UFC 134 Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in MMA

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent IAugust 28, 2011

UFC 134 Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in MMA

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    Anderson Silva is just too good.

    For years now, he has been considered the best pound for pound fighter on the planet and, after his performance at UFC 134 last night, it's looking like Silva will occupy the P4P throne for a long time still.

    Silva's opponent last night was Yushin Okami, a strong grappler that many believed had a good chance of upsetting the UFC's middleweight champ.

    Although he trained with Chael Sonnen for this fight, Okami's performance looked nothing like when Sonnen fought Silva, as the Japanese fighter was very tentative and hesitant to engage.

    Said hesitancy allowed Silva time to figure Okami's timing, and we all know what happens when Silva gets his opponent's timing down.

    Early in the second round, Silva baited Okami by dropping his hands to his sides and tagged the challenger when he rushed in. Okami fell to the ground, hurt badly, and Silva ended the fight with ground and pound.

    Pound for pound rankings are meant to be current, always up to date, and so after every UFC event, a new list must be made.

    Taking in the consideration all of the events that transpired last night, here is the new top 25 pound for pound fighters in MMA.

No. 25: Chad Mendes

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    Chad Mendes is one of the most promising young fighters in the UFC.

    At just 26 years old, Mendes has amassed an impressive record of 11-0, including going 4-0 in the WEC and 2-0 in the UFC.

    A strong wrestler who likes to push the pace, many believe that Mendes could be the next Urijah Faber in the 145-pound weight class.

    After defeating Ranhi Yahya at UFC 133, Mendes officially put himself in line for a shot at the UFC Featherweight Championship.

    That championship is currently held by Jose Aldo, who will defend the belt against Kenny Florian at UFC 136.

    Mendes' next opponent will be either Aldo or Florian, depending on who wins their fight.

    Capturing the UFC Featherweight Championship would easily catapult Mendes into the top ten.

No. 24: Ben Henderson

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    Ben "Smooth" Henderson is one of the most under-appreciated fighters under the UFC banner.

    For a while, Henderson was regarded as one of the best lightweights on the planet, but after being defeated by Anthony Pettis in the WEC, people seemed to forget about him.

    Since that loss, Henderson has come back even better, going 2-0 in the UFC, with his most recent victory over the highly-regarded Jim Miller.

    Henderson was just the third fighter to ever defeat Miller, the other two being Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard. This establishes Henderson as one of the elite 155-pound fighters on the planet.

    "Smooth" will likely face Clay Guida next, in a fight to determine the No. 1 contender for the UFC Lightweight Championship.

No. 23: Ronaldo Souza

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    Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza is the current Strikeforce middleweight champion and is one the most talented jiu-jitsu specialists in mixed martial arts.

    Although his striking game is nothing to make note of, this guy is a beast on the ground, and that's all he's needed lately.

    Jacare's two most recent victories were over Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler, who are two of the most dangerous middleweights outside of the UFC.

    Hopefully, we'll see Souza fighting inside the UFC sometime soon. He's running out of legitimately threatening opponents in Strikeforce.

No. 22: Eddie Alvarez

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    Eddie Alvarez is Bellator's lightweight champion.

    Since his loss to Shinya Aoki back in 2008, Alvarez has been on a tear, walking through all of his opponents.

    Alvarez has taken out tough former UFC fighters like Josh Neer and Roger Huerta, as well as up-and-coming talents like Pat Curran.

    The most noteworthy of these victories is probably Huerta, who at one point fought to a split-decision with Gray Maynard.

    Decisively beating a fighter who a UFC top contender barely defeated says a lot about just how good Alvarez is.

No. 21: Joseph Benavidez

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    Joseph Benavidez is considered by many to be the No. 2 bantamweight fighter on the planet.

    He has lost just twice in his career, both times to current UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz.

    The second time these two met in the cage, the fight ended in a split decision.

