Power Ranking the Top 50 Fighters in MMA Today

Andrew Saunders@SaundersMMACorrespondent IIMay 2, 2012

Power Ranking the Top 50 Fighters in MMA Today

0 of 52

    Silva or GSP? Jones or dos Santos? Aldo or Cruz? How do you rank fighters who are separated by weight class? First of all, we take weight completely out of the equation. Factors taken into account are win/loss record over the last three years, divisional ranking, marketability and other accolades.

    Fighters are ranked as a countdown from No. 50 all the way down to No. 1. With wins and losses, fighters move up and down on this list, and your input is heavily encouraged.

    This is the Power Ranking of the Top 50 Fighters in MMA Today!


50. Jon Fitch

1 of 52

    AKA sensation Jon Fitch got knocked out of welterweight title contention, and nearly out of this list, back in December when he found himself on the receiving end of a Johny Hendricks KO.

    Fitch didn't win either of his fights in 2011. As a matter of fact, he hasn't won a single fight in 21 months. In the last two years, Fitch has only one win. Additionally, he just got knocked out in 12 seconds by a fighter who was ranked somewhere near No. 15 in his division at the time.

    Fitch falls in the eyes of Joe Silva, who has relegated Fitch to a UFC 149 bout with Aaron Simpson for his next contest.

49. Chris Weidman

2 of 52

    Middleweight Chris Weidman is on a steady climb in the UFC. Now possessing a 4-0 record in the Octagon, Weidman holds notable victories over Demian Maia and Alessio Sakara. He will square off with Mark Munoz in the main event of UFC on FUEL 4 this July.

48. Alexander Gustafsson

3 of 52

    Gustafsson still hasn't defeated a ranked opponent in the UFC, but he is on his way. After shutting down Thiago Silva in his last appearance, we can expect Gustafsson to get another step up in competition. If Gustafsson can shut down a top-level wrestler, his stock will rise tremendously.

47. Demetrious Johnson

4 of 52

    Demetrious Johnson hoped to breeze through his tournament semifinal bout with Ian McCall. Uncle Creepy put up more of a fight than many expected, which led to a controversial draw. The two will meet in a rematch next month, with the winner getting a crack at the inaugural UFC Flyweight championship before the year's end.

46. Erik Koch

5 of 52

    Erik Koch is the No. 1 contender to the UFC Featherweight Championship...somehow.

    No offense to Erik Koch, but he is not the man who should be fighting Jose Aldo at UFC 149. In a shallow featherweight division, Koch is outranked by four other featherweights, but he's getting a crack at gold because he is the only contender currently without a dance partner. His 13-1 record reflects his level of talent, but he's been out of action since September. Let's hope ring rust isn't a factor.

45. Daniel Cormier

6 of 52

    Daniel Cormier has knocked out an Elite XC champion and dominated a former UFC title challenger. Not only that, but he trains with some of the very best in the world at AKA. If he can get past Josh Barnett in the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight GP, he will graduate from prospect to contender.

44. Eduardo Dantas

7 of 52

    The Bellator bantamweight champion announced himself last year by defeating favorites Ed West and Alexis Vila en route to stopping then-champion Zack Makovsky via arm-triangle just a few weeks ago. With most of the world's recognizable bantamweights over in the UFC, it's nice to see a new face stand out from the roster of hungry Bellator fighters.

43. Johny Hendricks

8 of 52

    Maybe it was the loss to Rick Story. Maybe it was the fact that WEC imports don't get the recognition they deserve. Maybe it was the controversial nature of his stoppage win over Amir Sadollah. I don't know. But for some reason, I underestimated Johny Hendricks.

    Hendricks KOed Jon Fitch in only 12 seconds to earn his place in the rankings. He meets Josh Koscheck this weekend at UFC on FOX to show us where he fits in the division.

42. Michael Chandler

9 of 52

    The Bellator tournament system has been an incredible way to help prove to fans that not all of the best fighters in the world work for Zuffa.

