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Official B/R MMA Rankings June 2011: Top 10 Featherweights in MMA

Sal DeRoseCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

Official B/R MMA Rankings June 2011: Top 10 Featherweights in MMA

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    Some of Bleacher Report’s best MMA writers have come together to give their opinions on who is the best-of-the-best in June. Each respective division voted on by these writers.

    Going along with Bleacher Report's continuing efforts to provide our readers with the most unique content, we are also taking strides to compile consensus MMA rankings for each weight class.

    It's been a tough month for some of these fighters since the last time we did the rankings in mid-May. UFC 130, 131, Strikeforce Overeem vs. Werdum and even The Ultimate Fighter 14 finale have helped shape the rankings voted on by the writers of Bleacher Report MMA.

    So here you are, the reader, the mid-June 2011 Bleacher Report official rankings as voted by our panel of writers from the MMA section.

     

    Special thanks to those who contributed:

    Nick Caron

    Jason Schielke

    Vince Carey

    Sean Smith

    Dwight Wakabayashi

    John Heinis

    Sal DeRose

Notable Mentions

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    Dustin Poirier

    Record: 10-1

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 22

     

    Michihiro Omigawa

    Record: 12-10-1

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 35

10. Patricio Freire

3 of 12

    Record: 17-1

    Promotion: Bellator

    Age: 23

    Reason:

    Freire has been a dominant force in Bellator's featherweight division and is coming off of a unanimous decision victory against Daniel Straus where he captured a chance at the featherweight title.

    Now Freire will have his first real big test when he faces Joe Warren for the title on July 23rd. His only loss in his MMA career was to Warren and it was by split decision in the finals of Bellator's featherweight tournament during season two.

    Freire is a very complete fighter who boasts 13 early stoppages with six coming by way of knockout, and seven coming by way of submission.

9. Marlon Sandro

4 of 12

    Record: 17-2

    Promotion: Bellator

    Age: 34

    Reason:

    Coming in the ninth spot is new Bellator featherweight, Marlon Sandro. His only two losses come against top competition in both Hatsu Hioki and Michihiro Omigawa.

    Sandro lost the Sengoku Featherweight Grand Prix by split decision to Omigawa where the judges had originally scored the bout a draw.

    Sandro now finds himself in new territory coming off of a loss to Hioki and now set to face Genair da Silva at Bellator 46 on June 25th.

8. Joe Warren

5 of 12

    Record: 7-1

    Promotion: Bellator

    Age: 34

    Reason:

    Bellator so far holds three of the top 10 fighters and coming in at No. 8, Joe Warren. The Bellator featherweight champ can boast wins over fighters like Patricio Freire and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, so he is no one to play around with.

    Now set to face Freire in July for the featherweight title, Warren looks to keep his belt against a very game Freire.

    Warren is coming off of a 137-pound catchweight bout against Marcos Galvao where Warren won unanimous decision back in April.

7. Diego Nunes

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    Record: 16-2

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 28

    Reason:

    A loss to new featherweight, Kenny Florian, at UFC 131 drops Diego Nunes all the way to this spot.

    Nunes gave a slightly better performance then people think. Nunes dropped Florian twice in their bout with solid strikes, but fortunately for KenFlo, both drops happened at the end of the round.

    Nunes holds a win over former WEC Featherweight Champion Mike Brown and should be considered a complete fighter. Eleven of his 16 wins come from stoppages with six coming by submission, and five by knockout.

    In his next fight look for Nunes to use his striking and his ever improving game to get back on track to get a crack at his teammate, Jose Aldo.

6. Manny Gamburyan

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    Record: 11-5

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 30

    Reason:

    Here at No. 6 is Manvel Gamburyan. Gamburyan has yet to make his reappearance under the UFC banner with his last fight coming against Jose Aldo for the WEC featherweight title last September.

    Gamburyan was suppose to face Raphael Assuncao at UFC 128, but due to injury was forced off of the card. Now Gamburyan will face Tyson Griffin at UFC Live this Sunday.

    Manvel holds wins over Jorge Santiago, former WEC featherweight champion, Mike Brown and Leonard Garcia.

    Eight of Gamburyan's 11 wins have come by early stoppage (Six by submission, two by knockout). Gamburyan is also 2-3 from his days as a lightweight in the UFC.

5. Mark Hominick

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    Record: 20-9

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 28

    Reason:

    It was Mark Hominick's second stint in the UFC and he came in and beat George Roop to earn his first shot at UFC gold. Then came UFC 129, and Hominick lost to featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, but earned a nice hematoma the size of a small city on his head.

    Hominick proved a lot though in that fight. He isn't someone who can be pushed around. Hominick almost had Aldo at the end, but fell short of the win.

    Now Hominick is recovering from that fight and looks to get back on track for a crack at featherweight gold.

4. Hatsu Hioki

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    Record: 24-4-2

    Promotion: Shooto, Sengoku

    Age: 27

    Reason:

    The Japanese phenom didn't earn much love from the B/R MMA writers, but fourth isn't bad.

    Hatsu Hioki has (allegedly) been in discussions lately to join the UFC, but he has beaten some top fighters outside of it. Hioki can boast wins over Mark Hominick, Marlon Sandro, Jeff Curran and Takeshi Inoue.

    Hioki is ranked highly by a lot and is considered the best featherweight on the outside of the UFC. Hioki has 12 wins via submission and another four by knockout.

    Since losing to Jong Man Kim by split decision in 2007, Hioki has gone 11-1-1 with his only loss coming against Michihiro Omigawa in November of 2009.

3. Kenny Florian

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    Record: 15-5

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 35

    Reason:

    Kenny Florian is coming off of a unanimous decision victory against Diego Nunes at UFC 131. It was his first bout inside the featherweight division and that win earned him the third spot in the rankings by the voters.

    Florian has gone all the way from middleweight down to featherweight and has earned a title shot against Jose Aldo at UFC 136 in October.

    If Florian can have a nice weight cut this time around (The number he cut the last time was 30 pounds pretty close to fight time), he could give Aldo a run for his money. 

2. Chad Mendes

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    Record: 10-0

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 26

    Reason:

    Chad Mendes was suppose to fight Jose Aldo at UFC 133 in the main event, but due to injury for Aldo, Mendes was bumped down to the undercard, lost his title shot and is now fighting Rani Yahya.

    Considered the No. 2 featherweight, Mendes is coming off of a unanimous decision victory against Michihiro Omigawa.

    Now with Yahya in his sights, Mendes could keep his title shot dream alive with a big win over the upcoming Yahya.

1. Jose Aldo

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    Record: 19-1

    Promotion: UFC

    Age: 24

    Reason:

    Jose Aldo is about as deadly as a fighter you'll find. His striking is impeccable and devastating. 

    Aldo has ruled the WEC and now UFC featherweight divisions with an ironfist, defending his title against Urijah Faber, Manvel Gamburyan and Mark Hominick. That's not to mention beating Mike Brown to capture the featherweight title in the WEC.

    Aldo holds 14 early stoppage wins with 12 of those coming by way of knockout.

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