twitter google

Rankings Updated for June

I’ve updated my rankings for the month of June. Below you will find my new pound-for-pound top ten along with my analysis of major changes made to my top ten in each individual weight class.

Pound-for-Pound Top Ten

  1. Georges St. Pierre – St. Pierre avenged his loss to Serra in their rematch at UFC 83 but completely dominating him, just as he completely dominated Josh Koscheck in August and Matt Hughes in December. It wasn’t easy choosing him for this spot over Anderson Silva but physically, I don’t believe St. Pierre has a weakness while I still have questions about Silva’s wrestling.
  2. Anderson Silva – Silva was in trouble vs. Travis Lutter at UFC 67. While he still won the fight, he hasn’t been as untouchable in the UFC as some would have you believe (although, he’s been pretty damn close). After a so-so performance vs. Lutter, all Silva did was come back with convincing wins over Nathan Marquardt, Rich Franklin, and Dan Henderson.
  3. B.J. Penn – As much as I respect Rampage, I didn’t feel I could continue to rank him over Penn if Penn was going out there and taking on an active schedule and putting up dominant wins over top contenders. Maybe Jens Pulver was no longer a top lightweight contender when Penn beat him last summer, but the same cannot be said for Joe Stevenson or Sean Sherk — and Penn wasn’t even close to being in trouble in either fight. For me, the cardio questions have been answered and Penn is fighting up to his potential. How can anyone deny him this ranking?
  4. Urijah Faber – The complaint that Faber wasn’t beating the top fighters in his class is no longer valid following back-to-back wins over Jeff Curran and Jens Pulver. Pulver took Faber the distance, but that’s more a testament to Pulver’s ability than a knock against Faber. Faber looked great in that fight and showed his striking prowess is beginning to rival his ability on the ground.
  5. Miguel Torres – Torres is the most underrated fighter in MMA and made a huge jump in my top 10 following his amazing win over Yoshiro Maeda. Torres’ grappling ability is world class but his striking also is world class as well. How do you gameplan for a fighter that is world class in every possible area a fight can go? I don’t think there is anyone at 135 pounds that can touch this guy right now.
  6. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson – It’s been a long time since Jackson last fought but I’m not going to penalize him for the UFC’s decision to put him on the seventh season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” Coming off wins over Chuck Liddell and Dan Henderson, I feel this spot is justified.
  7. Randy Couture – Inactivity is a growing concern and if Fedor had beaten a more credible opponent than Hong Man Choi, he would have supplanted Couture. “The Natural” hangs onto this spot for now, but if Emelianenko posts an impressive win over Tim Sylvia in July, it will be a non-brainer to move him ahead of Couture.
  8. Fedor Emelianenko – Does a win over Hong Man Choi qualify as activity? Technically it does but I will need to see him beat a credible opponent before moving him up. He’s scheduled to fight Tim Sylvia in July and Sylvia easily qualifies as Fedor’s toughest competition in nearly three years. Win or lose, Fedor’s ranking will not stay the same following that bout.
  9. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto – Known for his amateur wrestling background, Yamamoto is also a threat with his hands. Following an impressive win over Rani Yahya on New Year’s Eve, it was easy to rank him here. What’s not so easy is figuring out what weight class to rank him in. Is he a featherweight, a bantamweight, or what?
  10. Lyoto Machida – With the loss by Gesias Calvancante to Shinya Aoki, it was tough to continue to justify his spot in my top ten pound-for-pound. The question was, who should I move up in his place? It was a question without an obvious answer up until Machida’s decisive win over Tito Ortiz at UFC 84. His resume is impressive, as he is undefeated and has wins over top ten fighters in my 185 lbs. and 205 lbs. rankings. From a pure fighting standpoint, Machida’s standup skills are strong and his ground skills are underrated. You may not like his fighting style, but you can’t deny the fact that he is without question one of the top fighters in the world.

