I’ve finally had a chance to update Five Ounces of Pain’s rankings, which you can now take a look at by CLICKING HERE. But before you check them out, please read this brief recap of the biggest movers in my rankings and my logic behind my alterations:
Top Ten Pound-for-Pound –
I made two changes this month. The first was to drop Gesias Calvancante out of the pound-for-pound rankings in response to his April loss against Shinya Aoki. I remain a huge JZ fan, but it’s hard to keep a guy in my top ten pound-for-pound coming off a loss. I was late in moving him out of it because I didn’t have an obvious candidate to replace him. That was until Lyoto Machida made the decision pretty easier for me with a decisive unanimous decision win over Tito Ortiz this past Saturday at UFC 84.
I also swapped B.J. Penn and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the rankings. It’s due to no fault of Jackson’s, it’s just that based on pure fighting ability, I consider Penn to be better. Pure fighting ability is only one component for my rankings, but if Penn’s credentials and production are going to match his potential, it’s hard not to move him up. Decisive wins over Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson, and now Sean Sherk are all big wins and make him worthy of leapfrogging Rampage, who hasn’t fought since September.
Light Heavyweight –
Keith Jardine, Wanderlei Silva, Thiago Silva, and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou are four fighters in my top ten light heavyweight rankings who all fought this past Saturday at UFC 84. Jardine lost in a one-sided encounter and that needed to be taken into account. So I dropped him from four to nine. The problem with Jardine is that he takes a step forward and then a step back. He beats Forrest Griffin; loses to Houston Alexander; beats Chuck Liddell; and then loses to Wanderlei Silva. He’s still a top ten-caliber fighter in my book, but he hasn’t been consistent enough to continue to justify a top five ranking.
Since is was Wanderlei who beat him, I decided to award him Jardine’s spot in the rankings. Mauricio Rua hasn’t fought since September, so it just made sense to have him lead frog not only Jardine, but Rua as well.
Thiago Silva and Sokoudjou were rewarded for their wins. Thiago is now ranked seven in my rankings. Some will claim that’s too high, but my belief is that he is seriously underrated right now. Once he gets some higher profile wins, I think more people will come around to my way of thinking in this regard.
As for Sokoudjou, he has those wins over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona, who were both top ten at the time he defeated them. Kazuhiro Nakamura isn’t top ten but has been in the past so it’s a credible win in my book. Yes, he has the loss to Machida, but suddenly that doesn’t seem as bad as it once did? There’s no shame in losing to Machida, if you ask me.
Vladimir Matyushenko is now ranked ten due to no fault of his own. It was just a numbers game. Sokoudjou helped himself with the win to the point where I feel justified in moving him ahead of Matyushenko. Matyushenko isn’t fighting top ten competition right now, so he needs to fight and win often in order to keep his ranking up.
No big changes here, I simply decided to move Jason “Mayhem” Miller up one spot in regard to his win at DREAM.3. He’s now ranked at number eight and Kazuo Misaki falls to nine. I see a lot of top tens that don’t feature Miller in them and I am extremely perplexed whenever I see that. Miller is legit.
As much as I hated to do it, I had to move Takanori Gomi ahead of Gesias Calvancante in response to Calvancante’s loss to Aoki at DREAM.2. I just wish there was a more obvious number two at lightweight right now. I respect a lot of Gomi’s accomplishments, but I feel he’s overrated to some extent and hasn’t consistently fought top contenders. He also hasn’t been the most active fighter as of late. But his past wins and pure fighting ability have to account for something, and Calvancante losing cannot be ignored.
Another big change to my rankings include the addition of Eddie Alavrez. Alvarez is now ranked at number ten in my 155 lbs. rankings, replacing Joachim Hansen. His win over Andre Dida was very respectable in my mind, but not enough to move him into the top ten in spite of such an impressive showing. However, the win over Hansen is what made me decide to move him into my top ten. I’ve said in the past that it’s hard to justify moving a guy into your top ten if he hasn’t beaten any fighters in the top tne, but Hansen had been my tenth ranked fighter.
If Alvarez is able to win the DREAM lightweight Grand Prix, chances are that he will become top five.
Takeshi Inoue dropped a unanimous decision to Trenell Young at a SHOOTO event earlier this month, so he’s out of my featherweight top ten. Every fighter behind him moved up a spot, clearing room at the tenth position. Instead of dropping Inoue to ten in a weight class that has better depth than most people realize.
At the ten spot, I decided to add Hideki Kadowaki. Kadowaki doesn’t have any recent wins, so consider this a “course correction.” And while his overall record isn’t overly impressive, he has two impressive wins in the last nine months over Rumina Sato, who in the mid and late ’90’s, was the top lightweight fighter in the world, as well as March decision victory over Akitoshi Tamura, who I consider to be third best featherweight in the world right now.