Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Chasing History, Correcting History

By Staff Dec 6, 2016

In the wake of “The Ultimate Fighter 24” Finale, this edition of the divisional rankings has some fighters chasing history and some fighters seeking to correct it.

Demetrious Johnson defended his UFC flyweight title for the ninth time on Dec. 3 in Las Vegas, earning an entertaining unanimous decision win over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 24 winner Tim Elliott. The win leaves “Mighty Mouse” one title defense away from middleweight legend Anderson Silva’s UFC record of 10. The event also gave us a pretty good idea of who that 10th defense will come against.

The same night, Joseph Benavidez pulled off his sixth straight win since Johnson smashed him unconscious in December 2013, topping TUF 24 rival coach and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo via close split decision. For Benavidez, who has lost two UFC flyweight title bouts to Johnson, this next challenge will likely be his last as long as “Mighty Mouse” sits on the throne and represents his final chance to rectify his torturous history against the AMC Pankration ace.

Speaking of rectifying history, this update also features two very different sorts of corrections at 135 pounds. On the one hand, at Bellator 167 in Thackerville, Oklahoma, former NCAA Division I wrestling champion Darrion Caldwell avenged the lone loss of his career -- a shocking July submission defeat to Joe Taimanglo -- by dominating the Guam native for 15 minutes and reclaiming a spot on our bantamweight bubble.

Most notably, however, is the sudden return of Invicta Fighting Championships bantamweight titleholder Tonya Evinger, who gets her spot back in the women’s 135-pound top 10 courtesy of the Missouri Office of Athletics. Our last update saw the addition of Russian Yana Kunitskaya after her controversial submission win over Evinger allowed her to take the Invicta title on Nov. 18. However, Evinger launched a protest due to referee Mike England incorrectly telling her she could not put her foot on Kunitskaya’s face, arguably leading to her submission defeat. The MOA agreed, making Kunitskaya’s win a no-contest, knocking her out of our rankings and giving Evinger the Invicta title and seat at the top-10 table.

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