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Times' April MMA rankings

April 26, 2012|By Todd Martin
  • Cain Velasquez, left, and Junior Dos Santos square off for the cameras.
Cain Velasquez, left, and Junior Dos Santos square off for the cameras. (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)

Todd Martin reveals his top 10 in each weight class.

Heavyweight

1. Junior Dos Santos

2. Alistair Overeem

3. Cain Velasquez

4. Fabricio Werdum

5. Daniel Cormier

6. Frank Mir

7. Josh Barnett

8. Antonio Silva

9. Fedor Emelianenko

10. Travis Browne

A hotly anticipated UFC heavyweight title showdown between Junior Dos Santos and Alistair Overeem was cancelled when Overeem tested positive for an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio. Questions had surrounded Overeem and performance enhancing drugs for years, due to Overeem’s massive size explosion that took place while he was fighting in an untested environment overseas. Stepping into Overeem’s place will be former champion Frank Mir, who tapped out Dos Santos’ mentor Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in December.

Light heavweight rankings on next page

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Rashad Evans

3. Dan Henderson

4. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

5. Lyoto Machida

6. Gegard Mousasi

7. Ryan Bader

8. Phil Davis

9. Alexander Gustafsson

10. Quinton Jackson

Jon Jones passed the biggest test of his MMA career, scoring a decisive decision victory over Rashad Evans at UFC 145. Evans proved a capable opponent, but couldn’t overcome Jones’ reach, diverse striking and wrestling base. Jones proved particularly effective with elbows. Next up for Jones is MMA legend Dan Henderson. Alexander Gustafsson is moving up the ranks quickly, with his most recent win over Thiago Silva establishing him as a top 10 light heavyweight.

Middleweight rankings on next page

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Mark Munoz

4. Vitor Belfort

5. Michael Bisping

6. Yushin Okami

7. Hector Lombard

8. Nate Marquardt

9. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

10. Rousimar Palhares

A title rematch between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen is now official for July in Las Vegas. Silva defeated Sonnen in their classic first fight and their second fight will likely be the biggest MMA event of the year. Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard signed with the UFC, where his crowd pleasing style should quickly make him fans.

Welterweight rankings on next page


Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Carlos Condit

3. Jake Ellenberger

4. Johny Hendricks

5. Nick Diaz

6. Jon Fitch

7. Jake Shields

8. Josh Koscheck

9. Martin Kampmann

10. Rory MacDonald

With a knockout of Jon Fitch, Johny Hendricks announced himself as a force in the welterweight division and a title contender. May 5 on Fox, he will look to take another step towards a title shot when he faces Josh Koscheck. The two have similar styles, with excellent wrestling backgrounds and a willingness to stand and trade.

Lightweight rankings on next page

 

Lightweight

1. Ben Henderson

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Frank Edgar

4. Gray Maynard

5. Jim Miller

6. Clay Guida

7. Anthony Pettis

8. Nate Diaz

9. Eddie Alvarez

10. Shinya Aoki

In a Bellator special attraction, Eddie Alvarez quickly disposed of Shinya Aoki with strikes to solidify his standing as one of the world’s top lightweights. With his Bellator contract winding down, Alvarez will be a prized free agent. Both Bellator and UFC are sure to bid for the services of the marketable star.

Featherweight rankings on next page

 

Featherweight

1. Jose Aldo

2. Dustin Poirier

3. Hatsu Hioki

4. Pat Curran

5. Tatsuya Kawajiri

6. Chad Mendes

7. Dennis Siver

8. Erik Koch

9. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

10. Marlon Sandro

With a close and hard fought win over Diego Nunes, former lightweight Dennis Siver breaks into the featherweight top 10. Some questioned how Siver would deal with the speed at 145 pounds, but he showed himself well equipped to keep up and no longer faces a frequent size disadvantage.

Bantamweight rankings on next page

 

Bantamweight

1. Dominick Cruz

2. Urijah Faber

3. Renan Barao

4. Michael McDonald

5. Brian Bowles

6. Miguel Torres

7. Eduardo Dantas

8. Bibiano Fernandes

9. Scott Jorgensen

10. Brad Pickett

The hype behind 21-year-old Michael McDonald has been strong for some time now, despite a lack of upper echelon opposition. At UFC 145, McDonald demonstrated his tremendous ability with a quick knockout of former 135 pound kingpin Miguel Torres. McDonald and fellow young gun Renan Barao are the future of the division. Another young fighter who had a great month was Eduardo Dantas, who dominated Zach Makovsky to capture the Bellator bantamweight title. Defeating Dantas will be a tough challenge for Bellator’s best bantamweights.

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