BE has a great ranking system which can be found at this link.
Rankings are a completely opinionated and biased poll in which each person is going to have something different. Dana White hates rankings, but we all love them. Here is another ranking of the best the little guys in the world!
Instead of blowing up the fan posts and putting up three different ones, I put all three in this one.
Dominick Cruz is considered the world’s best 135′er after his latest victory over Scott Jorgenson. In this fight he dominated getting his seventh straight victory. Congrats Mr. Cruz, you are my #1 and the newest UFC champ. Rankings aside, don’t be surprised if Cruz gets a huge fight against Urijah Faber within the next six months. Cruz could also be tapped as a future coach on TUF.
After suffering a loss to Cruz earlier in the year, Joseph rebounded with a nasty submission victory over Wagnney Fabiano. No small order in itself, that win helped promote Benazidez into the number two spot. Many wouldn’t have him this high on this list, but like Bowles he suffered a defeat, but he did not let it affect him. His return to the drawing board helped him defeat Fabiano spring boarding him above Bowles in this ranking.
3. Brian Bowles
Although Brian lost his last fight, he still jumps in at the third spot on this list. Arguably number two on some rankings, Brian has never went to decision and has a nasty all around game. Bowles may be number three, but barely. A decisive win very well could escalate him into the number two spot. Bowles could have a huge 2011! His fight game is sick and could help him become a super star in front of the larger audiences of the UFC.
4. Urijah Faber
Is it possible a fighter can be in the top five after going 3-3 in his last 6 bouts? It is if they were the face of an organization and the benefactor of a recent weight cut. That is exactly where Faber is as he holds the four spot on this poll. He is only holding on by threads, but I am comfortable calling him the fourth best. If he can put together a few consecutive wins then Faber will be back toward the top of this list. If not, it will be proof he is past his prime and on the decline. Faber’s UFC tenure will be an interesting one. Expect them to use his name sake, and don’t be surprised if he headlines a future show in front of his home state of California.
I recently took some heat for a “troll” like article in which I called GSP’s inability to finish boring (found here). This is MMAOpinion and another opinion is that excitement is important. This personal opinion resulted in Miguel Torres coming in at the five spot. Before he lost to Brian Bowles he was on a 17 fight win streak. That is unheard of! Since then he has lost two of three but a change in scenery may have been needed. Now with the UFC Torres can use the attention to catapult into a very good position. His two losses were to two guys above him in this ranking, and in all honestly he is possibly one big time win away from being the #1 contender and a title shot.
1. Jose Aldo
Taking the number spot as the best at 145 is Jose Aldo. Undefeated in the WEC, Aldo is putting together a who’s who of a resume. His last three opponents could all end up on this top five but he outlasted them all. Aldo leg kicked his way through the California Kid and hasn’t stopped since. In nine fights he has finished eight of them. He is dominating everyone! Jose is the world’s best, and at this point number two isn’t very close.
Two and three on this list are in their respective spots due to the organization of which they fight. It may not be fair, but Dream has tougher little guys than Bellator. Bibiano is the current Dream title holder and is riding a five fight win streak. On New Year’s Eve he will take on Hiroyuki Takaya in a rematch of the fight that earned Bibiano his title. Fernandes hasn’t lost since, and a loss here kills his number two ranking.
3. Joe Warren
Warren may be the best fighter the Bellator organization has to offer. He has never been defeated under their banner, and is fresh off of a TKO to prove his worth. Warren is hoping to be a very busy man in 2011. He will compete at least twice then step into the 135 pound Bellator tourney. All before he tries his hand at making the Olympics. All in all Warren is currently riding a huge wave of momentum. He is not shy to tell everyone that he is the best in the world, but if his talent doesn’t equal his mouth then he will drop on this list very soon.
Manny was once a beast in the UFC, but his size kept him from succeeding among the world’s best. A drop in weight and a move to the WEC revamped his MMA career. The move sparked a three fight win streak which included a very impressive KO of Mike Brown. That victory got Manny a title fight, but our number one is just that much better than anyone else. Manny may be a surprise at number four, but he is finally at his perfect weight and a move back to the UFC has him ready for a huge 2011.
Sandro’s 17-1 record and impressive KO streak of three fights earned him this spot. The Sengoku and Pancrase champion is well on his way to becoming a super star in 2011. Although he is enjoying Japanese MMA, a move to the UFC’s new division wouldn’t be a shocker. Fights between Marlon and Fernandes have been rumored, but he will be putting his title on the line against Hatsu Hioko December 30th. Hioki isn’t the caliper of fighter that anyone on this list is, and a loss really hurts Sandro’s chances of being the world’s best.
