June MMA pound for pound rankings
Just last month, we thought the only competitive fight left for Georges St. Pierre was a middleweight title fight with Anderson Silva.
What a difference one month can make.
Instead of moving up to face Silva after cleaning out his division, St. Pierre will face at least one more challenge from a guy recently added to the UFC roster: Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz, who will abandon his near-meaningless belt in an effort to beat St. Pierre in October at UFC 137.
1. Anderson Silva
Is often seems as though Silva will be perched here for an eternity. With few credible challengers left in his own middleweight division and Georges St. Pierre seemingly content to stay at welterweight, Silva may just sit here until he retires.
2. Georges St. Pierre
We figured last month that St. Pierre had cleaned out his division, but that was before Dana White pulled a rabbit named Nick Diaz out of his hat. Diaz is now a UFC fighter and will get an immediate title shot against St. Pierre this October. It means St. Pierre can stave off demands that he switch weight classes, at least for a few more months.
3. Jose Aldo
Aldo wasn’t the least bit impressive in victory over Mark Hominick at UFC 129, and he’s now on the shelf nursing myriad injuries that will keep him out of action until the fall. That is, of course, unless his injuries bad enough that they keep him on the shelf until 2012. Nobody really knows the story with Aldo these days, and nobody close to him is talking.
4. Jon Jones
Jones was injured and having surgery, and then he wasn’t. It’s a fairly simple explanation for what seemed to be a complicated situation, but the end result is that Jones will face Quinton Jackson this September instead of Rashad Evans in August. It’s not the fight fans really wanted to see, but it’s interesting enough to keep them captivated.
5. Frankie Edgar
Edgar is on the shelf recovering from injuries, but we already know his destination when he returns. He’ll face Gray Maynard in the third (and hopefully deciding) battle of their careers. Beyond that? He’s got Jim Miller, Clay Guida and Gilbert Melendez all ready and willing to take a crack at his gold. Edgar will be a busy guy for quite some time.
6. Dominick Cruz
Cruz gets the chance to redeem the only loss of his career when he defends his bantamweight title against Urijah Faber at UFC 132 next month. Much has been said about the heat between the two fighters, but one thing is for sure: if Faber isn’t taking Cruz seriously, the San Diego resident is going to make him pay, and pay dearly.
7. Gilbert Melendez
Melendez is telling anyone and everyone who will listen that he wants to move to the UFC and face Edgar for the title. It’s a smart business move. Outside of (and perhaps including) Jorge Masvidal, there are no truly credible opponents left for Melendez in the Strikeforce realm, and he needs to strike while the iron is hot.
8. Jon Fitch
Fitch’s injuries and subsequent surgery will keep him on the shelf for quite some time to come, but he’ll remain a perennial contender in the welterweight division. A rematch with B.J. Penn could still be in the works at some point.
9. Jake Shields
Shields and B.J. Penn are doing the mating-but-fighting dance on Twitter. It’s a logical pairing between two jiu-jitsu experts with ties to the legendary Gracie family; Penn earned his purple belt under Ralph Gracie, while Shields still studies under Cesar Gracie.
10. Nick Diaz
Diaz finally got his wish. He’ll be coming into the UFC after signing a new Zuffa contract that prevents him from going into boxing, and he goes directly into a title fight with Georges St. Pierre. All Diaz wanted was big fights and big money, something he wasn’t going to get in Strikeforce. Perhaps we’ll see a happy and satisfied Diaz? Let’s hope not, because what fun would that be?