Editor's note 7/12: Rankings will be updated this week.
For the fifth straight month, Fedor Emelianenko finds himself tied atop the Yahoo! Sports rankings. For the second straight month, that tie is with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
Yes, we're as sick of the logjam as you are. But the good news is it should not last much longer. St. Pierre returns to action on July 11 at UFC 100, when he defends his title against Thiago Alves. And that match kicks off a four-week span in which five of this month's top six compete.
Emelianenko, for his part, rides a 10-match winning streak into his Aug. 1 Affliction fight with Josh Barnett. The 31-year-old Barnett, as a former UFC and Pancrase champion, undoubtedly has impeccable credentials. But he's feasted on cupcakes over the past two years, taking on the likes of Pawel Nastula and Pedro Rizzo, with Glass Joe and the Brooklyn Brawler presumably unavailable. So the match represents something of a "put up or shut up" moment for the Seattle native.
The encore to Fedor-Barnett comes the following weekend with three big matches on tap: No. 3 Anderson Silva meets Forrest Griffin at light heavyweight and No. 6 B.J. Penn defends his UFC lightweight title against Kenny Florian, both on August 8; then the following evening, No. 5 Miguel Torres defends his WEC bantamweight crown against Brian Bowles.
But we didn't have to wait for the summer blockbusters to see some movement in the rankings. Lyoto Machida turned heads at UFC 98 by tearing apart Rashad Evans in two rounds. He moved from No. 7 in the poll to the fourth spot. Evans dropped from fifth to ninth after his first professional loss. Mike Brown's win over Urijah Faber in a match of the year candidate on June 7 also had implications, as Brown, the WEC featherweight champ, moved up from No. 9 to 7, and Faber, who was in 10th place, fell into a 10th-place tie with Thiago Alves.
Ballots from the 17-member panel of legitimate mixed martial arts media from major sports websites, newspapers, news services and MMA websites are tabulated with 10 points for each first-place vote, nine points for each second, etc., down to one point for a 10th-place vote. Fighters suspended for drug or steroid violations are ineligible for consideration during the duration of their suspension, and fighters who go more than 12 months without competing are ineligible until after their next fight.
For the complete list of the poll's voters, along with links to their sites, click here.
10 (tie). Thiago Alves
Weight class: Welterweight
Hometown: Fortaleza, Brazil
Record: 16-3 (won last seven)
Last month's ranking: unranked
Most recent result: def. Josh Koscheck, unanimous decision, Oct. 20
Analysis: Alves has flirted with top-10 status since his win over Koscheck last fall. His opportunity to prove he belongs is upcoming.
10 (tie). Urijah Faber
Weight class: Featherweight
Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
Record: 22-3 (lost last one)
Last month's ranking: 10
Most recent result: lost to Mike Brown, unanimous decision, June 5
Analysis: Voters aren't ready to abandon the world's second-best featherweight, especially given his valiant performance in going the distance against Brown after breaking his right hand early.
9. Rashad Evans
Weight class: Light heavyweight (UFC light heavyweight champion)
Hometown: Lansing, Mich.
Record: 13-1-1 (lost past one)
Last month's ranking: 5
Most recent result: lost to Lyoto Machida, R2 TKO, May 23.
Analysis: No one has figured out how to beat Machida. And no one besides Machida has figured out how to beat Evans.
8. Quinton Jackson
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Record: 30-7 (won last two)
Last month's ranking: 8
Most recent result: def. Keith Jardine, unanimous decision, March 7
Analysis: Expect "Rampage" to kick around these parts of the rankings for quite some time, as "The Ultimate Fighter 10" will keep him on the sidelines.
7. Mike Brown
Weight class: Featherweight (WEC featherweight champion)
Hometown: Portland, Maine
Record: 22-4 (won last 10)
Last month's ranking: 9
Most recent result: def. Urijah Faber, unanimous decision, June 7
Analysis: Left no doubt about his worth by taking four rounds out of five from Faber in hostile territory.
6. B.J. Penn
Weight class: Lightweight (UFC lightweight champion)
Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii
Record: 13-5-1 (lost past one)
Last month's ranking: 6
Most recent result: lost to Georges St. Pierre, doctor stoppage after R4, Jan. 31
Analysis: Not much left to be said as he gets set to meet Kenny Florian in August.
5. Miguel Angel Torres
Points:85 (1 first-place vote)
Weight class: Bantamweight (WEC bantamweight champion)
Hometown: East Chicago, Ind.
Record: 36-1 (won past 17)
Last month's ranking: 4
Most recent result: def. Takeya Mizugaki, unanimous decision, April 5
Analysis: Has a pattern of running over American opponents, followed by barnburners against Japanese foes. Will this repeat when he meets the unbeaten Bowles?
4. Lyoto Machida
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Hometown: Belem, Brazil
Last month's ranking: 7
Most recent result: def. Rashad Evans, R2 TKO, May 23
Analysis: Not only is Machida unbeaten, but he hasn't dropped a single round in his UFC tenure. "The Dragon" may actually be underrated at this point.
3. Anderson Silva
Points: 139 (four first-place votes)
Weight class: Middleweight (UFC middleweight champion)
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 23-4 (won past nine)
Last month's ranking: 3 (tie)
Most recent result: def. Thales Leites, unanimous decision, April 18
Analysis: No matter how much Dana White pushes Silva as the world's best, Silva will need to come through against Forrest Griffin in order to remain in the conversation.
1 (tie). Georges St. Pierre
Points: 153 (four first-place votes)
Weight class: Welterweight (UFC welterweight champion)
Hometown: Saint-Isidore, Quebec
Record: 18-2 (won past five)
Last month's ranking: 1 (tie)
Most recent result: def. B.J. Penn, doctor stoppage after R4, Jan. 31
Analysis: Ready to face his toughest challenge since winning the welterweight title.
1 (tie). Fedor Emelianenko
Points: 153 (eight first-place votes)
Affiliation: Affliction/M-1 (WAMMA champion; never lost PRIDE title)
Weight class: Heavyweight
Hometown: Stary Oskol, Russia
Record: 30-1, one no-contest (won past 10)
Last month's ranking: 1 (tie)
Most recent result: def. Andrei Arlovski, R1 KO, Jan. 24
Analysis: We don't know if Barnett is the fighter he used to be. But have no doubt Emelianenko will be training for the man who won UFC and Pancrase titles.
• Votes for others: Dan Henderson 7; Shinya Aoki 4; Kenny Florian, Jake Shields, Brock Lesnar 3; Forrest Griffin, Jon Fitch 2.
• Upcoming matches for ranked fighters: No. 1 (tie) Georges St. Pierre vs. No. 10 (tie) Thiago Alves, July 11.
- Thiago Alves
- Urijah Faber
- Rashad Evans
- Lyoto Machida
- Fedor Emelianenko