is without peer when it comes to recent résumés inside
In the 18 months since his last defeat, dos Anjos has peeled off
five consecutive victories, including one which netted him the
lightweight championship. The 31-year-old has dominated in
the organization’s most volatile division, including a rout of the
and a knockout of the famously durable Benson
. Dos Anjos’ first defense against Donald
was not just a success but a complete wipeout.
Dos Anjos on Dec. 19 laid waste to Cerrone in just 66 seconds,
breaking the record for the fastest win in the history of the
title. While Cerrone may not have been a pound-for-pound entrant,
he was undoubtedly one of the most dangerous contenders at 155
pounds and had won eight in a row leading up to the bout. Dos
Anjos’ quick and precise finish of “Cowboy” proved once again that
the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is one to be feared on the feet
as well as the floor.
In this edition of Sherdog’s pound-for-pound rankings, dos Anjos
rises two spots to No. 2, while formerly second-ranked Demetrious
drops to No. 3.
Jones has been out of commission since January after being
suspended by the UFC and stripped of his light heavyweight title,
but it has done little to diminish his status as the world’s
premier mixed martial artist. Prior to his well-documented legal
troubles, Jones was riding roughshod over the 205-pound class and
had defended the belt a division-record eight times. Now
reinstated, the 28-year-old continues to train and has also taken
up powerlifting while he awaits his return, which is expected to
come in the first half of 2016. When he does re-enter the Octagon,
Jones will be headed for a rematch with nemesis Daniel Cormier, who
now holds the belt which “Bones” never lost in the cage.
It took a full five rounds for dos Anjos to wrest the UFC
lightweight title from Anthony
, but the new champ’s first defense lasted nowhere near
as long. Dos Anjos on Dec. 19 needed only 66 seconds to melt old
with a vicious mixture of strikes, making easy work out
of one of the division’s most dangerous contenders. Since 2012, the
Brazilian has racked up a remarkable 10-1 run inside the Octagon,
his only loss coming against Khabib
. While that rematch will no doubt materialize once
both men are fully healthy, dos Anjos has meanwhile called for a
superfight with newly crowned featherweight ace Conor McGregor.
Johnson continues to reign supreme over the 125-pound division. His
latest feat came at UFC 191, where the 29-year-old defended his
belt for the seventh time -- Anderson
holds the all-time record at 10 -- with a lopsided
decision over “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 14 winner John
. In a little less than three years as champion, “Mighty
Mouse” has taken out all contenders in his weight class, and he has
done so in convincing fashion. Johnson will carry a nine-fight
winning streak into his next appearance.
Rockhold made the most of what he believed was an overdue title
shot, grabbing the middleweight crown at UFC 194 and handing Chris
Weidman his first defeat in the process. The American Kickboxing
Academy product put on the performance of his career to slice,
pound and eventually finish Weidman in the fourth frame. Since
entering the Octagon as the final Strikeforce 185-pound champ,
Rockhold has recorded impressive finishes against the likes of
, with the only blemish on his 5-1 mark coming in a
knockout loss to Vitor
McGregor has taken the featherweight class and the MMA world by
storm in the two and a half years since he landed in the Octagon.
With the spotlight aimed squarely at the Irishman for UFC 194,
McGregor cleared the last hurdle to greatness by laying waste to
featherweight king Jose Aldo in quick and brutal fashion. The
coronation capped a year which saw “Notorious” knock out Chad Mendes
, all the while garnering media attention to rival that of
. While it remains to be seen whether McGregor will stick
around at 145 pounds or head up to 155, one thing is for sure: All
eyes will be on his next bout.
All things must pass, and Aldo’s time as the invincible ruler of
the featherweight division came to a shocking conclusion at UFC
194. The only undisputed 145-pound champion the Octagon had ever
known was knocked senseless by Conor McGregor in only 13 seconds,
slamming shut the book on an era of divisional dominance. As WEC
and UFC champion, Aldo bested the likes of Urijah Faber
. With near-constant injuries keeping “Scarface” out of
action for extended stretches, stringing together another such run
could prove extremely difficult.
After 13 professional fights without a defeat and two wins over
middleweight legend Anderson
, the “All-American” finally met his match at UFC 194.
Weidman struggled valiantly but could not withstand the punishing
ground-and-pound of Luke Rockhold, who snatched away the UFC
185-pound title with a fourth-round stoppage. The 31-year-old New
Yorker defended the belt three times -- including a May knockout of
former Rockhold foil Vitor
-- before being deposed.
In the year since his failed bid to dethrone Jon Jones, Cormier has
claimed the mantle left vacant when his rival was stripped and
suspended by the UFC. The 36-year-old became MMA’s de facto light
heavyweight ruler when he dismantled Anthony
in May, then followed up with an impressive defense
in October. Hardware aside, Cormier’s record boasts
some impressive names, with victories over former heavyweight
champs like Josh Barnett
, plus heavy hitters such as Johnson and Dan
. He figures to have another meeting with the newly
reinstated Jones in the near future.
For years, Werdum was regarded as the best heavyweight grappler in
MMA. Since running over Cain
at UFC 188, the 37-year-old Brazilian is being
recognized as the best heavyweight in MMA, period. “Vai Cavalo” is
currently on a 6-0 run inside the Octagon, and his outstanding
résumé includes wins over divisional icons Fedor
. In order to cement his status as the top big
man in the sport, Werdum will have to beat Velasquez again when
they rematch at UFC 196 in February.
The first man to successfully defend the UFC welterweight title in
the post-Georges St.
era, Lawler has taken what the division’s big hitters
have to offer and given in back in spades, most recently halting
in a back-and-forth battle on July 11. Since
rejoining the UFC in February 2013, Lawler has gone 7-1 with four
knockouts. “Ruthless” will next defend his title against another
elite, all-action 170-pounder, Carlos
, at UFC 195.