    Almost defeating the best bantamweight on the planet is impressive on its own and the three-fight win streak Benavidez has put together since that loss shows just how good this young man is.

    Benavidez is small for bantamweight, so look for him to drop to 125 pounds when the UFC adds their new flyweight division. Within that weight class, Benavidez has a very good chance of being champion.

No. 20: Lyoto Machida

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    Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and, despite having a tough time in his last few fights, is still considered by many to be one of the best fighters on the planet.

    I've looked over many P4P lists lately and am always surprised to see that some people still have Machida inside their top 15.

    As good as Machida is, he is 1-2 in his last three fights, with his only victory being over a barely-relevant Randy Couture.

    I believe that "The Dragon" has the potential to work his way back up towards the top ten, especially if he wins his next fight, but based on his recent performances, I don't see any way to argue Lyoto being ranked higher than 20.

No. 19: Nick Diaz

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    Nick Diaz is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion, recently vacating his title in order to move over to the UFC.

    Diaz is currently riding a 10-fight win streak, which would usually earn a fighter a higher place on this list, but level of opposition is also important and the fighters Diaz has been beating are not exactly world class.

    That said, Diaz does have some notable competition on his win list, most notably former UFC welterweight contender Paul Daley.

    In order to move up this list, Diaz needs to defeat a truly elite opponent.

    He'll get the chance to do just that at UFC 137, when he takes on Georges St-Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Championship.

No. 18: Alistair Overeem

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    Alistair Overeem is in the same boat as Nick Diaz, in that he has been dominant in the past few years, but hasn't defeated many big names.

    Overeem does have a leg up on Diaz because he defeated Fabricio Werdum, who was considered a top ten heavyweight at that time.

    However, the victory was unimpressive, with many fans that Werdum cost himself the fight and could have defeated Overeem if he fought a smarter fight.

    Nonetheless, Overeem is a well-rounded fighter and one of the most feared strikers on the planet.

    Fans are hoping to see this guy in the UFC soon to see how he matches up against the promotion's elite heavyweights.

No. 17: BJ Penn

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    BJ Penn is one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in MMA and on an all-time list, would rank significantly higher than this.

    Penn is working his way out of a rough patch in his career, but hasn't done enough yet to climb very high up the list.

    After back-to-back losses to Frankie Edgar, Penn moved to the welterweight division and made a successful return to 170 pounds, knocking out Matt Hughes in the first round.

    After that, Penn fought to a controversial draw with the man most consider to be the second best welterweight in the world, Jon Fitch.

    Penn is farther back on this list than Fitch because Fitch was on a dominant tear leading up to their fight and Penn was only 1-2 in his last three matches.

No. 16: Dan Henderson

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    Dan "Hendo" Henderson is 41 years old and pulling a Randy Couture; he's looking more impressive than ever, when most thought he would be close to retirement.

    When Henderson lost to Jake Shields back in 2010, many thought his days of relevancy as a fighter were coming to an end.

    Little more than a year later, "Hendo" is riding a three-fight win streak and is the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion. His most recent victory was a first-round knockout of the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.

    Many would argue that Henderson deserves to be higher on this list, but until we see him defeat some actual top level competition, I'm comfortable with where he is.

    Henderson is currently in talks with the UFC, so we might get to see him face off against some elite competition soon and then we'll have a better idea of just how good Henderson still is.

No. 15: Quinton Jackson

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    Quinton Jackson is the current No. 1 contender in the UFC's light heavyweight division and also a former champion within that weight class.

    He's riding a two-fight win streak, with those wins coming over Lyoto Machida and Matt Hamill.

    Many have been questioning Jackson's motivation these days, but he seemed rejuvenated after his fight with Hamill.

    At UFC 135, Jackson will take on current UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

    A win for Jackson will boost him into the top ten, a loss will drop him into the 20's.

No. 14: Gilbert Melendez

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    I'm always shocked when people have Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in their top ten.

