Some fighters do their talking in the cage, letting their fists speak louder than words. Others prefer to wax poetic on the microphone. Both contingents made statements in the month of January. From highlight reel knockouts and unique submissions, to exaggerated claims of greatness, we had it all over the past 31 days.

Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping had a war of words leading up to their battle at UFC on Fox 2, complete with assumptions that Sonnen might only have a single family jewel rather than the usual pair. If there’s one fighter who isn’t afraid to come out of left field with his remarks, it’s Sonnen. In addition to his usual pre-fight antics, he followed up an underwhelming victory over Bisping with a post-fight interview more suited for WWE’s Monday Night Raw than UFC’s second-ever Fox-televised event.

In the case of several other fighters, fists (or feet, or knees) were the only statement necessary. So was the case for the likes of Lavar Johnson, Edson Barboza and, most notably, Jose Aldo. The three men used different weapons with the same outcome: an unconscious opponent.

Still, others dominated opponents in making broader statements as to their standing near the top of their weight class. Rashad Evans, Jim Miller and Sara McMann posted impressive wins to cement their standings – as top contenders in the case of Evans and Miller, and as a ranked female fighter in McMann’s case.

Some of these statements moved the needle on The Gauge a bit more than others. But which one moved the needle the most? You’ll just have to read on to find out.

1. Jose Aldo

Aldo has long dominated the WEC and UFC featherweight divisions. He continued that dominance at UFC 142 with a first-round knockout of Chad Mendes. The challenger was supposed to test Aldo’s takedown defense, but didn’t get many opportunities to shoot for takedowns before Aldo revealed a rather effective counter: the knee.

Making Aldo’s night even more memorable was his impulsive dash from the Octagon into the raucous Brazilian crowd, allowing fans to hoist him up on their shoulders and celebrate his win. Aldo’s personality and his skills were both on display that night in Rio de Janeiro.

The 145-pound kingpin continues to reign supreme over the weight class, and resides near the top of pound-for-pound rankings as well. It’s difficult to think of anybody who might pose a true threat to Aldo’s throne.

2. Rashad Evans

Okay, he’s a No. 1 contender…again. But will this finally be the time when injuries to Rashad Evans or light heavyweight champion Jon Jones don’t get in the way of an encounter between the two?

Evans looked superior in all aspects of the fight game against Phil Davis at UFC on Fox 2 in earning back his spot at the front of the line for a title shot. Evans was able to expose the holes in Davis’ game en route to a unanimous decision victory. The Blackzilians fighter looked very comfortable in the cage, almost as if the fight with Davis was nothing but a formality in preparing for a showdown with Jones.

Injuries have always come in the way of Evans actually challenging for the belt again, whether it be against Jones or other recent titleholders. If Evans and Jones can both stay healthy, they are slated to meet up in Atlanta come April’s UFC 145 event. Evans has an insider’s knowledge of Jones’ training and possible weaknesses. Could that be the one edge that finally brings a stop to the phenom?

3. Chael Sonnen

There isn’t a more confident fighter when a microphone is waved in his face. Sonnen talks big and usually delivers, though his outing against Michael Bisping at UFC on Fox 2 left something to be desired. The man who came closest to defeating Anderson Silva for the middleweight strap looked less than stellar against Bisping, but had no trouble performing on the mic after the unanimous verdict was announced in his favor.

If he had dominated Bisping, his words on the mic would have meant more and the anticipation of a middleweight title rematch would be even greater. We just didn’t see the effective strategizing that Sonnen brought to his fights with Yushin Okami, Nate Marquardt and Silva. He skimmed by against Bisping, but he won’t have that luxury against the champion. Sonnen will need to regain the form that catapulted him to a near title win if he wants to be remembered for more than just his antics outside the cage.

As it stands, Sonnen’s previous performance against “The Spider” should keep fans interested. And if that doesn’t work, he’s sure to say something ridiculous. Maybe he’ll even proclaim himself the greatest fighter in the world. Oh wait, he already did that?

4. Jim Miller

There are a few names that always seem to be in the title mix in any given division. Jim Miller has been one of those names for a while now at lightweight. A loss to Ben Henderson had knocked Miller a notch down the 155-pound ladder, but Miller bounced back at UFC on FX 1 with a first-round submission victory over Melvin Guillard.

Miller is still at least a win or two from putting his name back in the hat for a title bid, but he made a good start with his performance against Guillard. As Guillard went for flying knees, Miller eventually timed a perfect takedown and secured a rear-naked choke for the victory. While Guillard appeared to regress in the fight, Miller made it look like just another day at the office.

5. Luke Rockhold

Strikeforce might not have many champions left, but Luke Rockhold is still there, sitting atop the 185-pound mountain in what is one of the promotion’s deepest divisions. Rockhold headlined Strikeforce’s January event opposite UFC veteran Keith Jardine.

The middleweight champion was able to bring an early end to Jardine’s night, finishing the well-known veteran via TKO in the first round. While a win over Jardine isn’t what it used to be, he is still a very recognizable name, which just adds to Rockhold’s legitimacy as a top middleweight.

Now, if only Rockhold was able to come to the UFC, or the UFC was to feed him some of its top middleweights.

6. Jorge Rivera

If not for his retirement announcement, Rivera wouldn’t have landed here. His fight with Eric Schafer at UFC on FX 1 resulted in a second-round TKO for the veteran, but it wasn’t a meaningful fight in the big picture, outside of the fact that everyone already knew Rivera would be putting the gloves away regardless of the outcome.

As it went, Rivera was able to go out on a high note, not only winning, but stopping his opponent. It’s great to see a fighter end things on their own terms, with a smile on his face, rather than going out on a streak of brutal knockout losses.

7. Edson Barboza

Unique knockouts tend to capture the attention of fans and promoters. So, why not throw a wheel kick and send your opponent to the mat, unconscious?

That’s exactly what Edson Barboza did to Terry Etim in the third round of their lightweight tussle at UFC 142. The kick ended Etim’s night and his rise up the lightweight ladder, while also helping to boost Barboza’s standing in the division’s title hunt.

8. Lavar Johnson

As an import from Strikeforce’s heavyweight division, Johnson was already a known commodity. He’s a knockout artist with very powerful hands. Johnson was matched up perfectly for his Octagon debut, meeting Joey Beltran at UFC on Fox 2.

Beltran is a brawler who can take punishment, yet Johnson managed to render him unconscious in the first round. That’s a huge statement for the debuting big man. His focus on striking might limit his ceiling in the UFC’s heavyweight division, but there’s no doubt that his fights will always keep fans on the edge of their seats in anticipation of a huge highlight reel knockout.

9. Charles Oliveira

If Lavar Johnson and Edson Barboza provided memorable knockout finishes, their counterpart this month on the submission side has to be Oliveira. “Do Bronx” used a calf slicer to bring a quick and painful end to Eric Wisely’s night at UFC on Fox 2. The submission is sure to make highlight reels, but more importantly it announces Oliveira’s arrival in the featherweight division. Oliveira could definitely make an impact in his new divisional home.

10. Sara McMann

The former Olympic silver medalist continues to establish herself as one of the best 135-pound female fighters in the world. Her resume grew stronger at ProElite 3, where she earned a unanimous decision victory over fellow ranked fighter Hitomi Akano.

Photo: Jose Aldo and his team (Sherdog)

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