’s Pound-for-Pound Top 10

By Staff Dec 14, 2015

UFC 194 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 Rockhold and now-undisputed featherweight ace Conor McGregor make their debuts in this edition of’s pound-for-pound top 10.

Rockhold, who grounded and pounded his way to a bloody technical knockout of previously unbeaten Chris Weidman, 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 Souza, Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping. In defeat, Weidman drops three places to the No. 7 ranking.

McGregor comes in at No. 5 thanks to his earth-shattering KO of longtime pound-for-pound ranker Jose Aldo, who 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 Johnson up one place into the No. 2 position. Meanwhile, the arrival of Rockhold and McGregor knocks former lightweight ace Anthony Pettis and ex-welterweight titlist Johny Hendricks out of the rankings.

Related » Sherdog Divisional Rankings

1. Jon Jones (21-1)

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.

2. 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 -- Anderson Silva holds the all-time record at 10 -- with a lopsided decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner 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.

3. Luke Rockhold (15-2)

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 Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping , with the only blemish on his 5-1 mark coming in a knockout loss to Vitor Belfort.

4. Rafael dos Anjos (24-7)

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 Anthony Pettis like none before. Dos Anjos has won nine of his last 10 bouts, including a knockout of durable ex-champ Benson Henderson and a decision win against currently streaking contender Donald Cerrone. Though dos Anjos would doubtless like to settle the score with the only man to beat him in the past three years, Khabib Nurmagomedov, he will next defend his title in a rematch against Cerrone at UFC on Fox 17 on Dec. 19.

5. Conor McGregor (19-2)

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 and Dennis Siver, all the while garnering media attention to rival that of Ronda Rousey. 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.

6. Jose Aldo (25-2)

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 (twice), Frankie Edgar and Kenny Florian. With near-constant injuries keeping “Scarface” out of action for extended stretches, stringing together another such run could prove extremely difficult.

7. Chris Weidman (13-1)

After 13 professional fights without a defeat and two wins over middleweight legend Anderson Silva, 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 Belfort -- before being deposed.

8. Daniel Cormier (17-1)

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 Johnson in May, then followed up with an impressive defense against Alexander Gustafsson in October. Hardware aside, Cormier’s record boasts some impressive names, with victories over former heavyweight champs like Josh Barnett and Frank Mir, plus heavy hitters such as Johnson and Dan Henderson. He figures to have another meeting with the newly reinstated Jones in the near future.

9. Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1)

For years, Werdum was regarded as the best heavyweight grappler in MMA. Since running over Cain Velasquez 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 Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. 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.

10. Robbie Lawler (26-10, 1 NC)

The first man to successfully defend the UFC welterweight title in the post-Georges St. Pierre era, Lawler has taken what the division’s big hitters have to offer and given in back in spades, most recently halting Rory MacDonald 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 Condit at UFC 195 on Jan. 2.


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