    As good a fighter as Melendez is, his biggest wins are over Shinya Aoki and Clay Guida —the Guida victory being some years ago.

    Melendez has been a dominant force as a lightweight outside the UFC, but I need to see him face more top-level competition before I even consider putting him in the 10.

    There's no doubting this guy's abilities, though. Melendez is all sorts of talented and I believe that if he makes it into the UFC, he'll do very well there.

No. 13: Jake Shields

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    Jake Shields is the owner of one of the more impressive win streaks in MMA history.

    Shields went undefeated from 2004-2011, winning 15 straight fights, with notable victories over Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawler, Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit, Paul Daley, Jason Miller and Martin Kampmann.

    This streak resulted in Shields earning a shot at UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

    Though Shields failed to defeat St-Pierre, he did better than anyone has in years, actually winning two rounds of the fight on two judge's scorecards.

    In less than a month, Shields will face off against Jake Ellenberger and hope to win the fight decisively, putting himself back in the title picture.

No. 12: Mauricio Rua

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    Mauricio Rua is a former UFC light heavyweight champion and considered by many to be of the best 205ers of all-time.

    Rua lost his championship at UFC 128 after being TKO'd by Jon Jones in the third round.

    At UFC 134, Rua took a big step in the right direction, knocking out Forrest Griffin in less than two minutes.

    With this victory, Rua has avenged one of his losses and effectively thrown himself back into the title hunt.

    Due to the impressiveness of the win, you can expect that Rua's next fight will be to determine the No. 1 contender in the light heavyweight division.

No. 11: Jon Fitch

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    Jon Fitch is the most dominant welterweight fighter to never earn himself a championship.

    Fitch is 13-1-1 in the UFC and considered by most to be the No. 2 welterweight on the planet.

    In his most recent bout, Fitch took on BJ Penn in a match to determine the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division.

    The match ended in a draw, but Fitch was dominant towards the end of the fight and many believed he could have been given the victory.

    Fitch is usually eighth or ninth on these lists, but due to his inactivity in the recent months, he's dropped a couple spots.

No. 10: Rashad Evans

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    Rashad Evans is a former UFC champion and currently riding a three-fight win streak.

    Evans has lost just once in his career, something that few people who have competed in the UFC for a long time can say.

    Since losing his belt to Lyoto Machida two years ago, Evans has been on a mission to recapture the belt.

    In his last three fights, he has defeated Thiago Silva, Quinton Jackson and Tito Ortiz.

    This string of wins has earned him a No. 1 contender's spot in the light heavyweight division and his next fight will be the winner of Quinton Jackson vs. Jon Jones.

No. 9: Junior Dos Santos

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    Junior Dos Santos is the most dominant fighter the UFC right now, who is not wearing championship gold.

    Dos Santos is 7-0 in the UFC with notable victories over Gabriel Gonzaga, Roy Nelson and Shane Carwin.

    Upon entering the UFC, Dos Santos' showed himself to be a specialist, winning all of his fights purely by using his boxing.

    When he faced Shane Carwin at UFC 131, Dos Santos showed the world that his is working on rounding out his game, as he landed several kicks throughout the fight and even a couple takedowns.

    Later this year, he will get the chance to prove that he's the best heavyweight on the planet, when he takes on Cain Velasquez for the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

No. 8: Jon Jones

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    Most people will disagree with having Jon Jones this far down on the list, but the fact is that he has not defeated anymore elite competition than those you will see above him.

    Jones is the current UFC light heavyweight champion and the hottest prospect in the sport right now.

    He has dominated all of his fights so far in the UFC and has showed skill in all areas.

    The only thing keeping Jones from being higher up on this list is the competition he's faced.

    The only elite opponent Jones has been tested against was Mauricio Rua, and Rua was coming off a long layoff and surgery.

    If he beats Quinton Jackson at UFC 135, expect to see Jones leapfrog a few of the guys in front of him right now.