    Michael Chandler won last year's lightweight tournament and defeated world-ranked champion Eddie Alvarez in a fight of the year contender back in November. If Chandler stays active and continues beating quality talent, he'll go far.

41. The Korean Zombie

10 of 52

    His epic battles with Leonard Garcia, twister submission and seven-second KO of Mark Hominick will ensure that Chan Sung Jung gets his own page in the MMA history books. That being said, a KO loss at the hands (and feet) of George Roop certainly didn't help his divisional rankings.

    Zombie battles Dustin Poirier on May 15th in what was previously thought of as a No. 1 contender's bout. Now that champion Jose Aldo is fighting Erik Koch, there isn't as much on the line, but it will still be a fun fight to watch.

40. Nate Diaz

11 of 52

    Somehow, after a 3-5 stretch that began in 2009, Nate Diaz has found his way back into the UFC lightweight title picture. Scintillating back-to-back performances against Takanori Gomi and Donald Cerrone earned the younger Diaz brother a crack at Jim Miller this weekend, and a win could catapult him onto the doorstep of Benson Henderson.

    Does the younger Diaz brother have the skills needed to beat Jim Miller? Can he somehow become a UFC champion before his older brother Nick?

39. Jim Miller

12 of 52

    Jim Miller ranks above his UFC on FOX opponent, but not by much. With losses to the reigning champion and the two most recent title contenders, Miller is a hard sell as a championship-caliber fighter. He hopes to regain the momentum he earned with a seven-fight win streak inside the Octagon.

    Twelve of Miller's wins have come via submission, but it's unlikely that he will be able to submit his Gracie-trained opponent next weekend. However, if he can pull off the win, he will get a big jump in next month's rankings.

38. Josh Barnett

13 of 52

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. That being said, I'm not sure who should get the shame for Josh Barnett's third failed drug test. Luckily for Barnett, he was a member of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix when Zuffa purchased the company in 2011. If he can defeat Daniel Cormier in the finals, the former UFC Heavyweight champion is on his way back to the Octagon.

    If Barnett fails an unprecedented fourth drug test, Dana White's head may actually explode.

37. Rory MacDonald

14 of 52

    How can anyone not be impressed with 22-year-old Rory MacDonald? With wins over Nate Diaz and Mike Pyle, plus an excellent performance against reigning interim champion Carlos Condit (at the age of 20), it's impossible to not see gold in future of this up-and-comer.

    At this point, MacDonald is expected to knock contenders off of their path to Georges St. Pierre, so long as his training partner continues to hold the belt.

36. Gray Maynard

15 of 52

    Gray Maynard may not have won either of his last two fights, but do you recall the way that he brought the pain to UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar in back-to-back appearances? Some guys just don't know how to give up, and unfortunately for Maynard, Edgar is one of them.

    Maynard will try to get a third shot at gold by defeating Clay Guida in June. That's a task that's easier said than done. If he is successful, he may be closer to a title shot than we realize.

35. Fedor Emelianenko

16 of 52

    Dana White says Fedor Emelianenko is done. However, as long as The Last Emperor continues to fight, it wouldn't be fair to count him out.

    Emelianenko will stay relevant so long as he keeps winning. Believe it or not, his three losses in Strikeforce aren't as bad as they suggest. Werdum is a world-class fighter, Henderson may be the best of all time and Bigfoot possessed a massive size advantage.

    The Last Emperor takes on three-time UFC contender Pedro Rizzo on June 21. Is Fedor too far gone at this point in his career? Choosing a has-been like Rizzo as an opponent is likely a sign that M-1 can't afford to risk finding out.

34. Ian McCall

17 of 52

    Uncle Creepy has two things: the best nickname in MMA and a chance to make history.

    Ian McCall made his debut earlier this year in a controversial draw against Demetrious Johnson. The winner of their upcoming rematch will face Joseph Benavidez to crown the first-ever UFC Flyweight champion.

    The rematch is currently scheduled for June 8th at UFC on FX.

33. Josh Koscheck

18 of 52

    Is Josh Koscheck losing it? Matt Hughes probably doesn't think so, but I'm not so sure.

