’s Pound-for-Pound Top 10

By Brian Knapp Nov 7, 2017

Winds of change swept across the bottom tier of the Pound-for-Pound Top 10 rankings, and they took the form of a returning Georges St. Pierre.

“Rush” climbed back into the Octagon for the first time in four years on Nov. 4 and exceeded all reasonable expectations, as he choked Michael Bisping unconscious and captured the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown in the UFC 217 main event at Madison Square Garden in New York. Bisping went motionless in the clutches of a rear-naked choke 4:23 into the third round, his reign atop the 185-pound weight class at an end after 518 days. While the spectacular win was not enough to move St. Pierre into the pound-for-pound rankings, it led to Bisping’s exit and cleared a path for another victorious UFC 217 participant.

T.J. Dillashaw reclaimed the bantamweight title and moved to the No. 10 spot in our rankings in an emotionally charged co-headliner, as he wiped out former Team Alpha Male stablemate Cody Garbrandt with second-round punches. The 31-year-old Sonora, California, native has rattled off three straight wins since his contentious split decision loss to Dominick Cruz on Jan. 17, 2016. Options appear to be wide open for Dillashaw and include a rematch with Garbrandt, a showdown with the winner of the forthcoming battle between Cruz and Jimmie Rivera or perhaps something more historic in nature. After felling Garbrandt, the Elevation Fight Team star took aim at longtime flyweight champion and pound-for-pound ace Demetrious Johnson. Whether or not the UFC wants to travel down that road remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Tony Ferguson leapfrogs Jose Aldo and jumps from 10th to eighth on the pound-for-pound list. “The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner laid claim to the interim lightweight championship in the UFC 216 headliner on Oct. 7, as he submitted Kevin Lee with a third-round triangle choke at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ferguson, 33, has now won 10 in a row -- an all-time record for the UFC lightweight division. He now awaits a potential unification bout with Irish superstar Conor McGregor.

Without further delay, the updated Sherdog Pound-for-Pound Top 10 rankings:

1. Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1)

If you are going to break one of Anderson Silva’s marks, you ought to do it in style. This certainly was not lost on Johnson at UFC 216 on Oct. 7. In a title defense the world knew he would win, “Mighty Mouse” dominated challenger Ray Borg before hitting a breathtaking slam-into-armbar sequence that should earn him “Submission of the Year” honors, to boot. With the victory, Johnson earned his 11th straight UFC title defense, surpassing “The Spider’s” record of 10. Where he goes next is anyone’s guess, but a superfight with newly crowned UFC bantamweight champion T.J. Dillashaw appears to be on the table.

2. Daniel Cormier (19-1, 1 NC)

Cormier is once again UFC light heavyweight champion and the No. 1 205-pound fighter in the world, though it is far from how he wanted to stay on the throne. Cormier could not defeat Jon Jones in their July 29 rematch and settled for a no-contest after Jones’ “B” sample came back positive for steroids. While the American Kickboxing Academy captain becomes a victim by proxy in the “Bones” saga, no one can overlook his stellar accomplishments in two weight classes. High-profile victories over Josh Barnett, Frank Mir, Dan Henderson, Anthony Johnson (twice), Anderson Silva and Alexander Gustafsson highlight his resume. No matter his future in the cage, “DC” remains inextricably linked to Jones while also facing great uncertainty about the identity of his next UFC title challenger. Cormier seems to prefer a matchup with fast-rising contender Volkan Oezdemir in early 2018, with UFC 220 in January reportedly targeted.

3. Conor McGregor (21-3)

The public interest in a McGregor-Nate Diaz rubber match has cooled for now with the ascent of Tony Ferguson to UFC interim lightweight champion. However, “The Notorious” one has started a different kind of politicking ahead of a potential title unification bout with “El Cucuy,” insisting he will not return to the Octagon until he is made co-promoter and/or given equity in the promotion. All things considered, the most optimistic return date for the Irishman is UFC 222 on March 3 in Las Vegas.

