UFC Rankings: Good Calls and Bad Calls Following UFC 178

Sean SmithAnalyst ISeptember 30, 2014

UFC Rankings: Good Calls and Bad Calls Following UFC 178

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    Demetrious Johnson is becoming harder and harder to overlook as one of the best fighters in MMA.

    At UFC 178, Mighty Mouse submitted Chris Cariaso to successfully defend his 125-pound championship for the sixth consecutive time. That mark ties the championship reigns of UFC legends Tito Ortiz and Matt Hughes, so Johnson is clearly dominating the flyweight class.

    He may not be as popular as Ortiz and Hughes, but Johnson will eventually get his due attention as long as he keeps winning. Was an expected win over Cariaso enough to boost him in the pound-for-pound rankings?

    With another UFC event in the books, here are the latest official UFC rankings via UFC.com, which are voted on by various members of the MMA media. 

Pound-for-Pound

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    1Jon Jones
    2Jose Aldo 
    3Demetrious Johnson (+1)
    4Cain Velasquez (-1)
    5Chris Weidman
    6Anthony Pettis 
    7Anderson Silva 
    8Ronda Rousey
    9Johny Hendricks
    10Renan Barao
    11T.J. Dillashaw
    12Vitor Belfort
    13Daniel Cormier (+1)
    14Alexander Gustafsson (-1)
    15Dominick Cruz (NR)

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    With five straight title defenses, Johnson is quietly becoming one of the most dominant champions in UFC history.

    Cain Velasquez may be on his way there as well, but he's not as far along as Johnson. The heavyweight champion has been hampered by injuries and only has two consecutive title defenses. He'll look for his third in a November bout with Fabricio Werdum.

    The pound-for-pound rankings were created to give smaller fighters like Johnson the recognition that comes more easily for heavyweight titleholders, so the rankings panel got it right by elevating Mighty Mouse to the No. 3 position. 

    Furthermore, it might receive mixed reviews, but Dominick Cruz's addition to the Top 15 was a good move by the voting MMA media. 

    Doubt surrounding Cruz's long hiatus was the only reason he had been excluded before now. So, by proving he can still be the fighter he once was with a knockout win over Takeya Mizugaki, Cruz showed he's still an elite pound-for-pound fighter.

    Bad Calls

    He's looked great recently, but Daniel Cormier has not done enough to surpass Alexander Gustafsson in the pound-for-pound rankings.

    The Strikeforce veteran has beaten some of the best in the heavyweight and light heavyweight divisions. However, he hasn't met the 205-pound king.

    Gustafsson has and nearly dethroned Jon Jones in September 2013. Until Cormier looks as good against Jones as Gustafsson did, he shouldn't be ranked above the Swedish contender. 

Heavyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CCain Velasquez
    1Fabricio Werdum
    2Junior dos Santos
    3Travis Browne
    4Stipe Miocic
    5Mark Hunt 
    6Josh Barnett 
    7Andrei Arlovski
    8Antonio Silva
    9Roy Nelson
    10Ben Rothwell
    11Alistair Overeem
    12Gabriel Gonzaga
    13Frank Mir 
    14Stefan Struve
    15Matt Mitrione

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No changes were made to the heavyweight rankings.

    Bad Calls

    No changes were made to the heavyweight rankings.

Light Heavyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJon Jones 
    1Alexander Gustafsson 
    Daniel Cormier 
    Rashad Evans 
    4Glover Teixeira 
    5Anthony Johnson
    Phil Davis 
    Ryan Bader (+1)
    Dan Henderson (-1)
    Mauricio Rua
    10 Ovince Saint Preux 
    11 Jimi Manuwa 
    12 Rafael Cavalcante 
    13 Vitor Belfort 
    14 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    15 Fabio Maldonado 

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No good calls were made in this edition of the light heavyweight rankings. 

    Bad Calls

    With losses in four of his past five fights, Dan Henderson is struggling, and the end of his MMA career could be nearing. However, he still has a stronger resume than Ryan Bader.

    Ovince Saint Preux is the most highly ranked light heavyweight Bader has beaten, and the Strikeforce veteran currently sits at No. 10 in the 205-pound rankings. Henderson, meanwhile, is only one fight removed from a stunning knockout win over No. 9 Mauricio Rua.

    It's only by a very slim margin, but Henderson should still be ranked above Bader right now. 

Middleweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CChris Weidman
    1Anderson Silva
    2Ronaldo Souza
    3Vitor Belfort
    4Lyoto Machida
    5Luke Rockhold
    6Yoel Romero (+4)
    7Tim Kennedy (-1)
    7Gegard Mousasi
    9Michael Bisping (-2)
    10CB Dollaway (-1)
    11Thales Leites (+1)
    12Costas Philippou (-1)
    13Tim Boetsch
    13Mark Munoz
    15Brad Tavares

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    Despite the controversy that resulted from him remaining on the stool when the third round was about to start, Yoel Romero did get his hand raised on Saturday.

    Regardless of their opinions on the situation, the voters rightly recognized that result and moved Romero above Tim Kennedy, who has stated he'll appeal the outcome of his UFC 178 bout with the Cuban. Unless the result is overturned, though, the rankings panel should respect the actual results as they have in this position.

    Aside from a late flurry in the second round, Romero did appear to be the better fighter than Kennedy prior to finishing the fight with a knockout in the third stanza. So, Romero's No. 6 position does seem well-earned.

    Meanwhile, in an adjustment not impacted by this past weekend's fights, Thales Leites surpassed Costas Philippou.

    The change was warranted.

    Philippou is only two appearances removed from a poor showing against Francis Carmont and hasn't beaten a Top 15 opponent since then. Leites, meanwhile, is 4-0 since returning to the Octagon and knocked Carmont out in his most recent bout.

    Bad Calls

    No bad calls were made in this edition of the middleweight rankings. 

Welterweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJohny Hendricks
    1Robbie Lawler 
    2Rory MacDonald 
    3Tyron Woodley
    4Carlos Condit 
    5Matt Brown 
    6Hector Lombard 
    7Jake Ellenberger
    8Demian Maia
    9Tarec Saffiedine
    10Dong Hyun Kim
    11Kelvin Gastelum 
    12Gunnar Nelson 
    13Jordan Mein
    14Ryan LaFlare 
    15Mike Pyle

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No changes were made to the welterweight rankings.

    Bad Calls

    No changes were made to the welterweight rankings.

Lightweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CAnthony Pettis
    1Gilbert Melendez 
    2Khabib Nurmagomedov
    3Rafael dos Anjos
    4Donald Cerrone (+1)
    5Benson Henderson (-1)
    6Josh Thomson 
    7Bobby Green 
    8Myles Jury
    9Jim Miller
    10Eddie Alvarez (+4)
    11Michael Johnson (-1)
    12Edson Barboza (-1)
    13Jorge Masvidal (-1)
    14Rustam Khabilov (-1)
    15Nate Diaz (NR)

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    Eddie Alvarez's lack of experience against UFC lightweight was the only reason he sat outside the Top 10 heading into UFC 178. With a respectable showing against Donald Cerrone, the former Bellator MMA champion showed he is talented enough to be a Top 10 UFC lightweight.

    When compared with No. 12 Edson Barboza, who was knocked down and submitted by Cerrone in April, Alvarez looked very good. So, it's not at all shocking to see him surpass the Brazilian, among others.

    Additionally, Nate Diaz was only removed from the rankings due to a contract dispute, so it seems right that he be added back in now that he has a fight with Rafael dos Anjos booked. Considering he's submitted No. 9 Jim Miller, Diaz's stock should rise even more in the coming rankings updates.

    Bad Calls

    With five straight wins, Cerrone is clearly one of the top lightweights in the world, but some of his losses make it difficult for him to climb upward in the rankings. That is why I'm actually surprised he surpassed Benson Henderson for the No. 4 position.

    Since joining the UFC roster, Henderson has only lost to champion Anthony Pettis and Dos Anjos. Considering Cerrone also has a recent loss to Dos Anjos, it's questionable that a loss to the Brazilian would drop Henderson below Cowboy, whom the former UFC titleholder beat twice in the WEC.

Featherweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CJose Aldo
    1Chad Mendes
    2Cub Swanson 
    3Frankie Edgar 
    4Ricardo Lamas
    5Conor McGregor (+4)
    6Chan Sung Jung 
    7Dustin Poirier (-2)
    8Dennis Bermudez (-1)
    9Nik Lentz (-1)
    10Jeremy Stephens
    11Dennis Siver
    12Clay Guida 
    13Darren Elkins
    14Charles Oliveira
    15Tatsuya Kawajiri

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    With his win over Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor is no longer an unknown commodity. His new Top Five position has been earned.

