UFC 169 Results: Updating the Bantamweight Rankings

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistFebruary 2, 2014

UFC 169 Results: Updating the Bantamweight Rankings

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    UFC 169 featured a main event between the UFC Bantamweight Champion Renan Barao and Urijah Faber. It was a rematch from their UFC 149 fight in which Barao was the winner.

    The result was the same in that Barao won, but this time he finished Faber in the first round with strikes. Early stoppage or not, it was a title defense that Barao can check off the list and a name he can add to his legacy.

    In the aftermath of UFC 169, here are the bantamweight rankings.

10. Mike Easton

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision loss vs. TJ Dillashaw

    Next Fight: TBD

    In showing you how skinny the bantamweight ranks are, Mike Easton, a man on a three-fight losing streak, albeit against Top-10 competition, slips in at No. 10.

    Easton's UFC career started off with a bang, running a 3-0 record over Byron Bloodworth, Jared Papazian and Ivan Menjivar. Since those wins, he has gone on his current drought against the best the division has to offer.

    One has to think that his skill, strength of schedule and the fact that bantamweight is light on talent will keep him around for at least one more fight. A loss after that would not only shoot him out of the Top 10, but out of the UFC.

9. Erik Perez

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Edwin Figueroa

    Next Fight: TBD

    Exhibit two on how light on talent the bantamweight division is: Erik Perez.

    Perez is a skilled fighter, but in no way would he be considered Top 10 in any other division if he was that size. The fact is that 135 is thirsty for talent, and he is among the limited available water sources the division can quench itself with.

    The Greg Jackson disciple is 4-1 with the UFC but was defeated in his only attempt at fighting a Top-10 guy. He will likely fight next when the UFC heads to Mexico, but that remains to be seen.

8. Iuri Alcantara

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    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Last Fight: Decision loss vs. Urijah Faber

    Next Fight: vs. Wilson Reis at UFC Fight Night 36

    The dark horse at 135 pounds has to be Iuri Alcantara, who moved down from 145 after an upset loss to Hacran Dias. His ride at bantamweight has been a weird one thus far.

    After dominating Pedro Nobre and only getting a No Contest out of it ("illegal shots to the back of the head"), Alcantara destroyed Iliarde Santos before being fed to Urijah Faber, where he put up a respectable battle.

    Alcantara's next test comes in the form of Bellator vet and 1-0 UFC employee Wilson Reis in Brazil. A convincing win over Reis could really open some eyes on this should-be contender.

7. Takeya Mizugaki

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Nam Phan

    Next Fight: TBD

    Speaking of dark horses at bantamweight, how about Takeya Mizugaki? He has quietly gone on a four-fight winning streak that could be a six-fight streak had the judges not gifted a decision to Chris Cariaso.

    Mizugaki is a technician on the feet who has greatly improved his ground game. Most of his wins are by decision, but that's because he picks people apart on the feet for 15 minutes.

    He could be a win or two away from a title shot given that the men at the top of the division have, for the most part, given others a chance thus far.

6. Michael McDonald

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Submission loss vs. Urijah Faber

    Next Fight: TBD

    Michael McDonald is in a weird position. He is 23 years old, but he is not anywhere near the title picture because of losses to both Urijah Faber and Renan Barao in two of his last three fights.

    He is incredibly skilled and has a chance to be a champion in the future. He is well-rounded and has already defeated the likes of Miguel Torres, Brad Pickett and Chris Cariaso.

    He will need to right the course in his next fight, though.

5. TJ Dillashaw

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    Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Mike Easton

    Next Fight: TBD

    Team Alpha Male is one of the rulers of the lighter weight classes, and TJ Dillashaw exemplifies that.

    Dillashaw is arguably the most improved striker since Duane Ludwig took the wheel at Alpha Male. He has gone from a guy who looks to shoot immediately to a guy who is just as comfortable, if not more, on the feet.

    His recent win over Mike Easton should prove that. He is likely a fight or two away from a title shot, showing how greatly improved he is.

4. Raphael Assuncao

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    Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. TJ Dillashaw

    Next Fight: vs. Francisco Rivera at UFC 170

    Speaking of guys in the title picture, one has to assume Raphael Assuncao is next up for a title shot with a win over Francisco Rivera.

    He has looked great since dropping to bantamweight and has developed his all-around skills to be a guy who is a threat wherever the fight goes.

3. Eddie Wineland

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    David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Yves Jabouin

    Next Fight: TBD

    Eddie Wineland just lost a title bid but is still hanging around the top of the division, especially after his performance against Yves Jabouin recently.

    Wineland showed he wasn't just a striker in that fight. He showed that he has a heavy top game capable of holding an opponent down.

    He is still likely a couple fights away from a title shot. However, he is the type of guy who is ready at a moment's notice to fight anybody in the division.

2. Urijah Faber

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Knockout loss vs. Renan Barao

    Next Fight: TBD

    Since losing his WEC title, Urijah Faber has been synonymous with being No. 2. He has been given a number of title shots, but he hasn't been able to grab the gold.

    He has proven he is better than everybody else in the division who isn't the champion. His loss, albeit somewhat controversial, likely means he will never get another title shot unless Dominick Cruz is at the top of the hill.

    Sad for a legendary figure like Faber.

1. Renan Barao

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    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Urijah Faber

    Next Fight: TBD

    Renan Barao has almost completely cleaned out the bantamweight division. Save for Raphael Assuncao and TJ Dillashaw, Barao has beaten everybody notable that competes at 135.

    The scary thing is that he is only getting better. One could see Barao as a two-division champion if teammate Jose Aldo makes the lightweight division a permanent home.

    Yes Joe Rogan, Renan Barao is indeed a monster.