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.

See below for our top 10 fighters from each division.

The number in parentheses represents the fighter’s ranking from last month, but has no impact on the current month’s rankings.

  1. Junior dos Santos (1)

    Nogueira showed he was recovered from injury with a submission win of his own at UFC 153 (Sherdog)

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

It took a little bit of time to process, but Stefan Struve’s victory over Stipe Miocic in England has finally moved him into the top ten. Many felt that the “Skyscraper” deserved to be there, and now those people can sit easy. But now that opens the door for Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who won a fight at UFC 153 in impressive fashion but is not on the rankings. Equally as bizarre is Antonio Silva dropping out of the rankings. Earlier this month, he smelled blood in the water after he took down an injured Travis Browne, but somehow fell from No. 8 to outside the top ten. Another odd situation with the heavyweights has happened to Daniel Cormier. Over the last month, not only did “DC” lose his opponent in Frank Mir, but he lost the entire fight when the card fell apart. Depending on who you read, the next Strikeforce event is up in the air, but it appears as though Cormier may fight the final Strikeforce heavyweight fight in January. Also, while it has been known for quite some time, the UFC officially announced the heavyweight title clash between Junior dos Santos and Cain Velasquez for UFC 155. What wasn’t known was who would be next for the winner of the fight. UFC President Dana White announced recently that Alistair Overeem would get the next shot at the title once his suspension has expired.

Writer’s take – Paige Berger, ranking Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at No. 9: “I moved ‘Big Nog’ up one spot in my rankings, primarily due to Carwin’s inactivity lately, but also because he looked great in his submission victory over Dave Herman.”
Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)

    Davis got back on track with a dominant performance (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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

In September, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones defended his title against Vitor Belfort, who more or less cut the line of contenders due to fact that the fight was put together quickly. Now, Jones will defend his title next year against another fighter who will have cut the line, former middleweight No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen. It was Sonnen who called White after the main event at UFC 151 fell apart, saying that he wanted the fight. Well, now that the dust has settled in the division, White decided that the best thing to do would be to give the Team Quest fighter the title fight, claiming that he was the only guy out there who truly wanted the fight when nobody else did. Jones and Sonnen will coach opposite one another for The Ultimate Fighter 17 as a way to build up to the fight. With that fight set, Forrest Griffin was temporary left without an opponent for UFC 155, but that spot has since been filled by Phil Davis. “Mr. Wonderful” defeated Wagner Prado at UFC 153 with an anaconda choke, and looked great in the process. Another light heavyweight who made some noise on that card was Glover Teixeira. The Brazilian beat up Fabio Maldonado to the point where the doctor stopped the fight after the second round, and he burst into the top ten as a result. But with the emergence of Teixeira, we have the farewell of one of the most important light heavyweights to ever grace the Octagon, Stephan Bonnar. Bonnar was a part of the legendary TUF finale fight against Griffin, which streamlined the UFC into the mainstream.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Phil Davis at No. 6: “Davis’ wrestling and grappling will take him places if he commits to them. His win over Prado was a step in the right direction.”
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    Weidman is hoping to earn a title shot at UFC 155 (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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

Interestingly enough, the top two fighters in the middleweight rankings have gone to light heavyweight. Anderson Silva went to 205 pounds for a one-fight stint to save UFC 153. Chael Sonnen will be moving up there permanently, and already has his title fight. With Sonnen out of the way, it will be interesting to see who will be next in line for Silva. Outside of the main event at UFC on Fuel TV 6, there are really no major middleweight fights out there in November, which will allow “The Spider” to breathe easy for a while. A lot of people want to see Chris Weidman get the next shot, and the young buck will be paired up with Tim Boetsch at UFC 155. That fight will likely be a title eliminator, as the two are a combined 9-0 at middleweight in the UFC. It was mentioned before that Daniel Cormier lost a fight due to Strikeforce canceling an event, but so did middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. Lorenz Larkin was supposed to challenge for the title, however now what is next for both fighters is up in the air.