    The Irishman knocked Poirier out in the first round. Chan Sung Jung, meanwhile, had a much more competitive bout with Poirier in May 2012. So, McGregor deserved to surpass more than just The Diamond with his win on Saturday.

    In defeat, Poirier fell below Jung in the 145-pound rankings. It's where Poirier should have been even before losing to McGregor, as none of his wins since losing to Jung have proved he's surpassed the South Korean.

    Bad Calls

    No bad calls were made in this edition of the featherweight rankings.

Bantamweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CT.J. Dillashaw
    1Renan Barao
    2Dominick Cruz (+8)
    3Urijah Faber (-1)
    4Raphael Assuncao (-1)
    5Michael McDonald (-1)
    6Takeya Mizugaki (-1)
    7Eddie Wineland (-1)
    8Iuri Alcantara (-1)
    9Johnny Eduardo (-1)
    10Bryan Caraway (-1)
    11Francisco Rivera
    12Alex Caceres (+1)
    13Erik Perez (-1)
    14Joe Soto
    15Masanori Kanehara

    Analysis 

    Good Calls

    It's rare that a fighter moves up eight spots with one win, but Dominick Cruz was only ranked as low as he was before UFC 178 due to inactivity.

    With a knockout win over Takeya Mizugaki, who hadn't been stopped since joining the UFC roster, Cruz proved he's still one of the best bantamweights in the world. A champion who never lost, Cruz even has an argument that he should be ranked in the No. 1 contender position, so his rise to No. 2 was the right call.

    Cruz's opportunity to reclaim the bantamweight championship could be coming sooner than expected.

    Bad Calls

    Alex Caceres was lucky to be ranked No. 13 following a loss to Masanori Kanehara on September 20, but he's now moved up to No. 12 in an odd decision by the rankings panel.

    First of all, the adjustment moved Caceres further above Kanehara, which makes little sense considering their recent meeting. However, the change is also puzzling when comparing Caceres' resume with Erik Perez's, whom he surpassed.

    Caceres and Perez have a common opponent in Edwin Figueroa. While Caceres lost to Figueroa in a close decision, Perez coasted to a dominant win over Figueroa, scoring seven takedowns along the way. With little else to go by, Perez should be ranked above Caceres based on the two fighters' performances against Figueroa.

Flyweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CDemetrious Johnson
    1John Dodson
    2Joseph Benavidez 
    3Ian McCall
    4Jussier Formiga
    5John Moraga
    6Ali Bagautinov (+1)
    7John Lineker (-1)
    8Chris Cariaso
    9Zach Makovsky
    10Tim Elliott
    11Brad Pickett
    12Dustin Ortiz 
    13Kyoji Horiguchi
    14Louis Gaudinot
    15Scott Jorgensen

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    The one change in the 125-pound rankings doesn't require much explanation.

    Ali Bagautinov defeated John Lineker in February. Since then, Bagautinov has only lost to champion Demetrious Johnson. So, Bagautinov really should have already been ranked above Lineker heading into this past weekend.

    In November, Lineker will have a chance to shake things up, as he meets Ian McCall in a potential title shot eliminator.

    Bad Calls

    No bad calls were made in this edition of the flyweight rankings. 

Women's Bantamweight

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    Rankings

    No.Fighter
    CRonda Rousey
    1Cat Zingano
    2Miesha Tate 
    3Sara McMann
    4Alexis Davis
    5Sarah Kaufman
    6Jessica Eye
    7Liz Carmouche
    8Bethe Correia (+1)
    9Amanda Nunes (-1)
    10Jessica Andrade
    11Julianna Pena
    12Germaine de Randamie
    13Leslie Smith 
    14Raquel Pennington 
    15Holly Holm

    Analysis

    Good Calls

    No good calls were made in this edition of the women's bantamweight rankings. 

    Bad Calls

    Despite her loss to Cat Zingano at UFC 178, Amanda Nunes should still be ranked above Bethe Correia.

    Prior to Saturday, Nunes was coming off an opening-round knockout win over Germaine de Randamie, who happens to hold a win over Julie Kedzie, the fighter who accounts for Correia's most noteworthy victory.

    Without a win over a Top 15 bantamweight, Correia should still be a step behind Nunes in the rankings.