Strikeforce Grand Prix Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in MMA

Tim McTiernan@tmt2393Correspondent ISeptember 11, 2011

Strikeforce Grand Prix Results: The Top 25 Pound-for-Pound Fighters in MMA

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    For an overwhelmingly underhyped card, Strikeforce sure delivered last night.

    Muhammed Lawal was able to knock out the Gracie hopes of ever being relevant in MMA again, when he floored Roger with a right hand in the first round.

    After that, Luke Rockhold upset Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza in a grueling, back and forth fight.

    Then the heavyweight grand prix semifinals started, and they did not last long at all.

    Daniel Cormier was able to upset Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva, I'd like to state that I called it, and knock him out in the first round.

    Then in the main event, Josh Barnett submitted Sergei Kharitonov in the first round with a side choke, similar to the one he got Brett Rogers with.

    Jacare was a top 25 pound for pound fighter, so does Rockhold take his place now?

    What about Cormier and Barnett? Were their performances enough to move them into the top 25 pound for pound fighters?

    Read on to find out.

No. 25: Ben Henderson

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    Age: 27

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 14-2

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Jim Miller at UFC on Versus 5

    Next Fight: Clay Guida at UFC on Fox 1

    Ben Henderson is the real deal.

    At UFC on Versus 5, Henderson was able to easily handle the man who many considered the top contender to the lightweight title after Gray Maynard.

    With that win, Henderson moved himself into contender position, and he will now take on Clay Guida in what is likely a No. 1 contender match.

No. 24: Clay Guida

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    Age: 29

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 29-8

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Anthony Pettis at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale

    Next Fight: Ben Henderson at UFC on Fox 1

    Coming into 2011, who'd have thought that Clay Guida would possibly be one win away from a title shot?

    Well that's where he finds himself now, because when he defeated the No. 1 contender, Anthony Pettis, at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale, Guida proved to everyone that he is a gatekeeper no more.

    Guida gets his shot at the belt when he takes on Ben Henderson at UFC on Fox 1.

No. 23: Alistair Overeem

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    Age: 31

    Weight Class: Heavyweight

    Record: 34-11 [1 NC]

    Last Fight: Unanimous Decision win over Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce: Overeem vs. Werdum

    Next Fight: Brock Lesnar at UFC 141

    We all know of the recent saga of the issues with Overeem.

    He wouldn't be able to fight in September, so he was pulled from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He then signed on to fight someone in October at a Golden Glory event.

    Then, he was released by Strikeforce, and now he's fighting Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. What a year for the Reem.

    If he defeats Lesnar, he is going to get a shot at the heavyweight title.

No. 22: Chael Sonnen

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    Age: 34

    Weight Class: Middleweight

    Record: 25-11-1

    Last Fight: Submission loss to Anderson Silva at UFC 117

    Next Fight: Brian Stann at UFC 136

    Chael Sonnen comes in at No. 22 on the list, and if not for his poor submission defense (and long list of legal troubles), he could be much, much higher.

    Fans know Sonnen for dominating Anderson Silva for the better part of five rounds before getting caught in a submission and losing in the fight for the middleweight title.

    Now, after all his suspensions have ended, he is set to fight against "The All-American" Brian Stann at UFC 136.

No. 21: Shinya Aoki

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    Age: 28

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 28-5 [1 NC]

    Last Fight: Submission victory over Rich Clementi at DREAM Fight for Japan

    Next Fight: Rob McCullough at DREAM 17

    Shinya Aoki is the current DREAM Lightweight Champion and has earned that belt with his slick jiu-jitsu.

    Aoki fights at lightweight, but he is very tall at 5'11'' and he uses his height to his advantage.

    He is known as the "master of flying submissions" and has won 18 fights with submissions.

No. 20: Dan Henderson

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    Age: 41

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 27-8

    Last Fight: TKO victory over Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson

     Next Fight: TBA

    "Dangerous" Dan Henderson is the current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion and No. 18 on the list.

    Henderson won the belt by TKO'ing Rafael Cavalcante in the third round of their title fight.

    In Henderson's last fight, he TKO'd Fedor Emelianenko in the first round, and with that, officially etched his name in with the greatest mixed martial artists of all-time.

No. 19: Nick Diaz

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    Age: 27

    Weight Class: Welterweight

    Record: 25-7 [1 NC]

    Last Fight: TKO win over Paul Daley at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley

    Next Fight: BJ Penn at UFC 137

    Do I really have to go through the whole Diaz fiasco again?

    He didn't show up to a press conference. He didn't show up to a second press conference.

    Dana White pulled him from a title shot, and he now faces BJ Penn at the same event.

    Oh, that wasn't too bad.

No. 18: Brock Lesnar

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    Age: 34

    Weight Class: Heavyweight

    Record: 5-2

    Last Fight: TKO loss to Cain Velasquez at UFC 121

    Next Fight: Alistair Overeem at UFC 141

    The former UFC heavyweight champion is next.

