With MMA promotions putting on fight cards more frequently than ever, fighters are constantly jockeying for position on the ladder of title contention and in the eyes (and rankings) of the fans and media.  Every month, The MMA Corner’s Brian McKenna will compile the staff’s individual rankings from heavyweight to  flyweight, plus pound-for-pound, into The MMA Corner’s Fighter Rankings.

The number in parentheses represents the fighter’s ranking from last month.

Heavyweight
  1. Junior dos Santos (1)

    Could Bellator heavyweight champion Cole Konrad make the rankings with a victory over Eric Prindle? (Sherdog)

  2. Alistair Overeem (2)
  3. Cain Velasquez (4)
  4. Frank Mir (5)
  5. Josh Barnett (3)
  6. Daniel Cormier (6)
  7. Fabricio Werdum (8)
  8. Shane Carwin (7)
  9. Antonio Silva (9)
  10. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (-)

While March wasn’t that big of a month as far as Zuffa is concerned, it was a big month for The MMA Corner.  New contributors came to the site and different opinions came along with them.  With that came a shake up in a lot of the rankings, and the heavyweight division is a clear example of it.  While not a lot of action came from these fighters in the last month, momentum traveled through the division when it was announced that it would be an all-heavyweight main card at UFC 146 which will take place in May.  Expect a big shake up in the rankings when that card plays itself out.  Also, while Zuffa dominates this weight class, with the unexpected heavyweight title fight between Bellator champion Cole Konrad and challenger Eric Prindle in April, the winner of that fight could find their way into the rankings.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)

    Rashad Evans has finally gained The MMA Corner No. 2 ranking, as he is currently the UFC light heavyweight No. 1 contender (MMA Weekly)

  2. Rashad Evans (3)
  3. Dan Henderson (2)
  4. Mauricio Rua (4)
  5. Lyoto Machida (5)
  6. Muhammed Lawal (6)
  7. Phil Davis (7)
  8. Alexander Gustafsson (9)
  9. Gegard Mousasi (8)
  10. Ryan Bader (-)

In the previous editions of the rankings, Rashad Evans was sitting in the third position which looked a little odd considering he was the No. 1 contender for Jon Jones’ title.  Well, after a minor shakeup in the rankings, “Suga” sits right under “Bones”, which is just how the UFC sees it.  But even with Evans jumping over Dan Henderson in the rankings and a couple of other movements, it was a relatively quiet month for the light heavyweights.  Bellator found a way to somehow not have a 205-pound fight in four cards and Strikeforce didn’t have one on their “Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey” card.  One way or another, Jones will take on Evans later this month at UFC 145 for the title, which will no doubt cause the rankings to change.

Middleweight
  1. Anderson Silva (1)
  2. Chael Sonnen (2)
  3. Mark Munoz (3)
  4. Vitor Belfort (4)
  5. Michael Bisping (6)
  6. Hector Lombard (5)
  7. Luke Rockhold (7)
  8. Brian Stann (10)
  9. Ronaldo Souza (8)
  10. Tim Boetsch (-)

It’s official.  The UFC middleweight title will be on the line in June when Anderson Silva defends his title against Chael Sonnen at UFC 147.  While this doesn’t really come as much of a surprise, something else in the 185-pound rankings does.  Ronaldo Souza was victorious in March, however somehow managed to drop a spot in the rankings.  “Jacare” first found his way onto the rankings last month after missing the mark in January, yet fell a spot after his victory.  This is just another example of the new contributors to the site adding their influence to the mix, which boosted Brian Stann two spots at the same time.  Also as a result, Tim Boetsch has made his first appearance into the fighter rankings.  Not only does his three-fight winning streak have something to do with it, but it likely also has to do with the fact that he had a big come from behind victory at UFC 144 over Yushin Okami.

Welterweight
  1. Georges St-Pierre (1)
  2. Carlos Condit (2)
  3. Jake Ellenberger (3)
  4. Nick Diaz (6)
  5. Josh Koscheck (4)
  6. Johny Hendricks (5)
  7. Jon Fitch (7)
  8. Martin Kampmann (10)
  9. Rory MacDonald (-)
  10. Ben Askren (9)

Last month, one of the posing questions that came from the welterweight division would be if UFC interim champion Carlos Condit would square off with Georges St-Pierre in a unification bout, or if he would defend his interim title against Jake Ellenberger.  Well, after Martin Kampmann’s recent victory over Thiago Alves, Ellenberger is now matched up against “The Hitman” leaving Condit without a dance partner.  While it is not official, this could mean that “The Natural Born Killer” would square off against “GSP” in his next fight.  We have also learned that No. 5 Josh Koscheck and No. 6 Johny Hendricks will clash at UFC on Fox 3 next month, which is sure to mix things up here.  Finally, Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren is clinging onto the last spot in the rankings, and with Bellator holding the quarterfinals of their welterweight tournament last weekend, and the fact that Askren is defending the title against Douglas Lima on April 6, you may see some more Bellator fighters in the top 10 soon.