    In his UFC welterweight championship fight against Georges St. Pierre, Koscheck suffered substantial damage to his eye that kept him out of the cage for more than nine months. Koscheck looked nervous when Matt Hughes jabbed at the eye in their September bout, and Koscheck was unable to really get off any threatening offense against Mike Pierce earlier this year. 

    If Koscheck can get past Johny Hendricks on Saturday night at UFC on FOX, he might just have enough gas in the tank to make one final run at a championship.

32. Vitor Belfort

19 of 52

    Vitor Belfort finds himself among the several fallen contenders who lay at the feet of Anderson Silva. Despite being marketed as having some of the fastest and most accurate striking in MMA history, Belfort found himself as the victim of a first-round KO at the hands of The Spider.

    Belfort is trying to get another shot at the belt, but wins over Anthony Johnson, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Wanderlei Silva aren't going to be enough. Belfort takes on Wanderlei at UFC 147 in June.

31. Renan Barao

20 of 52

    Renan Barao has the longest winning streak of any fighter currently in the UFC. With a record of 29-1 (1), Barao hasn't tasted defeat since his first professional fight. Now 5-0 under the Zuffa banner, it appears to be just a matter of time before Barao finally gets a crack at gold.

    An upcoming bout with Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148 is expected to crown a No. 1 contender for the UFC bantamweight championship.

30. Pat Curran

21 of 52

    Pat Curran is undoubtedly the best featherweight fighter outside of the UFC. You could make a case that he is the best pound-for-pound fighter outside of Zuffa when you consider that he won both lightweight and featherweight tournaments for Bellator and followed it up with a vicious knockout of champion Joe Warren.

    Wins over other notables like Marlon Sandro and Roger Huerta certainly don't hurt his case, either.

29. Michael McDonald

22 of 52

    At UFC 145, Michael McDonald wasted little time before introducing himself as a title contender. With diamond-like precision, the 21-year-old out-struck former champion Miguel Torres en route to one of the most vicious knockouts in bantamweight history.

    Beating Torres is one thing, but to knock him out takes something else entirely. McDonald might not have jumped the entire line for a crack at the winner of Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber, but he is definitely on his way.

28. Fabricio Werdum

23 of 52

    Fabricio Werdum is a completely different fighter from his original run in the UFC. With a dominating performance over Roy Nelson, Werdum showcased his much-improved striking game.

    With additional career wins over Alistair Overeem, Gabriel Gonzaga and Bigfoot Silva, Vai Cavalo has emerged victorious over nearly half of the original UFC 146 lineup.

    Werdum takes on Mike Russow at UFC 147 in a bout where he will attempt to derail the lay-and-pray specialist. If he is successful, it might be time for a rematch with Junior dos Santos.

27. Eddie Alvarez

24 of 52

    Did I rank Eddie Alvarez higher than the guy who beat him? Absolutely. Alvarez has consistently put on top-notch performances against excellent competition. Recently, he demolished world-ranked Shinya Aoki in such a way that Dana White became even more outspoken regarding his desire to acquire the former Bellator champion.

    Alvarez is likely UFC bound since he won't get a title rematch in Bellator. If so, we will see if he is the real deal or just a big fish from a small pond.

26. Dustin Poirier

25 of 52

    Dustin Poirier is on a roll. Now riding a five-fight win streak, which includes four wins in the Octagon. His finishing style (10 stoppages in 12 wins) makes him a crowd favorite and his Saved by the Bell-inspired nickname shows that he has a sense of humor.

    Dustin "Diamond" Poirier. Get it?

    On May 15th, Poirier takes on the Korean Zombie in Fairfax, Va. in a bout where the winner finds himself in line for a shot at the UFC Featherweight championship.

25. Michael Bisping

26 of 52

    Losing to Chael Sonnen might have been the most impressive performance of Michael Bisping's career. Not only did he hang with a man who dominated Anderson Silva, many believe that he should have won the decision.

