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)

    Werdum handled Russow at UFC 147, but it wasn't enough for him to climb the rankings (Sherdog)

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

With the month of May holding the first all-heavyweight main card in the history of the UFC along with the finals of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, there was an exhale as far as the heavyweights were concerned in the month of June.  Of the four UFC events this past month, only one contained a heavyweight fight.  Fortunately for the fans, the fight featured No. 5-ranked Fabricio Werdum as he dominated Mike Russow and won by first-round TKO.  Unfortunately for Werdum, he was supposed to dominate the American and did not move up in the rankings as a result.  But what he did do was solidify his spot in the top 5, which makes it a big win at the end of the day.  Also, we learned that No. 2-ranked Cain Velasquez is indeed the No. 1 contender for Junior dos Santo’s UFC championship.  The rematch from UFC on Fox 1 has not yet been announced; however, it is expected to be known relatively soon as to exactly when and where the fight will take place.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Werdum at No. 4: “Werdum was the only heavyweight to fight this month and while he won, he was supposed to.  He stays in the same place, No. 4, for me.”
Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)

    "Feijao" dropped in the rankings as a result of the positive steroid test (MMAJunkie)

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

If fans wanted to watch a major promotion hold a light heavyweight fight in the month of June, they would have had to tune into Bellator 71, since the UFC did not hold one.  While Bellator is hosting a light heavyweight tournament during its Summer Series, the participants didn’t exactly bring in big-name recognition in its field.  The one name in the tournament that is really worth keeping an eye on is long-time veteran Travis Wiuff, who is now 3-0 in the promotion after knocking out Chris Davis in the first round of their fight.  Wiuff is the guy who defeated Bellator champion Christian M’Pumbu in a non-title super fight and as a result, some feel that Wiuff should be the Bellator light heavyweight champion.  Additionally in the rankings, Rafael Cavalcante slipped one spot, likely due to his positive steroid test after his quick victory over Mike Kyle at Strikeforce’s most recent card.  He has only slipped one spot so far, but that is likely due to the fact that he has not yet had his hearing.  If the hearing further proves that he is guilty, don’t be shocked to see him dropped out of the top ten.

Writer’s take – Brian McKenna, ranking Calvancate at No. 10: “‘Feijao’ drops from No. 6 to No. 10 in my book as a direct result of the steroids test.  If he is found innocent, he will return to No. 6.”
Middleweight
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    The rematch is finally here. Chael Sonnen (R) will challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title this Saturday (Sherdog)

  2. Chael Sonnen (2)
  3. Mark Munoz (3)
  4. Vitor Belfort (4)
  5. Michael Bisping (5)
  6. Hector Lombard (6)
  7. Luke Rockhold (7)
  8. Brian Stann (8)
  9. Chris Weidman (10)
  10. Tim Boetsch (-)

May was big for the heavyweight division, but July is going to be big for the middleweights.  Kicking things off at the start of the month, we have Anderson Silva defending his UFC title against Chael Sonnen, the man who dominated Silva back in 2010 for 23 minutes.  The rematch has been highly anticipated, and is finally here.  The following weekend, Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold will be defending his title for the second time as he puts it on the line against Tim Kennedy.  When Rockhold won the title from “Jacare” Souza, many thought that he was still not worthy of the championship, but he proved that he was with the quick finish over Keith Jardine.  Also in July, Mark Munoz will be returning to action to take on Chris Weidman in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 4, which is conveniently smushed right in between Silva and Rockhold’s title defenses.  The middleweight division suffered two key injuries during June as well with Victor Belfort and Brian Stann.  Belfort broke his hand and was unable to participate in his coaches’ fight against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147, and Brian Stann suffered a shoulder injury which has forced him out of his upcoming fight with Hector Lombard.  Lombard will take on on Tim Boetsch at UFC 149, rounding out the crazy middleweight action for July.

Writer’s take – Corey Adams, ranking Boetsch at No. 9: “Boetsch deserves a top-ten spot and has a chance to move up further when he faces Lombard at UFC 149.”
Welterweight
  1. Georges St-Pierre (1)

    Another come from behind victory for "The Hitman" is good enough to land him at No. 3 (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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

On the first day of June, Martin Kampmann came back from behind yet again, this time to defeat Jake Ellenberger.  Headed into the fight, Ellenberger was ranked No. 3 while “The Hitman” was ranked No. 8.  The second-round TKO victory for Kampmann gave the Dutch fighter his third straight victory and was good enough to make him the No. 3-ranked welterweight.  With the victory, it was known he would move up, but it was uncertain to exactly what extent.  Johny Hendricks was one fighter who may have moved into the third spot; however, the fact that Kampmann finished Ellenberger and “Big Rig” took a split decision from Josh Koscheck a little while back may have been the reason for him to stay at No. 4.

Writer’s take – Paige Berger, ranking Kampmann at No. 3: “With his come from behind wins, and impressive performance at the TUF finale, he’s moved up. The fact Kampmann has already beat Condit puts him ahead of Condit in my rankings.”
Lightweight
  1. Ben Henderson (1)

    Maynard (R) slipped a spot despite defeating Guida by split decision (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

  2. Gilbert Melendez (2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (3)
  4. Nate Diaz (5)
  5. Gray Maynard (4)
  6. Anthony Pettis (7)
  7. Michael Chandler (8)
  8. Clay Guida (6)
  9. Jim Miller (9)
  10. Eddie Alvarez (10)

