Heavy’s Pound-for-Pound MMA Rankings

Jon Jones (James Law/HeavyMMA)

Jon Jones moves up to No. 2 after win over Rashad Evans

HeavyMMA’s fighter rankings are back this week with a new look at the pound-for-pound list.

Heavy’s panel consists of HeavyMMA editor Matt Brown, writer Duane Finley and writer/editor Matt Erickson. Each panelist compiles his rankings independently, and the votes are tabulated to reach the results listed below.

1. Anderson Silva (1)
UFC middleweight champion (31-4, 14-0 UFC)
“The Spider” is still the best in the world. UFC president Dana White still thinks so – though he acknowledges Jon Jones is getting closer. Silva has a July 7 rematch against Chael Sonnen for the middleweight title at UFC 148.

2. Jon Jones (3)
UFC light heavyweight champion (16-1, 10-1 UFC)
We predicted “Bones” would move ahead of Georges St-Pierre if he could dominate Rashad Evans at UFC 145, and that’s what he did. His recent arrest for suspicious of DUI doesn’t have any bearing on this list, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to it. He’s booked for his next defense on Sept. 1 against Dan Henderson at UFC 151 in Las Vegas.

3. Georges St-Pierre (2)
UFC welterweight champion (22-2, 16-2 UFC)
GSP drops down a spot through no fault of his own. But with him out for the last year, since defending his title against Jake Shields at UFC 129, Jones has defended his belt three times. Hard to argue with him moving up to No. 2. GSP remains in rehab for his knee and still is targeting a late 2012 return – perhaps at UFC 154 in his home city of Montreal against interim beltholder Carlos Condit.

4. Jose Aldo (4)
UFC featherweight champion (21-1, 3-0 UFC)
Aldo is set for a July 21 title defense at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, against Erik Koch. If he’s successful there – as a heavy favorite yet again – he likely will face Chan Sung Jung, whose impressive win over Dustin Poirier last week put him right into a quick path to a title shot.

5. Dominick Cruz (5)
UFC bantamweight champion (19-1, 2-0 UFC)
Well, bummer. Cruz is out of his UFC 148 title fight with Urijah Faber in July with a torn ACL. He hasn’t yet had surgery, and it probably will be a while before we know just how long he’ll be out. But expecting a solid nine months would not be a ridiculous estimate. Faber will fight Renan Barao for the interim bantamweight title on July 7, and there’s a good chance the winner will even take one more fight before Cruz is ready for a title unification bout – probably in 2013.

6. Ben Henderson (6)
UFC lightweight champion (16-2, 4-0 UFC)
We know the date for Smooth’s rematch with Frankie Edgar. It’ll be Aug. 11 in Denver. And the winner of that fight, assuming Dana White sticks to his plan, will face Nate Diaz, whose win over Jim Miller earlier this month was his most impressive showing yet.

7. Junior dos Santos (9)
UFC heavyweight champion (14-1, 8-0 UFC)
Since we last had this list, JDS’ opponent has changed from Alistair Overeem to former champ Frank Mir. And he’s now even more of a favorite. They’ll fight Saturday in the main event of UFC 146. A JDS win, and he stays atop our heavyweight rankings when they come out next week. A Mir upset … well, what craziness happens then?

8. Dan Henderson (NR)
UFC light heavyweight No. 1 contender (29-8, 6-2 UFC)
Hendo will get his shot at Jones’ light heavyweight title on Sept. 1 at UFC 151 in Las Vegas. It’s the one belt that has eluded him. Yet he’s still going to be a fairly massive underdog. If he wins, he makes a strong case for best fighter of all time – and he’s already in the conversation.

9. Joseph Benavidez (10)
UFC flyweight title challenger (16-2, 3-0 UFC)
Benavidez will find out in less than three weeks who his next opponent will be when the flyweight tournament gets back under way in Florida. The Demetrious Johnson-Ian McCall rematch will determine who faces him for the first UFC flyweight title.

10. Gilbert Melendez (8)
Strikeforce lightweight champion (21-2, 11-1 Strikeforce)
Melendez admitted after his win over Josh Thomson on Saturday that it’s basically hard for him to get excited about the opponents that are put in front of him. But Thomson gave him everything he could handle, and one judge even gave him the fight. He drops a couple spots despite the split decision win.

On the fringe: Carlos Condit, Frankie Edgar, Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem, Jake Ellenberger, Cain Velasquez, Chael Sonnen, Urijah Faber, Gray Maynard, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua

Make sure to check out who ruled the roost in other divisions:
HeavyMMA’s Heavyweight rankings (April 2)
HeavyMMA’s Light Heavyweight rankings (April 9)
HeavyMMA’s Middleweight rankings (April 16)
HeavyMMA’s Welterweight rankings (April 23)
HeavyMMA’s Lightweight rankings (April 30)
HeavyMMA’s Featherweight rankings (May 7)
HeavyMMA’s Bantamweight rankings (May 14)

And stay tuned for our every-Monday rankings in a new weight class!
HeavyMMA’s Heavyweight rankings: Coming May 28
HeavyMMA’s Light heavyweight rankings: Coming June 4
HeavyMMA’s Middleweight rankings: Coming June 11
HeavyMMA’s Welterweight rankings: Coming June 18
HeavyMMA’s Lightweight rankings: Coming June 25
HeavyMMA’s Featherweight rankings: Coming July 2
HeavyMMA’s Bantamweight rankings: Coming July 9