One upset and one surprise retirement has added up to three notable top-10 exits in this edition of the official Sherdog.com mixed martial arts rankings.
In the UFC 210 main event on April 8 in Buffalo, New York, light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier retained his strap in his rematch with power-punching challenger Anthony Johnson, submitting him a round earlier than he did 22 months ago. While Cormier cinching a rear-naked choke on “Rumble” was not exactly a surprise, what followed was, as the 33-year-old Johnson suddenly announced his retirement.
After bouncing around four weight classes, Johnson finally settled at 205 pounds in late 2012; and since then, no man other than Cormier has beaten him. The Dublin, Georgia, native made his debut in these rankings back in April 2014 following his win over Phil Davis. In wake of his retirement, perhaps the biggest hitter in MMA history and our previously second-ranked light heavyweight exits our top 10. With Johnson hanging up the gloves, we welcome an old, familiar face back to the 205-pound rankings: Hello, again, Mauricio Rua (online betting).
On the same UFC 210 bill, Charles Oliveira moved back up to 155 pounds and upset our previous No. 8 lightweight Will Brooks. In the ultra-competitive lightweight class, that will knock Brooks down a peg, and as such, the former Bellator MMA champion exits our top 10 and falls beyond our bubble list of contenders. With Brooks being booted, the Sherdog.com rankings welcome 24-year-old prospect Kevin Lee from the bubble list to the No. 10 spot. Meanwhile, Oliveira’s brilliant, highlight-reel submission was a keen reminder of why he is one of the most offensively gifted grapplers in MMA history. While “Do Bronx” remains adamant he wants to return to 145 pounds, we remain skeptical. More importantly, while his clash with Brooks served as his “official” return to the lightweight division, it was actually Oliveira’s second consecutive bout at 155 pounds; he blew weight by 10 pounds before losing to Ricardo Lamas in November. Rules are rules, and that means Oliveira, our previously seventh-ranked featherweight, exits our list, as well, permitting formerly 10th-ranked Doo Ho Choi to recapture that spot.
In other rankings movement: Gegard Mousasi’s controversial stoppage of Chris Weidman sees him rise to our middleweight top five, while UFC 210 also saw undefeated flyweight prospect Magomed Bibulatov make a rock-solid promotional debut, dominating Jenel Lausa to rise to No. 8 at 125 pounds.
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