While Michael Chiesa took home the title from the fifteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter at 155 pounds, the story of the month in regards to the lightweights came from Clay Guida taking on Gray Maynard.  It was scheduled to be a five-round main event fight between the two top-ranked fighters, and it was decided by a razor-sharp split decision victory for Maynard.  MMA fans are also split on how the fight went.  Some say that Guida was strategically working angles and bouncing in and out of the pocket while others say that “The Carpenter” was running from Maynard and not looking to engage.  At the end of the day, Maynard won the fight, but dropped a spot in the rankings.  It appears as though Nate Diaz finishing Jim Miller back in May was more impressive than “The Bully” taking a decision, which is why Diaz moved up a spot in the rankings.  Also, we learned in the last month that UFC champion Ben Henderson will indeed defend his title against Frankie Edgar in a rematch of their UFC 144 contest.  The rematch will take place in August at UFC 150 in Denver.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Guida at No. 5: “Guida lost, but not by much.  If he had been slightly more aggressive, he could have picked up the W and edged ahead of Maynard.”
Featherweight
  1. Jose Aldo (1)

    Hioki wanted more time before his chance at Aldo, and he got exactly what he asked for (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

  2. Chad Mendes (3)
  3. Pat Curran (4)
  4. Chan Sung Jung (5)
  5. Erik Koch (7)
  6. Dustin Poirier (8)
  7. Tatsuya Kawajiri (6)
  8. Ricardo Lamas (-)
  9. Hatsu Hioki (2)
  10. Daniel Straus (9)

A lot of people were confused by the fact that Hatsu Hioki turned down an offer to take on Jose Aldo for the UFC featherweight title.  As a result, he was put up against Ricardo Lamas on the undercard of the most recent UFC on FX card.  Lamas handled Hioki well enough to earn a unanimous decision victory, and jumped into the rankings ahead of him in the process.  The loss plummeted the Japanese fighter from No. 2 all the way to No. 9, and it will be quite some time until he gets a chance to challenge for the title again as he will have to re-climb the rankings.  With Aldo injured and his fight with Erik Koch temporarily on hold, Chad Mendes takes on Cody McKenzie this coming weekend at UFC 148.  The victory would solidify Mendes’ position at No. 2, but is it too soon to give him another crack at the Aldo after recently losing to him at UFC 142?  Assuming he wins, fans would probably want to see “The Korean Zombie” take on Mendes in a No. 1 contender match.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Hioki outside of the top 10 at No. 12: “Talk about a bad move.  Hioki wanted to improve his game before fighting Aldo, but now he’ll have to string together a few wins to get another opportunity.  He’ll also have to post better wins than those against Palaszewski and Roop to convince me of his spot in the top 10.”
Bantamweight
  1. Dominick Cruz (1)

    Wineland punched his way back into the top 10 with his knockout over Jorgensen (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

  2. Urijah Faber (2)
  3. Renan Barao (3)
  4. Michael McDonald (7)
  5. Brian Bowles (4)
  6. Bibiano Fernandes (6)
  7. Eduardo Dantas (8)
  8. Eddie Wineland (-)
  9. Brad Pickett (9)
  10. Scott Jorgensen (5)

Eddie Wineland stopped his two-fight losing streak as he took down Scott Jorgensen by knockout.  The loss marks two straight for “Young Guns,” and he is barely clinging onto the top ten as a result.  It wouldn’t be too shocking to see him drop out of the rankings temporarily if a bantamweight emerges from the top 20 in the upcoming months; however, Jorgensen is capable of turning things around to work himself back up the rankings.  In other news, it was thought that Bibiano Fernandes had signed with the UFC and would be debuting later in July at UFC 149. However, reports showed that to be incorrect and that Fernandes has inked a deal with ONE FC.   This begs the question, is the competition in Asia good enough to keep Fernandes relevant and high in the rankings, or will he slip due to inferior competition?

Writer’s take – Corey Adams, ranking Fernandes at No. 10: “No UFC experience, no love in my rankings.”
Flyweight
  1. Joseph Benavidez (1)

    "Mighty Mouse" is now set to take on Benavidez for the UFC flyweight championship (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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

The inaugural UFC flyweight championship title fight is set as Joseph Benavidez will take on Demetrious Johnson at a future event for the gold.  “Mighty Mouse” took what he felt was rightfully his in the first fight against Ian McCall with a unanimous decision over “Uncle Creepy” in their second meeting.  With the title fight set, some fans are curious as to who could take on the winner of the fight in the first title defense.  As it stands, the only non-flyweight tournament contestants that are in the top ten and the UFC are John Dodson and Louis Gaudinot.  Considering both McCall and Urushitani lost in their recent UFC fights, it would be a stretch to put them in a No. 1 contender fight, so it will be interesting to see what the UFC does as far as figuring out who could be next in line for the title.  Flying low under the radar in June, Jussier da Silva won again as he secured a rear-naked choke against Sidney Oliveira in Brazil, securing his No. 4 position.

Writer’s take – Rob Tatum, ranking Johnson at No. 2: “There’s a good reason why I had “Mighty Mouse” ranked above McCall before and after their first fight, and he showed it in their second meeting.”
Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    Silva is still the king of the hill, for now. (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. Ben Henderson (7)
  8. Dan Henderson (8)
  9. Gilbert Melendez (9)
  10. Joseph Benavidez (10)

June’s pound-for-pound rankings sit exactly the same as May’s. However, there is a chance that there may be a new king of the castle after July ends.  Longtime No. 1 Anderson Silva takes on Chael Sonnen this Saturday, which will result in one of two things.  First, if Silva wins, it will enshrine him as not only the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, but as one of the top fighters to ever live.  However, if “The Spider” falls to Sonnen, then there’s no doubt he will drop in the rankings and hand over the reigns to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones in the process.

Writer’s take – Paige Berger, ranking Jones at No. 2: “Silva replaces Jones at the top of my list, because I agree with Dana White, and being the pound-for-pound best extends further than the cage.”

Top Photo: Demetrious Johnson (L) and Ian McCall engage in a key flyweight battle at UFC on FX 3 (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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.