UFC on FOX 5 Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in the UFC

Tim McTiernanCorrespondent IDecember 9, 2012

UFC on FOX 5 Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in the UFC

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    On Saturday night, several of the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters were in action looking to move further up the ranks.

    In the main event, Benson Henderson defended his lightweight title against Nate Diaz by unanimous decision. Prior to that, Alexander Gustafsson won a decision over Shogun Rua, and BJ Penn lost a unanimous decision to Rory MacDonald.

    All of them have legitimate claims to being top 25 pound-for-pound fighters, but let's see who moved up, down and all around.

No. 25: Chad Mendes

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    Chad Mendes was a big winner at UFC 148, as he earned a TKO victory over Cody McKenzie just seconds into the first round.

    Mendes has officially rebounded from his loss to Jose Aldo at UFC 142, and he put himself in line to earn another title fight, or at least a top-contender fight.

    Mendes will face off against Yaotzin Meza at UFC on FX this weekend.

No. 24: Nate Diaz

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    Nate Diaz earned his title shot by decimating Takanori Gomi, Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller. He was expected to seriously challenge Benson Henderson and the fans favored him to win the fight.

    However, it did not go as many expected.

    Diaz was outclassed throughout the fight as Henderson earned a clear-cut unanimous decision victory.

No. 23: Ian McCall

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    Ian McCall is almost universally considered the No. 3 flyweight in the world behind both Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez.

    The UFC flyweight division is still relatively small, so McCall shouldn't be too many fights away from a title shot.

    He may earn a shot if he beats Joseph Benavidez at UFC 156.

No. 22: Urijah Faber

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    At UFC 149, Urijah Faber dropped a unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46) to the new interim bantamweight champion—Renan Barao.

    Faber seemed to have no answer for anything Barao was doing, as Barao's kicks were able to keep Faber on the outside and spending most of his time defending.

    Faber is undoubtedly the No. 3 bantamweight in the world, but with losses in his last five title fights, he just can't keep up with the best of the best in the division.

    Faber will face Ivan Menjivar at UFC 157.

No. 21: Alexander Gustafsson

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    On Saturday night, Alexander Gustafsson earned his first undeniable top-10 victory. Gustafsson won a unanimous decision over Mauricio Rua and proved that he is a legitimate threat in the division.

    It was said before the fight that it was for a No. 1 contender position, so we'll see if Gustafsson does really earn a shot at the winner of Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen.

No. 20: Chris Weidman

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    Chris Weidman can now be considered one of the top fighters in the UFC middleweight division—and the entire world.

    Weidman is 9-0, 5-0 in the UFC, with wins over Demian Maia, Mark Munoz, Tom Lawlor and more.

    Weidman is undoubtedly the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division, but an injury has forced him out for several months.

No. 19: Chael Sonnen

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    Chael Sonnen came into the fight at UFC 148 with everything to prove. He had a chance to dethrone the greatest fighter of all time and back up all of his trash talk.

    For the first five minutes, he did just that, as he took down and controlled Anderson Silva. Then, in the second round, Silva did what he does best, as he used his pinpoint striking to finish Sonnen by TKO.

    Sonnen is currently coaching on The Ultimate Fighter against Jon Jones, and the two will fight in April of 2013 for the light heavyweight title.

No. 18: Gray Maynard

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    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 was supposed to face Joe Lauzon at UFC 155, but an injury forced him out of the bout.

No. 17: Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez is the former UFC heavyweight champion, and he's 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 at UFC 155.

No. 16: Joseph Benavidez

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    Joseph Benavidez was the favorite coming into the fight, but that didn't matter in the end, as he dropped a split decision and did not win the inaugural UFC flyweight title.

    It was a close, competitive fight, but in the end, the wrestling of Demetrious Johnson proved too much for Benavidez.

    Benavidez will face off against Ian McCall at UFC 156

No. 15: Rashad Evans

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    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.

    His next fight will be against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156.

No. 14: Lyoto Machida

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    I have seen the error of my ways and realized that Lyoto Machida does belong in the top 25 pound-for-pound fighters. Machida is No. 3 in the division and belongs on this list.

