UFC 160 Results: Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in the UFC

Craig Amos@@CAABRMMAFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2013

UFC 160 Results: Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in the UFC

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    On Saturday, Cain Velasquez defended his UFC heavyweight strap without so much as breaking a sweat. The victory marks the first successful title defense of his career, and positions him for a potentially lengthy reign.

    The win also helps his cause in the vaunted pound-for-pound ranks, where he now spends his time near the top, hobnobbing with fellow UFC champions. 

    Velasquez wasn't the only one who made a case for upward movement at UFC 160, however, with a handful of other fighters staking their claims to top-25 positions.

    Let's take a look at how the pound-for-pound scene looks in the aftermath of Saturday's action.

25. Glover Teixeira

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    Record: 21-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. James Te Huna

    Next Fight: TBD


    Lacking a signature victory, it's difficult to put Teixeira any higher than this. But in terms of what he's done inside the Octagon, he's looked like a truly elite competitor.

    Teixeira's win at UFC 160 was immaculate. He faced a dangerous opponent in James Te Huna and totally took him out of his element. That's the thing about Teixeira: He can strike or grapple with equal effectiveness, and looks to do whatever his opponent hopes he won't.

    His well-rounded game makes him a very tough out for any opponent, even the upper-echelon at 205. 

24. John Dodson

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    Record: 15-6 MMA, 3-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Loss vs. Demetrious Johnson

    Next Fight: TBD


    Dodson has been great since securing his Ultimate Fighter title back in 2011, winning three straight before coming up short in his bid for the flyweight title.

    The loss was disappointing for Dodson, but he held his own throughout the 25-minute battle, landing a couple big blows that put the champion in severe danger.

    "The Magician" is probably the hardest hitter at flyweight, but he's far from one-dimensional. And as he continues to develop his game, he only gets more and more threatening.

23. Daniel Cormier

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    Record: 12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC

    Last fight: Win vs. Frank Mir

    Next Fight: TBD


    Cormier's UFC debut didn't produce a spectacular finish or thrilling 15-minute war. In fact, he achieved victory to very little fanfare. 

    But in terms of effectiveness, the win was a thing of beauty. He totally shut down Frank Mir, a dangerous opponent, and was never in peril of losing the fight. 

    Where Cormier goes next—whether he stays at heavyweight or drops to light heavyweight—remains to be seen, but wherever he goes, he'll be a force, even if his fights aren't the prettiest to watch.

22. Lyoto Machida

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    Record: 19-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC

    Last Fight: Win vs. Dan Henderson

    Next Fight: TBD


    Just 3-3 over his last six outings, Machida has struggled with consistency while fighting nothing but stellar competition. His talent is undeniable, however, and he is poised to once again challenge for the light heavyweight title.

    He may need to put another victory under his belt before his championship bid is realized, but there is no combatant at 205 other than Jon Jones who would enter the Octagon with Machida as a favorite, save maybe for Alexander Gustafsson.

21. Chad Mendes

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    Record: 14-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Darren Elkins

    Next Fight: Clay Guida at UFC 164


    The sole blot on Mendes' perfect record is a loss to Jose Aldo, which means he is still undefeated against human competition. Not to mention that since the defeat to Aldo, he has won three consecutive fights in less than two minutes of work.

    Mendes has always been a powerful wrestler, but it seems that his striking is rapidly catching up, something that can be credited in large part to the work of Duane Ludwig.

    If Mendes is able to win again at UFC 164, he will be on the precipice of another title shot, though the competition for the right of way at 145 is ludicrous. So much so, in fact, that if this list were a little longer, you'd be likely to see a smattering of fellow featherweights populating its back end.

20. Alexander Gustafsson

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    Record: 15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Win vs. Mauricio Rua

    Next Fight: TBD


    Gustafsson represents one of the few remaining challenges for Jon Jones in the light heavyweight division. He has the knockout power to defeat anyone, but the substantial growth he has undergone over the past few years is what really defines him.

    Once a brawler, Gustafsson has done well rounding out his game, even if he remains a striker. His length, athleticism and mature approach to competition only multiply his effectiveness, and make him a legitimate title contender.

19. Anthony Pettis

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    Record: 14-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Win vs. Donald Cerrone

    Next Fight: Jose Aldo at UFC 163


    It's not often a fighter rising through the ranks will drop down a division to fight for an alien title, but that's just what Pettis did.

    After reeling off back-to-back first-round knockouts at 155, he announced his decision to contend for the crown at 145, a somewhat bizarre, but tantalizing move.

    His upcoming contest with Jose Aldo poses the toughest test of his career, though at least he avoids competition against a tough wrestler, an archetype that has given him problems in the past.

18. T.J. Grant

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    Record: 21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Gray Maynard

    Next Fight: TBD


    Late bloomers sometimes struggle to gain the recognition they deserve because fans have a difficult time shedding their original perceptions of mediocrity. That has been the case with Grant for some time now, but perhaps his recent victory over Gray Maynard will change things.

