It used to be a big deal when these rankings were updated to reveal a new fighter sitting atop his or her division. With all due respect to Tyron Woodley and his conquering the welterweight throne, his destruction of Robbie Lawler at UFC 201 in Atlanta was just another episode in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s tumultuous 2016.
First it was Dominick Cruz and then Miesha Tate. Next came Stipe Miocic, and then Michael Bisping shocked the world. Eddie Alvarez followed, but the MMA world could hardly even celebrate his 155-pound title win, as Amanda Nunes took Tate’s 135-pound women’s championship just two days later at UFC 200. Now, Woodley is the boss at 170 pounds.
To recap, that is seven new UFC champions and seven new divisional leaders in just seven months. If Jon Jones has his United States Anti-Doping Agency suspension upheld later this year, he will be removed from this list, as well, giving us an eighth new No. 1 in 2016. It has been a year of heavy flux, to say the very least. Speaking of USADA, a two-year suspension for formerly fifth-ranked featherweight Chad Mendes sees his removal from the Sherdog.com rankings. A two-time UFC title challenger, Mendes has spent six years in these rankings but exits on account of his positive test for GHRP-6.
This set of divisionals is not all about Woodley’s triumph and blown drug tests: Recent big wins for Valentina Shevchenko and Karolina Kowalkiewicz have both women knocking on the door of respective title shots. Meanwhile, former top-10 staple Jake Ellenberger managed to save his Octagon career at UFC 201 with a thunderous liver kick that put down the always rugged Matt Brown for the stoppage while jettisoning him from the welterweight rankings.
Continue Reading » Heavyweight