    Bisping is a charismatic guy who gets very emotional when he fights. If he can keep his composure, he has the skills to defeat most of the crowded middleweight division.

    A bout with the surging Tim Boetsch has been moved to UFC 149.

24. Hatsu Hioki

27 of 52

    Hatsu Hioki was smart enough to recognize that he wasn't ready to headline a PPV against featherweight champion Jose Aldo. Instead, he requested one more fight under the UFC banner before cashing in his No. 1 contendership.

    Hioki has lost only four times in 32 professional bouts and rides a six-fight winning streak. His request for another fight was granted, and he battles Ricardo Lamas at UFC on FX on June 22.

23. Jake Ellenberger

28 of 52

    Jake Ellenberger is on the longest winning streak in the welterweight division. Boasting a six-fight streak that includes wins over Mike Pyle, Diego Sanchez and Jake Shields, many fans have pointed to Ellenberger as the man with the best chance to dethrone longtime champion Georges St. Pierre.

    The Juggernaut will have to stay patient if he hopes to get a crack at UFC gold. GSP will face Carlos Condit upon his return. Ellenberger battles Martin Kampmann at The Ultimate Fighter 15 Finale in what will be his third consecutive main event.

22. Lyoto Machida

29 of 52

    Lyoto Machida hasn't had much success in the Octagon as of late. However, his recent record is quite deceptive. Losing three of his last four bouts isn't as bad when you consider that he was royally screwed over in a decision against Rampage Jackson and that he found success against Jon Jones in the first round of their title fight.

    The Dragon is a force to be reckoned with. His next bout was announced on April 30th and he will challenge Ultimate Fighter winner Ryan Bader. Can he overcome the powerful wrestling of Darth Bader?

21. Hector Lombard

30 of 52

    Undefeated in his last 25 fights, Hector Lombard was the hottest free agent on the market just a few days ago. The reigning Bellator champion has left the organization that made him famous, and in doing so, hopes to defeat Anderson Silva and add the UFC Middleweight championship to his trophy case. Dana White recently tweeted photos of Lombard's contract.

    Lombard takes on Brian Stann at UFC 149 in his Octagon debut. It is a stiff test for both men, but Stann did an excellent job of dispatching the last champion imported into the UFC. Speaking of that, has anyone seen Jorge Santiago lately?

20. Shogun Rua

31 of 52

    Mauricio Rua had a roller coaster ride 2011. He was thoroughly pummeled at the hands on Jon Jones, rebounded to massacre Forrest Griffin and then spent five rounds in an all-out war with Dan Henderson. It is enough to exhaust any man.

    Rua is a former UFC champion and Pride Grand Prix winner. His victories over Lyoto Machida and Rampage Jackson are considered two of the greatest knockouts in sports history.

    Dana White recently announced that Rua will meet Thiago Silva on July 21 at UFC 149. It should be a stiff test, but Rua should pass with flying colors.

19. Gilbert Melendez

32 of 52

    If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? That must be how Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez feels. After dominating his division, Melendez remains on the Strikeforce roster while all legitimate tests are in the UFC.

    Melendez has to settle for a third fight with Josh Thomson on May 19. Melendez belongs in the UFC, as he has a claim to the top ranking in the world. Unfortunately, he isn't allowed to prove it in his current setting.

18. Cain Velasquez

33 of 52

    One year ago, Cain Velasquez looked unbeatable. He had defeated champions Big Nog and Brock Lesnar in decisive fashion along with contenders Cheick Kongo and Ben Rothwell. When Velasquez was knocked out in 64 seconds by Junior dos Santos, he was a man without direction.

    Now on the comeback trail, Velasquez returns this month against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at UFC 146. A victory will signify that the face of "Brown Pride" is ready to get back into the title scene, while a loss may signal the end of his time as an elite heavyweight.

17. Joseph Benavidez

34 of 52

    Team Alpha Male's smallest member, Joseph Benavidez, could very well be the first one to win UFC gold. Currently a finalist in the inaugural Flyweight championship tournament, Joe-Bi-Wan takes on the winner of next month's Ian McCall vs. Demeterious Johnson rematch.