    His last fight saw him knock out Ryan Bader and move his overall record to 17-3. Machida is rumored for a fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 157, although he could fight Alexander Gustafsson if Henderson is not healthy enough.

No. 13: Carlos Condit

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    On Saturday night, Carlos Condit had a chance to dethrone GSP. He had a chance to unify the interim title and the undisputed title, and he almost did.

    In the third round, he landed a solid head kick and almost finished GSP, but when all was said and done, GSP had his hand raised and had another unanimous decision victory.

    Condit remains a top-five welterweight.

No. 12: Dan Henderson

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    At 41 years old, Dan Henderson is as good as ever.

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

    Henderson is now tentatively scheduled for a fight with Machida at UFC 157 which may or may not be a No. 1 contender match.

No. 11: Johny Hendricks

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    Johny Hendricks should have GSP scared. Hendricks has now won three straight fights against top-five welterweights.

    He knocked out both Jon Fitch and Martin Kampmann, and he won a decision over Josh Koscheck.

    He has some of the best wrestling in the welterweight division, and arguably the most power. All welterweights should be afraid.

No. 10: Renan Barao

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    Barao won the interim bantamweight title at UFC 149 with his five-round decision over Urijah Faber.

    Originally, Barao had planned to sit on the belt and wait for Dominick Cruz, but Dana White has recently said he will look to have Barao defend the title, potentially against Michael McDonald.

No. 9: Demetrious Johnson

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    Demetrious Johnson is a one-time bantamweight title challenger and first-ever UFC flyweight champion.

    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.

    He then earned a split decision over Joseph Benavidez and earned the inaugural UFC flyweight title.

No. 8: Frankie Edgar

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    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 suffering a second loss to Benson Henderson at UFC 150, Edgar's shots at regaining the title any time soon are slim, but he did answer the questions about fighting at lightweight.

    He was briefly scheduled to face Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, but an injury to Aldo forced the cancellation of the fight. It was rescheduled for UFC 156.

No. 7: Benson Henderson

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    Benson Henderson got his first definitive victory as the UFC lightweight champion. His two fights with Frankie Edgar were incredibly close decisions that he won, but some fans still didn't see him as champ.

    With a unanimous decision over Diaz, Henderson proved that he is, without a doubt, the No. 1 lightweight in the world.

No. 6: Junior Dos Santos

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    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 will face each other in a rematch at UFC 155 on December 29.

No. 5: Dominick Cruz

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    "The Dominator" is yet another fighter who was forced out of a fight due to injury.

    Dominick 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.

    Unfortunately, a second ACL surgery has forced Cruz out for even longer, and it is unknown when he will be back.

No. 4: Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo remains in the No. 4 spot in the pound-for-pound 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.

    He was once again set to face Koch at UFC 153, then Frankie Edgar, then he was pulled from the card altogether when he got injured. They will now face off at UFC 156.

No. 3: Georges St-Pierre

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    Georges St-Pierre made his return to the cage for the first time in more than a year at UFC 154, and he had the toughest fight of his career.

    For 25 minutes, he and Carlos Condit battled back and forth, and GSP was hurt badly in the third round with a head kick.

    St-Pierre earned the unanimous decision win in the end, but it wasn't enough to jump back into the No. 2 pound-for-pound spot on this list.

No. 2: Jon Jones

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    Following another title defense at UFC 152, Jon Jones just continues to prove that he is one of the best fighters on the planet.

    Jones defeated Vitor Belfort by fourth-round submission, and while Belfort lasted longer than most expected, he fell just as the other four former champs had.

    Jones is currently coaching against Chael Sonnen on The Ultimate Fighter and will face off against Sonnen in April.

No. 1: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva moved up to light heavyweight for the third time in his UFC career at UFC 153 and faced off against Stephan Bonnar, a man who had never been legitimately finished in his career.

    For nearly four minutes, Silva toyed with Bonnar, putting his back against the cage and just daring Bonnar to strike him. Then he finished Bonnar with a knee to the solar-plexus.

    He's the greatest of all time, and definitely the greatest pound-for-pound fighter.

     

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