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)

    Frank Mir will be the first UFC fighter to cross over to Strikeforce (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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

As far as the heavyweight division was concerned, the biggest things happening in the month of July came outside of the cage.  While none of the fighters were in action, the often speculated opponent for the final Strikeforce fight for Daniel Cormier was officially announced.  Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir will cross over from the Octagon and fight against the Grand Prix tournament winner.  Without a doubt, this is the biggest fight in the history of Cormier’s career, and under the circumstances, it could be argued that it is the biggest in Mir’s career too.  If the American Kickboxing Academy product can knock off the UFC veteran, he would definitely find himself looking directly at a UFC heavyweight championship fight.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Carwin outside the top 10 at No. 11: “Carwin has now not fought in a year.  I dropped him because of his inactivity.”

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)

    "Shogun" Rua will look to earn another title shot with a win this Saturday (Sherdog)

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

As was the case with the heavyweights, the light heavyweights were fairly inactive last month.  The biggest victory from a light heavyweight came from former champion Forrest Griffin after he took a unanimous decision victory from Tito Ortiz; however, it wasn’t a big enough victory to crack the top-ten spot that was left open by Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante.  Instead, Ryan Bader jumped up a spot and Gegard Mousasi entered back into the picture.  Those looking for a shakeup in the division won’t have to wait very long, as there will be light heavyweight match-ups in this Saturday’s main and co-main event.  Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will take on Brandon Vera for the next title shot, and Lyoto Machida will fight Ryan Bader.

Writer’s take – Brian McKenna, ranking Forrest Griffin outside the top 10 at No. 11: “Griffin’s victory over Tito Ortiz puts him on the fringe of the top 10.  The former champ is 3-1 in his last four.”
Middleweight
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    Chris Weidman is taking the middleweight division by storm (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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

As advertised, the middleweight division had a lot happening last month, and it is easy to see the results of the action.  First, even though Chael Sonnen was defeated by Anderson Silva at their UFC 146 match, Sonnen remains as the second-best middleweight.  While this partially comes as a result of Mark Munoz losing and Vitor Belfort being fairly inactive, you cannot question how solid Sonnen looked in the first round against the champion.  The other big thing that came from July was the emergence of Chris Weidman.  Everyone knew that the Long Island native was a solid fighter before he took on Mark Munoz, but the absolute dominance that came as a result of the fight blew everyone away as he jumped up five spots and has put himself right in the title picture.  Also, fight fans may notice that former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard is nowhere to be found on this list, and that is a direct result of his anti-climatic performance against Tim Boetsch at UFC 149.  “The Barbarian” continued his winning ways at 185 pounds by improving his divisional record to a perfect 4-0.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Anderson Silva No. 1: “He didn’t exactly do something never before seen in the cage, but he did continue his dominance at 185.”
Welterweight
  1. Georges St-Pierre (1)

    Despite winning the Strikeforce welterweight title, Nate Marquardt was left out of the top 10. (Phil Lambert/The MMA Corner)

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

As were a lot of the divisions in July, the welterweight division was dormant, at least as far as the top ten was concerned.  There were fighters outside the top ten who made headlines for their own reasons.  Demian Maia made his welterweight debut in grand fashion as he slammed Dong Hyun Kim for a quick TKO victory.  Nate Marquardt made a big splash by knocking out Tyron Woodley and taking home the Strikeforce title in both his promotional and divisional debut.  Karl Amoussou won the Bellator season-six 170-pound tournament with his heel hook against Bryan Baker and will challenge Ben Askren for his title in a future event, while Paul Daley got back on track and earned the TKO against Rudy Bears in his Bellator debut.  Even though none of these fighters are ranked in the top ten, they are surely right on the outside looking in, waiting for their chance to crack the list.

Writer’s take – Corey Adams, ranking Demian Maia No. 10: “He looked great against Kim. The cut didn’t seem to bother him, and he’s a GIANT welterweight. I’m excited to see how he does in the division.”
Lightweight
  1. Ben Henderson (1)

    Frankie Edgar (l) will rematch Ben Henderson (r) at UFC 151 (Sherdog)

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

Despite the lack of top-ten fighters stepping into the cage last month, there were a few shakeups in the rankings.  Regardless of this, the biggest thing going on with the lightweight division in August is the rematch for the UFC lightweight title between Ben Henderson and Frankie Edgar.  The two originally fought at UFC 144 in Tokyo as Henderson took the title from “The Answer” by unanimous decision, and the immediate rematch was awarded by the promotion.  Many lightweights will be watching that fight with vested interest, but none more closely than Nate Diaz, the fighter told by UFC President Dana White that he would be next in line for the strap.  Speaking of match-ups, it was recently announced that Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez will be defending his title against Pat Healy later this year, and that Eddie Alvarez will take on Patricky Freire in his final Bellator fight.

