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Sherdog’s Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Bantamweight




Bantamweight


1. T.J. Dillashaw (11-2)

The UFC bantamweight champion made the most of a bad situation when Renan Barao dropped out of their rematch at UFC 177. Dillashaw outclassed last-second replacement Joe Soto for 20 minutes before finishing with a head kick and follow-up punches in the fifth round -- just as he did to Barao to claim the title in May. The 29-year-old Team Alpha Male fighter was scheduled to rematch Barao at UFC 186, but Dillashaw was forced to withdraw after suffering a fractured rib while training. The two bantamweights will instead square off at UFC on Fox 16 in Chicago on July 25.

2. Renan Barao (32-2, 1 NC)

Barao bounced back from his first loss in more than nine years on Dec. 20, as he submitted Canadian Mitch Gagnon with a third-round triangle choke in his native Brazil. The 28-year-old Nova Uniao ace has won 23 of his past 24 bouts and made it clear he wants a chance to reclaim the UFC bantamweight championship from the man who took it from him: Team Alpha Male’s T.J. Dillashaw. Barao will get his chance once Dillashaw heals from a fractured rib. They will meet again at UFC on Fox 16 in July.

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3. Dominick Cruz (20-1)

It had been three years since Cruz last stepped into the Octagon, but at UFC 178, he looked like the same old “Dominator.” The former bantamweight king showed no ill effects from multiple knee surgeries, as he executed a flawless, 61-second dismantling of perennial contender Takeya Mizugaki. Just when it looked like Cruz had shaken the injury bug, he revealed another blown ACL -- this time on his right knee -- will keep him out of action until late 2015.

4. Urijah Faber (32-8)

Faber’s return to the division in which he rose to prominence did not go well, as “The California Kid” was outworked for five rounds by Frankie Edgar in the featherweight headliner of UFC Fight Night Manila. The unanimous decision loss snapped a two-fight winning streak for the Team Alpha Male leader and marked Faber’s first loss in a non-title bout.

5. Raphael Assuncao (23-4)

Assuncao continued his climb up the 135-pound ranks on Oct. 4 by halting the momentum of Bryan Caraway with a steady diet of leg and body kicks. The Atlanta-based Brazilian's current seven-fight winning streak stretches back to 2011 and includes a split decision victory over current champion T.J. Dillashaw. Assuncao was scheduled for a March 21 rematch with former WEC champ Urijah Faber but withdrew with an injury.

6. Aljamain Sterling (11-0)

Sterling has been given no easy outs since entering the Octagon in February 2014, but his third UFC appearance brought his toughest opponent yet. The unbeaten “Funk Master” shined against perennial bantamweight ranker Takeya Mizugaki on April 18, submitting the Japanese veteran with a third-round arm-triangle choke from guard. Sterling has recorded finishes in five of his last six bouts, four of those by way of submission.

7. Takeya Mizugaki (20-9-2)

At UFC on Fox 15, Mizugaki looked to rebound from the streak-snapping knockout he was dealt by Dominick Cruz in September. Unfortunately for the former WEC title contender, he ran into one of the division’s hottest prospects on April 18, submitting to a third-round choke from the unbeaten Aljamain Sterling. The loss marked the first back-to-back losses for Mizugaki since 2007, when he was competing in Japan’s Shooto organization.

8. Marlon Moraes (14-4-1)

World Series of Fighting’s bantamweight ace persevered through a tough opening round with challenger Josh Hill at WSOF 18, then gradually took control of the bout over the ensuing four frames to notch a unanimous decision. Moraes’ successful title defense was his ninth consecutive win and seventh inside the WSOF cage. The Brazilian will go for his 10th straight victory against countryman Sheymon Moraes on Aug. 1.

9. Frankie Saenz (10-2)

Two fights into his Octagon career, former King of the Cage titlist Saenz has improbably landed himself a spot in the top 10 thanks to an upset victory against the vastly more experienced Iuri Alcantara. Saenz’s fast pace, takedowns and ground-and-pound overwhelmed the Brazilian on Feb. 22, earning him a unanimous decision and his sixth consecutive win.

10. Iuri Alcantara (31-6, 1 NC)

Just when Alcantara seemed to be closing in on contender status, along came Frankie Saenz. “Marajo” entered his Feb. 22 bout with the lesser-known American on a three-fight winning streak but could not make it four, as Saenz’s constant pressure kept the Brazilian from prevailing before a partisan crowd. Alcantara, who has competed in the Octagon since 2011, holds a UFC record of 6-3, with one no-contest.

Other Contenders: Thomas Almeida, Bryan Caraway, Marcos Galvao, Francisco Rivera, Joe Warren.

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