Post-UFC 156 Rankings for All Weight Divisions

Jeremy BotterMMA Senior WriterFebruary 5, 2013

Post-UFC 156 Rankings for All Weight Divisions

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    Rankings: You can't live with 'em, and you can't live without 'em. 

    As those of you who follow me on Twitter may have discovered by now, I'm a pollster on the shiny new UFC rankings. That means that after each UFC event, I'm offered the opportunity to vote on UFC rankings in each weight class (except women's bantamweight, since there are only two female fighters on the roster at the moment), plus a pound-for-pound list.

    FightMetric and the UFC make each ballot public, so you can see what my fellow media members and I voted for on every edition of the rankings. But I also pledged to publish them here so you, my fellow Bleacher Report denizens, can tell me that I'm an idiot or a genius. I prefer genius, but I know which way most of you are leaning without even looking at your comments.

    With that said, my rankings are in the following slides for you to peruse. You can also see the cumulative rankings and individual member ballots on UFC.com.

    Here are the ranking guidelines, as given to us by FightMetric, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Pound-for-Pound

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    1. Anderson Silva
    2. Jon Jones
    3. Jose Aldo
    4. Georges St-Pierre
    5. Benson Henderson
    6. Dominick Cruz
    7. Demetrious Johnson
    8. Dan Henderson
    9. Frankie Edgar
    10. Gilbert Melendez

    I've received plenty of feedback on Twitter that I should've included Renan Barao here, but I just can't do it. Sure, he has a stellar record, and that's certainly impressive. Anyone who can run up that many wins with just one loss is special.

    But when putting together rankings, you also have to consider the level of competition that a fighter has faced. And with Barao, I just don't think he's faced enough top-level guys to truly be considered among the pound-for-pound best in the sport. He's getting close, though, and if this list expanded to 15 fighters, he'd certainly be included. He'll have a chance to make a strong case for himself when he faces Michael McDonald next week.

    I came close to putting Jose Aldo above Jon Jones here, but I just can't do it. Aldo is a special fighter and he's incredible to watch, but I need to see more dominance and finishing from the featherweight champion before he makes that move up.

Heavyweight

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    CHAMP: Cain Velasquez

    1. Junior Dos Santos
    2. Fabricio Werdum
    3. Daniel Cormier
    4. Antonio Silva
    5. Alistair Overeem
    6. Shane Carwin
    7. Frank Mir
    8. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
    9. Roy Nelson
    10. Stefan Struve

    Antonio Silva obviously made the biggest mark on this ballot after his knockout of Alistair Overeem at UFC 156. And while I don't think Silva earned a rematch with Velasquez, he certainly vaulted himself high within the division while also throwing the heavyweight division into a state of disarray. 

    In my opinion, Overeem's loss means that he can now face Junior dos Santos in a grudge match, with the winner moving on to face Velasquez in a rematch. 

    Werdum and Nogueira will face off this summer, and Werdum can cement himself as a title contender with a win. The same likely goes for Stefan Struve; with a win over Mark Hunt, he'd likely earn a fight with a top contender.

Light Heavyweight

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    CHAMP: Jon Jones

    1. Dan Henderson
    2. Lyoto Machida
    3. Alexander Gustafsson
    4. Phil Davis
    5. Glover Teixeira
    6. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    7. Rashad Evans
    8. Mauricio Rua
    9. Gegard Mousasi
    10. Ryan Bader

    Rashad Evans took a major tumble after losing to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a lackluster effort at UFC 156. I'm not sure what's next for Evans or whether he even wants to fight anymore, but he'll need to get it together if he plans on staying relevant. He's still a great fighter, but I'm just not sure he wants to be a fighter—if that makes sense.

    I'm sure that many of you will say that Gegard Mousasi deserves to be higher, but No. 9 is about as high as I can put him until he starts facing better competition. Of course, he's going to start facing better competition immediately in Alexander Gustafsson.

Middleweight

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    CHAMP: Anderson Silva

    1. Chris Weidman
    2. Vitor Belfort
    3. Mark Munoz
    4. Michael Bisping
    5. Yushin Okami
    6. Luke Rockhold
    7. Hector Lombard
    8. Constantinos Philippou
    9. Cung Le
    10. Jake Shields

    Chris Weidman cemented himself as the No. 1 contender by virtue of Rashad Evans losing at UFC 156—if Evans had won, many expected him to face Silva for the middleweight title. But that spot, and likely that fight, belongs solely to Weidman at this point.

    Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold enters the rankings at No. 6. He doesn't have a fight scheduled, but all signs are pointing to Rockhold facing Vitor Belfort. That's a huge fight for both men, if it comes to fruition.

    I never thought I'd see Cung Le on any sort of rankings list, but there he is.

Welterweight

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    CHAMP: Georges St-Pierre

    1. Johny Hendricks
    2. Carlos Condit
    3. Nick Diaz
    4. Demian Maia
    5. Rory MacDonald
    6. Martin Kampmann
    7. Jake Ellenberger
    8. Jon Fitch
    9. Josh Koscheck
    10. Tarec Saffiedine

    Johny Hendricks takes the top available spot, both in my rankings and in the cumulative version, and yet he's still not fighting for the title. And that's the kind of disconnect between these rankings and UFC matchmaking. St-Pierre vs. Diaz was already booked before the rankings were tabulated, but it's highly likely that they wouldn't have made a difference even if they'd been published prior to the fight booking.

    Strikeforce champ Tarec Saffiedine enters the rankings at No. 10, and it'll be interesting to see who the UFC pairs him with. Demian Maia mentioned that he'd like to fight Saffiedine, but I have to think Maia's going to be in line for a bigger fight, perhaps against the winner of the Rory MacDonald/Carlos Condit bout that is set to take place next month in Montreal.

Lightweight

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    CHAMP: Benson Henderson

    1. Gilbert Melendez
    2. Gray Maynard
    3. Anthony Pettis
    4. Nate Diaz
    5. Jim Miller
    6. T.J. Grant
    7. Donald Cerrone
    8. Rafael dos Anjos
    9. Pat Healy
    10. Jamie Varner

    I voted Melendez as the top contender because I believe he's deserving. The rest of my fellow voters thought he was deserving as well, and he assumes the top spot on both lists. He'll get his long-awaited shot at the UFC lightweight title in April.

    I'm glad to see T.J. Grant getting the attention he deserves, as he clocks in at No. 6 on my list and No. 7 on the cumulative list.

    I have Jamie Varner at No. 10, but the cumulative list has Khabib Nurmagomedov in the same spot. I have no problem with that. Both are deserving, and it's all up to your preference. But then again, that's the rule for all of these rankings, isn't it?

Featherweight

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    CHAMP: Jose Aldo

    1. Chad Mendes
    2. Frankie Edgar
    3. Ricardo Lamas
    4. Chan Sung Jung
    5. Clay Guida
    6. Hatsu Hioki
    7. Dennis Siver
    8. Nik Lentz
    9. Cub Swanson
    10. Dustin Poirier

    The featherweight division is getting interesting. Ricardo Lamas seemed like the logical next contender for Jose Aldo after Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar, but then Anthony Pettis threw his hat into the ring. If I were booking this thing, I'd go ahead and do Aldo vs. Pettis. It's a big fight, and when you have a chance to do big fights, you do them or you risk losing them.

    With that in mind, I'd pair up Lamas and Ricardo Lamas, with the winner facing the winner of Aldo vs. Pettis.

Bantamweight

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    CHAMP: Dominick Cruz

    1. Renan Barao (Interim champion)
    2. Urijah Faber
    3. Michael McDonald
    4. Eddie Wineland
    5. Brad Pickett
    6. Scott Jorgensen
    7. Rafael Assuncao
    8. Mike Easton
    9. Ivan Menjivar
    10. T.J. Dillashaw

    Renan Barao automatically earns the No. 1 spot due to holding the interim title, but he'd likely be there anyway, even if that guideline weren't in place. Barao faces Michael McDonald next week on Fuel TV, and then will hope to go into a title fight with Dominick Cruz, if he ever returns from the knee injury that has kept him sidelined for a long time now.

Flyweight

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    CHAMP: Demetrious Johnson

    1. Joseph Benavidez
    2. John Dodson
    3. John Moraga
    4. Ian McCall
    5. Jussier da Silva
    6. Louis Gaudinot
    7. John Lineker
    8. Chris Cariaso
    9. Darren Uyenoyama
    10. Ulysses Gomez

    In my mind, Joseph Benavidez cemented himself as the top flyweight contender after beating Ian McCall at UFC 156. But Benavidez says he's not demanding a title shot in his next fight because he wants to be absolutely perfect before facing Johnson again, which means that Johnson's next contender is up in the air.