The November installment of the Pound-for-Pound rankings deliver a whole lot of ch-ch-changes...
Injury and illness has bumped Brock Lesnar from the list for the time being, much to the adulation of his anti-fan club, while a number of entertaining events since the last time we rolled out these rankings have shuffled the remaining fighters.
Jose Aldo makes his debut after his still-a-little-surprising-how-dominant-it-was performance against Mike Thomas Brown at WEC 44.
I know that when Brian Bowles beat Miguel Torres I said one win isn't enough to vault you over the champ in my books. For Bowles, it wasn't. For Aldo, after the performance he put on, it most certainly is, double standard or not.
November Pound-for-Pound Rankings:
1. Anderson Silva—UFC Middleweight Champion (Last Month: No. 1)
Outside of the ring, questions surround the middleweight champ: will he fight Belfort? Is his elbow healing properly? I thought he didn't need surgery? Will he move to 205 permanently at some point?
Inside the ring, however, no questions remain. Anderson Silva is one of the most dangerous strikers in the game and the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
2. Georges St-Pierre—UFC Welterweight Champion (Last Month: No. 2)
We now know that Dan Hardy will be the next fighter to be thrown around the cage by the Canadian superstar, we just don't know when.
Regardless, St-Pierre has spent his last 70 minutes inside the cage having his way with Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn and Thiago Alves, all of whom are more complete fighters than "The Outlaw."
More interesting the upcoming dismantling of Dan Hardy is that St-Pierre has been adding muscle to his already muscled physique. Let the Anderson Silva super-fight speculation commence...
3. Fedor Emelianenko—WAMMA Heavyweight Champion (Last Month: No. 3)
Another fight, another win and another impressive knockout of a much bigger opponent. This is the way it goes with Fedor.
Like him or not, there is something to be said about going nine years without a loss and arguably being undefeated through 33 professional bouts.
People can question his level of competition all they want; the bottom line is that Fedor has beaten everyone that has been placed before him and that is something that cannot be said of Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre or just about any other championship caliber fighter in the sport today.
At some point, everyone loses...except Fedor.
4. Lyoto Machida—UFC Light Heavyweight Champion (Last Month: No. 4)
Controversy or not, Lyoto Machida is still undefeated, still the UFC Light Heavyweight champion and still remains one of the most talented fighters on the planet.
Yes, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fought a great fight and challenged Machida like no one had challenged him before, but that isn't a detriment to Machida; it's a compliment to Rua and his return to the upper echelon of the light heavyweight division.
While the rematch won't satisfy everyone regardless of who comes away victorious, until someone actually puts a "one" in Lyoto Machida's loss column, he'll remain in the top five.
5. B.J. Penn—UFC Lightweight Champion (Last Month: No. 5)
Next up is Diego Sanchez, a stern challenger and a guy who will certainly push the pace more than anyone Penn has fought as of late.
It seems that every time Penn is set to step into the cage, people line up to discuss what attributes his opponent possesses that will spell doom for the lightweight champ.
In the end, Penn emerges victorious and I don't see this upcoming bout being any different.
6. Jose Aldo—WEC Featherweight Champion (Last Month: Unranked)
Normally, I don't jump a new champion into the rankings immediately after the claim the belt. Part of that is because I subscribe to the "to be a true champion you have to defend the belt" theory, but the other part is that on occasion, one great punch can put a belt around your waist.
That isn't the case with Aldo and that's why he skyrockets into the No. 6 spot. He flat out dominated Mike Brown last week, stuffing takedowns, sticking jabs and pounding out a title-earning win.
What is most scary about Aldo is that as dominant as he's been thus far in his WEC career, we've yet to see him utilize his Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt inside the cage...
7. Gegard Mousasi—Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion (Last Month: No. 8)
Normally, beating Sokoudjou wouldn't get you a bump in the rankings, but with all the shuffling that has taken place since the September rankings came out, Mousasi climbs a notch.
While some will say it's too early for the young phenom to be a P4P contender and that Soko won the first round, I would counter that there is no time restriction on making a P4P list and the mark of a truly great fighter is someone who can be losing a fight right up until the point that they win it.
Besides, find me another fighter with 14 straight wins over a number of top-20 contenders across two divisions.
8. Miguel Torres—Former WEC Bantamweight Champion (Last Month: No. 7)
Honestly, I would hate to be Miguel Torres' next opponent.
Chances are that the former champ is going to be on a mission whenever he steps into the cage next, after losing his title and having his 17-fight winning streak snapped.
Perhaps Brian Bowles deserves this place over Torres; the argument could certainly be made and a number would easily agree.
For me, one loss in five years isn't enough to drop you out of the rankings.
9. Mike Brown—Former WEC Featherweight Champion (Last Month: No. 6)
The American Top Team fighter was dominated in his fight against Jose Aldo, and drops three spots in the rankings as a result.
It will be interesting to see where Brown goes from here; whether he moves back to 155 as he's talked of before, who he fights next if he remains at 145 and how far down the ladder he slips after losing his belt are all questions that need to be answered.
The WEC has been pretty good about getting their former champions back into the mix quickly, so if Brown remains at '45, expect no more than two fights before he's back vying for the belt.
10. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua—No. 1 Contender UFC Light Heavyweight Title (Last Month: Unranked)
Regardless of your thoughts on the decision from UFC 104, there is no denying that Mauricio "Shogun" Rua looked better than he has before in the UFC and that he is finally healthy and ready to once again challenge for the title of "Best Light Heavyweight in the World."
Despite an excellent performance against Lyoto Machida last time, Rua faces the daunting task of having to perform even better the second time around, as Machida will undoubtedly adapt to the gameplan Rua utilized in their first meeting.
While it's a tall order, few gave Rua much of a chance heading into the first fight, so don't be surprised if he comes out with another impressive performance when they meet again.
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