    Brock Lesnar was last seen getting embarrassed at the hands of Cain Velasquez at UFC 121, where he showed his poor striking defense yet again.

    Lesnar ended up coaching on The Ultimate Fighter Season 13 against Junior dos Santos, but was then forced to pull out of the fight due to a recurrence of diverticulitis.

    Lesnar will now headline UFC 141 when he stands opposite the cage from the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem.

No. 17: BJ Penn

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    Age: 32

    Weight Class: Formerly lightweight; Currently welterweight

    Record: 16-7-2

    Last Fight: Majority draw against Jon Fitch at UFC 127

    Next Fight: Nick Diaz at UFC 137

    BJ Penn is next up at No. 17.

    Penn is the former UFC lightweight and former UFC welterweight champion and is quite possibly the most dominant lightweight in MMA history.

    Penn's last fight ended in a draw with Jon Fitch, but look for him to come back gunning for a title shot.

    He gets his chance in a possible No. 1 contender fight against Nick Diaz at UFC 137.

No. 16: Gilbert Melendez

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    Age: 29

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 19-2

    Last Fight: TKO over Tatsuya Kawajiri at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley

    Next Fight: Jorge Masdival at TBA

    Gilbert Melendez is the current Strikeforce lightweight champion, and according to some sites, the No. 1 lightweight in the world.

    I'm going to have to disagree with them, but I will call him the best fighter outside of the UFC.

    Melendez was last seen beating Tatsuya Kawajiri in the first round of their fight for Melendez's title.

    Gilbert will now be taking on Jorge Masdival at some point in November or December.

No. 15: Lyoto Machida

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    Age: 33

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 17-2

    Last Fight: KO win over Randy Couture at UFC 129

    Next Fight: TBD

    Lyoto Machida is another former LHW champion, and I think's he's worthy of Anderson Silva money.

    Machida was last seen knocking out Randy Couture in highlight reel fashion with a front jump kick, or a flying jump front kick, or a flying front kick or whatever you want to call it.

    Machida was going to step in and fight Rashad Evans at UFC 133, but he ended up screwing himself over when he asked for Silva money, so his next fight remains TBA.

No. 14: Rampage Jackson

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    Age: 33

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 32-8

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Matt Hamill at UFC 130

    Next Fight: Jon Jones at UFC 135

    Rampage Jackson is working his way back towards a title shot, even if he didn't look all that impressive last night.

    Jackson hurt Matt Hamill a few times but couldn't get the finish. A hand injury probably had something to do with that.

    Injuries aside, Rampage will get the next title shot against Jon Jones at UFC 135.

No. 13: Mauricio Rua

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    Age: 29

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 20-5

    Last Fight: KO victory against Forrest Griffin at UFC 134

    Next Fight: TBA

    Shogun Rua could still be a dominant fighter in the UFC, his knockout of Forrest proved that.

    Shogun is now 4-3 in his UFC career, and according to Dana White, he is only one win away from a second shot at the light heavyweight title.

    I fully expect a fight against Lyoto Machida in a No. 1 contender's match, but we'll have to wait and see.

No. 12: Rashad Evans

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    Age: 31

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 16-1-1

    Last Fight: TKO win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 133

    Next Fight: TBD

    Rashad Evans is the former LHW champion and is probably the unluckiest fighter on the entire UFC roster.

    He beat Rampage Jackson for the No. 1 contender's spot and decided to wait for the title shot.

    Once it was all set, he got hurt and lost his chance.

    Then the timetable was off for a shot against Jones, and he was going to fight Phil Davis, but after injuries caused some changes he agreed to take on Tito Ortiz, who he defeated by second round TKO.

    We all want to see the Jones-Evans grudge match, so let's hope Jones beats Rampage at UFC 135.

No. 11: Junior Dos Santos

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    Age: 26

    Weight Class: Heavyweight

    Record: 13-1

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Shane Carwin at UFC 131

    Next Fight: Cain Velasquez at UFC on Fox 1

    Junior dos Santos is the man. He seems like the first person to take a fight, risk losing a title shot and still earn the shot.

    JDS spent 15 minutes beating down Shane Carwin and kept his shot at the title.

    Junior now gets the title shot against Cain Velasquez in the UFC's debut on network television on November 12 at UFC on Fox 1.

No. 10: Jake Shields

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    Age: 32

    Weight Class: Welterweight

    Record: 26-5-1

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 129

    Next Fight: Jake Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night: Battle on the Bayou

    Jake Shields is the former Strikeforce middleweight champion and a current UFC welterweight.

    Shields may have lost to GSP, but he became the first person in almost four years to win a round from St-Pierre.

    Shields may look to make another run at the welterweight belt, and he starts his climb back up the ladder when he takes on Jake Ellenberger.

No. 9: Jon Fitch

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    Age: 33

    Weight Class: Welterweight

    Record: 23-3-1 [1 NC]

    Last Fight: Majority draw against BJ Penn at UFC 127

    Next Fight: TBD

    Jon Fitch is easily the second-best welterweight in the world today.