CLICK HERE to view my top ten rankings in each individual weight class.Below is my analysis of notable changes I made to my rankings…

Pound-for-pound:

Based on their impressive performances during the last WEC event, I felt compelled to move both Urijah Faber and Miguel Torres up. If you question why I have them so high right now, you obviously didn’t see Torres defeat Yoshiro Maeda and you didn’t see Faber’s improved standup game vs. Jens Pulver.

Heavyweight:

Fabricio Werdum leapfrogged Tim Sylvia and Ben Rothwell due in part to his win over a credible opponent in Brandon Vera earlier this month couple with Sylvia and Rothwell’s recent inactivity. If Sylvia and Rothwell win their respective fights at Affliction, they’ll move ahead of Werdum.

Middleweight:

Frank Trigg drops out due to inactivity and Jason Miller drops following his loss to Jacare during the DREAM middleweight GP. Miller didn’t look bad in the fight so I didn’t feel like he deserved to fall out of the top then completely. With Miller moving down, Kazuo Misaki moves up.

Replacing Trigg in the top ten is Gegard Mousasi. Mousasi’s all-around skills have looked improved during the first two rounds of the DREAM middleweight GP and wins over Denis Kang and Dong Sik Yoon carry some meaning.

Welterweight:

I’m sticking to my guns: I said that Thiago Alves’ win over Matt Hughes at UFC 85 should be viewed as an exhibition victory since he was four pounds over at weigh-ins. As such, I still have Hughes as my number three welterweight. You will notice that I have moved Alves up, but that is not because of his win but because of Jay Hieron’s inactivity. If Hieron fights and wins before Alves’ next fight, he will supplant him.

Featherweight:

I haven’t been happy with my featherweight rankings and I made wholesale changes this month.

Yoshiro Maeda is out following his June 1 loss to Miguel Torres. First, a loss is a loss, plus he competed at bantamweight. There are just too many good featherweights to keep Maeda in the top ten if he’s not 100% committed to competing at 145.

Masakazu Imanari falls because of his loss to Dokonjonosuke Mishima during Cage Rage’s last event. The win was high-profile enough that I felt compelled to debut Mishima in the top ten at featherweight. He was overwhelmed at 155 lbs. in the UFC but he could be a huge threat at 145.

Jeff Curran falls out of the top ten because he is now coming off back-to-back losses. There’s no shame in losing to Faber, but his loss to Mike Brown at the last WEC event has to hurt his standing.

Takeshi Inoue moves up simply because I felt I had him ranked too low. I penalized him too much for his upset loss to Trenell “Savant” Young during the May 3 Shooto show in Japan. Upon further review, I felt the win was big enough to move Young into my featherweight top ten. We’ll see if he belongs when he takes on Mark Hominick during Affliction’s debut show in July. Young was a solid lightweight for the IFL but he could be the most powerful puncher in the world at 145 lbs. Watch out.

Also, many people are going to ask me where Jens Pulver is. Well, after staying away from the featherweight division for so long, a 1-1 record at 145 lbs. in the past year isn’t enough to keep him in the top ten in spite of a solid showing vs. Faber. Featherweight is just too deep across the board to reward someone for a loss.

21 COMMENTS
  • paddiosf says:

    Anderson Silva had problems with Lutter oppose to GSP lose to Serra? Doesn’t add up to me, Silva has walked through Franklin, Henderson and Marquardt..And he hasn’t lost yet in the UFC..Sorry But Anderson Silva is the PFP #1 fighter and I like GSP but he lost to Matt Serra please fluke or not If your the best PFP you don’t lose to someone like Serra and then have to go to a shrink…

  • mike wolfe says:

    Gotta agree with paddiosf. I can’t see how you rate a guy who lost to a huge underdog higher than a guy “who was in trouble” in a fight he ultimately won. And he won by submitting a BJJ specialist. Silva’s moving up to fight at 205, and he’ll be competitive with most of the fighters in light heavy. GSP is a great fighter, but he wouldn’t hold up against most fighters at 185, imo.

  • Sergio G. Hernandez says:

    And baby makes three.

    Your argument that “Silva was in trouble with Lutter” to toss GSP up to number one when GSP has a KO loss in the last 16 months makes no sense to me.

