UFC Rankings: Good Calls and Bad Calls Following UFC Fight Night 53 & 54

Sean SmithAnalyst IOctober 7, 2014

UFC Rankings: Good Calls and Bad Calls Following UFC Fight Night 53 & 54

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    On a day when 46 competitors stepped into the Octagon, Rory MacDonald made the biggest impact.

    The Canadian started out with a conservative approach against Tarec Saffiedine on Saturday. However, MacDonald was able to knock his opponent to the canvas and record a knockout victory by landing a left hook during a combination in the third round.

    MacDonald now has a strong argument that he should be next in line to fight for the welterweight championship. The win over Saffiedine certainly helped MacDonald in that regard, but did it elevate him in the 170-pound rankings?

    Here are the latest official UFC rankings via UFC.com, which are voted on by various members of the MMA media. 

Pound-for-Pound

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    1Jon Jones
    2Jose Aldo 
    3Demetrious Johnson
    4Chris Weidman (+1)
    5Cain Velasquez (-1)
    6Anthony Pettis 
    7Anderson Silva 
    8Johny Hendricks (+1)
    9Ronda Rousey (-1)
    10T.J. Dillashaw (+1)
    11Renan Barao (-1)
    12Vitor Belfort
    13Alexander Gustafsson (+1)
    14Dominick Cruz (+1)
    15Daniel Cormier (-2)

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    With two straight title defenses, Chris Weidman and Cain Velasquez are neck and neck in the pound-for-pound rankings. However, Weidman does have a slight edge based on the level of competition he's faced in his championship bouts.

    The middleweight champion dethroned Anderson Silva, who was previously the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in MMA. Weidman followed that up by beating Silva again before defending his belt against former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida.

    Velasquez beat former heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos in two of his past three outings. However, his other title defense came against Antonio Silva, an opponent he had already demolished 12 months prior to their championship bout.

    Additionally, T.J. Dillashaw finally surpassed Renan Barao in a decision that was better late than never. Dillashaw dethroned the Brazilian to take the bantamweight crown in May and has already defended the 135-pound belt once, but he is just now moving above Barao in the rankings.

    Furthermore, Daniel Cormier has looked great recently, but has not done enough to surpass Alexander Gustafsson in the pound-for-pound rankings. The Strikeforce veteran has beaten some of the best in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. However, he hasn't met the 205-pound king.

    Gustafsson has and nearly dethroned Jon Jones in September 2013. Until Cormier looks as good against Jones as Gustafsson did, he shouldn't be ranked above the Swedish contender. 

     

    Bad Calls

    There are many who feel Ronda Rousey shouldn't be included in the pound-for-pound rankings or that female divisions should have their own separate pound-for-pound rankings.

    However, if Rousey is going to be considered eligible for the pound-for-pound rankings, she should be ranked as any other champion would. With four title defenses already, Rousey is far more dominant over her division than Johny Hendricks is over his.

    Based on the criteria that is clearly in place for the male titleholders, Rousey should be ranked above Hendricks and possibly even belongs among the Top Five pound-for-pound fighters.

Heavyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CCain Velasquez
    1Fabricio Werdum
    2Junior Dos Santos
    3Travis Browne
    4Mark Hunt (+1)
    5Stipe Miocic (-1)
    6Josh Barnett 
    7Andrei Arlovski
    8Antonio Silva
    9Roy Nelson
    10Ben Rothwell
    11Alistair Overeem
    12Gabriel Gonzaga
    13Frank Mir 
    14Stefan Struve
    15Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (NR)

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    With a knockout win over Roy Nelson in his latest outing, Mark Hunt earned a spot above Stipe Miocic in the heavyweight rankings. Miocic also recently met Big Country and won convincingly, but he was not able to put the TUF 10 winner away.

    In December, Miocic will have a chance to retake his spot above Hunt in the rankings, as he'll meet former champion Junior Dos Santos. Should Miocic beat the Brazilian, who owns a knockout win over Hunt, he'll likely see a big boost in the rankings.

    Moving into the No. 15 position, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira bumped Matt Mitrione out of the heavyweight rankings. Despite Nogueira's recent struggles, this was a good call.

    The Brazilian was knocked out by Nelson in his latest appearance, but Mitrione has also been knocked out by Big Country. Additionally, Mitrione has still not beaten a Top 15 heavyweight, while Nogueira has had a legendary career that includes wins over Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett and others.

     

    Bad Calls

    No bad calls were made in this edition of the heavyweight rankings.

