With a busy month of January in MMA action now behind us after an incredible UFC 94 event, the time is ripe to update my pound-for-pound rankings in MMA and let me tell you, there are plenty of changes. Let’s get to it.
10. Miguel Torres — The WEC’s 145 lb champion is a dynamo. He’s cruised through every challenger put in his path and now could face some great competition in Kid Yamamoto, Shinya Aoki or someone else.
9. Rashad Evans — Evans became the UFC’s new LHW Champion after he took out Forrest Griffin with a 3rd round TKO win back in December. “Sugar” has improved with every fight and his hand speed, power and wrestling ability make him a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. Next up for Evans is a showdown with “Rampage” (provided “Rampage” gets past Evans’ training partner, Jardine) in the summer.
8. Thiago Alves — “The Pitbull” makes his debut in the top 10 rankings after a great year filled with wins over Parisyan, Hughes and Koscheck all in impressive fashion. Next up for Alves is a shot at Welterweight Champion Georges St.-Pierre perhaps at UFC 97 in Montreal.
7. Frank Mir — Mir absolutely dominated Big Nog at UFC 92 in late December, becoming the first to finish the former interim UFC Heavyweight champ. Mir now gets the chance to become the UFC undisputed HW Champion when he faces Brock Lesnar a second time in May at UFC 98.
6. BJ Penn — Penn moved up to 170 to challenge St.-Pierre but in the end he didn’t challenge very much. Despite being dominated by GSP, “The Prodigy” is still the best lightweight fighter in the world and should continue to dominate the 155 lb division.
5. Lyoto Machida — “The Dragon” makes the largest move in the rankings after his impressive performance over the previously undefeated Thiago Silva. Machida who has been hit fewer than 50 times in six fights in the Octagon (fewer than anyone) might have a long layoff before getting his title shot in the fall.
4. Quinton Jackson — In five fights in the Octagon, “Rampage” has gone 4-1 with wins over UFC Light Heavyweight Champ Chuck Liddell, Pride Champion Dan Henderson and settled scores with Wanderlei Silva and Marvin Eastman. The only loss so far for the Memphis native came controversially to Forrest Griffin in a five round unanimous decision. Jackson faces Keith Jardine at UFC 96 in March and if he emerges successful, should face newly minted UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans in the summer.
3. Fedor Emelianenko — Despite scoring an incredible knockout win over Andrei Arlovski at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” one week ago, “the Last Emperor” slides back as holes in his armor were put on clear display. Until he gets beat though, he remains the top heavyweight in the world. UFC Heavyweight Champs Frank Mir and Brock Lesnar (soon to meet up for the 2nd time to merge the two titles) pose a significant threat.
2. Georges St.-Pierre — With his dominating win over fellow top 10 pound-for-pounder BJ Penn, “Rush” cemented his status as No. 2 in the world and closed the gap between he and …
1. Anderson Silva — “The Spider” remains in the top spot with a nine fight win streak, and an incredible 8-0 in the UFC. He’s beaten the likes of Dan Henderson, Nate Marquadt, Travis Lutter, Chris Leben and Patrick Cote. Next up is Thales Leites at UFC 97 and perhaps the biggest fight in MMA history in a catchweight bout against No. 2 GSP.
On the outside looking in: Dan Henderson, Damien Maia, Andrei Arlovski, Brock Lesnar, Vitor Belfort and Urijah Faber.