    Regardless of who he faces, Benavidez is the favorite to win this tournament. It is likely that he will be the face of the flyweight division for quite some time.

16. Frank Mir

35 of 52

    Frank Mir got a huge jump in his rankings based on being in the right place at the right time. Mir was originally booked as a huge underdog against former champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 146. One dirty pee later, he gets to step in and challenge for the UFC Heavyweight championship.

    Mir is still a huge underdog, and he's still fighting on the same card, but at least this time he has something more to gain. Don't count him out, though. Let's not forget that Mir was an underdog when he won his first world championship.

15. Urijah Faber

36 of 52

    Urijah Faber doesn't have to win too often for Zuffa to give him a title fight. In his last nine bouts, Faber is 5-4, with all five wins coming in non-title affairs, and all four losses stemming from championship opportunities.

    Since his most recent title shot, Faber has won one bout, and he's already headed back for yet another chance at winning gold. He challenges Dominick Cruz at UFC 148 in Las Vegas for the Bantamweight championship.

    But can you really blame Zuffa for pushing Faber to the moon? The bantamweight division is lacking star power in a major way, and Urijah is a company man who the fans seem to love. If the California Kid comes up short once again, he will have some thinking to do about his future.

14. Frankie Edgar

37 of 52

    Frankie Edgar made three successful title defenses in the stacked UFC lightweight division. The only other man in history to accomplish that task is BJ Penn. That should speak volumes about The Answer's abilities inside the Octagon.

    Speaking of Penn, Edgar holds two wins over the former champion, along with a KO victory over Gray Maynard. In addition, he has won decisions over former champion Sean Sherk and current contender Gray Maynard.

    The unflinching underdog makes his return at UFC 150 when he challenges Benson Henderson in a title rematch from their UFC 144 encounter.

13. Rashad Evans

38 of 52

    Rashad Evans is undoubtedly the most successful cast member in Ultimate Fighter history. With a record of 12-2-1, a championship reign and victories over Chuck Liddell, Forrest Griffin, Rampage Jackson and Tito Ortiz, there is no question that Evans is an elite member of the light-heavyweight division.

    Evans will try and rebound from his second career loss, which came at the hands of Jon Jones last month. With Machida, Bader, Shogun and Griffin all taken, maybe Alexander Gustafsson will get a big step up in competition after all.

12. Nick Diaz

39 of 52

    You either love him or love to hate him, and Diaz is OK with that. The fact remains that Diaz is 15-2 (1) over the last six years, and those losses came due to doctor stoppage from a cut, and a hotly debated decision loss against Carlos Condit.

    Let's be honest here. If Nick Diaz were to win his lawsuit against the NSAC, he would likely be inserted into the title picture immediately. Diaz may find success in his lawsuit by arguing procedure. The NSAC needed to give Diaz his day in court in a timely fashion; however, Diaz found himself out in the cold from their April 24 agenda.

    Diaz is arguably the most controversial figure in MMA, and that isn't a bad thing. After all, you would be lying if you said that rebounding is the reason that Dennis Rodman is one of the most recognizable players in NBA history.

11. Alistair Overeem

40 of 52

    I can hear most of you groaning at this point, but listen carefully: Alistair Overeem is an elite heavyweight fighter who will remain the No. 2 heavyweight in the world until someone can force him out of that position.

    Overeem is a K-1 Kickboxing World Champion, and he never lost his Dream or Strikeforce heavyweight championships.

    Overeem will be eligible to reapply for a license in time for an end-of-year contest in the UFC, so long as Dana doesn't decide to toss The Reem's contract into the shredder over the repercussions of his failed drug test.


41 of 52

    Now that we have gotten through the top 40, let's recap!

