then defended the belt against Frankie Edgar. His upcoming title fight with a non-Frankie Edgar opponent (Nate Diaz) is set for December.

13. Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua

14 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 18

    Stock report: Up

    Despite a drop in the B/R rankings, it's been a good year for Shogun. A win over Brandon Vera kept him in the conversation at light heavyweight, even if it wasn't the world's most impressive performance.

12. Joseph Benavidez

15 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 13

    Stock report: Down

    The man many saw as the presumptive first UFC flyweight champ put on a good fight with Demetrious Johnson, but came up short. He'll definitely bounce back at 125 pounds, though. He's got a TV gig now too, so that's good.

11. Chael Sonnen

16 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 17

    Stock report: Up

    How do you lose to Anderson Silva, then move up a weight class and immediately earn a title shot and coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter? First, be Chael Sonnen. Second, repeat step one.

10. Rashad Evans

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-1

    Ranking in most recent top 25: 12

    Stock report: No movement

    Rashad Evans lost to Jon Jones, but so has everyone else. Despite flirting with the idea of a move to middleweight, it looks like Evans will stay at 205, at least for his next fight. Evans is now targeting next February or March—and Lyoto Machida—for his return. 

9. Dan Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 11

    Stock report: Down

    After besting Shogun Rua in one of the best MMA fights ever in November 2011, Henderson got a shot at Jon Jones for the belt. We all know what happened from there. His failure to fight this year and his late notice of the injury that ultimately submarined UFC 151 have dinged the Henderson brand in 2012.

8. Nick Diaz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-1

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: N/R

    Stock report: Down

    The odds were pretty long at the beginning of 2012 that Nick's brother Nate would end the year as the higher-ranked fighter. But here we are.

    Nate is fighting for the lightweight title in December. Meanwhile, Nick languishes on the sidelines serving out a pot suspension and chewing on the news that he won't have an easy road back to Contenderville.

7. Junior dos Santos

20 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 6

    Stock report: Up

    After destroying Frank Mir, Junior dos Santos patiently awaits an end-of-year rematch with Cain Velasquez while yapping at Alistair Overeem from afar.

6. Dominick Cruz

21 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 5

    Stock report: Down

    A knee injury, through no fault of his own, has paralyzed Cruz's momentum, and the entire top of the bantamweight division along with it. Though he has risen a spot in the recent rankings versus the Jan. 1 iteration, this elongated layoff has tarnished the already-not-especially-immaculate Dominick Cruz brand.

5. Jose Aldo

22 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 1-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 4

    Stock report: No movement

    Jose Aldo wasted Chad Mendes in January, but then wrecked his motorcycle and a main event with Frankie Edgar. His stock is in a holding pattern until he can return. It would also be nice if he proved he could stay healthy.

4. Jon Jones

23 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 2-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 2

    Stock report: Up

    Despite all the UFC 151 drama and inadvertent heel turn, Jones in 2012 established himself as the greatest light heavyweight in MMA history. Simple as that.

3. Frankie Edgar

24 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-2

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 9

    Stock report: Down

    Benson Henderson beat Frankie Edgar twice (both close and very good fights, but losses nonetheless) and chased him down to featherweight. Now, the former 155-pound champ is moldering on the shelf until Jose Aldo returns.

2. Georges St-Pierre

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 0-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 3

    Stock report: No movement

    He lost his No. 2 spot to Jon Jones, and his name keeps coming up in superfight talks with Anderson Silva. But that knee injury has kept him grounded. If anything, his stock has gone down a bit, but I'll give him a "no movement."

1. Anderson Silva

26 of 26

    Promotion: UFC

    Record in 2012: 2-0

    Ranking in most recent Top 25: 1

    Stock report: No movement

    Nothing happened in 2012 that changed any perceptions of Anderson Silva. He's the best there is, and that's all there is.

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