The man himself is openly deferring an Ultimate Fighting Championship title shot in favor of the more deserving Frankie Edgar. Make no mistake, though: It may not be long until “T-City” is host to a UFC featherweight title bout.
The undefeated Brian Ortega officially shed the “prospect” label at UFC Fight Night 123 on Dec. 9 in Fresno, California, choking out perennial divisional standout Cub Swanson in the second round in one of the year’s most brilliant submissions. Following the biggest win of his career and fifth straight stoppage inside the Octagon, Ortega rises from No. 7 to the fourth spot in our rankings. The defeated Swanson, now a free agent, falls from No. 5 to sixth.
On the undercard of the UFC’s effort in Fresno, Marlon Moraes delivered a devastating knee-strike knockout to Aljamain Sterling. Courtesy of his second UFC win in four weeks, “Magic” Moraes rises one spot at 135 pounds, vaulting Jimmie Rivera to the No. 5 position.
We also have two new entrants into their respective divisional top 10s, albeit under unusual circumstances.
After their Dec. 9 rematch and move to flyweight, Alexis Davis and Liz Carmouche exit our contenders list and No. 10 spot, respectively, at 135 pounds. The undefeated Aspen Ladd, just 22 years old, fills the vacancy left in the 10th slot at bantamweight. Meanwhile, Invicta Fighting Championships 26 on Dec. 8 saw the ranked Tessa Simpson fall to an overweight Amber Brown in a mere 50 seconds. Brown was not rewarded for her blown weight cut in victory, but Simpson still falls to our contenders list at 105 pounds. As a result, upstart Lisbeth Lopez Silva climbs into the top 10.
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