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With a win over Nam Phan at UFC Fight Night 33, Takeya Mizugaki solidified his position as a Top 10 bantamweight fighter.
However, tougher competition is coming should Mizugaki begin aiming toward a shot at the 135-pound championship.
By beating Phan on Friday, Mizugaki surpassed TJ Dillashaw and Mike Easton in the bantamweight rankings. Another change in the Top 10 was also made, with Raphael Assuncao moving above Eddie Wineland.
At UFC on Fox 9, recent title challengers Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald will battle for potential rematches with the finally healthy Dominick Cruz and interim champion Renan Barao. Faber has lost to both titleholders over recent years, while McDonald was submitted by Barao in February.
Official UFC Bantamweight Rankings
Champion: Dominick Cruz
Renan Barao (interim champion)
- Michael McDonald
- Raphael Assuncao (+1)
- Eddie Wineland (-1)
- Brad Pickett
- Scott Jorgensen
Takeya Mizugaki (+2)
- TJ Dillashaw (-1)
- Mike Easton (-1)
Mizugaki may not be beating elite bantamweights, but he has earned his place above Dillashaw and Easton. None of the three 135-pound bantamweights own any UFC wins over current Top 10 fighters, so Mizugaki's momentum should give him a leg up. While the Japanese fighter has won four in a row, Dillashaw and Easton are both coming off losses.
It could go either way, but Wineland owns a slightly stronger resume than Assuncao. Prior to his loss to interim champion Renan Barao, Wineland picked up back-to-back wins over current Nos. 6 and 7 contenders Brad Pickett and Scott Jorgensen. Assuncao, meanwhile, picked up his most noteworthy wins over Nos. 9 and 10 contenders Dillashaw and Easton.
Results and Upcoming Fights
UFC Fight Night 33 Bantamweight Fights
- No. 8 Takeya Mizugaki defeated Nam Phan by unanimous decision.
UFC on Fox 9 Bantamweight Fights
- No. 2 Urijah Faber vs. No. 3 Michael McDonald