    11. Alistair Overeem
    12. Nick Diaz
    13. Rashad Evans
    14. Frankie Edgar
    15. Urijah Faber
    16. Frank Mir
    17. Joseph Benavidez
    18. Cain Velasquez
    19. Gilbert Melendez
    20. Shogun Rua

    21. Hector Lombard
    22. Lyoto Machida
    23. Jake Ellenberger
    24. Hatsu Hioki
    25. Michael Bisping
    26. Dustin Poirier
    27. Eddie Alvarez
    28. Fabricio Werdum
    29. Michael McDonald
    30. Pat Curran

    31. Renan Barao
    32. Vitor Belfort
    33. Josh Koscheck
    34. Ian McCall
    35. Fedor Emelianenko
    36. Gray Maynard
    37. Rory MacDonald
    38. Josh Barnett
    39. Jim Miller
    40. Nate Diaz

    41. The Korean Zombie
    42. Michael Chandler
    43. Johny Hendricks
    44. Eduardo Dantas
    45. Daniel Cormier
    46. Erik Koch
    47. Demetrious Johnson
    48. Alexander Gustafsson
    49. Chris Weidman
    50. Jon Fitch

    Any surprises so far? Who do you think is in the top 10? What order should they be in? Right now, post a comment of what you think, then look at the top 10 and see if you were right.

10. Ben Henderson

42 of 52

    Our first championship appearance on this list!

    Benson Henderson will continue to suffer in the rankings until he can finish an elite lightweight. At 4-0 inside the UFC, each of Henderson's bouts have gone to the judges.

    Bendo earned his title shot with a close decision win over Clay Guida and won the belt in a tightly contested bout against Frankie Edgar. Both men are notoriously hard to stop, but until a referee pulls him off of an opponent, Henderson won't rank much higher than here.

    Henderson is currently scheduled to defend his title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 150 later this summer.

9. Carlos Condit

43 of 52

    Carlos Condit is undoubtedly one of the most successful crossovers from the WEC. It didn't appear that way in the beginning, though. Condit's UFC debut saw him lose a split decision to Martin Kampmann, and his sophomore bout nearly saw him finished several times by Jake Ellenberger.

    Condit is currently riding an impressive five-fight win streak which includes stoppage victories over notables Dong Hyun Kim, Rory MacDonald and Dan Hardy. Additionally, Condit has recorded Octagon victories over contenders Nick Diaz and Ellenberger.

    The UFC interim Welterweight champion is expected to wait for the return of Georges St. Pierre for a winter title-unification bout.

8. Dan Henderson

44 of 52

    When Dan Henderson came up short in back-to-back battles with champions Rampage Jackson and Anderson Silva, many believed that he would be just another Pride guy who couldn't hang in the UFC. Since then, Hendo has become one of the most fearsome KO artists in the sport after vicious stoppages over Michael Bisping, Fedor Emelianenko, Babalu Sobral and Rafael Feijao.

    Henderson is the only man to win three major tournaments (UFC 17, Pride Middleweight Grand Prix, King of Kings 1999), and he has won major fights against notables in three weight classes. Despite being a middleweight, Hendo has wins over two of the top heavyweights in MMA history (Big Nog and Fedor Emelianenko). 

    Today, many feel that Henderson has a chance to go down as the greatest of all time if he can somehow overcome reigning champion Jon Jones later this year.

7. Chael Sonnen

45 of 52

    Sonnen's outspoken personality tends to cause him to say things that keep him in the headlines, including countless digs at Anderson Silva. Some were hilarious, and some were downright offensive, but all of them have been entertaining.

    Chael Sonnen has gone 2-0 since returning from his suspension that stemmed out of a failed drug test at UFC 117. Those wins, over Michael Bisping and Brian Stann, put him on the doorstep of Anderson Silva for a second time.

    After an impressive first showing that saw Sonnen dominate the longtime champion for four-and-a-half rounds before being trapped in a triangle choke halfway through the final round, the rematch takes place on July 7 at UFC 148 in what could be the most-watched event in MMA history.

6. Junior Dos Santos

46 of 52

    Junior Dos Santos is an incredible boxer who has yet to be taken into deep water. Considering the level of competition he had faced, that is quite the statement. Cigano has been flawless during his UFC tenure, having notched stoppage victories over Fabricio Werdum, Cain Velasquez, Mirko Cro Cop and more.