Writer’s take – Sal DeRose, ranking Gilbert Melendez No. 2: “Regardless of the outcome, Melendez is still the No. 2-ranked lightweight. The guy simply can’t be beaten and his opponents can simply only get close to winning.”
Featherweight
  1. Jose Aldo (1)

    "Money" is looking to get another crack at Jose Aldo (Sherdog)

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

Even though Chad Mendes has already had his shot at Jose Aldo, he solidified his spot right behind the champion with his quick victory over Cody McKenzie at UFC 148.  Sure, McKenzie isn’t exactly at the top of the division, but the way that Mendes dominated the fight and landed a devastating body shot showed the world that he means business.  Last month, “Scarface” was supposed to defend his title against Erik Koch at UFC 149, however an injury postponed the fight and it was recently learned that the fight would take place at UFC 153 in Rio de Janeiro.  Also, Bellator featherweight champion Pat Curran takes on Patricio Freire at Bellator 73 later this month.

Writer’s take – Rob Tatum, ranking Chad Mendes No. 3: “While beating Cody McKenzie means absolutely nothing, getting an actual finish proves that Mendes is hungry for another crack at the belt.”
Bantamweight
  1. Dominick Cruz (1)

    The UFC interim bantamweight champion, Renan Barao (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

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

Renan Barao defeated Urijah Faber in the main event at UFC 149 and captured two things with the victory.  First, he captured the UFC interim bantamweight title.  Second, he captured the opportunity to potentially unify the title by taking on Dominick Cruz at a future event, depending on how long it takes Cruz to recover from his ACL injury.  With the loss, Faber only dropped one spot, which most likely came as a result of the grit that he showed while he fought most of the fight with a broken rib.  Many wondered why “The California Kid” looked tentative late in the fight, and the injury revealed the answer to fight fans.  Cracking his way into the top ten for the first time was Mike Easton.  Fresh off his decision victory against Ivan Menjivar at UFC 148, Easton has found himself at 3-0 in the promotion, progressing his way up the ladder the way a young fighter should.

Writer’s take – Paige Berger, ranking Renan Barao at No. 2: “Barao moves up in my rankings after a dominant, Jose Aldo-like, performance against Faber.”
Flyweight
  1. Joseph Benavidez (1)

    Jussier da Silva (middle) will make his UFC debut in October (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

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

The date and event for the inaugural UFC flyweight championship title fight between Joseph Benavidez and Demetrious Johnson has been announced.  The two will fight for the strap on Sept. 22 in Toronto at UFC 152.  The winner of the fight will go down in history as the first fighter to ever wear the belt, which is something that both fighters want.  Also, last month it was announced that Jussier da Silva was signed by the promotion and is expected to take on John Dodson at UFC on FX 5.  Ulysses Gomez was also signed by the UFC, and will replace Ian McCall at UFC on Fox 4 this weekend as he takes on John Moraga at the event.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Chris Cariaso at No. 8: “With the flyweight division still wide open, Cariaso’s one win at 125 after hanging out just outside of the bantamweight top 10 is enough to allow him to get in here.”
Pound-For-Pound
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    The king of the MMA world, Anderson Silva (Sherdog)

  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. Nick Diaz (-)

For those who were hesitant to say it before, it may now be time for everyone to admit that Anderson Silva is the best fighter of all time.  A lot of people said that the way he was dominated by Chael Sonnen the first time the two fighters went to battle took a lot of credibility from the champ, but the way that he finished the job the second time around put the stamp on the envelope.  Other than that fight, there wasn’t a whole lot going on in the pound-for-pound rankings.  Later this month, Ben Henderson will defend his title against Frankie Edgar, and if “Smooth” defeats Edgar again, he has an argument for climbing higher up.  If Edgar takes his title back, he will likely find himself back on the list, especially considering he is a glorified featherweight fighting at lightweight.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Georges St-Pierre at No. 6: “‘GSP’ is sliding in my P4P rankings due to inactivity.”

Top Photo: Anderson Silva (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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.