Lightweight
  1. Ben Henderson (1)
  2. Gilbert Melendez (2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (3)
  4. Gray Maynard (5)
  5. Jim Miller (4)
  6. Anthony Pettis (8)
  7. Nate Diaz (10)
  8. Michael Chandler (9)
  9. Shinya Aoki (6)
  10. Clay Guida (7)

When Ben Henderson took the UFC lightweight title from Frankie Edgar at UFC 144, he also took the No. 1 ranking in the meantime.  Well, considering that Gilbert Melendez is still the top dog in Zuffa’s other promotion, a rematch was made by the UFC matchmakers which leaves open the opportunity for the two to switch back to where they were.  With this fight being made, it is anticipated that the winner of Jim Miller and Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3 will be next in line for the title shot.  This leaves Clay Guida to take on Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4, and Anthony Pettis without a dance partner.

Featherweight
  1. Jose Aldo (1)

    Pat Curran won the Bellator featherweight title at Bellator 60, and took the No. 3 ranking with it (Bellator)

  2. Hatsu Hioki (2)
  3. Pat Curran (4)
  4. Chad Mendes (3)
  5. Dustin Poirier (7)
  6. Diego Nunes (5)
  7. Marlon Sandro (8)
  8. Chan Sung Jung (9)
  9. Tatsuya Kawajiri (6)
  10. Eric Koch (-)

Bellator started their sixth season off with a bang as Pat Curran took the featherweight championship title from Joe Warren in the first event of the season.  The knockout victory was good to bump him up to the third position in the rankings, the highest achieved by any Bellator fighter.  But Curran wasn’t the only Bellator featherweight to climb the ranks, as Marlon Sandro also scored a victory on that card, pushing him up a spot.  With that in mind, Tatsuya Kawajiri was victorious at ONE FC 3 on the last day of the month, and somehow found a way to slip three spots.  The matchup between Chan Sung Jung and Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fuel TV 3 definitely added some momentum to them, which must have given them the added boost up the rankings.

Bantamweight
  1. Dominick Cruz (1)

    Masakatsu Ueda(top) is ranked higher than Bellator champion Makovsky, however he is three fights away from a title shot (Tapology)

  2. Urijah Faber (2)
  3. Renan Barao (3)
  4. Brian Bowles (4)
  5. Scott Jorgensen (5)
  6. Bibiano Fernandes (6)
  7. Miguel Torres (7)
  8. Michael McDonald (9)
  9. Masakatsu Ueda (8)
  10. Zach Makovsky (10)

Not the most exciting month for the bantamweight division, as the only change here is Michael McDonald swapping spots with Masakatsu Ueda.  We know that McDonald will be taking on Miguel Torres at UFC 145, but what may be lesser known is that Ueda will make his promotional debut with Bellator this Friday night as a participant in the season-six bantamweight tournament.  This fight will be the Japanese fighter’s first fight in North America, and it will be the first time a lot of fans get to watch him fight.  With that being said, a lot of interest will go into his fight, as currently he is ranked higher than the Bellator bantamweight champion, Zach Makovsky

Flyweight
  1. Joseph Benavidez (1)

    After a mistake calculating the judges scorecards, Ian McCall and Demetrious Johnson will fight again (HeavyMMA)

  2. Ian McCall (3)
  3. Demetrious Johnson (2)
  4. Jussier da Silva (4)
  5. Yasuhiro Urushitani (5)
  6. Mamoru Yamaguchi (6)
  7. Darrell Montague (7)
  8. John Dodson (9)
  9. Ulysses Gomez (8)
  10. Shinichi Kojima (10)

History was made in the UFC last month as the first-ever flyweight fights were held inside of the Octagon.  But the flyweights didn’t come without controversy.  The first fight was originally announced as a decision victory for Demetrious Johnson over Ian McCall, however a scoring error showed that the fight should have been declared a draw, which should have set up a sudden-victory round.  This effort from “Uncle Creepy” showed the people that he can hang in the UFC, and should be watched out for, thus his bump in the ranking over the man he fought to a draw with.  In the other flyweight fight, Joseph Benavidez proved that he should be the No. 1 ranked flyweight with his defeat of Yasuhiro Urushitani. Ultimate Fighter winner John Dodson found out that he will go up against Darren Uyenoyama in May, and looks to climb the ranks as a result.  Jussier da Silva was victorious in March as well, which helped solidify his spot in the top five.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    Jon Jones will defend his title this April at UFC 145 against Rashad Evans (Ken Pishna/MMA Weekly)

  2. Jon Jones (2)
  3. Georges St-Pierre (3)
  4. Jose Aldo (4)
  5. Junior dos Santos (5)
  6. Dominick Cruz (6)
  7. Gilbert Melendez (7)
  8. Ben Henderson (9)
  9. Dan Henderson (8)
  10. Alistair Overeem (10)

Not a whole lot going on in the pound-for-pound rankings this month, as all 10 fighters were idle.  But while they were idle, a lot of them were either preparing for an upcoming fight, or having a fight announced.  Anderson Silva has learned that he will be taking on Chael Sonnen at UFC 147 in a soccer stadium in Rio de Janiero, Brazil,  Jon Jones has been preparing for his light heavyweight championship fight at UFC 145 this month, Ben Henderson learned that he will go at it again with Frankie Edgar, and Junior dos Santos is counting down the days until his match-up with Alistair Overeem.  Meanwhile, Dominick Cruz has been going eye-to-eye with Urijah Faber in the latest installment of The Ultimate Fighter.  With all of these fights lining up nicely, we should see some changes in the pound-for-pound rankings in the near future.

Top Photo: Pat Curran (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.