There is a lot of movement this month as UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre drops off the list because of a year of inactivity. Former Bellator middleweight belt-holder Hector Lombard drops out of the “In Consideration” list because he vacated his belt to join the UFC. That means new UFC lightweight champion Benson Henderson comes in at number five. New UFC interim welterweight champ Carlos Condit and Bellator welterweight champ Ben Askren join the “In Consideration list”. Askren has defended his Bellator strap twice against as tough competition as you’d get outside the UFC. Henderson gets the nod over Condit at five here, because his list of downed opponents has a few higher ranked fighters.
1. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion, Record 29-4)
In the Yushin Okami fight Silva avenged his most recent loss and extended his title-defense streak to an astounding nine times. He beat one of his most qualified challengers yet both mentally and physically. His in-ring mind-games showed how he can force an opponent into his gameplan. Unfortunately, it also showed why he is losing fans despite his massive talent. Love him or hate him, he’s the most dominant fighter in the world right now.
Next Fight – vs Chael Sonnen @UFC148 7/7/12
2. Jon Jones (UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Record 16-1)
For the first time as champ, Jones didn’t finish his opponent. Jones was smart to keep challenger Rashad Evans at arm’s length all fight, as Evans is the most complete fighter he’s faced yet. While it wasn’t the type of exciting fight we’ve become accustomed to from Jones, we did see something new – elbows as jabs! Bones methodically out struck and outpointed Evans the whole fight and handily avoided all takedowns. Jones doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses in his game and refuses to play to his opponent’s strength. If he keeps that up he’ll be almost unbeatable.
Next Fight – TBA vs Dan Henderson
3. Jose Aldo ↑ (UFC Featherweight Champion, Record 21-1)
In the first UFC event of 2012 Aldo defended his belt against one of his toughest opponents yet. Chad “Money” Mendes is the most accomplished wrestler in the division, yet Aldo’s takedown defense never looked better. After shutting down Mendes’ wrestling, Aldo stopped “Money” with a spinning back elbow. Aldo, the brilliant tactician has been present in all three of his UFC fights. Aldo, the exciting finisher and creative striker from the WEC finally showed up again. In three straight title defenses in the UFC he’s been dominant, only dropping three rounds. Like his contemporaries in the bantamweight and middleweight divisions Aldo is running out of challenges at his weight class.
Next Fight – vs Eric Koch @UFC149 7/21/12)
4. Dominick Cruz ↑ (UFC Bantamweight Champion, Record 19-1)
The “Dominator” continues to control the bantamweight division. In July, Cruz avenged his only career loss by outpointing Urijah Faber. At the beginning of October he held off Demetrious Johnson, the only fighter with more speed at his weight class. Cruz’s critics complain his style is boring, but no one can accuse him of not working. He fights at a breakneck pace. That combined with his odd stand-up movement, his excellent takedowns, and complete ground game makes him a tough nut to crack. He’s also just a few more fights away from cleaning out the division of contenders.
Next Fight – vs Urijah Faber @UFC148 7/7/12
5. Benson Henderson ↑ (UFC Lightweight Champion, Record 15-2)
Next Fight -vs Frankie Edgar @UFC150 8/11/12
Benson “Smooth” Henderson narrowly edged out the tough Frankie Edgar in their title fight in February. Though earlier rounds probably should have gone to Edgar because of his takedowns, Henderson significant strikes were more significant all fight. In the final rounds he stuffed almost all of Edgar’s takedowns and continued his leg kick assault. Henderson has been on a tear since joining the UFC and just put away one of the toughest guys in all of MMA.
Other fighters in consideration: Ben Askren, Carlos Condit, Cole Konrad, Gilbert Melendez, Junior Dos Santos
1 Comment to “Washington Sportsjam MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings:April 2012 Edition”
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