    People always talk about champions clearing out divisions. Wandy never did it, Gomi never did it, and Fedor never did it.

    When Silva smashes Okami, he will have completely cleared out UFC’s 185 division of viable challengers.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    You guys are missing the point. The Lutter fight doesn’t make Silva number two. I brought up the Lutter fight to make the point that Silva has not been as dominant as some people portray him as being since entering the UFC.

    That said, if he beats Irvin in impressive fashion on 8/19, he will supplant GSP in my P-4-P rankings.

  • maddog says:

    The man crushes on GSP drive me crazy. I would put him at three or four and this is why. 1- he lost his belt in first title defence; 2-He almost lost to a smaller and out of shape BJ Penn; 3- Silva has to be #1 after his domination of Henderson(remember hederson went 5 rounds with rampage and knocked out the axe murderer at a higher weight.)

  • Foojita says:

    We’ve never seen GSP against a bigger stronger opponent.

    Until he passes that test I dont think he should be rated that high.

  • Nonfikshun says:

    And how does Torres rank higher than Rampage again?

  • maddog says:

    When did Ramepage fight last? Torres being higher is a good call.

  • bazza76 says:

    Randy Couture is effectively retired too.
    It is a good list of fighters Sam, but I dont see why Coutoure should be up there and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is not after being heavyweight champion in both Pride and the UFC.
    Also Fedor has only been beaten once in his carreer and that was in the year 2000! Since then, he has beaten fighters like Nogueira, Sobral, Herring, Coleman, Crocop etc…………. Until he is beaten again, he should be alot closer to the top of the pile than 8th P4P

  • KneeToTheFace says:

    Is there a list of criteria on which you base these rankings? Because I sort of feel as though it’s unfair to judge a fighter based on how he “looked” and what our perception was of him that fight. What brings this to mind is your description of Anderson Silva (I don’t care that he’s not #1) and his fight against Lutter. His “wrestling looking weak” against a guy who arguably has a better ground game than himself.

    I think what matters is if you walk away with a win at the end of the day. Not that you can base rankings exclusively upon that, but you can’t hold a weakness against a fighter just because it’s not his strength. If you take a peak at the others on the list, such as Rampage, Faber, BJ Penn, Randy couture: they all have weaknesses that aren’t even accounted for due to short-sightedness.

    That’s why Nogueira is the best heavyweight fighter, short of Fedor. He has decent boxing for sure, but he is nowhere near top 20 in his stand-up game. That said, I don’t think it would be applicable to rank Nogueira as a (for instance) #8 Heavyweight simply because he has a tendency to take a beating before he pulls a submission out of his ass. We don’t hold down Minotauro’s ranking because he got beat up by Bob Sapp and Sylvia and others. He’s a top heavyweight because he wins. That’s what makes him a champion. The same goes for every fighter.

  • Cathedron says:

    #5 I kind of agree though I crush on GSP quite a bit myself. I really think GSP can only lose to himself at welterweight. His mental focus is the only weakness I think he has. But it’s still a weakness and that should be reflected in more top ten lists. It certainly affects the outcome of fights.

    Speaking of mancrushes, I honestly believe that Anderson Silva is so good, he toys with opponents for the first round. Lutter genuinely challenged him because Silva has always had weak BJJ and I’m betting he felt a little intimidated since he has gotten fucked by submissions before. But his BJJ has clearly improved by leaps and bounds and I don’t think he has any weaknesses at this point. His standup is godlike, his BJJ is very good and still improving, his chin is amazing (though he’s very hard to hit) – he’s an amazing athlete. I believe he’s the Michael Jordan of MMA. I don’t think he’ll do quite as well at 205, but then, he seems to want a real challenge.

    Machida at #10 bothers me a little. He’s definitely skilled enough to be top ten at 205 (though he creates the most boring fights the world has ever seen), but I’m not sure that he’s proven himself lb for lb. I mean, his biggest win is a decision (which he gets alot) over Tito Ortiz. Ortiz hasn’t even been relevent to MMA since the starstruck judges handed him his win over Forrest. MMA keeps improving, but Ortiz has only gotten better at self-promotion.

