MMA rankings: Jones’ remarkable run can’t dislodge Silva from top spot
Anderson Silva is, once again, the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. And, yes, the sun rises in the East, sets in the West and the Chicago Cubs haven’t won a World Series since before your grandparents were born.
Silva landed 22 of the 24 votes cast by mixed martial arts journalists in the March Yahoo! Sports MMA ratings.
It’s hard to argue with Silva’s voting dominance. He’s unbeaten in the UFC, going 14-0. He’s only gone to a decision twice in those fights. He’s 11-0 in title fights and holds just about every meaningful record there is to hold.
That said, there is another guy who is worthy of being recognized as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Light heavyweight champion Jon Jones was just 19 when Silva began his remarkable UFC run. As remarkable as that run has been, however, it pales in comparison to what Jones accomplished in 2011.
He choked out Ryan Bader in a fight for the No. 1 contender spot, stopped Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to win the 205-pound title and then successfully defended it with submission victories over former champions Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida.
It was, without question, the greatest year a UFC fighter has had. He beat three world champions in a very one-sided manner and he stopped a previously unbeaten fighter whom many had tagged as a potential title-holder.
The best part is, Jones still has growth and can get even better.
Silva did nothing to lose the top spot. Jones simply snatched it away from him.
Whether Jones can maintain Silva’s long run of excellence remains to be seen. But when you’re considering the best at the present moment, it has to be the guy beating the best opposition possible in the most convincing manner possible.
As great as Silva is, to me, right now that’s Jon “Bones” Jones.
With that, let’s get to the results of the voting.
10. Rashad Evans
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last outing: W5 Phil Davis, Jan. 28
Previous ranking: 9
Up next: Title challenge vs. No. 2 Jon Jones at UFC 145, April 21
9. Frankie Edgar
Weight class: Lightweight
Last outing: L5 Benson Henderson, Feb. 25
Previous ranking: 5
Up next: Title challenge vs. No. 7 Benson Henderson, date/site TBA
8. Gilbert Melendez
Affiliation: Strikeforce (lightweight champion)
Weight class: Lightweight
Last outing: W5 Jorge Masvidal, Dec. 17
Previous ranking: T8
Up next: Nothing scheduled
7. Benson Henderson
Weight class: Lightweight (UFC champion)
Last outing: W5 Frankie Edgar, Feb. 25
Previous ranking: NR
Up next: Title defense vs. No. 9 Edgar, date/site TBA
6. Junior dos Santos
Affiliation: UFC (heavyweight champion)
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last outing: TKO1 Cain Velasquez, Nov. 12
Previous ranking: 7
Up next: Title defense vs. Alistair Overeem at UFC 146, May 26
5. Dominick Cruz
Affiliation: UFC (bantamweight champion)
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last outing: W5 Demetrious Johnson, Oct. 1
Previous ranking: 6
Up next: Title defense vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 148, July 7
4. Jose Aldo
Affiliation: UFC (featherweight champion)
Weight class: Featherweight
Last outing: TKO1 Chad Mendes, Jan. 14
Previous ranking: 4
Up next: Title defense vs. TBA at UFC 149 in Calgary, July 21
3. Georges St. Pierre
Affiliation: UFC (welterweight champion)
Weight class: Welterweight
Last outing: W5 Jake Shields, April 30
Previous ranking: 3
Up next: Out with injury; nothing scheduled
2. Jon Jones
Points: 211 (2 of 24 first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC (light heavyweight champion)
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last outing: Submission 2 Lyoto Machida, Dec. 10
Previous ranking: 2
Up next: Title defense vs. No. 10 Rashad Evans at UFC 145, April 21
1. Anderson Silva
Points: 238 (22 of 24 first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC (middleweight champion)
Weight class: Middleweight
Last outing: TKO2 Yushin Okami, Aug. 27
Previous ranking: 1
Up next: Title defense vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 147, June 16
Others receiving votes: Dan Henderson, 37; Carlos Condit, 16; Gray Maynard, 5; Joseph Benavidez, 4; Alistair Overeem, 3; Chael Sonnen, 1.
Voting panel: Denny Burkholder, CBSSports.com; Elias Cepeda, Cage Potato; Mike Chiappetta, MMA Fighting and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, Cagewriter; Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press; Dave Doyle, Yahoo! Sports; Joe Ferraro, Rogers Sportsnet; Ben Fowlkes, MMA Fighting; Josh Gross, ESPN.com; Ariel Helwani, MMA Fighting; Adam Hill, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Case Keefer, Las Vegas Sun; Damon Martin, MMA Weekly; Todd Martin, freelance; Steven Marrocco, MMA Junkie; Dave Meltzer, The Wrestling Observer; Brett Okamoto, ESPN.com; Ken Pishna, MMA Weekly; Michael David Smith, MMA Fighting; Mike Straka, Spike TV and Sirius/XM; Dann Stupp, MMA Junkie; Jeff Wagenheim, SI.com.
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