JOE's Pound for Pound Top Ten MMA Fighters, May 2012
Time for JOE's updated pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Arts ratings for May.
Jon Jones is making a real case for placing himself top of the pile. Anderson Silva has a more extensive body of work, but defeat in July could see him pass the torch. The Henderson boys are welcome arrivals further down the pecking-order and Chael Sonnen has talked his way into the top 10.
By Fergus Ryan
1. Anderson “The Spider” Silva
Previous rank: 1
UFC Middleweight Champion
Silva has not fought since August 2011 but will meet his nemesis in July, Chael Sonnen. With Jon Jones carving up the 205- pounders, a loss will cost Silva his belt and probably his top slot in many P4P lists.
2. Jon“Bones” Jones
Previous rank: 2
UFC Light-Heavyweight Champion
In his decision victory over Rashad Evans, ‘Bones’ Jones went to a decision for the first time since January, 2009 (against Stephan Bonnar). He has also beaten five Top 10 light heavyweights in his last five fights. After Henderson who’s next? Jones is getting very close to cleaning out the division.
3. Jose “Scarface” Aldo
Previous rank: 3
UFC Featherweight Champion
With the featherweight division looking thin on title contenders, a super-fight with Frankie Edgar is a real possibility after Edgar losing his lightweight title. Brad Pickett could be a win away from a title shot, possibly in the UK in September.
4. Georges “Rush” St. Pierre
Previous rank: 4
UFC Welterweight Champion
GSP has not fought since April 2011 due to injury and is not expected to return till later in 2012. His grudge match with Diaz has been nixed by the Stockton native’s love of getting ‘baked’. Carlos Condit also beat Diaz taking the interim welterweight title and #1 contender slot.
5. Dominick “The Dominator” Cruz
Previous rank: 7
UFC Bantamweight Champion
Cruz is set to fight Urijah Faber at the end of TUF 15. This is the rubber match between the pair. Faber has christened Cruz ‘the Decisionator’ as all Cruz’s title defences have gone to the judge;s scorecards. If the champ defends, there’s slim pickings for Cruz at 135lbs.
6. Benson “Smooth” Henderson
UFC Lightweight Champion
The UFC lightweight division is probably the most stacked of the UFC’s eight weight classes. ‘Smooth’ beat Frankie Edgar and will now face Anthony Pettis, the last man to beat him when he snatched the WEC title with the ‘matrix kick’.
7. Gilbert “El Nino” Melendez
Previous rank: 8
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion
Melendez and possibly Eddie Alvarez are the best lightweights outside of the UFC. While claiming to like being in Strikeforce, Melendez should “do a Diaz”, relinquish his Strikeforce belt and get into the UFC’s most competitive division.
8. Dan Henderson
Light- Heavyweight #1 Contender
Henderson is a true P4P great having won the UFC 17 tournament for light-heavyweights in 1998, beaten heavyweight Minotauro Nogueira in the Rings Tournament in 1999, held the Pride middleweight (2005) and light heavyweight titles (2007) simultaneously. His five round war with Shogun catapulted him into title contention at 205lbs. He’ll take on Jon Jones at UFC 149.
9. Chael Sonnen
Previous rank: 9
Sonnen has been the only fighter to even come close to beating Anderson Silva. After beating Michael Bisping in January, he’ll get his 2nd crack at Silva at UFC 148 in July. Win, lose or draw he is P4P the most entertaining fighter in the UFC to listen to.
10. Junior dos Santos
UFC Heavyweight Champion
Dos Santos is one of the two best heavyweights in the world. Prior to Overeem failing a random test for banned substance many felt their clash was inevitable. We’ll have to wait for Overeem to clean up his act in order to see an immense battle of heavyweight strikers. Now Frank Mir steps into his void. JDS needs three successful title defences to become the longest reigning heavyweight champ. With Overeem gone for a while this is a distinct possibility.