The MMA landscape is always in flux with promotions putting on fight cards more frequently than ever. Whether it’s the UFC, Bellator MMA or international promotions like ONE FC, 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 writing staff will rank each weight class from heavyweight to flyweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings. The staff’s individual rankings will then be compiled to determine each month’s overall rankings for the entire site. See below for this month’s edition of The MMA Corner’s Fighter Rankings.

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

Heavyweight
  1. Cain Velasquez (1)
    "Meathead" landed a big knockout with just one second left against Shawn Jordan (James Goyder/Sherdog)

    “Meathead” landed a big knockout with just one second left against Shawn Jordan (James Goyder/Sherdog)

  2. Junior dos Santos (2)
  3. Fabricio Werdum (3)
  4. Travis Browne (4)
  5. Josh Barnett (5)
  6. Mark Hunt (6)
  7. Stipe Miocic (7)
  8. Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (8)
  9. Alistair Overeem (10)
  10. Daniel Cormier (9)

Most of the heavyweight action that took place in the month of March happened inside Bellator’s cage in the opening round of the season-10 tournament. Blagoi Ivanov, “Mighty” Mo Siliga, Lavar Johnson and former champion Alexander Volkov were the four men who advanced to the next round of the tournament. The tournament will resume on April 11, when Ivanov meets Johnson and Volkov fights Siliga. In the Octagon, Matt Mitrione landed a first-round knockout against Shawn Jordan at the TUF China Finale. The key match-up in April will take place on April 19, when Travis Browne takes on Fabricio Werdum to determine the No. 1 contender for Cain Velasquez’s championship title.

Writer’s take – Josh Davis, ranking Fabricio Werdum at No.3: “I believe that Werdum’s body of work gives him the No. 3 spot, but he is going to have to earn it when he fights Travis Browne.”
Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)
    Emanuel Newton is your new Bellator light heavyweight champion (Bellator)

    Emanuel Newton is your new Bellator light heavyweight champion (Bellator)

  2. Alexander Gustafsson (2)
  3. Glover Teixeira (3)
  4. Phil Davis (4)
  5. Rashad Evans (5)
  6. Daniel Cormier (6)
  7. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (7)
  8. Chael Sonnen (9)
  9. Dan Henderson (-)
  10. Ryan Bader (10)

Dropped out of the rankings: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (8)

Dan Henderson was going through a rough stretch in his career after losing three straight fights for the first time in his career. People were saying that the writing was on the wall in regards to what the 43-year-old had left in him. All of that negative speculation went out the window after “Hendo” demonstrated that he still has a lot left in his right hand, which he used to deliver a devastating knockout to Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. In knocking out the Brazilian, Henderson reclaimed a spot in the top 10 and knocked Shogun out of the rankings. Shogun has now lost three of his last four bouts. At Bellator 113, the 205-pound title was unified by Emanuel Newton, who took the split decision victory over Attila Vegh. Newton will await the winner of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal, who vie for the right to challenge for Newton’s belt. In late April, there will be two key light heavyweight match-ups at UFC 172. The co-main event of the night features Phil Davis taking on Anthony Johnson in what will be “Rumble’s” return to the Octagon. The main event that night will be Jon Jones putting his title on the line against Glover Teixeira.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Dan Henderson at No.10: “Henderson finds his way back into the top 10 by snatching a victory when it looked he was well on his way to losing to Shogun Rua.”
Middleweight
  1. Chris Weidman (1)
    The Russian fighter successfully defended his title for the third time and currently awaits a new No. 1 contender (Bellator)

    The Russian fighter successfully defended his title for the third time and currently awaits a new No. 1 contender (Bellator)

  2. Vitor Belfort (2)
  3. Anderson Silva (3)
  4. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (4)
  5. Lyoto Machida (5)
  6. Michael Bisping (6)
  7. Luke Rockhold (7)
  8. Tim Kennedy (8)
  9. Yushin Okami (9)
  10. Alexander Shlemenko (10)

Alexander Shlemenko successfully defended his Bellator championship for the third time when he choked out Brennan Ward in March. The victory marked the 50th of his career, which is amazing considering that the Russian is only 29 years old. The champion is truly making a name for himself, and if he can continue down the path he is on, he may start to make a real impact in the rankings. UFC champion Chris Weidman has been forced to withdraw from his upcoming match at UFC 173 against Lyoto Machida due to injury. The bout has been rescheduled to the promotion’s annual Fourth of July card at UFC 175. The TUF Nations Finale is sure to bring fireworks with the grudge match between Tim Kennedy and Michael Bisping. The two men have been going at it on social media for quite some time now, and they will finally have a chance to go at it inside the cage.

