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Rankings: Jones edges Aldo for third

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Jon Jones has long been considered the biggest threat to break up Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre’s duopoly over the top two spots in the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound poll.

At this point, you don’t need me to go into all the reasons why, as the UFC light heavyweight champion’s status as “The Chosen One” has received more hype than anything this side of “Moneyball.”

But what might come as a bit of surprise is how fast Jones has gotten himself into position to knock on the Big Two’s door. Jones’ dominant victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson on Sept. 24, on the heels of a similar destruction of Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, has made it clear Jones could be in for the sort of championship run that at some point stops being called a “reign” and transitions to an “era.”

Silva and St. Pierre’s lock on the top spots remain secure for now, as for the second straight month they were unanimous picks among the 21 voters for first and second, respectively. But Jones’ win over “Rampage” nudged him into the No. 3 spot, with 153 points, one ahead of UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo.

The breakdown: Jones had 12 third-place votes; five fourths; two fifths and two sixths. Aldo received eight thirds, 10 fourths and three fifths (if you’re curious, the other third-place vote went to UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar).

Does Aldo deserve to be bumped down to fourth? I personally voted Aldo third and Jones fourth, as I feel the two boast similar all-around skill sets, and that Aldo, by spending so much time in the WEC, didn’t have the benefit of the UFC spotlight to showcase his abilities until recently. And it doesn’t help that Aldo wasn’t able to put away Mark Hominick in his most recent fight. Either way, two things are clear: One is that Jones is steadily pushing his way toward No. 1; the other is that Aldo, with a title defense on Oct. 8 against Kenny Florian, can demonstrate whether he belongs in the conversation with Silva, St. Pierre and Jones.

This month's voting panel: Denny Burkholder,; Elias Cepeda, Fight! Magazine; Mike Chiappetta and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, Cagewriter and ESPN Radio 1100 Las Vegas; Neil Davidson The Canadian Press; Dave Doyle Yahoo! Sports; CTV Sportsnet;Ben Fowlkes, and; Josh Gross,; Ariel Helwani, and; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Damon Martin,; Todd Martin, freelance; Franklin McNeil,; Brad McCray, freelance; Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports and The Wrestling Observer; John Morgan,; Ken Pishna,; Michael David Smith,; Mike Straka, Tapout TV; Dann Stupp, and The Dayton Daily News;Jeff Wagenheim,

Scoring: Ten points for a first-place vote, nine points for second, etc., down to one point for a 10th-place vote. Fighters who are under suspension for use of performance-enhancing substances or abuse of drugs are ineligible to be considered for the duration of their suspensions. Fighters who have been inactive for more than 12 months are ineligible for consideration until the completion of their next fight.



T-9. Gray Maynard
Points: 37
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: lightweight
Hometown: Las Vegas
Record: 10-0-1, 1 no-contest (draw in previous fight)
Last month's ranking:T-9
Most recent result: vs. Frankie Edgar, majority draw, Jan. 1

The Edge Element
Ranked behind Frankie Edgar despite a win and a draw in their two bouts. Will the third time be the charm?



T-9. Gilbert Melendez
Points: 37
Affiliation: Strikeforce (lightweight champion)
Weight class: lightweight
Hometown: San Francisco
Record: 19-2 (won past five)
Last month's ranking:T- 9
Most recent result: def. Tatsuya Kawajiri, R1 TKO, April 9

The Edge Element
Strikeforce’s last remaining relevant men’s star is expected to defend his title against Jorge Masvidal on Dec. 17.



8. Jon Fitch
Points: 38
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: welterweight
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Record: 23-3-1, 1 no-contest (draw in previous fight)
Last month's ranking: 8
Most recent result: majority draw vs. B.J. Penn, Feb. 21

The Edge Element
Finally returns to the cage on Dec. 30, where he’ll meet 11-1 Johny Hendricks.



7. Cain Velasquez
Points: 70
Affiliation: UFC (heavyweight champion)
Weight class: heavyweight
Hometown: Salinas, Calif.
Record: 9-0 (won past nine)
Last month's ranking: 7
Most recent result: def. Brock Lesnar, R1 TKO, Oct. 23

The Edge Element
How many different ways is the pressure on Velasquez on Nov. 12? He’s been out nearly a year with a shoulder injury; he’s making his first title defense; he’s meeting the heavyweight division’s best boxer in Junior dos Santos; and it is the UFC’s debut on live network television. If Velasquez passes this test, it’s hard to see what else could faze him.



6. Dominick Cruz
Points: 107
Affiliation: UFC (bantamweight champion)
Weight class: bantamweight
Hometown: San Diego
Record: 17-1 (won past seven)
Last month's ranking: 6
Most recent result: def. Urijah Faber, unanimous decision, July 2

The Edge Element
Faces a key test on Saturday against the underrated Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.



5. Frankie Edgar
Points: 115
Affiliation: UFC (lightweight champion)
Weight class: lightweight
Hometown: Toms River, N.J.
Record: 13-1-1 (draw in previous fight)
Last month's ranking: 5
Most recent result: split draw vs. Gray Maynard, Jan. 1

The Edge Element
Can prove he merits a top-five ranking once and for all with a win over his nemesis Maynard.



4. Jose Aldo
Points: 152
Affiliation: UFC (featherweight champion)
Weight class: featherweight
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro
Record: 18-1 (won past 11)
Last month's ranking: 3
Most recent result: def. Mark Hominick, unanimous decision, April 30

The Edge Element
Was his inability to finish Hominick an aberration, or truly the end of the spell in which he ran over the competition? We’ll know soon.



3. Jon Jones
Points: 153
Affiliation: UFC (light heavyweight champion)
Weight class: light heavyweight
Hometown: Endicott, N.Y.
Record: 14-1 (won previous five)
Last month's ranking: 4
Most recent result: def. Quinton Jackson, R4 submission, Sept. 24

The Edge Element
While he’s not likely to take a top-two spot until someone ahead of him stumbles, Jones isn’t far off.


St. Pierre

2. Georges St. Pierre
Points: 189
Affiliation: UFC (welterweight champion)
Weight class: welterweight
Hometown: Saint-Isidore, Quebec
Record: 22-2 (won past nine)
Last month's ranking: 2
Most recent result: def. Jake Shields, unanimous decision, April 30

The Edge Element
Don’t sleep on St. Pierre’s new Oct. 29 opponent, Carlos Condit, who has made a career out of surprising opponents who have overlooked him.



1. Anderson Silva
Points: 210 (21 first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC (middleweight champion)
Weight class: middleweight
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 29-4 (won past 14)
Last month's ranking: 1
Most recent result: def. Yushin Okami, R2 TKO, Aug. 27

The Edge Element
The king, etc. …


• Votes for others: Mauricio Rua 10; Rashad Evans 9; Nick Diaz ; Jake Shields 6; B.J. Penn 5; Junior dos Santos, Dan Henderson 4; Lyoto Machida 2.

• Upcoming matches for ranked fighters: No. 2 Georges St. Pierre vs. Carlos Condit, Oct. 29; No. 4 Jose Aldo vs. Kenny Florian, Oct. 8; No. 5 Frankie Edgar vs. No. T-9 Gray Maynard, Oct. 8;

• The official Yahoo! Sports mixed martial arts Twitter page is live. Check out last month’s rankings

The official Yahoo! Sports mixed martial arts Twitter page is live. Follow @YahooSportsMMA

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