Light Heavyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJon Jones 
    1Alexander Gustafsson 
    Daniel Cormier 
    Rashad Evans 
    4Glover Teixeira 
    5Anthony Johnson
    Phil Davis 
    Ryan Bader
    Dan Henderson
    Mauricio Rua
    10 Ovince Saint Preux 
    11 Jimi Manuwa 
    12 Rafael Cavalcante 
    13 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (+1)
    14 Vitor Belfort (-1)
    15 Fabio Maldonado 

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No good calls were made in this edition of the light heavyweight rankings. 

     

    Bad Calls

    With a knockout win over Dan Henderson in his latest outing, Vitor Belfort arguably has the resume to be a Top Five middleweight contender.

    Belfort's ranked as low as he is because he's scheduled to fight Weidman in the middleweight division. Clearly, some voters are only ranking Belfort at 185 pounds now, and that has hurt him in the 205-pound rankings.

    If Belfort is going to be ranked as a light heavyweight, he should be ranked above Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and several others he is behind. Otherwise, Belfort should be exclusively ranked in the middleweight class.

Middleweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CChris Weidman
    1Anderson Silva
    2Ronaldo Souza
    3Vitor Belfort
    4Lyoto Machida
    5Luke Rockhold
    6Yoel Romero
    7Tim Kennedy
    8Gegard Mousasi
    9Michael Bisping
    10CB Dollaway
    11Thales Leites
    12Costas Philippou
    13Mark Munoz (+1)
    13Tim Boetsch (-1)
    15Brad Tavares

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    I'm not sure why Mark Munoz was ranked below Tim Boetsch to begin with, but the rankings panel has it right now.

    Munoz defeated Boetsch by a wide margin on the scorecards during July 2013. Since then, Munoz has only lost to Top 10 middleweights Machida and Gegard Mousasi.

    Boetsch did pick up a win over CB Dollaway since his loss to Munoz, but it was a controversial decision victory, and Munoz knocked Dollaway out in a previous outing.

     

    Bad Calls

    No bad calls were made in this edition of the middleweight rankings. 

Welterweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJohny Hendricks
    1Robbie Lawler 
    2Rory MacDonald 
    3Tyron Woodley
    4Carlos Condit 
    5Matt Brown 
    6Hector Lombard 
    7 Demian Maia (+1)
    8Jake Ellenberger (-1)
    9 Tarec Saffiedine
    9Dong Hyun Kim (+1)
    11Kelvin Gastelum 
    12Rick Story (NR) 
    13Jordan Mein
    14 Gunnar Nelson (-2)
    15Ryan LaFlare (-1)

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    It was expected that Gunnar Nelson would fall below Rick Story in the welterweight rankings, given his loss to the UFC veteran over the weekend. However, Nelson also lost a spot to Jordan Mein.

    With a knockout win over Mike Pyle, who has beaten Story, Mein does deserve to be ranked above Nelson. That's not to say the voting media got it all right with Story and Nelson, as will be discussed below, but Nelson did deserve to fall by more than one position.

     

    Bad Calls

    Given their close fights with Rory MacDonald, Demian Maia isn't far behind Jake Ellenberger, but he shouldn't be ranked above The Juggernaut in the welterweight division.

    The Brazilian is only two fights removed from a loss to Jake Shields. Ellenberger happens to own an opening-round knockout win over that same adversary. 

    With not much else to compare them with, Ellenberger's 170-pound resume is slightly stronger than Maia's.

    It's not by a large margin, but Saffiedine should still be holding on to a spot above Dong Hyun Kim. Instead, he's tied with the Korean.

    Both fighters have recently suffered setbacks against Top Five welterweights. Saffiedine's came against MacDonald, while Kim's came against Tyron Woodley. Considering that Woodley has been beaten by MacDonald, Kim shouldn't be drawing even with Saffiedine after being stopped by Woodley.

    Finally, Story deserved to jump into the Top 15 with his win over Nelson on Saturday, but the rankings panel went a little overboard.

    In addition to being above Nelson, Story is now ranked above Mein, who recently knocked out Pyle, a fighter who defeated Story in May 2013. With that said, it could also be argued that Pyle should have a spot in the Top 15 over Nelson and Ryan LaFlare.

Lightweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CAnthony Pettis
    1Gilbert Melendez 
    2Khabib Nurmagomedov
    3Rafael dos Anjos
    4Donald Cerrone
    5Benson Henderson
    6Josh Thomson 
    7Bobby Green 
    8Myles Jury
    9Jim Miller
    10Eddie Alvarez
    11Michael Johnson
    12Edson Barboza
    13Jorge Masvidal
    14Rustam Khabilov
    15Nate Diaz

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No changes were made to the lightweight rankings.

     

    Bad Calls

    No changes were made to the lightweight rankings.

Featherweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJose Aldo
    1Chad Mendes
    2Cub Swanson 
    3Frankie Edgar 
    4Ricardo Lamas
    5Conor McGregor
    6Chan Sung Jung 
    7Dustin Poirier
    8Dennis Bermudez
    9Nik Lentz
    10Dennis Siver (+1)
    11Jeremy Stephens (-1)
    12Clay Guida 
    13Darren Elkins
    14Charles Oliveira
    15Max Holloway (NR)

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    Previously ranked No. 15, Tatsuya Kawajiri has only beaten unproven featherweight Sean Soriano since joining the UFC roster. Kawajiri has the potential to be a serious contender at 145 pounds, but his UFC resume is lacking.

    With four straight wins and a narrow decision loss to No. 8 contender Dennis Bermudez, Max Holloway has done more in the UFC featherweight division to earn that No. 15 position.

     

    Bad Calls

    Dennis Siver looked good in his win over Charles Rosa on Saturday, but the German is still looking for a win over a current Top 15 featherweight. Jeremy Stephens, on the other hand, has already beaten No. 13 Darren Elkins.

    Given that and the fact that Siver recently failed a drug test following his bout with Manny Gamburyan, it's hard to justify moving him above Stephens in the 145-pound rankings.

Bantamweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CT.J. Dillashaw
    1Renan Barao
    2Dominick Cruz
    3Urijah Faber
    4Raphael Assuncao
    5Michael McDonald
    6Takeya Mizugaki
    7Eddie Wineland
    8Iuri Alcantara
    9Johnny Eduardo
    10Bryan Caraway
    11Francisco Rivera
    12Alex Caceres
    13Erik Perez
    14Joe Soto
    15Mitch Gagnon (NR)

     

    Analysis 

    Good Calls

    No good calls were made in this edition of the bantamweight rankings.

     

    Bad Calls

    Mitch Gagnon has looked good in his past three bouts, but he hasn't earned a Top 15 ranking over Masanori Kanehara, the fighter who was bumped to make room for the Canadian.

    Kanehara has beaten Norifumi Yamamoto and No. 12 bantamweight Alex Caceres inside the Octagon. So, it doesn't seem logical that Kanehara wouldn't be ranked over Gagnon while Caceres sits comfortably within the Top 15 rankings.

Flyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CDemetrious Johnson
    1John Dodson
    2Joseph Benavidez 
    3Ian McCall
    4Jussier Formiga
    5John Moraga
    6John Lineker (+1)
    7Ali Bagautinov (-1)
    8Chris Cariaso
    9Zach Makovsky
    10Tim Elliott
    11Brad Pickett
    12Kyoji Horiguchi (+1)
    13Dustin Ortiz (-1)
    14Louis Gaudinot
    15Scott Jorgensen

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No good calls were made in this edition of the flyweight rankings.

     

    Bad Calls

    Ali Bagautinov defeated John Lineker in February. Since then, Bagautinov has only lost to champion Demetrious Johnson. So, Bagautinov should be ranked above Lineker without question.

    I'd be interested to hear any arguments to the contrary.

    A less inexcusable but still poor decision, Kyoji Horiguchi should not be ranked above Dustin Ortiz right now. Horiguchi has shown promise, but he has not been tested by a Top 15 125-pounder. Ortiz, meanwhile, battled Top Five flyweight John Moraga to a controversial split-decision loss.

    Also with more UFC wins than Horiguchi, Ortiz deserves to be ranked more highly.

Women's Bantamweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CRonda Rousey
    1Cat Zingano
    2 Miesha Tate 
    3Sara McMann
    4Alexis Davis
    5Sarah Kaufman
    6Jessica Eye
    7Liz Carmouche
    8Bethe Correia
    9Amanda Nunes
    10Jessica Andrade
    11Julianna Pena
    12Germaine de Randamie
    13Leslie Smith 
    14Raquel Pennington 
    15Holly Holm

     

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No changes were made to the women's bantamweight rankings. 

     

    Bad Calls

    No changes were made to the women's bantamweight rankings.