Rankings: Evans still not top-10 worthy

If any fighter has a legitimate gripe about being left out of the top 10 pound-for-pound rankings, it just might be Rashad Evans.

Only twice in his career has the former UFC light heavyweight champion stepped into the Octagon and not come out a winner: his knockout loss to Lyoto Machida and a draw against Tito Ortiz.

Since the 2009 loss to Machida, Evans has shown his mettle as one of the world's elite fighters. He dominated the first two rounds against Thiago Silva at UFC 108, then weathered a third-round storm and came out with a win. He shut down Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in a unanimous decision at UFC 114. And on Aug. 6, he thoroughly outclassed Ortiz in winning their rematch via stoppage.

That's not enough, though, to get the 16-1-1 Evans into the top 10. Prior to the Ortiz rematch, Evans was ineligible for the poll due to inactivity. But his return victory netted him a mere seven points, placing him 13th overall, 21 behind 10th-place Gray Maynard.

The good news for Evans? It looks like he's finally due for his shot at the light heavyweight belt: He's been promised a shot at the winner of the Sept. 24 bout in which will Jon Jones defend his title against Jackson. Whether it's former friend Jones or heated rival Jackson, Evans is likely to fight in one of the biggest bouts of 2012.

Evans was the only fighter who received a vote this month who actually fought, but barren monthly schedules are about to become a thing of the past. No. 1 Anderson Silva's Aug. 27 bout with Yushin Okami kicks off a two-month stretch in which seven of the top 10 are in action.

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

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. This currently applies to Chael Sonnen, who has not fought since losing a middleweight title bout to Anderson Silva last August.

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Maynard

10. Gray Maynard
Points: 28
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: lightweight
Hometown: Las Vegas
Record: 10-0-1, 1 no-contest (draw in previous fight)
Last month's ranking: 10
Most recent result: vs. Frankie Edgar, majority draw, Jan. 1

The Edge Element

There really isn't much Maynard hasn't done in his first two fights with Edgar that needs change, short of finishing Edgar when he has the opportunity.

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Melendez

9. Gilbert Melendez
Points: 33
Affiliation: Strikeforce (lightweight champion)
Weight class: lightweight
Hometown: San Francisco
Record: 19-2 (won past five)
Last month's ranking: 9
Most recent result: def. Tatsuya Kawajiri, R1 TKO, April 9

The Edge Element

With big-name fighters leaving Strikeforce, whether through free agency or because they've been cut, Melendez is suddenly one of the few truly elite fighters left.

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Fitch

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

He still is waiting on his next opponent after getting a rematch with B.J. Penn pulled out from under him.

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Velasquez

7. Cain Velasquez
Points: 86
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

Will briefly disappear from the top 10 due to inactivity, as he'll have a 13-month gap between his victory over Brock Lesnar and his Nov. 19 defense against Junior Dos Santos.

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Cruz

6. Dominick Cruz
Points: 110
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

Putting Cruz's Oct. 1 title defense against Demetrious Johnson on basic cable is a smart move for a fighter who hasn't had as much exposure as the rest of the UFC's championship roster.

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Edgar

5. Frankie Edgar
Points: 113
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

Perhaps the only top-five fighter in either MMA or boxing history who needed a win in the final fight to salvage a split in a trilogy, after losing to and drawing with Maynard in their first two bouts.

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Jones

4. Jon Jones
Points: 140
Affiliation: UFC (light heavyweight champion)
Weight class: light heavyweight
Hometown: Endicott, N.Y.
Record: 13-1 (won previous four)
Last month's ranking: 4
Most recent result: def. Mauricio Rua, R3 TKO, March 19

The Edge Element

Jones best not look past Jackson on the road to a rematch with Evans. Jackson might be past his prime, but there is still power in his fists.

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Aldo

3. Jose Aldo
Points: 151
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

Things get interesting for Aldo from here on out, as Oct. 8 opponent Kenny Florian marks the first in a wave of quality lightweights dropping down to 145 pounds.

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St. Pierre

2. Georges St. Pierre
Points: 193 (two first-place votes)
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

An Oct. 29 bout with the brawling, bombastic Nick Diaz is St. Pierre's chance to silence critics who find his style boring.

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Silva

1. Anderson Silva
Points: 208 (19 first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC (middleweight champion)
Weight class: middleweight
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 28-4 (won past 13)
Last month's ranking: 1
Most recent result: def. Vitor Belfort, R1 KO, Feb. 5

The Edge Element

A win over Okami in Rio would all but ensure Silva will still be champion for a record fifth anniversary, which would occur on Oct. 14.

More:

• Votes for others: Jake Shields, 20; Nick Diaz, 8; Rashad Evans and B.J. Penn, 7; Junior Dos Santos, 5; Dan Henderson, 3; Hatsu Hioki and Lyoto Machida, 2.

• Upcoming matches for ranked fighters: No 1. Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami, Aug. 27, Rio de Janeiro.

Last month's rankings

MMAWeekly's divisional rankings

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