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

No fighters in the top 10 were in action in July, and, for the most part, it was a quiet month for the heavyweight division. RFA and Legacy veteran Derrick Lewis picked up his second straight first-round stoppage in the Octagon, battering Guto Inocente at The Ultimate Fighter 19 Finale.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Alexander Gustafsson (2)
  3. Daniel Cormier (3)
  4. Anthony Johnson (6)
  5. Rashad Evans (4)
  6. Glover Teixeira (5)
  7. Phil Davis (7)
  8. Vitor Belfort (9)
  9. Ryan Bader (10)
  10. Ovince Saint Preux (-)

Dropped out of the rankings: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (8)

It was a very busy month for the 205-pound division. No. 4-ranked Anthony “Rumble” Johnson continued his resurgence in the Octagon with a violent first-round destruction of Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, who dropped out of the rankings as a result of the loss. Vaunted wrestler Patrick Cummins earned his second straight UFC win by battering Kyle Kingsbury into retirement. Corey Anderson overwhelmed Matt Van Buren to claim the TUF 19 crown. Grappling ace Robert Drysdale made his long-delayed UFC debut and submitted fellow newcomer Keith Berish in the first round, only to fail his post-fight drug test for elevated levels of testosterone. Finally, outside the Octagon, England’s Liam McGeary earned his fifth straight first-round finish inside the Bellator cage and moved on to the Summer Series tournament final.

Middleweight
  1. Chris Weidman (1)
  2. Vitor Belfort (2)
  3. Anderson Silva (3)
  4. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (4)
  5. Lyoto Machida (5)
  6. Luke Rockhold (6)
  7. Tim Kennedy (7)
  8. Gegard Mousasi (8)
  9. Michael Bisping (9)
  10. Yushin Okami (10)

If fans still had their doubts about UFC middleweight kingpin Chris Weidman, the undefeated American quickly put them to bed with a unanimous decision win over No. 5-ranked Lyoto Machida. The champion cemented himself as the best 185-pound fighter on the planet with his UFC 175 win. Eddie Gordon steamrolled through Dhiego Lima to claim the TUF 19 title. While Gordon’s win was impressive, the man he beat in the show’s semifinals, Cathal Pendred, may have stolen the show in July. Pendred was battered badly by Team B.J. Penn teammate Mike King in the first round, but he came back to submit King in the second frame and electrify the Irish crowd at UFC Fight Night 46. In the Bellator cage, Brandon Halsey claimed the season-10 middleweight tournament crown with a first-round armbar of Brett Cooper.

Welterweight
  1. Johny Hendricks (1)
  2. Robbie Lawler (2)
  3. Ben Askren (3)
  4. Rory MacDonald (4)
  5. Matt Brown (7)
  6. Hector Lombard (6)
  7. Georges St-Pierre (5)
  8. Tyron Woodley (8)
  9. Carlos Condit (9)
  10. Dong Hyun Kim (10)

There’s a familiar face standing near the top of the welterweight division. No. 2-ranked Robbie Lawler has again earned the right to face UFC champion Johny Hendricks. Lawler outlasted a very game Matt Brown at UFC on Fox 12 to lock up the No. 1 contender’s spot. Also impressing in July was Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson, who survived a slow start to choke out the always-tough Zak Cummings. In grinding out longtime veteran Dennis Hallman, World Series of Fighting’s Jon Fitch picked up another win, albeit at middleweight, while he awaits his title shot against champion Rousimar Palhares. Russian Andrey Koreshkov claimed his second Bellator tournament title, outclassing Adam McDonough. Former UFC champion Georges St-Pierre continues to fall in the rankings while he remains out of action.

Lightweight
  1. Anthony Pettis (1)
  2. Benson Henderson (2)
  3. Gilbert Melendez (3)
  4. Khabib Nurmagomedov (7)
  5. Eddie Alvarez (5)
  6. T.J. Grant (6)
  7. Donald Cerrone (9)
  8. Will Brooks (10 – tie)
  9. Rafael dos Anjos (10 – tie)
  10. Bobby Green (-)

Dropping out of the rankings: Josh Thomson (4), Jim Miller (8)

