1. Demetrious Johnson (23-2-1)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 with a lopsided decision over John Dodson. 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.
2. Joseph Benavidez (23-4)Benavidez extended his winning streak to four with a tactical decision win over returning Russian slugger Ali Bagautinov at UFC 192. The Team Alpha Male fighter has a stranglehold on the No. 2 spot at flyweight but is stuck behind Demetrious Johnson, a man to whom he has lost twice. If he continues to knock off contenders, however, it may become impossible to deny Benavidez a third shot at the crown.
3. John Dodson (17-7)Try as he might, Dodson could neither will nor talk himself to victory against flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in the UFC 191 main event on Sept. 5. “The Magician” was victimized for a second time by Johnson, as he dropped a unanimous decision in a rematch that never felt competitive. Dodson now finds himself in divisional limbo, having lost to the champion twice in the span of five fights.
4. Jussier da Silva (18-3)The former Shooto Americas titlist did just enough to outpoint countryman Wilson Reis in their May 30 meeting at UFC Fight Night in Goiania, Brazil. Since being punched out in two of his first three Octagon appearances, the 30-year-old “Formiga” has strung together a three-fight winning streak, including an August victory against former Bellator ace Zach Makovsky. Da Silva’s next assignment will come against undefeated Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo at a UFC Fight Night event on Nov. 21 in Monterrey, Mexico.
5. Ian McCall (13-5-1)McCall got off to a strong start in his rescheduled bout with John Lineker at UFC 183, but the Brazilian turned up the heat in rounds two and three, eventually taking a unanimous decision over “Uncle Creepy.” While the loss stopped any immediate thought of McCall earning a third bout with Demetrious Johnson, it did not impact the 31-year-old’s ranking due to Lineker weighing in at 130 pounds. McCall was slated to rematch Dustin Ortiz on Aug. 8 but withdrew from the bout with an injury.
6. Zach Makovsky (19-6)Makovsky’s left hand found its target throughout his UFC 187 meeting with John Dodson, but the former Bellator champion failed to do enough to earn the judges’ nod. Since a hot 2-0 start to his Octagon run, “Fun Size” has dropped two of his last three, with all five of his UFC bouts going to the scorecards.
7. John Moraga (16-4)Despite finding some success on the feet at UFC 187, Moraga was ultimately overwhelmed by the takedowns and ground-and-pound of Joseph Benavidez, who pocketed a unanimous decision after three rounds. “Chicano John” continues to be a tough out for most flyweights but has come up short against the division’s elite during his 5-3 Octagon run.
8. Kyoji Horiguchi (16-2)In his first fight since a failed bid to take Demetrious Johnson’s title, Horiguchi bounced back with a strong showing against Chico Camus on Sept. 27 in Japan. The 24-year-old was in top form as he used superior speed and movement to beat Camus to the punch across 15 minutes. The unanimous decision moved Horiguchi’s Octagon record to 5-1.
9. Henry Cejudo (9-0)Although it was far from his impressive display against Chris Cariaso three months prior, Cejudo prevailed over Chico Camus with a unanimous decision at UFC 188. The Olympic wrestling gold medalist has now successfully made weight for and won two consecutive flyweight bouts, though Cejudo admitted after the Camus fight that he is not yet ready for title shot. UFC brass apparently agreed with his assessment, as Cejudo has since been paired with Jussier da Silva at UFC Fight Night “Brown vs. Gastelum” in November.
10. Dustin Ortiz (15-4)Ortiz nullified the offensive firepower of Willie Gates in their Aug. 8 duel, repeatedly flooring the late replacement -- a fill-in for Ian McCall -- and punching his way to a third-round stoppage before a hometown crowd in Nashville. Ortiz’s first finish since his Octagon debut in 2013 put him back in the win column after dropping a decision to Joseph Benavidez in November.
Other Contenders: Ray Borg, Adriano Moraes, Yuki Motoya, Wilson Reis, Louis Smolka.
Continue Reading » Women’s Bantamweight