10. Shane Carwin - Carwin was on a somewhat impressive run with stoppage victories over sub par fighters until his embarrassing defeat at the hands of former UFC and WWE champion Brock Lesnar.
9. Josh Barnett - Despite a career plagued with steroid scandals, a current six fight win streak over meager opposition is enough to have Barnett clinging to the list.
8. Frank Mir - A rocky past couple of years have seen Mir swapping victories and defeats in his last five fights, but a back-and-forth nail biter at UFC 119 ending with an extremely impressive KO over legend Mirko Cro Cop has Mir sitting at number eight.
7. Aleksander Emelianenko - Despite being maligned and marginalized by shoddy reports of false medical concerns, Aleksander has quietly put together an impressive run of eight first-round stoppage victories spanning four years. Having arguably the best hands in all of MMA, Aleksander has the talent to be a top 3 fighter if presented with the named opposition to prove it.
6. Antonio Silva - Silva's attempt at propelling himself to the next level of contendership status hit a bump when he dropped a razor thin decision to Fabricio Werdum in November of 2009, but he has since rebounded with a clear and dominant decision win over the once feared Andrei Arlovski.
5. Cain Velasquez - With his recent dismantling of WWE wreslter and UFC heavyweight belt holder Brock Lesnar, Velasquez became the UFC's new heavyweight champ. Despite the fanboy delusions of a "new era" expressed by Joe Rogan, Cain has shown serious deficiencies in his game during his past fights, most notably in his controversial decision win over Cheick Kongo, a fight in which he was dropped by punches and nearly finished on two separate occasions.
4. Junior Dos Santos - With brutal knockout power, solid take down defense, and a capable ground game, Dos Santos has established himself as the most exciting heavyweight in the UFC and appears ready willing and able to make Cain Velasquez's reign as champion a very short one.
3. Alistair Overeem - The premier two combat sport fighter. Next year will be big as he prepares to defend his Strikeforce Championship strap.
2. Fedor Emelianenko - The true king of MMA suffered his first defeat at the hands of Fabricio Werdum in mid-2010. It appeared to be a mixture of over confidence in his submission defence and a mis-reading of what he presumed was an hurt Werdum.
10. Gegard Mousasi - Has rebounded with two submission victories after a disappointing decision loss to Muhammed Lawal in April of 2010. Has talent to be one of the best in the division, just needs the fights to show it.
9. Muhammed Lawal - Still fairly new to the game, King Mo dominated with a solid, if rather boring, wrestling base until getting TKO'ed by Rafael Cavalcante in August of 2010. It remains to be seen if he will evolve his game, or remain one of MMA many lackluster American style wrestlers.
8. Ryan Bader - Your typical run of the mill American style wrestler who fancies himself a power puncher. With a gift decision win over Rogerio Nogueira handed to him by incompetent judges, many are buying his hype, though he has yet to truly demonstrate anything spectacular.
7. Rashad Evans - After an embarrassing knock out loss to point karate stylist Lyoto Machida, Evans has rebounded with two lack luster decision victories. It seems the fire he showed against the likes of Liddell and Griffin has been extinguished, and he has reverted back to the typical Greg Jackson style of decision focused game planning.
6. Matt Hamill - Deaf fighter Matt Hamill has severely improved his game over the passed few years, but needs to fight better competition than Jacob "Tito" Ortiz to truly establish himself as an elite fighter in the eyes of the common fan.
5. Rafael Cavalcante - In his KO loss to Mike Kyle in mid-2009 Feijao demonstrated a disappointing lack of motivation. He has, however, rebounded rather nicely with a string of three stoppage victories, including gaining the Strikeforce light heavyweight belt from Muhammed Lawal.
4. Lyoto Machida - Even if he was extremely over hyped by fanboys in both the media and fan base, this is not his doing, so he cannot be faulted for it. Lyoto is a talented, if somewhat arrogant and misguided, fighter. Surrounding himself with likes of his delusional father has been a detriment and has prevented him from evolving beyond point karate styling which was no longer effective once its novelty wore off in spectacular fashion in his KO defeat to Shogun Rua.
3. Jon Jones - Currently one of the most dynamic fighters in the game, Jon Jones has yet to falter as his level of competition has increased.
2. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira- Three judges at UFC 119 demonstrated their clear lack of MMA knowledge when they robbed Rogerio of a decision win and instead awarded the absurd victory to the stereotypical American wrestler Ryan Bader. This ridiculous display does not negate the reality that Rogerio won the fight and is easily one of the most talented fighters at light heavyweight. Interestingly enough, Rogerio suffered a similar robbery during his 2005 fight against current #1 slot holder Mauricio Shogun Rua.
1. Mauricio Shogun Rua - After derailing the hype machine known as Lyoto Machida, Shogun captured the UFC light heavyweight belt and regained his former spot as the number one 205 lbs. fighter in the world.
10. Demian Maia - Your typical sport BJJ player with appalling stand up. He'll never hold a belt in a major org for this reason, but he's got the skill to defeat mid-level competition. He fulfills the gate keeper role well.
9. Nate Marquardt - Marquardt is one of those solid MMA fighters who just seems incapable of taking his game to championship level. As demonstrated in his recent fight with Okami, he will always falter in the key moment.
