B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Bantamweights in Mixed Martial Arts

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B/R MMA 125: Ranking the Top 15 Bantamweights in Mixed Martial Arts
TIM LARSEN/Associated Press
Renan Barao

It says something about the division that the two most famous 135-pound MMA fighters in the world are both women: Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. The men, despite a head start on the big stage, have fallen a bit behind their female counterparts. 

In some ways, bantamweight has been a bit snakebit. Dominick Cruz, the division's kingpin when the UFC absorbed the now defunct WEC back in 2010, was a truly unique and gifted fighter. He also hasn't stepped into the cage since a 2011 win over Demetrious Johnson.

In the face of a series of injuries, the UFC admirably stayed by Cruz's side, continuing to embrace the wayward champion as one of the best fighters in the sport.

When the UFC finally hit the eject button in 2014, it was in favor of Brazilian wunderkind Renan Barao. An all-out media assault followed, including UFC President Dana White reading FightMetric statistics aloud to a skeptical media, attempting to convince them that Barao was the rightful heir to Anderson Silva's pound-for-pound crown.

It was a marketing campaign Barao immediately set aflame with a lopsided loss to the relatively unknown TJ Dillashaw, putting the division right back at square one. Is Dillashaw the kind of prodigy the promotion promised Barao was?

Either man has an uphill climb in front of him. Neither has star charisma, and without an extended winning streak, it will be difficult to gain traction in an increasingly crowded MMA landscape.

Hope exists outside the UFC, however. Four of the best 15 fighters in this division ply their trade elsewhere, including Marlon Moraes and Eduardo Dantas, two of the best young fighters in the world.

Perhaps, for the first time in almost a decade, the best fighter in the world in his weight class will compete outside the hallowed chain link of the UFC Octagon? 

This list is not a ranking based on past performance. Instead, these ratings are a snapshot of where these athletes stand right now compared to their peers. We've scored each fighter on a 100-point scale based on their abilities in four key categories. You can read more about how the ratings are determined here

Disagree with our order or analysis? Furious about a notable omission? Let us know about it in the comments.

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