    Since moving from welterweight to lightweight, Grant has posted a 5-0 record, defeating a bevy of tough competition. When you think about how other fighters have fared against Matt Wiman and Gray Maynard, and match up their results with Grant's first-round finishes, he comes out looking sensational.

    Fighting out of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Grant will never be his small town's greatest hero—not so long as Sidney Crosby is still lacing up his skates—but he has the chance to carve out a real piece of celebrity for himself by grasping victory in his (anticipated) upcoming title fight.

17. Carlos Condit

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    Record: 28-7 MMA, 5-3 UFC

    Last Fight: Loss vs. Johny Hendricks

    Next Fight: TBD


    Condit nearly shocked the world during his 2012 bout with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, flooring the Canadian with a head-kick and nearly stopping the action in the third round. However, he would eventually go on to lose a clear-cut decision.

    Afterwards, Condit was just barely outdone by Johny Hendricks. The loss marked back-to-back failures, but the quality of opponents and nearness to victory allows him to stick around the middle of these rankings.

    Besides, if Condit is able to parlay recent disappointment into growth, he'll become an immensely dangerous mixed martial artist moving forward.

16. Vitor Belfort

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    Record: 23-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC

    Last Fight Won vs. Luke Rockhold

    Next Fight: TBD


    Having lost only to Anderson Silva and Jon Jones since 2007, I'd say Belfort is on a pretty nice run right now, especially given recent knockout wins over Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold. 

    "The Phenom" is closing in on another middleweight title shot, and the way he has looked of late, it appears as though he'll pose a tough test to whoever wears the crown when he gets there.

15. Chris Weidman

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    Record: 9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC

    Last Fight:  Win vs. Mark Munoz

    Next Fight: Anderson Silva at UFC 162


    I doubt Weidman will rank so high on most people's lists, but he's made a believer out of me. With an NCAA All-American wrestling background, experience as an ADCC grappler and striking that is rapidly catching up to his other skills, Weidman is becoming an absolute horror at 185.

    Next up for him is the challenge of all challenges: Anderson Silva. It's a fight that can make Weidman's career, though not one that can break it. Because regardless of the result, a title is in his future, and not far off at that.

14. Joseph Benavidez

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    Record: 18-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Win vs. Darren Uyenoyama

    Next Fight: TBD


    The only two fighters to defeat Benavidez are Dominick Cruz and Demetrious Johnson, two of the toughest competitors in all the lower weight classes. Certainly, it's nothing for Benavidez to be ashamed of.

    At 28, the Team Alpha Male stud has plenty of time left to capture a UFC title at flyweight, something he previously saw slip away in a split decision loss back in 2012.

    He remains a threat to take out anyone at 125 (and nearly anyone at 135), and could adorn UFC gold before very long.

13. Frankie Edgar

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    Record: 14-4-1 MMA, 9-4-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Loss vs. Jose Aldo

    Next Fight: Charles Oliveira at UFC 162


    With all due respect to Charles Oliveira, who is a good fighter, do you have any idea how much easier this whole MMA thing will seem to Edgar at UFC 162 compared to usual?

    Benson Henderson twice, followed by Jose Aldo, is about as tough a schedule as you can create in the UFC, and even though he's lost all three of his last fights, Edgar has retained a reputation as an elite fighter.

    Few could overcome such a dismal run to keep a spot here, but strength of schedule and competitiveness in defeat do it for "The Answer."

12. Gilbert Melendez

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    Record: 12-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Loss vs. Benson Henderson

    Next Fight: TBD


    Hyped fighters debuting in the UFC often fall flat on their face, but even though Melendez's first go was a loss, he showed himself to be just the tiniest of notches below the promotion's lightweight champion.

    Melendez will find plenty of stellar competition in his new home, which affords him ample opportunity to prove he belongs in such a prestigious spot at this. Considering how close he came to winning the title, and the success of some of the other transitioning Strikeforce 155ers, there is little reason to think he won't 

11. Johny Hendricks

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    Record: 15-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Win vs. Carlos Condit

    Next Fight: TBD


    Few fighters in the sport are as hot as Hendricks is right now. He's currently riding a six-fight win streak, and the hit-list comprising that run beholds a litany of impressive names.

    Hendricks' right hand alone makes him an insanely dangerous fighter, but that tool is just the sharpest of many, something he proved by turning to his wrestling to secure a victory over Carlos Condit at UFC 158.

10. Junior dos Santos

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    Record: 16-2 MMA, 10-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Mark Hunt

    Next Fight: TBD


    Maybe that ridiculous knockout of Mark Hunt is still so fresh in my mind that I am crediting him too much—my jaw still hasn't elevated back to its normal position—but I really buy dos Santos as elite in every sense of the word.

    His defeat at the hands of Cain Velasquez was disheartening, but since that sole UFC failure came against such an amazing talent, and the score of their series remains 1-1, there isn't enough in it to drop him too drastically.

    He is easily one of the best two heavyweights in the UFC right now, and that now means much more than it once did.