No. 7: Gray Maynard

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    Gray Maynard is the highest ranking fighter on this list who is not a UFC champion and for good reason.

    Maynard's most recent bout was a title fight with Frankie Edgar at UFC 125.

    The match ended in a draw, proving that Maynard is at least as good as the current champion.

    Maynard is also undefeated in his career, holding notable wins over Kenny Florian, Roger Huerta, Kenny Florian and Jim Miller.

    At UFC 136, Maynard will get another chance to capture the UFC Lightweight Championship when he faces Edgar for the third time.

No. 6: Cain Velasquez

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    Cain Velasquez is the current UFC heavyweight champion and the first-ever heavyweight champion to be of Mexican descent.

    Velasquez is an excellent wrestler and his stand up skills are also very dangerous.

    He's a perfect 9-0 as a mixed martial artist and 7-0 in the UFC.

    His most notable wins are over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Brock Lesnar.

    If Velasquez defeats Junior Dos Santos later this year, he'll likely boost himself into the top five, though it depends how some other title fights play out also.

No. 5: Frankie Edgar

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    Frankie Edgar is the little fighter that could.

    At UFC 112, nobody thought that he would defeat BJ Penn, but he did it—although the decision was controversial.

    At UFC 118, he fought Penn again and still most thought he would lose. Once again, Edgar defied the odds, defeating Penn decisively that time.

    After that, he fought Gray Maynard, who had already lost to early in his career. Edgar was dominated in the first round, but came back, doing enough to get a draw.

    Edgar arguably has the most heart of any fighter in the UFC and is looking better every time we see him.

    If he beats Maynard at UFC 136 in the threematch, Edgar will start to approach BJ Penn's legacy as the greatest lightweight champion in UFC history.

No. 4: Dominick Cruz

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    Dominick Cruz is the UFC bantamweight champion and has only been defeated once in his MMA career.

    Cruz won the bantamweight championship from Brian Bowles in 2010 and has already defended it three times against Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen and Urijah Faber.

    In defeating Urijah Faber, Cruz avenged his only career loss.

    The 135-pound champ has very awkward stand up, but it's also very effective.

    He has great footwork and uses that to sort of bounce in and out of his opponent's range, landing his shots and getting out of the way of theirs.

    His tricky stand up, combined with his great wrestling base, has made Cruz a tough riddle to crack, and no one has quite figured it out yet.

No. 3: Jose Aldo

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    Jose Aldo is the UFC's featherweight champion and one of the most dominant champions in the history of MMA.

    He TKO'd Mike Brown in 2009 in order to earn himself the belt and has defended it three times, dominating every fight.

    Aldo is one of the flashiest fighters in the sport, toting an impressive resume of highlight-reel knockouts, most notable being his double-flying knee knockout of Cub Swanson.

    He has some work to do if he wants to move any further up this list, but defeating Kenny Florian at UFC 136 would be an excellent start.

No. 2: Georges St-Pierre

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    Georges St-Pierre is the UFC's current welterweight champion and has defended his title a record six consecutive times.

    The list of notable fighters he has under his belt is ridiculous.

    GSP has defeated Matt Hughes (x2), Josh Koscheck (x2), BJ Penn (x2), Thiago Alves, Jon Fitch, Matt Serra, Sean Sherk and Jake Shields.

    Need I say any more?

No. 1: Anderson Silva

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    Anderson Silva is the UFC's middleweight champion.

    He is undefeated in the UFC.

    He has the record for most consecutive victories in the UFC with 14.

    He has the record for most consecutive title defenses with nine.

    He has finished 12 of his 14 fights in the UFC and has earned seven fight bonuses.

    Silva is the best fighter on the planet and, as far as pound for pound rankings go, there can be no argument for putting anyone above this guy —and that's coming from a huge GSP fan.

    Andrew Barr is a Featured Columnist for Bleacherreport.com. For updates on what's happening in the world of MMA, follow him on Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/AndrewBarr8