Writer’s take – Rob Tatum, ranking Yushin Okami at No.8: “No matter what organization he’s fighting in, Okami is still a top-10 fighter at middleweight.”
Welterweight
  1. Johny Hendricks (1)
    The new UFC welterweight champion, Johny Hendricks (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

    The new UFC welterweight champion, Johny Hendricks (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

  2. Robbie Lawler (3)
  3. Rory MacDonald (6)
  4. Ben Askren (5)
  5. Georges St-Pierre (4)
  6. Jake Ellenberger (7)
  7. Carlos Condit (2)
  8. Tyron Woodley (-)
  9. Hector Lombard (-)
  10. Matt Brown (9)

Dropped out of the rankings: Jake Shields (8), Demain Maia (10)

For the first time since April 2008, the undisputed UFC welterweight championship is wrapped around the waist of someone other than Georges St-Pierre. With his victory over Robbie Lawler at UFC 171, Johny Hendricks became the champion, a title that many felt he had already earned several months earlier. Both fighters showed a great display of heart during the fight, which resonates in the rankings, where the loser of the fight actually moved up to the No. 2 position. Although that change was partly due to the fact that Lawler put on a great performance, it also helped that Tyron Woodley emerged victorious over Carlos Condit on the same night. It was an unfortunate defeat for Condit, who fell in the second round due to a knee injury. However, Woodley had completely controlled the fight to that point, which helped support his victory. The big question now for the UFC is who will be the next No. 1 contender for the title. Steve Carl relinquished the WSOF title to Rousimar Palhares, as the leglock specialist secured another heel hook to capture the belt. The vacant Bellator 170-pound championship will be awarded in April, when Douglas Lima and Rick Hawn battle for the title that was left behind by Ben Askren.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Tyron Woodley outside the top 10 at No.11: “Why didn’t Woodley get the 10 spot over Lombard? Because his win was the result of an injury and Lombard’s was not.”
Lightweight
  1. Anthony Pettis (1)
    "Showtime" will take on Gilbert Melendez at the promotions annual end of the year card (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

    “Showtime” will take on Gilbert Melendez at the promotions annual end of the year card (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  2. Benson Henderson (2)
  3. Gilbert Melendez (3)
  4. T.J. Grant (4)
  5. Josh Thomson (5)
  6. Eddie Alvarez (6)
  7. Michael Chandler (7)
  8. Khabib Nurmagomedov (8)
  9. Nate Diaz (9)
  10. Rafael dos Anjos (10)

Every so often, a particular weight class has a quiet month which results in no movement in the rankings. It is rare, however, that we have two straight months of the same standings, but that is the current situation for the lightweights. There are only two ranked fighters who are scheduled to fight in April—Rafael dos Anjos is scheduled to take on Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on Fox 11—so the activity will continue to remain at a minimum for at least one more month. We also have learned that the UFC championship will be defended at the promotion’s year-end card after the taping of the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter. Anthony Pettis will put the strap on the line against opposing coach Gilbert Melendez.

Writer’s take – Brian McKenna, ranking Myles Jury outside the top 10 at No.11: “His 5-0 mark inside the Octagon gives him a lot of credibility. Bring on a top-10 opponent for Jury.”
Featherweight
  1. Jose Aldo (1)
    "Paddy Mike" took the belt back from Daniel Straus and hopes to keep it for quite some time (Bellator)

    “Paddy Mike” took the belt back from Daniel Straus and hopes to keep it for quite some time (Bellator)

  2. Chad Mendes (2)
  3. Cub Swanson (4)
  4. Frankie Edgar (3)
  5. Ricardo Lamas (5)
  6. Tatsuya Kawajiri (6)
  7. Pat Curran (9)
  8. Dustin Poirier (8)
  9. Chan Sung Jung (10)
  10. Daniel Straus (7)

The main event at Bellator 112 saw Pat Curran take back his featherweight championship with a submission of Daniel Straus in the final minute of the fifth round. It was a tough fight to score—according to the scorecards, the fight was all tied up as they headed into the final round. The victory pushed “Paddy Mike” back up the rankings, but not nearly as high as he once stood before his prior loss to Straus. It will take more than just a victory over Straus to put Curran back in the top five. Tatsuya Kawajiri will return to the cage in April to take on Clay Guida at UFC Fight Night 39, and Dustin Poirier returns against Akira Corassani at the TUF Nations Finale.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Pat Curran at No.7: “Curran won back the Bellator title and climbs three spots.”
Bantamweight
  1. Renan Barão (1)
    Eduardo Dantas retained the Bellator bantamweight title at Bellator 111 (Bellator)