    The air is thin at the top, so upward movement at this point is pretty difficult. Dos Santos will rank higher once he has defended his belt a couple of times. He looks unbeatable now, but so did Cain Velasquez when he won the belt.

    The champ will try to begin carving out his legacy when he looks for his first title defense against Frank Mir at UFC 146 later this month.

5. Dominick Cruz

47 of 52

    Cruz has proven to be a dominant champion, defending his title four times against Joseph Benavidez, Scott Jorgensen, Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson. Not only that, but Cruz arguably has the best movement in all of MMA.

    Cruz is currently coaching The Ultimate Fighter Live, which is helping to keep the champion in the public eye. With boyish good looks, a quick wit and a touch of an evil side, we very well could be looking at one of the most marketable fighters alive.

    At the conclusion of his TUF coaching duties, he attempts to obtain a fifth successful defense in a rubber match with Faber. If Cruz is successful, we can only imagine how long he will hold the divisional reins.

4. Georges St. Pierre

48 of 52

    GSP sitting on the sidelines for 18 months has caused him to slip a bit in the rankings.

    Georges St. Pierre has been dominant since regaining the belt four years ago, but the champ can't seem to finish any of his opponents. As a matter of fact, the last time that the referee called a halt to a GSP fight was when the champ defeated Matt Serra to put the gold around his waist once again.

    When you see that GSP opponents Dan Hardy, Thiago Alves, Jon Fitch and Jake Shields have all been finished recently by other opponents, you have to wonder why the best welterweight in the world couldn't do the job that others could.

    Looking at the activity and dominance of the names who now find themselves above GSP, it's hard to argue that the welterweight champion should have maintained his second-place position. However, he only falls two spots based on the magnitude of his six successful title defenses and nine-fight win streak.

3. Jose Aldo

49 of 52

    The UFC featherweight champion has been incredibly successful since joining the Zuffa family. With five title defenses, an incredible knockout of undefeated contender Chad Mendes and a dominant performance over Kenny Florian, Aldo's stock has never been higher.

    Don't think Aldo deserves the boost? In the absence of GSP, Aldo has defended his belt twice against world-class competition and will compete at least one more time before "Rush" returns this Winter.

    Aldo attempts to defend his belt for a sixth time when he meets Erik Koch at UFC 149.

2. Jon Jones

50 of 52

    Can anybody pose a threat to Jonny Bones Jones? In 2011, the light-heavyweight champion defeated Ryan Bader, Shogun Rua, Rampage Jackson and Lyoto Machida. After a dominant win at UFC 145, Rashad Evans joins the pool of fallen warriors. Jones has a future with no limits.

    At the young age of 24, Jones had nearly cleaned out one of the most stacked divisions in MMA. Next in line is Olympic wrestler and former champion of Strikeforce and Pride, Dan Henderson. If Jones is victorious, there isn't a single ranked light-heavyweight deserving of a shot at the belt.

    Many feel that Jones should be No. 1. I disagree. While his win over Evans was extremely impressive, it simply isn't enough for him to surpass the ongoing legacy of Anderson Silva.

1. Anderson Silva

51 of 52

    In the words of the immortal Ric Flair, "To be the man, you've got to beat the man." Until someone beats Anderson Silva, he will sit on top of his throne, high above the rest of the MMA world.

    Silva currently holds the ongoing records for most consecutive wins in the UFC (14), most title defenses (9) and most consecutive title defenses (9). He is the runner-up for all-time Fight Night Awards (8) and celebrated his five-year anniversary as UFC Middleweight champion back in October.

    The Spider is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and he has records that may never be broken. He faces the toughest challenge of his career for a second time at UFC 148, when he faces off in a rematch with Chael Sonnen, the only man to dominate him in his career. 


52 of 52

    Did I miss anybody? Is there someone who thinks I haven't given enough credit? Is there someone who you think I've given too much credit?  If you present a compelling case, it will definitely weigh into the next power rankings!

    Thanks for reading!


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.