There are so many legitimate contenders for the Yahoo! Sports MMA Top 10 poll that some of the world's best fighters are getting little attention from the pollsters.
Benson Henderson is Exhibit A in this month's story of how closely matched the world's best fighters are now. Henderson, the UFC's classy lightweight champion, put on arguably the performance of his lifetime on Dec. 8 when he throttled Nate Diaz.
There were some who believed that Henderson might defeat Diaz, but few thought he would hand Diaz such a devastating and decisive beating. Despite that, all Henderson managed to do was to retain his spot in the rankings. He narrowed the gap a bit on fifth-place Junior dos Santos, but he remained in sixth.
Two fighters who are ineligible at this point, light heavyweight Dan Henderson and welterweight Nick Diaz, will return in the early part of 2013, making it even tighter. Henderson is ineligible because he's been inactive more than 12 months. Nick Diaz is inactive because he's been suspended in Nevada for failing a drug test.
With that, here are the results of the December Yahoo! Sports MMA poll:
1. Anderson Silva
Points: 218 (20 of 22 first-place votes)
2. Jon Jones
Points: 195 (2 of 22 first-place votes)
3. Georges St-Pierre
4. Jose Aldo
5. Junior dos Santos
6. Benson Henderson
7. Frankie Edgar
8. Gilbert Melendez
9. Demetrious Johnson
10. Renan Barao
Others receiving votes: Cain Velasquez, 15; Carlos Condit, 13; Ronda Rousey, 9; Johny Hendricks, 6; Rashad Evans, 5; Gray Maynard, 4; Daniel Cormier, 2.
Ineligible: Nick Diaz (serving marijuana suspension); Alistair Overeem (serving PED suspension); Dominick Cruz (inactive more than 12 months) Dan Henderson (inactive more than 12 months).
Voting panel:Denny Burkholder, CBSSports.com; Mike Chiappetta, MMA Fighting and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, ESPN Radio 1100, Las Vegas; Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press; Dave Deibert, Post Media; Dave Doyle, MMA Fighting/SI.com; Matt Erickson, MMA Junkie/USA Today; Ariel Helwani, MMA Fighting; Rafael Hernandez Brito, Univision; Adam Hill, Las Vegas Review-Journal; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Case Keefer, Las Vegas Sun; Damon Martin, MMA Weekly; Todd Martin, freelance; Dave Meltzer, The Wrestling Observer/MMA Fighting; John Morgan, MMA Junkie/USA Today; Brett Okamoto, ESPN.com; Ken Pishna, MMA Weekly; Greg Savage, Sherdog; Mike Straka, Spike TV and Sirius/XM; Dann Stupp, MMA Junkie/USA Today; Jeff Wagenheim, SI.com.
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