    Eduardo Dantas retained the Bellator bantamweight title at Bellator 111 (Bellator)

  2. Urijah Faber (2)
  3. Bibiano Fernandes (3)
  4. Michael McDonald (4)
  5. Raphael Assuncao (5)
  6. T.J. Dillashaw (7)
  7. Eddie Wineland (6)
  8. Eduardo Dantas (10)
  9. Dominick Cruz (8)
  10. Marlon Moraes (-)

Dropped out of the rankings: Brad Pickett (9)

Bellator champion Eduardo Dantas defended his title at Bellator 111, marking his second consecutive defense. The victory helped him leap from the No. 10 ranking to the No. 8 spot, which is a big step in the direction that the Brazilian wants to be headed. It can be tough for fighters outside the UFC to move up the rankings due to the sometimes soft competition that exists outside the Octagon, but Dantas is trending in the right direction. So is newly crowned WSOF champion Marlon Moraes. Moraes has won five straight fights in the WSOF cage and now holds the inaugural title for the promotion. Holding on to the No. 10 spot can be a difficult challenge. It is very easy to get bumped out, but with the way that the Brazilian has performed recently, it should keep him securely in the rankings.

Writer’s take – Rob Tatum, ranking Marlon Moraes at No.9: “Another dominant performance. Moraes cruised en route to claiming the WSOF title.”
Flyweight
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
    "Formiga's" (l) victory against Scott Jorgensen very well could spell the end for "Young Guns" in the UFC (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

    “Formiga’s” (l) victory against Scott Jorgensen very well could spell the end for “Young Guns” in the UFC (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

  2. John Dodson (3)
  3. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  4. Ian McCall (4)
  5. Zach Makovsky (6)
  6. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (8)
  7. Darrell Montague (5)
  8. Ali Bagautinov (7)
  9. John Moraga (9)
  10. John Lineker (10)

Brad Pickett was victorious over Neil Seery in his flyweight debut last month. The British fighter was up and down as of late as a bantamweight, but he looked strong as a flyweight, which is where we can expect to see “One Punch” stay. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva moved up in the rankings after he choked out Scott Jorgensen at UFC Fight Night 38. The loss may have been the one that ultimately gets “Young Guns” the pink slip, as he has now lost five out of his last six. At one point, Jorgensen was considered a top bantamweight and challenged for the WEC title that Dominick Cruz had owned, but he has struggled in his time inside the Octagon. The key flyweight match-up of April will be a bout between Joseph Benavidez and Tim Elliott at UFC 172. It will be the first time Benavidez has fought since getting knocked out by Demetrious Johnson in December.

Writer’s take – Bryan Henderson, ranking Jussier da Silva at No.6: “So, he can win in the UFC.”
Pound-For-Pound
  1. Jon Jones (1)
    Jon Jones will put his No. 1 pound-for-pound status on the line as well as his UFC championship at UFC 172 (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

    Jon Jones will put his No. 1 pound-for-pound status on the line as well as his UFC championship at UFC 172 (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

  2. Jose Aldo (2)
  3. Demetrious Johnson (3)
  4. Renan Barão (4)
  5. Cain Velasquez (5)
  6. Chris Weidman (6)
  7. Ronda Rousey (9)
  8. Georges St-Pierre (8)
  9. Anderson Silva (7)
  10. Anthony Pettis (10)

The No. 1-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, Jon Jones, will be fighting this month. He defends his light heavyweight title against Glover Teixeira at UFC 172. Jones has held the top spot ever since Anderson Silva lost his title to Chris Weidman last year, but the champion looked the most vulnerable in his career in his last outing while taking on Alexander Gustafsson. Teixeira holds similar attributes to the Swede, but the striking credentials that the Brazilian possesses are stronger. It will be interesting to see the game plan that “Bones” has for Teixeira. He will likely not take any interest in trading blows with the challenger.

Writer’s take – Richard Wilcoxon, ranking Ronda Rousey at No.6: “Ronda makes a big jump when you consider Cain, Pettis, GSP and Silva are all injured.”

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.