  • ACK! says:

    This may seem random, but it’s bugged me for awhile:

    I agree that Young has serious power at 145, but the guys seems incapable of unleashing devastating combos. He’s all about the massive hooks, uppercuts, overhands, and supermans… But what good is all that power when he can’t set up his shots?

  • screwface says:

    “all Silva did was come back with convincing wins over Nathan Marquardt, Rich Franklin, and Dan Henderson.”

    Sam ur hilarious lately, this stirring the pot for comments has to stop :p

    all he did?? comparing them to victories over serra and koscheck??

    cmon dude ur better then this :)

  • Jye says:

    GSP is more well-rounded then Anderson Silva. And for all the people that wanna talk about losses to underdogs Silva has losses to Ryo Chonan and Takase.

  • kirby says:

    bazza76 I agree skill wise Fedor is the best HW in the world. However his fights over the last two to three years havn’t been enough to prove it. So until he fights Big Tim he sits appropriately low on the list.

  • Kogepan says:

    wheres aoki? Like how there NO ONE from DREAM or basically Japan on your list except for Kid, and he’s had one fight in the last YEAR. You punish Fedor for not fighting yet, you have Randy and Kid in the top ten, WTF???

    Admit it, you are a HUGE UFC fanboy, the fact you have NO ONE from Dream anywhere on the card (except for kid, who has not fought in any of their first four cards) proves this

  • Patrick says:

    Anyone ever tell you that you’re pretty god damn annoying Kogepan, if you have nothing good to say, then don’t say anything at all.

  • event202 says:

    As Jye said, “GSP is more well rounded than Silva.” GSP controls his fights from start to finish as of the last few. I think his only weakness has been his mental consistency. GSP has been fighting very high skilled fighters while Silva’s division doesn’t have the same caliber of fighters. With the exception of Dan Henderson. (I believe Rich Franklin’s skills might have been a little hyped outside of the great work ethic.) On the other hand Silva has devastating standup which makes him dangerous to everyone. He is great on the ground but doesn’t dominate there and shows he can be vulnerable. (even though he has yet to be submitted or grounded out) Silva has been consistent with surviving when he gets wrestled down and once the opponents are not so fresh he picks them apart with ease.
    I think when GSP is at his best he is the best. Yet Silva has shown to be consistent. Right now GSP is at his best. I like the rank.

  • islandguy says:

    Silva wins more.. doesn’t that count for ANYTHING???? Ah, what da use.

  • luke says:

    Anderson Silva is the #1 p4p fighter period. And that’s science.

    Quentin has been inactive for a bit, but c’mon he’s knocked Chuck out twice now and he beat Henderson. At that time two top 10 fighters back to back. Ranking him #6 is is too great a disparity from the rankings of respected MMA sites.

    Urijah just didn’t seem that dominating to me against Jens. Jens was never in trouble and Urijah just never looked particularly strong. I certainly don’t think he’s top ten. Not until he fights some serious competetition. Both Curran and Pulver are not serious enough competition by any stretch of the imagination.

    I like Torres a lot, but he’s not better than Fedor. The can Fedor has been facing should be enough to warrant a drop in rankings but I couldn’t rate Faber and Torres above him.

    I agree with Machida, about timehe gets the respect he deserves. Eventually he will be at least a top 5 in p4p rankings for a long time.

  • mike wolfe says:

    #20 Luke

    I watched the Pulver/Faber fight again yesterday morning on DVR. Faber dominated that fight, outstriking the guy perceived as the dominant striker at 145 and one of the best strikers at 155. The fact it didn’t end in a ko is a testament to Pulver’s toughness. That fight is no argument against Faber’s ranking on the p4p list. The better argument is that his sole loss was at 155 lbs in 2005 to Tyson Griffin. If he’s truly one of the better p4p fighters, he should be competitive outside his current weight class.

LEAVE A COMMENT!

You must be logged in to post a comment.