Power Ranking the Most Popular UFC Champs
Popularity contests aren't just for high school.
Being popular and having success often go hand in hand, whether in your personal life...or professional. Popularity in the UFC can translate to higher PPV buy rates, which means more into money in the bank.
It's good to be king.
The UFC has seven kings, or champions if you will. So which one is the most popular?
B/R MMA put a poll up on the front page to find out and here are the seven UFC champions ranked in order from least to most popular. After almost 1,000 votes, it's time to pick a winner.
Did your favorite UFC champion get underrated, overrated or is he right where he belongs?
Dominick Cruz: Bantamweight Champ (135 Pounds)
Isaac Brekken/Getty Images
Percent of vote: 3.3
In all fairness to Dominick Cruz, he used to be the WEC champ and has only fought once as a UFC champ. So it will take some time for him to make a name for himself within the confines of the Octagon.
His last performance at UFC 132 was a good start, as he engaged in a five-round war with one of the most popular smaller fighters of all time, Urijah Faber. Cruz will now look to defend his belt against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Versus 6.
Will the prime-time spot on free TV help move the needle?
Jose Aldo: Featherweight (145 Pounds)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Percent of vote: 4.8
Again, not a huge surprise.
As much as hardcore fans are in awe of Aldo and his striking prowess, casual fans will have some catching up to do. Aldo was ripping his opponents apart back in the WEC, including a clinic of kicks that left Urijah Faber's leg a hot mess.
Aldo made his UFC debut and first defense of his new belt back at UFC 129, where he put it on Mark Hominick up until the fifth and final round, where the Canadian hometown favorite scored some parting shots.
Aldo will look to make it two in a row in the Octagon when he takes on UFC veteran Kenny Florian at UFC 136 in a fight that will surely test his mettle. With a big T(KO) win, look for Aldo's stock to rise.
Frankie Edgar: Lightweight (155 Pounds)
Michael Cohen/Getty Images
Percent of votes: 6.5
Are you noticing a trend?
Lighter-weight fighters get no respect. Frankie Edgar single-handedly brought down the "Roman Empire" at lightweight when he wrecked B.J. Penn not once but twice. Okay, so maybe a lot of people thought Penn actually won that first fight, but Edgar left no room for doubt in their second scrap.
Edgar is set to take on Gray Maynard at UFC 136 to bring some closure—we hope—to who is the best 155-pounder is in the sport (and then there is Gilbert Melendez?). It may be hard for Edgar to get any more popular than he is now, unless perhaps he took on featherweight champ Jose Aldo in a superfight...
Jon Jones: Light Heavyweight (205 Pounds)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Percent of vote: 11.3
Jon Jones may be the next big thing—the second coming of Christ, as Brandon Vera quipped—but he isn't even close to being the most popular champ in the UFC.
Jones is coming off his huge win over Shogun Rua, back at UFC 128, where he mugged the former PRIDE legend and took the belt like someone stole it from him.
Up next for Jones is a war of words—oh wait, that is outside the cage—with Rampage Jackson at UFC 135. The verbal sparring has been heating up and let's hope that translates to the cage, where some fans think Jones will absolutely wreck Rampage, while others think it might just be competitive.
A win over the incomparable Jackson would certainly be a nice notch on the belt of Jones and perhaps make him just a little more popular with the mainstream fans. I see another appearance on the Jay Leno show in Jonny's future.
Cain Velasquez: Heavyweight (265 Pounds)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Percent of vote: 12.6
The heavyweight champion—at least in boxing—has always been regarded as the most prestigious belt to wrap around your waist. Give Cain some time, as the soft-spoken terminator hasn't hit his stride just quite yet on a national stage.
Yeah, he beat the "ultimate fighter" out of Brock Lesnar, but just wait until he takes on Junior dos Santos on Fox, prime time on national television.
If he can survive the boxing and BJJ heat that JDS is going to bring, he will raise his hands as UFC heavyweight champ in front of millions, and that should be good for a spike in popularity.
Georges St-Pierre: Welterweight (170 Pounds)
Alexandra Wyman/Getty Images
Percent of votes: 25.4
We take a big drop in weight to separate the men from the boys. GSP, as he is often referred to, is one of the most dominant fighters to ever step into a cage.
While he is beloved by so many, with each passing day he is more and more criticized for his "boring" performances. Despite that, he has the best commercials of any MMA fighter ever and his quirky sense of humor can't be denied.
Up next for GSP is a date with Nick Diaz—wait, scratch that: Carlos Condit. Diaz didn't feel like attending the press conference and somehow it is the French-Canadian's fault. But I digress.
In order to get any more popular, what does St-Pierre have to do? Finish a fight?
Anderson Silva: Middleweight (185 Pounds)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Percent of vote: 36.2
There can be only one. Anderson Silva may be middle of the pack when it comes to the weight class he is in (get it...middleweight). But he is head and shoulders more popular than any other UFC champ, at least according to B/R MMA readers.
Other factors may undermine that argument, as UFC 134 did horrible PPV-wise and GSP seems to bring in more eyeballs, as UFC 129 did almost 900,000.
But at least within this slideshow, Anderson Silva is the king of kings. Do you agree?