4. Max Holloway (18-3)

From the moment Holloway snatched the UFC featherweight title by knocking out the legendary Jose Aldo in Rio de Janeiro on June 3, it seemed like a foregone conclusion his first title defense would come against former UFC lightweight champ Frankie Edgar. In this case, there is nothing wrong with a foregone conclusion. The Holloway-Edgar bout now has a date: “Blessed” will look to take out another legend for his 12th straight Octagon win at UFC 218 on Dec. 2.

5. Tyron Woodley (18-3-1)

Woodley has been on fire for over three years. He has gone undefeated in his last six bouts, taken the UFC welterweight title in devastating fashion from an entrenched champion like Robbie Lawler and then successfully defended that championship three times in less than 12 months. It is no wonder the man is a little miffed he is not getting a Conor McGregor or Georges St. Pierre fight and the accompanying payday. Indignation aside, “The Chosen One” is just hitting his prizefighting prime at 35 years old and now has a better handle on the identity of his next challenger. UFC President Dana White has said that the winner of the Lawler-Rafael dos Anjos battle on Dec. 16 will get the next crack at Woodley.

6. Stipe Miocic (17-2)

Miocic has on his resume successful UFC title defenses against Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem, both via knockout. With just one more defense of his throne, Miocic will have the most heavyweight title defenses in UFC history in a single reign. The question: Who will the challenger be? Our answer should be revealed on Dec. 2 in Detroit, where Overeem and fast-rising contender Francis Ngannou square off in what appears to be a no-brainer title eliminator, even if it is not officially promoted as such by the UFC.

7. Robbie Lawler (28-11, 1 NC)

Lawler for three consecutive years was one half of MMA’s unanimous “Fight of the Year.” When he lost his UFC welterweight title via brutal knockout to Tyron Woodley in July 2016, no one would have held it against the “Ruthless” one if he decided to hang up the gloves after 15 years in the fight game. Instead, Lawler bounced back 12 months later, as he earned a fun decision over Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 214 and put himself in prime position to contend once more. Lawler will face former UFC lightweight champion turned welterweight contender Rafael dos Anjos in the UFC on Fox 26 main event on Dec. 16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; and if UFC President Dana White is to be believed, a shot at Woodley’s championship will be on the line.

8. Tony Ferguson (23-3)

Ferguson’s immediate fate rests in Conor McGregor’s hands. Despite claiming the UFC interim lightweight title by submitting Kevin Lee with a triangle choke at UFC 216, Ferguson has found the Irishman to be an elusive target in his pursuit of a blockbuster unification bout. McGregor has publicly stated he wants equity in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and co-promotional rights before agreeing to the match, leaving “El Cucuy” with an unclear future until the demands are resolved or refused. Nevertheless, Ferguson carries with him one of the best resumes in the sport at 155 pounds. “The Ultimate Fighter 13” winner has won a divisional-record 10 consecutive fights, with victories over Rafael dos Anjos, Edson Barboza and Josh Thomson, among others.

9. Jose Aldo (26-3)

Waiting for any Aldo fight is always unnerving, and in the wake of a June loss to Max Holloway that cost him the UFC featherweight title, the all-time greatest 145er started talking about a desire to try professional boxing instead of focusing on his next Octagon appearance. Nonetheless, Aldo is now officially lined up to rematch onetime UFC title challenger Ricardo Lamas in the UFC on Fox 26 co-feature on Dec. 16 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The 31-year-old Nova Uniao mainstay has won 19 of his last 21 fights -- a run that includes victories over Frankie Edgar (twice), Chad Mendes (twice), Chan Sung Jung, Kenny Florian and Urijah Faber.

10. T.J. Dillashaw (15-3)

Dillashaw lost his UFC bantamweight title by the slimmest of margins in January 2016, dropping a split decision to two-time champion Dominick Cruz. It took him nearly two years, but “Killashaw” is back on top of the bantamweight world. At UFC 217 on Nov. 4, he finally got his showdown with former Team Alpha Male training partner Cody Garbrandt and overcame nearly being stopped in the opening round to knock out “No Love” and take back the UFC title at Madison Square Garden in New York. A Garbrandt rematch or a showdown with the winner of Cruz-Jimmie Rivera seemed like the immediately sensible option for Dillashaw’s first title defense of his second reign, but instead, the newly minted champ called out flyweight kingpin Demetrious Johnson for what would be a monumental superfight.


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