Writer’s take – Eric Reinert, ranking Chris Weidman at No. 3: “Weidman’s relative inexperience will likely prevent him from getting an immediate title shot, but his strong wrestling base could prove successful against Silva.”
  1. Georges St-Pierre (1)

    Fitch reminded everyone that he's still a threat at 170 pounds (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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

It has been quite some time, but UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will make his return to the Octagon this month. Opposite him in the cage will be UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit, who earned his title by edging out Nick Diaz last February. But that isn’t the only major welterweight bout to take place in November, as the fight preceding the title unification bout will be a title eliminator between Johny Hendricks and Martin Kampmann, two fighters who have been on major rolls as of late. While the top four fighters have been stable, the four fighters underneath have been shaken up a little bit here and there over the last couple of months. Jon Fitch has finally been able to get the sour taste out of his mouth by handling Erick Silva in impressive fashion. Nick Diaz had been dropping slowly, and has fallen three spots to No. 8. But there may be hope in the future for Diaz, as it sounds as though he will be taking on Josh Koscheck at UFC 156 on Super Bowl weekend.

Writer’s take – Rob Tatum, ranking Jon Fitch at No. 7: “Vintage Fitch. That’s the best way to describe his Fight of the Night performance against Erick Silva. Fitch showed why he was ranked in the top five so long.”
  1. Ben Henderson (1)

    Edgar is expected to make his featherweight debut in February (James Law/Heavy MMA)

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

The lightweights have been fairly quiet as of late. Of the two UFC events last month, there wasn’t anything major going on with the 155-pounders. Frankie Edgar will again be scheduled to take on Jose Aldo for the featherweight title, while Gilbert Melendez is still stuck in the purgatory that is Strikeforce. Bellator champion Michael Chandler has been stranded for a while too, as the promotion is holding all of its title fights until its move to the more viewer-friendly Spike TV. Speaking of Bellator, Eddie Alvarez was unable to crack his way back into the top ten after his first-round knockout of Patricky Freire. While it was very impressive, it may have had to do with the lack of a quality opponent in “Pitbull.” It appears as though a fight between Donald Cerrone and Anthony Pettis will not be happening, at least for the near future, as “Showtime” suffered a staph infection and is expected to be out for a little while as a result. Maybe “Cowboy” will wait for him to return, but chances are that Cerrone will try to get another fight in the meantime. Going back to talking about UFC 155, Gray Maynard will be on the card against fellow TUF 5 competitor Joe Lauzon. The match-up makes for an interesting battle between a wrestler and a submission grappler. The last guy that Maynard defeated, Clay Guida, has announced that he, like Edgar, will be dropping to featherweight.

Writer’s take – Dale De Souza, ranking Frankie Edgar at No. 3: “Frankie’s staying in my top three of lightweights until he officially debuts at 145.”
  1. Jose Aldo (1)

    Swanson is knocking on the door of a title shot with three straight wins (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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

Like the lightweights, the featherweights were also fairly quiet in October. Unless something drastic changes with the two UFC cards in November, the upcoming month will also be quiet. Jose Aldo has been on the shelf for quite some time, and again is lined up to take on former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar at a future event. The guy sitting right under Aldo, Chad Mendes, is also staying busy. It has been announced that he will fight at UFC on FX 6 in December, taking on Hacran Dias. While “Money” lost to Aldo, he clearly is trying to do whatever he can to get the next title shot after Edgar. If it were not for a string of injuries, Erik Koch would have fought Aldo; however, now he will be taking on Ricardo Lamas at UFC 155. Also, Dustin Poirier will take on Jonathan Brookins at the TUF 16 finale. This leaves Hatsu Hioki, Cub Swanson and Chan Sung Jung without an opponent, which makes it reasonable that we could see the two of the three face off sometime soon.