The 155-pound division was undoubtedly the busiest weight class in July. Bobby Green scored one of the month’s biggest wins, edging out former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson via split decision. The win vaulted Green into the top 10, and knocked Thomson out of the rankings. Another Strikeforce veteran, Jorge Masvidal, continued his march toward the top of the division by topping Daron Cruickshank. TUF Smashes winner Norman Parke dominated Japan’s Naoyuki Kotani to extend his unbeaten streak to 11 fights. Donald Cerrone continued his assault on the division’s top 10, knocking out the durable Jim Miller at UFC Fight Night 45. Cerrone moved up two spots to No. 7 with the dominant performance, and Miller again finds himself on the outside looking in at the top 10. Brazilian Edson Barboza bounced back from a loss to Cerrone with a first-round finish of Evan Dunham. Veteran Gleison Tibau and Pat Healy locked horns, with Tibau handing Healy his fourth straight defeat. WSOF lightweight kingpin Justin Gaethje remained undefeated, stopping previously unbeaten Nick Newell via TKO. Finally, TUF alum and longtime UFC staple Melvin Guillard made his WSOF debut and stopped Brazilian Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante via strikes.

Featherweight
  1. Jose Aldo (1)
  2. Chad Mendes (2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (4)
  4. Cub Swanson (3)
  5. Ricardo Lamas (5)
  6. Pat Curran (6)
  7. Dustin Poirier (7)
  8. Dennis Bermudez (-)
  9. Chan Sung Jung (8)
  10. Daniel Straus (10 – tie)

Dropping out of the rankings: Clay Guida (9), Tatsuya Kawajiri (10 – tie)

Although UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is on the shelf until later in the year, his list of challengers continues to grow. Dennis Bermudez earned his seventh straight win by submitting Clay Guida. The win skyrocketed Bermudez to the No. 8 spot in the rankings and knocked Guida out of the top 10. Frankie Edgar bested former two-division champion B.J. Penn for a third time and reclaimed the No. 3 ranking from Cub Swanson. Ireland’s Conor McGregor returned from a long injury layoff to batter Brazil’s Diego Brandao. Former RFA titleholder Brian Ortega made a strong UFC debut, submitting Mike De La Torre in less than two minutes. Elsewhere, hard-nosed Filipino Eric Kelly survived the early onslaught of Australia’s Rob Lisita to earn a shot at ONE FC gold later this year.

Bantamweight
  1. T.J. Dillashaw (1)
  2. Renan Barão (2)
  3. Urijah Faber (3)
  4. Bibiano Fernandes (4)
  5. Michael McDonald (5)
  6. Raphael Assuncao (6)
  7. Takeya Mizugaki (7)
  8. Eduardo Dantas (8)
  9. Marlon Moraes (9)
  10. Iuri Alcantara (10)

Bantamweight was one of the month’s quietest divisions. Former title challenger and No. 3-ranked Urijah Faber got back in the win column by submitting Alex Caceres at UFC 175 early in the month. Promotional newcomer Rob Font made a strong impression, knocking out veteran George Roop with a massive right hand. Submission specialist Leandro Issa earned a third-round finish of Jumabieke Tuerxun. Last, but not least, Hawaii’s Russell Doane eked out a decision win over Marcus Brimage.

Flyweight
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. John Dodson (2)
  3. Joseph Benavidez (3)
  4. Ian McCall (4)
  5. Zach Makovsky (5)
  6. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (6)
  7. Ali Bagautinov (7)
  8. John Lineker (-)
  9. Brad Pickett (8)
  10. John Moraga (10)

Dropping out of the rankings: Darrell Montague (9)

July was nearly as busy as June for the flyweights. No. 4-ranked Ian McCall made the trip overseas and handed England’s Brad Pickett a decisive loss. Ireland’s Neil Seery outworked Phil Harris. TUF washout Patrick Holohan wowed his hometown crowd, submitting Josh Sampo. Also in the top 10, Brazil’s John Lineker scored a third-round finish of Alptekin Ozkilic to move into the No. 8 slot. Finally, Dustin Ortiz earned another hard-fought decision win, edging out Justin Scoggins.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Jose Aldo (2)
  3. Demetrious Johnson (3)
  4. Ronda Rousey (6)
  5. Cain Velasquez (4)
  6. Chris Weidman (5)
  7. Anthony Pettis (7)
  8. Daniel Cormier (8)
  9. Johny Hendricks (9)
  10. Anderson Silva (10)

Last month it was Demetrious Johnson who made his case for moving up the pound-for-pound rankings, but in July, it was women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. She earned her second straight TKO win, needing just 16 seconds to dispatch of Alexis Davis at UFC 175. The dominant victory earned her the No. 4 spot in the rankings. But it wasn’t just Rousey making waves, as middleweight champion Chris Weidman proved his wins over Anderson Silva were no fluke by dominating Lyoto Machida to retain his title.

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The MMA Corner Staff

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