signaled the arrival of two new entrants to the ranks of
the mixed martial arts elite.
Following their stunning wins on a seismic night in Las Vegas,
newly crowned UFC middleweight champion Luke
and now-undisputed featherweight ace Conor
make their debuts in this edition of Sherdog.com’s
pound-for-pound top 10.
Rockhold, who grounded and pounded his way to a bloody technical
knockout of previously unbeaten Chris
, joins the list at No. 3. Though often overlooked, the
31-year-old Californian has strung together a remarkable run at 185
pounds over his last six years in the UFC and Strikeforce, topping
such names as Ronaldo
. In defeat, Weidman drops three places to the No. 7
McGregor comes in at No. 5 thanks to his earth-shattering KO of
longtime pound-for-pound ranker Jose Aldo
had not tasted defeat in 10 years. “Notorious” has backed up every
bit of his bravado by blasting nearly all opponents placed before
him, collecting six finishes in seven UFC outings. Previously
slotted at No. 2, Aldo falls to the six spot on the heels of long
injury layoffs and an almost unimaginable downfall.
Aldo’s tumble moves flyweight champion Demetrious
up one place into the No. 2 position. Meanwhile, the
arrival of Rockhold and McGregor knocks former lightweight ace
and ex-welterweight titlist Johny
out of the rankings.
Jones has been out of commission since January after being
suspended by the UFC and stripped of his light heavyweight title,
but it has done little to diminish his status as the world’s
premier mixed martial artist. Prior to his well-documented legal
troubles, Jones was riding roughshod over the 205-pound class and
had defended the belt a division-record eight times. Now
reinstated, the 28-year-old continues to train and has also taken
up powerlifting while he awaits his return, which is expected to
come in the first half of 2016. When he does re-enter the Octagon,
Jones will be headed for a rematch with nemesis Daniel Cormier, who
now holds the belt which “Bones” never lost in the cage.
Johnson continues to reign supreme over the 125-pound division. His
latest feat came at UFC 191, where the 29-year-old defended his
belt for the seventh time -- Anderson
holds the all-time record at 10 -- with a lopsided
decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John
. In a little less than three years as champion, “Mighty
Mouse” has taken out all contenders in his division, and he has
done so in convincing fashion. Johnson will carry a nine-fight
winning streak into his next appearance.
Rockhold made the most of what he believed was an overdue title
shot, grabbing the middleweight crown at UFC 194 and handing Chris
Weidman his first defeat in the process. The American Kickboxing
Academy product put on the performance of his career to slice,
pound and eventually finish Weidman in the fourth frame. Since
entering the Octagon as the final Strikeforce 185-pound champ,
Rockhold has recorded impressive finishes against the likes of
, with the only blemish on his 5-1 mark coming in a
knockout loss to Vitor
At UFC 185, dos Anjos proved that good things come to those who
wait when he earned the UFC lightweight title after more than seven
years with the organization. For 25 minutes, the well-rounded
Brazilian put on a near-perfect performance, dominating the dynamic
like none before. Dos Anjos has won nine of his last 10
bouts, including a knockout of durable ex-champ Benson
and a decision win against currently streaking
. Though dos Anjos would doubtless like to settle the
score with the only man to beat him in the past three years,
, he will next defend his title in a rematch
against Cerrone at UFC on Fox 17 on Dec. 19.
McGregor has taken the featherweight class and the MMA world by
storm in the two and a half years since he landed in the Octagon.
With the spotlight aimed squarely at the Irishman for UFC 194,
McGregor cleared the last hurdle to greatness by laying waste to
featherweight king Jose Aldo in quick and brutal fashion. The
coronation capped a year which saw “Notorious” knock out Chad Mendes
, all the while garnering media attention to rival that of
. While it remains to be seen whether McGregor will stick
around at 145 pounds or head up to 155, one thing is for sure: All
eyes will be on his next bout.
All things must pass, and Aldo’s time as the invincible ruler of
the featherweight division came to a shocking conclusion at UFC
194. The only undisputed 145-pound champion the Octagon had ever
known was knocked senseless by Conor McGregor in only 13 seconds,
slamming shut the book on an era of divisional dominance. As WEC
and UFC champion, Aldo bested the likes of Urijah Faber
. With near-constant injuries keeping “Scarface” out of
action for extended stretches, stringing together another such run
could prove extremely difficult.
After 13 professional fights without a defeat and two wins over
middleweight legend Anderson
, the “All-American” finally met his match at UFC 194.
Weidman struggled valiantly but could not withstand the punishing
ground-and-pound of Luke Rockhold, who snatched away the UFC
185-pound title with a fourth-round stoppage. The 31-year-old New
Yorker defended the belt three times -- including a May knockout of
former Rockhold foil Vitor
-- before being deposed.
In the year since his failed bid to dethrone Jon Jones, Cormier has
claimed the mantle left vacant when his rival was stripped and
suspended by the UFC. The 36-year-old became MMA’s de facto light
heavyweight ruler when he dismantled Anthony
in May, then followed up with an impressive defense
in October. Hardware aside, Cormier’s record boasts
some impressive names, with victories over former heavyweight
champs like Josh Barnett
, plus heavy hitters such as Johnson and Dan
. He figures to have another meeting with the newly
reinstated Jones in the near future.
For years, Werdum was regarded as the best heavyweight grappler in
MMA. Since running over Cain
at UFC 188, the 37-year-old Brazilian is being
recognized as the best heavyweight in MMA, period. “Vai Cavalo” is
currently on a 6-0 run inside the Octagon, and his outstanding
résumé includes wins over divisional icons Fedor
. In order to cement his status as the top big
man in the sport, Werdum will have to beat Velasquez again when
they rematch at UFC 196 in February.
The first man to successfully defend the UFC welterweight title in
the post-Georges St.
era, Lawler has taken what the division’s big hitters
have to offer and given in back in spades, most recently halting
in a back-and-forth battle on July 11. Since
rejoining the UFC in February 2013, Lawler has gone 7-1 with four
knockouts. “Ruthless” will next defend his title against Carlos
at UFC 195 on Jan. 2.