Writer’s take – Eric Reinert, ranking Frankie Edgar at No. 2: “Some people might think a Frank Edgar title shot is premature. I say he’s one of the best fighters in the world and would almost certainly run through the majority of the fighters listed below him. Whenever the Aldo/Edgar fight happens, I’ll be watching.”
  1. Dominick Cruz (1)

    Pickett (R) is one of many fighters awaiting the return of Dominick Cruz (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

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

It has been said that the lightweights and featherweights were quiet last month. Well, the bantamweights were nowhere to be found. In the UFC, there were zero fights at the weight class, and there was only one in Bellator. Looking into November, each of the two UFC cards has one bantamweight fight, while only Bellator 80 has a bantamweight fight scheduled as of right now. As a result, there really isn’t a whole lot going on here. Dominick Cruz is still on the shelf and will be for the near future, which leaves Renan Barao to wait. Brad Pickett has been scheduled to take on Eddie Wineland at UFC 155, while Scott Jorgensen will take on John Albert. Michael McDonald, Urijah Faber and Brian Bowles have been left without opponents, and hopefully they get one soon.

Writer’s take – Eric Reinert, ranking Dominick Cruz at No. 1: “How long are we supposed to wait for Dominick Cruz to return to action? It’s now been more than a year since Cruz last fought. After how much time does the UFC strip a titleholder for inactivity?”
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)

    Dodson locked up a title shot by finishing off Jussier Da Silva (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  2. Ian McCall (2)
  3. Joseph Benavidez (3)
  4. John Dodson (6)
  5. Jussier da Silva (4)
  6. Darrell Montague (7)
  7. Yasuhiro Urushitani (8)
  8. Mamoru Yamaguchi (5)
  9. Louis Gadinot (10)
  10. Chris Cariaso (9)

They say that there is no rest for the weary, and newly crowned UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson already has a new contender for his championship belt. John Dodson, fresh off of his knockout victory against Jussier da Silva earlier this month will take on “Mighty Mouse” in the first-ever defense of the title. The TUF 14 winner is perfect while fighting in the Octagon and presents an interesting matchup against Johnson as both fighters are unbelievably quick. Even though there is a new No. 1 contender, the rest of the division needs to take shape. Yasuhiro Urushitani will take on John Lineker at UFC on Fuel TV 6. Fighters like Ian McCall, Louis Gaudinot and Chris Cariaso are eager for the next title opportunity and currently do not have an opponent. Each fighter could make a case for being at the top of the list, and hopefully they will get the chance to back it up with a fight.

Writer’s take – Brian McKenna, ranking John Dodson at No. 3: “With the huge knockout against da Silva, ‘The Magician’ has earned his title shot. It will be interesting to see how the line forms from there.”
  1. Anderson Silva (1)

    St.-Pierre makes his long awaited return next month (Rob Tatum/The MMA Corner)

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

A lot of people out there criticize pound-for-pound rankings because it is difficult to imagine a flyweight taking on a heavyweight. Anderson Silva has been crowned the king of the pound-for-pound world for quite some time, and after his third successful trip up to light heavyweight, the middleweight may as well be crowned the king of its universe. Many people felt that Stephan Bonnar had no right to be the cage with Silva, and the way that Silva put his back up against the cage and egged Bonnar on to try to do damage from there was extremely impressive. Over time, Georges St-Pierre was hanging out at No. 2 on the list, but a combination of him being out for a long time and Jon Jones doing great has led them switch positions. Now, “Rush” will have the chance to get back to where he was when he takes on Carlos Condit later this month. We will see if St-Pierre will be back to his old self, or if he will suffer a case of ring rust and maybe show the effects of his knee surgery.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Anderson Silva at No. 1: “The only challenge left for Silva might be Jon Jones. Against anyone else, he looks like a Marvel Comics superhero taking on a mere mortal.”

Top Photo: Silva (top) demolished Bonnar at UFC 153 (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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.

  • Denny

    Seriously? Hunt in the top 10 over Silva, Browne, Russow, and Nog is laughable.

    • Rob Tatum, News Manager/Assistant Editor

      I’ll bite on this one…

      Hunt is coming off three straight wins and has arguably the best striking at heavyweight (top three at worst). The thing that hurts his case is that he’s been dealing with a knee injury.

      Russow just got knocked out by a grappler (Werdum). Browne got beaten by Silva. Even Silva is just 1-2 in his last three, with two, first-round stoppage losses.

      All of that adds up to very muddy bottom of the top 10 and Hunt is just as deserving as any of the others who are coming off losses.

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