Editor's note: Rankings will be updated after UFC 123.
After Jose Aldo put Manny Gamburyan away with a frightful beatdown on Sept. 30, the choir started singing: Aldo should be in consideration for the No. 1 overall spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.
It's not hard to understand why some feel this way. The 24-year-old WEC featherweight champion has been on a tear reminiscent of the one fellow Brazilian Anderson Silva put together in his rise to the top. Aldo (18-1) has won 11 straight fights and all eight since arriving in the WEC in 2008. His punishing standup game is as explosive as anyone's in the sport. He is a jiu-jitsu black belt, though fans in the States haven't seen it since he's never been put in a position in which he's needed to display those skills.
Aldo's only WEC fight that wasn't a ferocious finish was a decision against Urijah Faber, a 50-44 score and one that went the distance mainly because Faber did not want to quit in front of his hometown Sacramento fans.
The body of work suggests Aldo is building a legitimate candidacy for No. 1. But there's a small problem: the guys ahead of him.
The current holder of the top spot, Georges St. Pierre, hasn't lost a single round in three years. The No. 2, UFC middleweight champion Silva, has won a record 11 consecutive UFC fights.
So if Aldo is going to reach No. 1, he's simply going to have keep doing his thing and wait for one or both of the fighters ahead of him to slip.
After the Gamburyan win, Aldo remained in the No. 3 spot, though he did pick up three second-place votes, the only top-two votes among the 20 voters that didn't go to St. Pierre or Silva. He's not alone in staying put: No fighters dropped out of the top 10 this month, and the only minor change in order is that last month's No. 7, Dominick Cruz, is now tied with Fedor Emelianenko for the No. 6 spot.
It's a familiar song and dance from Emelianenko's camp: The 34-year-old has no fights scheduled. He hasn't won a fight in nearly a year and has not fought a recognized star since knocking out Andrei Arlovski two years ago. The Russian has historically drifted down in the ratings during long periods of inactivity, and this time is no different.
This month's voting panel: Denny Burkholder, CBSSports.com; Elias Cepeda, Inside Fighting; Mike Chiappetta MMAFighting.com and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, Cagewriter and ESPN Radio 1100 Las Vegas; Neil Davidson Yahoo! Sports; Dave Doyle Yahoo! Sports; Ben Fowlkes, SportsIllustrated.com and MMAFighting.com; Josh Gross, SportsIllustrated.com; Ariel Helwani, Versus.com and MMAFighting.com; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Damon Martin, MMAWeekly.com; Todd Martin, freelance; John Morgan, MMAjunkie.com; Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com; Brad McCray, freelance; Dave Meltzer, Yahoo! Sports; and The Wrestling Observer; Brett Okamoto, The Las Vegas Sun; Ken Pishna, MMAWeekly.com; Michael David Smith, MMAFighting.com; Dann Stupp, MMAjunkie.com; and The Dayton Daily News.
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 usage of performance-enhancing substances or drugs of abuse are ineligible to be considered for the duration of their suspensions (including Chael Sonnen, who is planning on appealing his recent positive steroid test); fighters who have been inactive for more than 12 months are ineligible for consideration until after the completion of their next fight.
10. Brock Lesnar
Weight class: Heavyweight (UFC heavyweight champion)
Hometown: Webster, S.D.
Record: 5-1 (won past four)
Last month's ranking: 10
Most recent result: Def. Shane Carwin, R2 TKO, July 3
Analysis: Faces his most well-rounded challenge to date when he defends his title against Cain Velasquez at UFC 121.
9. Jake Shields
Weight class: Welterweight (never lost Strikeforce middleweight title)
Hometown: San Francisco
Record: 25-4-1 (has won past 14)
Last month's ranking: 9
Most recent result: Def. Dan Henderson, unanimous decision, April 17
Analysis: Has not fought a match with legal elbows on the ground in two years. Will this be a factor in his UFC 121 match with Martin Kampmann?
8. Lyoto Machida
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Hometown: Belem, Brazil
Record: 16-1 (lost previous fight)
Last month's ranking: 8
Most recent result: Lost to Mauricio Rua, R1 TKO, May 8
Analysis: Needs a convincing performance against Quinton "Rampage" Jackson on Nov. 20 if he wants a light heavyweight title shot any time soon.
T-6. Dominick Cruz
Weight class: Bantamweight (WEC bantamweight champion)
Hometown: San Diego
Record: 16-1 (has won past seven)
Last month's ranking: 7
Most recent result: Def. Joseph Benavidez, split decision, Aug. 18
Analysis: Is a showdown with Urijah Faber, the only man who has defeated him, looming in Cruz's distance?
T-6. Fedor Emelianenko
Weight class: Heavyweight
Hometown: Stary Oskol, Russia
Record: 31-2, one no-contest (lost last one)
Last month's ranking: 6
Most recent result: Lost to Fabricio Werdum, R1 submission, June 26
Analysis: Some try to argue that Strikeforce has the best heavyweight division in MMA. Let's see their top heavyweights, you know, actually fight each other before we bestow that crown.
5. Frank Edgar
Weight class: Lightweight (UFC lightweight champion)
Hometown: Toms River, N.J.
Record: 13-1 (has won past five)
Last month's ranking: No. 5
Most recent result: Def. B.J. Penn, unanimous decision, Aug. 28
Analysis: Will have a chance to avenge his only loss when he meets Gray Maynard early next year.
4. Mauricio Rua
Weight class: Light heavyweight (UFC light heavyweight champion)
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 19-4 (won previous fight)
Last month's ranking: 4
Most recent result: Def. Lyoto Machida, R1 TKO, May 8
Analysis: Still recovering from knee surgery.
3. Jose Aldo
Weight class: Featherweight (WEC featherweight champion)
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro
Record: 17-1 (has won past 10)
Last month's ranking: 3
Most recent result: Def. Manny Gamburyan, R2 TKO, Sept. 20
Analysis: So who is next for Aldo? The only possible contender is Josh Grispi, who needs another fight or two. I'm not the first to suggest Aldo fight Edgar at 155, and I won't be the last.
2. Anderson Silva
Points: 186 (8 first-place votes)
Weight class: Middleweight (UFC middleweight champion)
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 27-4 (has won past 12)
Last month's ranking: No. 2
Most recent result: Def. Chael Sonnen, R5 submission, Aug. 7
Analysis: This month, Silva becomes the first champion in UFC history to reach the four-year mark of his title reign.
1. Georges St. Pierre
Points: 192 (12 first-place votes)
Weight class: Welterweight (UFC welterweight champion)
Hometown: Saint-Isidore, Quebec
Record: 20-2 (has won past seven)
Last month's ranking: No. 1
Most recent result: Def. Dan Hardy, unanimous decision, March 27
Analysis: Will soon begin serious training for his title defense against Josh Koscheck on Dec. 11.
• Votes for others: Jon Fitch, 25; Rashad Evans, 11; B.J. Penn, 10; Gilbert Melendez, 6; Cain Velasquez, 4; Gray Maynard, 3; Jon Jones, Joseph Benavidez, Nick Diaz, 2.
• Upcoming matches for top 10 fighters: No. 10 Brock Lesnar vs. Cain Velasquez, Oct. 23; No. 9 Jake Shields vs. Martin Kampmann, Oct. 23; No. 8 Lyoto Machida vs. Quinton Jackson, Nov. 20.