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L.A. Times' July MMA rankings

July 18, 2012|By Todd Martin
  • Alistair Overeem is No. 3 in our latest heavyweight rankings.
Alistair Overeem is No. 3 in our latest heavyweight rankings. (Eric Jamison / Associated…)

Heavyweight

1. Junior Dos Santos

2. Cain Velasquez

3. Alistair Overeem

4. Daniel Cormier

5. Fabricio Werdum

6. Josh Barnett

7. Frank Mir

8. Antonio Silva

9. Travis Browne

10. Stefan Struve

MMA’s all-time greatest heavyweight fighter Fedor Emelianenko announced his retirement following a victory over a badly shot Pedro Rizzo June 21. Fedor dominated the heavyweight landscape for much of the 00s, but unfortunately never came to the UFC when UFC became the unquestioned home for elite MMA talent. After a long hiatus from fighting due to injuries, Shane Carwin will return to fight Roy Nelson after they coach the next season of the Ultimate Fighter.

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

Another MMA legend announced his retirement in the past month, with Tito Ortiz vowing that his fight with Forrest Griffin would be his last. Griffin earned the judges’ decision in a close fight where Ortiz landed the hardest blows in each round but Griffin connected in much greater volume. At UFC 151, Dan Henderson will challenge Jon Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title. If Jones wins, there are few compelling matchups left for him at 205 pounds.

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva

2. Chris Weidman

3. Chael Sonnen

4 Vitor Belfort

5. Michael Bisping

6. Hector Lombard

7. Luke Rockhold

8. Yushin Okami

9. Mark Munoz

10. Alan Belcher

There is chaos in the middleweight division after unquestioned #1 Anderson Silva, with top contenders Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, Yushin Okami and Mark Munoz all coming off losses. The 2-10 spots are practically interchangeable, with each man having distinct pros and cons of record and competition. The next contender for Silva’s title will likely be either Chris Weidman, Hector Lombard (if he beats Tim Boetsch) or Michael Bisping (if he beats Brian Stann).

Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Carlos Condit

3. Johny Hendricks

4. Nick Diaz

5. Martin Kampmann

6. Jon Fitch

7. Nate Marquardt

8. Jake Ellenberger

9. Jake Shields

10. Josh Koscheck

A strong welterweight division got even stronger with the entry of two former middleweight title contenders, Nate Marquardt and Demian Maia. Marquardt cracks the top 10 with a dominant victory over formerly undefeated Tyron Woodley. Maia will need a few more wins in a division where the formidable likes of Rory MacDonald, B.J. Penn and Ben Askren are on the outside looking in.

 

Lightweight

1. Ben Henderson

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Frank Edgar

4. Gray Maynard

5. Nate Diaz

6. Anthony Pettis

7. Jim Miller

8. Michael Chandler

9. Clay Guida

10. Eddie Alvarez

Clay Guida won himself no fans with his performance against Gray Maynard in the main event of a June FX card. Guida consistently moved away from the action while landing few blows in the process. It was a textbook example of MMA timidity and frustrated Maynard to no end. Maynard won a narrow judges’ decision in a fight not likely to ever be rematched.

 

Featherweight

1. Jose Aldo

2. Pat Curran

3. Chad Mendes

4. “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung

5. Erik Koch

6. Hatsu Hioki

7. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

8. Dustin Poirier

9. Tatsuya Kawajiri

10. Dennis Siver

Hatsu Hioki’s rough UFC tenure continued with a loss to Ricardo Lamas that took him out of title contention. Some now view Lamas as a contender at 145 pounds, but the fight likely says more about Hioki, who also struggled with non-factor George Roop, than Lamas, who has a respectable but unspectacular resume to date. Chad Mendes rebounded from a loss to champion Jose Aldo by quickly destroying Cody McKenzie. The 27-year-old Mendes is likely to be a factor in the division for many years to come.

 

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. Brad Pickett

10. Eddie Wineland

Saturday night, Urijah Faber and Renan Barao will fight for the UFC interim bantamweight title. It’s a compelling matchup between the big fight veteran Faber and the experienced but still relatively unknown Barao. Faber needs a win to remain in the mix for a rematch with Dominick Cruz while a win for Barao would take his career to a new level. One fighter looking to break into contender status is Mike Easton, who scored a win over Ivan Menjivar to bring his MMA record to 13-1.

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