Like the 135 pound class, the 145′ers are just as exciting. The UFC/WEC merger may help this class more than any other. The Faber-less 145 class is left to be dominated by younger, quicker, more athletic fighters who will look to become the future of the division.
If Jose Aldo can’t rebound from his recent injury problems, then that division, and all world rankings will be wide open for the taking!
The UFC’s Fighter of The Year, it is no surprise that Edgar steals the top spot in this poll. In his last two fights he made a future hall of famer look uncomfortable in the cage. He dominated Penn winning both times. Edgar has won five straight and will be looking to avenge his only loss at the UFC’s New Years card. Edgar is a great wrestler that can stand up or take the fight to the ground. Funny thing is, I would not be surprised if Edgar fought some at 145 in the future. A super fight with Jose Aldo or Urijah Faber could happen late in 2011. Edgar has a huge man-date with Gray Maynard in January which will have huge implications on this ranking.
2. Gray Maynard
This is where the typical ranking has Gilbert Melendez, but I have good reason why Gray is here. First off he has never been defeated and owns a victory over the top guy on this list. Secondly, something should be said for having such a record against the best of the best. Call it bias, but the UFC’s lightweights are much better than Strikeforce’s and as a result Maynard steals the spot. Could Josh Thompson beat Nate Diaz, Kenny Florian, or Roger Huerta (no)? Gray can be described as a hard nosed tough guy with a very strong wrestling pedigree. Over time he has developed a complimentary stand up game, and is a true force in this weight class. Maynard has the chance to get two up on Edgar in January. It is hard to beat a person twice, but if he can then he will be known as champ and possibly the best light weight in the world.
3. Gilbert Melendez
Strikeforce fans, here is your boy. Gilbert is arguably (but I don’t think he is) Strikeforce’s best fighter outside of Fedor. He is 18-2 all time and has cleaned out the division. Gilbert has suddenly found himself in no man’s land. There just isn’t anyone else for him to fight. The only person he can fight is Eddie Alvarez, but that doesn’t seem like anything close to a done deal. Melendez has hinted at a move to the UFC, but until then he is stuck fighting the best Strikeforce can throw at him, and unfortunately those guys aren’t as good as the UFC’s guys. It ends up being a lose lose situation the longer he stays with the org. A win gets him nothing, but a loss destroys his ranking and overall lightweight status.
4. Shinya Aoki
Aoki and his Japanese pajama pants slide in at the four spot. He has won three straight after a unanimous loss to Melendez. Gilbert is number three on this poll and two on many others, that loss is important but doesn’t drop him significantly. Aoki will return to fight at DREAM’s New Year’s Eve card in a circus type of fight against K1 vet Nagashima. The rules are weird having one round MMA one round K1… Bouts like this ask for trouble and are using his name sake to promote sales. This reminds me of the Fedor vs. Choi fight in the sense that its more of a joke than fight.
5. Eddie Alvarez
Eddie is the black sheep on this list. He fights for Bellator which is at best the third most successful organization in the world. After Alvarez their second best light weight is Roger Huerta who may not even want to fight. Over his last two fights he has defeated UFC fall outs Josh Neer and Huerta. While winning is awesome, beating guys that couldn’t hack it in other orgs will certainly not get you a high ranking. The Bellator champ has won six straight since falling prey to Aoki and his submission pants. That heel hook was nasty, but if Eddie wants to climb up this ranking he needs to fight better guys. I am not certain the rumored fight between him and Gilbert Melendez will ever happen. Eddie may be happy in Bellator, but as long as he stays there he is sheltered and will never be considered the best.
Am I the only person that finds it weird that BJ Penn didn’t make this list? I haven’t been adding an honorable mention, but if I did it would be him. I think Penn could defeat all but one or two on this list, but after two losses in the division I can’t add him. He dropped a shell of the man once known as Matt Hughes, and may come back stronger than ever. Penn has talked about fighting at 170, but if he stays at 155 then he is only two fights out of a title shot. Penn is certainly the wrench in all of this. Edgar may just have his number but a win streak puts the Hawaiian legend back on this list.
Without question the UFC’s class of fighters at 155 is far superior than everyone else. Their up and coming prospects such as Jim Miller could do very well in Bellator, DREAM, or Strikeforce. It will be interesting to see what 2011 has in store for the weight class and what moves are made. Don’t expect to close the curtain on 2011 with all of these top five fighters all in the same organization.
The New Years weekend is huge for the lightweights and will be interesting to see how it all unfolds!