9. Demetrious Johnson

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    Record: 17-2-1 MMA, 5-1-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. John Dodson

    Next Fight: John Moraga at UFC on Fox 8


    Johnson has established himself as the flyweight division's first king by pulling out some hotly contested battles. The experience of fighting, and winning, such difficult and important fights will go a long way in forging him into an even better competitor than he's already shown himself to be.

    What may be most impressive about Johnson's recent run in the UFC is that he's done it arguably before entering his prime. When he will peak is uncertain, but at only 26, chances are strong that he hasn't done it just yet.

8. Benson Henderson

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    Record: 18-2 MMA, 7-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Gilbert Melendez

    Next Fight: TBA


    UFC on Fox 7 was another win by controversial decision for Henderson, which essentially means just another day at the office.

    The results he has come by in UFC title fights have been extraordinary, but the margins of the majority of those victories have been razor thin.

    He's really playing with fire, and eventually he'll find an opponent gets the nod if he is unable to win in a more clear-cut fashion. That day may come when he takes on the surging T.J. Grant next time out.

    But hey, he's the champion of arguably the toughest division in the sport, so any criticism thrown his way is not all that hard to rebut. 

7. Renan Barao

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    Record: 32-1 MMA, 5-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Michael McDonald

    Next Fight: TBA


    Dominick Cruz isn't the only injured bantamweight champion these days. Barao joins him on the sidelines after suffering a foot issue in training.

    The injury puts his ridiculous 30-fight winning streak on hold and spares the UFC's 135-pound division his wrath, if just for awhile. But it doesn't discount what he has done over the past few years.

    Barao's performances as a UFC fighter have been worthy of a top-three spot on this list. The only thing missing is consistent success over top competition. As interim champ, he's beginning to collect those, however, so his slow climb up the rankings seems inevitable at this point.

6. Dominick Cruz

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    Record: 19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Demetrious Johnson

    Next Fight: TBD


    Placing Cruz on a list like this is a difficult proposition. We haven't seen him compete since October 2011, but we can't just ignore the fact that he is one of the most impressive fighters currently "active."

    Cruz doesn't always receive acknowledgement as such, because he is primarily a point-fighter. But what he does, he does well, and what he does is win fights, something pretty important in the fight game, wouldn't you agree?

5. Cain Velasquez

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    Record: 12-1 MMA, 10-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Antonio Silva

    Next Fight: TBD


    Velasquez turned in yet another dominant performance this past weekend, earning his first title defense, and solidifying his status as the top heavyweight combatant to walk the face of the earth.

    The AKA product's fierce wrestling, considerable athleticism and more than adequate striking make him a truly special fighter.

    If not for that single hiccup—his loss to Junior dos Santos—back in 2011, he'd already have established himself as one of the most dominant UFC heavyweights of all time. As it is, he's well on his way to that accolade anyhow.

4. Jose Aldo

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    Record: 22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Frankie Edgar

    Next Fight: Anthony Pettis at UFC 163


    Aldo is just 26, but is already one of the most feared and successful champions in the world's premier mixed martial arts organization. His deadly striking, remarkable takedown defense and sound grappling skills have allowed him to torch a line of dangerous opponents, without much to speak of in the way of adversity.

    Aldo now finds a new, unexpected competitor in Anthony Pettis. A win there would be the brightest feather in his cap, and may even vault him into a top-three spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.

3. Georges St-Pierre

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    Record: 24-2 MMA, 18-2 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Nick Diaz

    Next Fight: TBD


    St-Pierre picked up right where he left off after being sidelined for over a year-and-a-half with an injury, recently reestablishing his dominance over the welterweight division. 

    He overcame a scare against Carlos Condit and apparent fatigue against Nick Diaz to hang on to his strap, but things only get tougher from here, as a showdown with Johny Hendricks is seemingly on the horizon.

    The match will be revealing as to where GSP is right now—still in his prime, or beginning down the backslide of his illustrious career.

2. Jon Jones

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    Record: 18-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Chael Sonnen

    Next Fight: TBD


    Jones has yet to accomplish what Georges St-Pierre has, but in taking a snapshot of the sport's current landscape, he stands as the more impressive fighter.

    Everyone expected him to thrash Chael Sonnen when he last competed, so it's really saying something that the fight was more one-sided than anticipated.

    Between his finishing ability and constant growth, Jones is the heir apparent to the No. 1 ranking here. He is just waiting on the current kingpin to relinquish the top spot.

1. Anderson Silva

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    Record: 33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC

    Last Fight: Won vs. Stephan Bonnar

    Next Fight: Chris Weidman at UFC 162


    Placing Silva atop almost every list is becoming a bit dull, but no one deserves this spot more than he does. He remains undefeated in the UFC, has succeeded in two weight classes, regularly competes against top competition and has finished his last five opponents.

    Silva's upcoming match with Chris Weidman will likely be a tough one, but it's also another chance for the middleweight champ to add to his already gaudy legacy.