8. Alexander Shlemenko - One of the more exciting fighters with explosive stand up. He tends to drift around promotions, it'd benefit him to find a home and try to string together some solid wins over named opposition.
7. Yushin Okami - An extremely lackluster decision win against Marquardt at UFC 122 will supposedly have him fighting for the belt against either Anderson Silva or Vitor Belfort. He's going to have to show more than he did to get the belt.
6. Chael Sonnen - Damn near exposed Anderson Silva at UFC 117, until his embarrassing submission defense reared its ugly head. And then to top it off, he goes and fails the post fight drug test. Nice going Chael.
5. Hector Lombard - One of the best non-big promotion fighters. Hasn't loss since 2006, and although his level of competition has not been elite, the fact that he hasn't lost cannot be denied.
4. Ronaldo Jacare Souza - Strikeforce's middle weight champ and one of the best grapplers in MMA. His chin is questionable, as his his strand up, but the latter has been improved upon, while the former, unfortunately, will always remain a detriment.
3. Vitor Belfort - Belfort has always demonstrated some of the fastest and most powerful hands in MMA. It seems likely that he will knockout Anderson Silva in their upcoming UFC 126 showdown.
2. Jorge Santiago- Santiago held claim to one of the most impressive runs spanning 2007 to mid-2009 when he suffered a TKO loss to power puncher Mamed Khalidov. Though he quickly rebounded in the immediate rematch that followed with a decision victory. Even with a questionable chin, Santiago is clearly one of the best middle weights in the world.
10. Jason Miller -Somewhat of a clown, but has legit skills. Currently trying to bait Nick Diaz into a fight.
9. Diego Sanchez - Back from his run as a 155 pounder, he'll probably make some noise as a welterweight, but to become champion he'll have to show skills which he has yet to show. Most likely he will drift around the number 5 slot and serve as a solid gate keeper.
8. Martin Kampmann - He needs to ditch Xtreme Couture. They're the reason he lost his recent fight against Jake Shields. More wrestling based fight planning, exactly the kind of thing that will hold Kampmann back. He needs to focus on improving his punching power and take down defense, as he is not going to out wrestle the likes of Shields, Fitch, GSP, and Koscheck.
7. Paul Daley - Probably the best striker in the division, but far to one dimensional to pose any real threat to the higher ranked fighters. Fought scared against Jorge Masvidal, which doesn't bode well for his future.
6. Carlos Condit - One of the rare modern day fighters with true killer instinct. Assuming Greg Jackson doesn't ruin his intensity, look for him to breathe some fire into a stale wrestling-heavy division. He's got some game off his back too, which is good since his take down defense is nothing to celebrate, and in this division with guys like GSP, Fitch, Shields, and Koscheck in front of him, he'll certainly be spending some time on his back.
5. Josh Koscheck - Oh look, another wrestler who wishes he was a power puncher.
4. Jon Fitch - Fitch is basically a prototype of the GSP model. He'll never be champ as long as GSP is in the division. A perennial snoozer who will most likely keep taking lesser fighters to decisions. He makes a b ig deal out of the fact that he can't be choked out, wish he'd put as much effort into choking other guys out.
3. Jake Shields - Very similar to fellow welterweights Georges St. Pierre and Jon Fitch, a solid wrestler with fantastic grappling, but a striking skill set which is severely lacking.
|Georges St. Pierre|
2. Nick Diaz - Criminally underrated by the Zuffa centric MMA media. Diaz hasn't lost a fight since a 2007 stoppage due to cuts and has in turn finished 7 of his last 8 opponents. Possibly the best welter weight in the world, but barring a fight with Georges St. Pierre, its hard to say for sure.
1. Georges St. Pierre - The poster boy for the Greg Jackson decision based fighting style, but he keeps winning, so here he is.
10. George Sotiropoulos - The dark horse of the UFC lightweight division. Look for him to trash Lauzon at UFC 123.
09. Maximo Blanco - A five fight win streak all coming by knock out has made Blanco one of the most talked about lightweights. Bigger fights are no doubt in his future.
8. Benson Henderson - One of the few guys who will benefit from the UFC-WEC merger. Benson will get a chance to prove himself against big name competition.
7. Takanori Gomi - The fire which once existed in Gomi seems to have reignited with his 1st round annihilation of Tyson Griffin. Gomi has always proven himself a wrestler-killer, and he will continue to excel against the wrestler-heavy lightweight division of the UFC.
6. Gray Maynard - Struggles to finish a bowl of soup.
5. Josh Thomson -Back to back victories after an exciting decision loss to lightweight king Gilbert Melendez. Keeps a high pace, entertaining fighter.
4. Eddie Alvarez - Solid in all aspects and will look like a world beater against average competition. Alvarez needs bigger fights to see where he really stands.
3. Frankie Edgar - The classic American style wrestler in MMA. Questionable finishing ability. Two decision wins over BJ Penn, go figure.
2. Shinya Aoki- He cries after every one of his losses, but that doesn't negate the fact that he is a very talented fighter. One of the rare cases in modern MMA where a truly one dimensional fighter has excelled and attained elite level.
1. Gilbert Melendez - The Zuffa obsessed media wont give him the full credit he deserves due to his not being in the UFC, but with his back to back dominating wins over Shinya Aoki and Josh Thomson, it's clear that Melendez is the reigning lightweight king.