UFC Total Rankings: October 2008

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UFC Total Rankings: October 2008

I typically publish these rankings after the major UFC event of each month, but the scheduling of major events on back-to-back weekends in October forced me to delay these longer than I'd like. As a result, there are three shows worth of changes included here: Fight Night 15, UFC 89 and UFC 90. The November rankings will be published after UFC 91 in just over two weeks.

Before we start, here's a brief disclaimer you'll need to read:

I call these UFC Total Rankings because they are based on a bunch of different factors: win-loss record, method of victory, competition the fighter is facing, and the push given to them by the UFC matchmakers. I try to picture each weight class in the same way that Joe Silva or Dana White would, which means I factor in marketability, current drawing power and other things that rankings typically don't account for.

They are wholly my opinion and should be treated as such. Champions are given top billing because they are champions and regarded by the company and mainstream fans as the best in their division by the company, regardless of the skills or overall record. This means that if a fighter ranked #7 one month defeats the champ for the belt, he will automatically jump to the #1 ranking. If a weight class has an interim champion, that fighter will assume the second position, with everyone else following. 

 

A complete archive of my fighter rankings can be found here. These rankings are also published at Inside Fights, Bleacher Report and on my Houston Chronicle UFC blog.

HEAVYWEIGHT (206-265)

1. Randy Couture (Champion)
2. Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera (Interim Champion)
3. Frank Mir
4. Gabriel Gonzaga
5. Brock Lesnar
6. Shane Carwin
7. Fabricio Werdum
8. Cain Velasquez
9. Junior De Los Santos
10. Cheick Kongo

NOTES: Some big movement in this division since the last rankings were published. Couture and Noguiera stay on top, but Fabricio Werdum's stunning knockout loss to newcomer Junior De Los Santos in the first round of their fight at UFC 90 sends him plummeting down the rankings. Werdum, who vocally complained before the fight about Brock Lesnar getting the title shot he felt was rightfully his, weighed in at 256 pounds and visibly looked out of shape...Shane Carwin, looking every bit like the highly touted prospect he is, finished Neil Wain in the first round and kept his undefeated record in the UFC. Carwin moves up to #6 in these rankings and will likely begin seeing better competition; a fight with Cheick Kongo on the main card in February or March could happen...Junior De Los Santos moves into the top ten with his stunning knockout of top contender Werdum. Santos showed a very good striking game that can elevate him to the top of the division if he's able to keep his fights standing...the biggest season of movement in this division in quite some time will begin November 15th, when Brock Lesnar challenges Randy Couture for the UFC Heavyweight Championship. In December, Antonio Rodrigo Nogeiura will defend the interim championship against Frank Mir, and the winners of the two title fights will likely meet in April 2009 to unify the belts.

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (186-205)

1. Forrest Griffin (Champion)
2. Quinton Jackson
3. Lyoto Machida
4. Rashad Evans
5. Anderson Silva
6. Wanderlei Silva
7. Chuck Liddell
8. Keith Jardine
9. Mauricio Shogun Rua
10. Thiago Silva 

NOTES: Keith Jardine moves back into the top ten after a convincing win over Brandon Vera at UFC 89....This division could look drastically different by the end of 2008. Forrest Griffin will defend his title against Rashad Evans at The Ultimate 2008, and Quinton Jackson and Wanderlei Silva will meet on the undercard....rumors continue to swirl of a potential Anderson Silva vs. Chuck Liddell bout for early 2009.

MIDDLEWEIGHT (171-185)

1. Anderson Silva (Champion)
2. Dan Henderson
3. Michael Bisping
4. Yushin Okami
5. Nate Marquardt
6. Patrick Cote
7. Damien Maia
8. Jason MacDonald
9. Thales Leites
10.Martin Kampmann

NOTES: The major question in this division revolves around the status of Anderson Silva. The Spider's performance at UFC 90 against Patrick Cote has left many journalists with the impression that Silva is growing increasingly bored defending his belt against contenders who don't present a challenge for him. I firmly believe that Silva has likely fought his last bout at middleweight and will move to the light heavyweight division permanently. Silva has bulked his frame to 230 pounds in the past two months, and there's no way he's going to want to cut 45 pounds for every fight. The added size leads me to believe that Silva is planning on moving up for the challenges of facing Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson, Wanderlei Silva and other top light heavyweight fighters...Michael Bisping moves within striking distance of a title shot after his win over Chris Leben at UFC 89. Bisping will coach the United Kingdom team on the winter edition of The Ultimate Fighter, and won't be fighting until the summer of 2009. With Rich Franklin declining to coach the United States team, it means that Dan Henderson will likely serve as the coach and will meet Bisping at the conclusion of the show. If Anderson Silva departs the division, that fight will probably be for the vacant middleweight championship.

WELTERWEIGHT (156-170)

1. Georges St. Pierre (Champion)
2. Thiago Alves
3. Jon Fitch
4. Josh Koscheck
5. Matt Serra
6. Matt Hughes
7. Diego Sanchez
8. Marcus Davis
9. Karo Parisyan
10.Mike Swick

NOTES: I have removed B.J. Penn from these division rankings until after his fight with Georges St. Pierre in January. My logic behind including him was that he's fought in the division before, but it was rightly pointed out to me that it's been a long time since he's been a welterweight and the landscape of the division has totally changed...Thiago Alves moves into the top contender spot after a completely dominant performance against fellow contender Koscheck at UFC 90 and will meet the winner of the St. Pierre/Penn fight. Alves dominated Koscheck in every aspect of the fight, even completely stuffing Koscheck's takeown attempts. The gigantic Alves steps into the cage weighing around 200 pounds and will have a significant size advantage over either St. Pierre or Penn. He presents a real challenge for both.

LIGHTWEIGHT (146-155)

1. BJ Penn (Champion)
2. Kenny Florian
3. Sean Sherk
4. Tyson Griffin
5. Roger Huerta
6. Joe Stevenson
7. Clay Guida
8. Nate Diaz
9. Frankie Edgar
10.Spencer Fisher

NOTES: Sean Sherk cements himself as a top contender with a win over Tyson Griffin at UFC 90. Sherk will likely face the winner of the Kenny Florian/Joe Stevenson fight, a bout that would set the winner up for another title shot...Griffin remains at #4 due to the close nature of his loss to Sherk. Nate Diaz is likely next in the cards for Griffin...Diaz moves up to #8 after his victory over Josh Neer at Fight Night 15 in September...Spencer Fisher debuts in the top ten after his triangle choke victory over Shannon Gugerty at UFC 90.

POUND FOR POUND

1. Anderson Silva (Middleweight Champion)
2. Georges St. Pierre (Welterweight Champion)
3. BJ Penn (Lightweight Champion)
4. Forrest Griffin (Light Heavyweight Champion)
5. Randy Couture (Heavyweight Champion)
6. Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera (Interim Heavyweight Champion)
7. Quinton Jackson
8. Lyoto Machida
9. Thiago Alves
10. Kenny Florian

NOTES: Fabricio Werdum falls out of the rankings after his loss to Junior De Los Santos at UFC 90...Thiago Alves enters the rankings at #9 after beating Josh Koscheck. The victory is the seventh in a row for Alves, extending a streak that dates to June 28, 2006, when he lost to Jon Fitch. During the streak, he's defeated Chris Lytle, Karo Parisyan, Matt Hughes and Josh Koscheck.

Jeremy Botter is the editor of Inside Fights and also serves as a MMA contributor for the Houston Chronicle. His personal blog can be found here.

 

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