    Fitch's only loss in the UFC came to GSP, and he has been on a tear since then.

    He has been lobbying for a second shot at GSP, and if he gets one more big win, it can no longer be denied by Dana White that he deserves it.

No. 8: Gray Maynard

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    Age: 32

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 10-0-1 [1 NC]

    Last Fight: Split draw against Frankie Edgar at UFC 125

    Next Fight: Frankie Edgar at UFC 136

    Had the fight gods done this a little differently, Gray Maynard could have been the UFC lightweight champion.

    Maynard holds a win over the current champ, and in their rematch, they fought to a split draw.

    They were supposed to fight a third time at UFC 130, but Maynard and Edgar each suffered injuries that forced them to withdraw.

    The third fight is now set to take place at UFC 136, and we can finally start to figure out the status of the UFC lightweight division.

No. 7: Cain Velasquez

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    Age: 29

    Weight Class: Heavyweight

    Record: 9-0

    Last Fight: TKO win over Brock Lesnar at UFC 121

    Next Fight: Junior dos Santos at UFC on Fox 1

    I decided to mix up No. 7-4 this week to see what you guys think. Let me know in the comments.

    Cain Velasquez is the current UFC heavyweight champion.

    Velasquez is the complete package in the heavyweight division. He's a great wrestler who Brock Lesnar couldn't keep down.

    He has endless cardio, which is sure to help if he ever has to go all five rounds. He also has insane striking, which could help him keep up with a guy like dos Santos, and he is a strong wrestler in his own regard.

    But if there's anyone who can stop him, it's Junior.

No. 6: Frankie Edgar

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    Age: 29

    Weight Class: Lightweight

    Record: 13-1-1

    Last Fight: Split draw against Gray Maynard at UFC 125

    Next Fight: Gray Maynard at UFC 136

    Frankie Edgar is the current UFC lightweight champion and another great young fighter.

    Edgar was last seen putting on one of the gutsiest performances in UFC history, when he was knocked down three times in the first round and was able to come back and fight to a draw with Gray Maynard.

    Look for a great fight between these two when they complete the trilogy.

No. 5: Jon Jones

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    Age: 24

    Weight Class: Light Heavyweight

    Record: 13-1

    Last Fight: TKO win over Shogun Rua at UFC 128

    Next Fight: Rampage Jackson at UFC 135

    Jon Jones is the current UFC light heavyweight champion and has all the tools to become one of the greatest of all-time.

    Jones' last fight saw him outclass a legend, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, and win the light heavyweight belt to become the youngest UFC champion of all-time.

    Jones' next fight will be against Rampage Jackson.

No. 4: Dominick Cruz

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    Age: 25

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 18-1

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Urijah Faber at UFC 132

    Next Fight: Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6

    Dominick Cruz is the former WEC bantamweight champion and the current UFC bantamweight champion.

    Cruz is one of the best young fighters in the sport and has only one loss on his record, which he has since avenged.

    Cruz's next fight will be against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6, and it will be the first title fight on free TV in quite some time.

No. 3: Jose Aldo

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    Age: 24

    Weight Class: Featherweight

    Record: 19-1

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Mark Hominick at UFC 129

    Next Fight: Kenny Florian at UFC 136

    Jose Aldo is one of the most explosive fighters in MMA, but you wouldn't know it from watching his last fight.

    In that fight, he looked slow and just unlike himself. It was later revealed that Aldo was sick and on antibiotics prior to the fight.

    Look for Aldo's next fight against Kenny Florian to showcase the explosive fighter Aldo really is.

No. 2: Georges St-Pierre

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    Age: 30

    Weight Class: Welterweight

    Record: 22-2

    Last Fight: Unanimous decision victory over Jake Shields at UFC 129

    Next Fight: Carlos Condit at UFC 137

    Ah, yes. Let the debate begin. Who really is No. 1? Georges St-Pierre or Anderson Silva?

    Until one of them loses—or they fight one another—this question cannot be answered.

    Georges St-Pierre is the current welterweight champion and was last seen winning a unanimous decision over Jake Shields at the largest MMA event in North American history.

    His next fight is set to be against Carlos Condit and this one will hopefully end in a finish, one way or the other.

No. 1: Anderson Silva

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    Age: 36

    Weight Class: Middleweight

    Record: 31-4

    Last Fight: KO win over Yushin Okami at UFC 134

    Next Fight: TBA

    Anderson Silva is the man!

    Silva is the current UFC middleweight champion, and Silva gets the nod as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.

    Silva's last fight saw him knock out the last man to defeat him, Yushin Okami. He was able to drop Okami with a jab—twice.

    Silva's next fight will likely be against the winner of the Chael Sonnen-Brian Stann matchup.

Thanks for Reading!

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    Every slideshow needs a little Brittney.

    Thanks for reading!

    Tim McTiernan is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. For the latest news on everything MMA, follow me on twitter @tmt2393.