So my picks for UFC 132 didn’t go so well. Actually, they were awful. I didn’t get a single one right. But that in itself is a reminder why we follow the sport and support the UFC. You can somehow always expect the unexpected. Who thought an aging, broken down Tito Ortiz would run through a young, explosive Ryan Bader? Did we see the last swing in the UFC for the Axe Murderer? And has Dominick Cruz asserted himself as one of the top fighters in MMA? After asking myself these questions at the conclusion of the event on Saturday, I figured I would take a break from the predictions and use my knowledge to assemble a list of the top 10 MMA fighters in the world.
With the UFC now sporting seven weight divisions, it would be very easy for any top 10 lists of fighters to feature the seven UFC champions. Thus, I believe there needs to be a few guidelines for the Moai Martial Arts Top 10 list.
Top 10 Guidelines
- To be included for consideration in the ranking system, a fighter must have entered the cage within the last six months. Therefore, fighters with long injury lay-offs won’t be considered. This is to keep the rankings as current as possible and to assure that the list features the top 10 fighters at that very moment.
- Any MMA fighter from any MMA promotion may be considered. Whether it is the UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator, etc.
- Finishing fights helps your cause. Don’t get me wrong, winning a fight by decision is an achievement that should be rewarded and revered, but finishing a fight, and leaving the judges out of the process, is appreciated at Moai Martial Arts.
On to the Top 10…10. Jon Fitch Height: 6’ UFC Welterweight MMA Record: 23-1-1, 1 No Contest Nationality: American
Fitch fought to a draw with BJ Penn at UFC 127, and it is possible to argue that either fighter rightfully earned a victory in that bout. But Fitch’s gutsy performance and pending rematch with The Prodigy earn him a spot on our list. Fitch wants another shot at the title, but, before that happens, he will need to defeat Penn in order to assert himself the number one contender.9. Junior Dos Santos
Height: 6’4 Division: UFC Heavyweight MMA Record: 13-1 Nationality: Brazilian
The Brazilian striker has not lost since joining the UFC at UFC 90. His recent decision wins over top heavyweights Roy Nelson and past-interim champ Shane Carwin have certified his spot on our list. Dos Santos and his heavy hands are expected to face champ Cain Velasquez later this year.8. Nick Diaz Height: 6’1 Division: Strikeforce Welterweight Champion/ UFC Heavyweight MMA Record: 25-7, 1 No Contest Nationality: American
Training under Cesar Gracie, Nick Diaz is on a ten-fight win streak with only one of those fights going to a decision. His ability to provide excitement in the ring and finish fights earns him the eighth spot on our list. Diaz is the most recent Strikeforce Welterweight Champion, but he vacated that title in order to face Georges St. Pierre for the UFC welterweight title at UFC 137. Diaz could prove to be GSP’s toughest test to date with his quick hands and Gracie Jiu Jitsu black belt.7. Dominick Cruz Height: 5’8 Division: UFC Bantamweight Champion MMA Record: 18-1 Nationality: American
At UFC 132, Cruz avenged his only career loss against Urijah Faber. Cruz won a unanimous decision that provided excitement through all five rounds. Fans should be itching for Cruz to defend his title again as it seems every time he steps in the ring, ‘Fight of the Night’ rewards are the result.6. Alistair Overeem Height: 6’5 Division: Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion/ DREAM Heavyweight Champion MMA Record: 35-11, 1 NC Nationality: Dutch
The mercurial Alistair Overeem seems to be a hold over from the larger than life characters that existed during the Pride era. His penchant for kickboxing doesn’t allow him to enter the cage as often as fans would like, but it is impossible to argue with the results when ‘Reem hits the cage. His performance against Fabricio Verdum wasn’t a trademark ‘Demolition Man’ show, but he advanced in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, and his next match up will be against Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva.5. Gilbert Melendez Height: 5’9 Strikeforce Lightweight Champion MMA Record: 19-1 Nationality: American
This is the second appearance of a Team Cesar Gracie fighter on our list. Melendez is on a five-fight win streak and shows no signs of stopping. Like Diaz, Melendez provides fireworks whenever the cage door shuts. He is always looking to deal out punishment and to finish fights with flair. It will be interesting to see who he defends his title against next.4. Jon Jones Height: 6’4 UFC Light Heavyweight Champion MMA Record: 13-1 Nationality: American
The only time the twenty-three year old has lost in the cage came due to disqualification. ‘Bones’ has had a meteoric rise over the past few years, starting as an uber-talented physical freak, to now holding the coveted UFC Light-Heavyweight title. Last time out, Jones battered Shogun Rua to win the strap, and his first defense will come against past Pride and UFC Champion Rampage Jackson. Jackson is coming off two wins against top contenders and looks to slow Jones’s rise to superstar status.3. Jose Aldo Height: 5’7 UFC Featherweight Champion MMA Record: 19-1 Nationality: Brazilian
Another young star makes our top ten list. Aldo ranks higher than Jones simply because he has more time in the cage and has proven he can defend his title. Aldo has a myriad of highlight reel knockouts to his name, but he was provided with an unexpected test from crafty Mark Hominick at UFC 129. Aldo and his electrifying style will be sitting out until at least September due to injuries sustained in the fight. Though when he is ready to return, expect more highlights for years to come.2. Georges St. Pierre Height: 5’10 UFC Welterweight Champion MMA Record: 22-2 Nationality: Canadian
GSP would be regarded as the undisputed best fighter in the world if it wasn’t for some guy they call ‘The Spider’. But personal accolades are not what the Canadian super-athlete looks to collect, he simply wants to go into the cage and win fights. He lands at number two on our list because he has not had great success in finishing his fights recently. He utterly dominates his opponents for five rounds, but he does not deliver on his promises to finish his opponents. His upcoming bout with Nick Diaz could prove to be his toughest in years, and fans of Rush should be looking for him to attempt to finish the feisty Diaz in any way possible.1. Anderson Silva Height: 6’2 UFC Middleweight Champion MMA Record: 30-4 Nationality: Brazilian
It is tough to sum up the greatness of Anderson Silva in just one short paragraph. But he is the definition of a mixed martial artist. His skillset is so varied and well rounded that he can finish fights anywhere, anytime. He holds the record for UFC title defenses with eight, and consecutive wins with 13. Every time Silva enters the Octagon fans expect a show. His recent front kick knockout of fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort became a viral hit among the MMA Internet community. Silva looks to defend his belt and avenge his most recent loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in Rio di Janiero. We can all expect ‘The Spider’ to put on another highlight filled show for the Brazilian fans in attendance.