Josh Gross
Wednesday October 28th, 2009

November is shaping up to be the most important month of fights this year.

Of the 80 fighters ranked below -- including those residing in the newly added flyweight division -- a quarter of them are set to compete before Thanksgiving, and that's after Brock Lesnar was forced to withdraw from his UFC 106 heavyweight title defense due to an undetermined illness.

Last week Lesnar's trainer Greg Nelson noticed that his charge didn't have the same "zip" in the gym that marked his effort in earlier weeks. Training for Shane Carwin was going "great" Nelson said, but by Thursday, concern set in that the heavyweight might have to take time off during the "most crucial" part of training camp.

Nelson gave Lesnar the weekend to determine if he could get himself healthy enough to properly train for the Nov. 21 fight. By Monday morning, however, it was determined Lesnar could not, and the bout was pushed back to Jan. 2.

Cain Velasquez enters the heavyweight ranks for the first time off the strength of his domination over Ben Rothwell. With Randy Couture heading back to the light heavyweight ranks, Velasquez takes over the No. 10 spot.

• Despite losing on points to Lyoto Machida, Mauricio Rua actually rises a couple spots in the 205-pound rankings. He now sits squarely behind Machida as the pair await word on a date for their rematch.

Yushin Okami takes the biggest hit of any ranked fighter, dropping from No. 4 to 10 at 185 pounds, after falling short against Chael Sonnen on Saturday in Los Angeles.

Joachim Hansen drops three spots in the lightweight rankings after tapping to an armbar from Shinya Aoki with four seconds remaining in their Dream championship fight on Oct. 6.

• Bantamweight was the most volatile division in October, yielding several wins for contenders as well as a major upset by Mackens Semerzier over Wagnney Fabiano, who was ranked among the top three before tapping to a triangle choke.

• The addition of 125-pounders comes at a time when the division is beginning to gain exposure outside of Japan. Though talk persists that the WEC will showcase the division in 2010, that seems unlikely based on the organization's schedule and roster depth. Still, there are plenty of Stateside promotions willing to promote a class capable of high-paced, technical MMA.

Heavyweight

1. Fedor Emelianenko (30-1, 1 NC) 2. Brock Lesnar (4-1) 3. Josh Barnett (24-5) 4. Frank Mir (12-4) 5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (32-5-1, 1 NC) 6. Alistair Overeem (31-11, 1 NC) 7. Shane Carwin (11-0) 8. Brett Rogers (10-0) 9. Junior dos Santos (9-1) 10. Cain Velasquez (7-0)

Others receiving consideration: Randy Couture, Andrei Arlovski, Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga

Light Heavyweight

1. Lyoto Machida (16-0) 2. Mauricio Rua (18-4) 3. Rashad Evans (13-1-1) 4. Dan Henderson (25-7) 5. Anderson Silva (25-4) 6. Forrest Griffin (16-6) 7. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3) 8. Gegard Mousasi (26-2-1) 9. Thiago Silva (14-1) 10. Luis Arthur Cane (10-1)

Others receiving consideration: Jon Jones, Keith Jardine, Tito Ortiz, Quinton Jackson, Rich Franklin

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva (25-4) 2. Dan Henderson (25-7) 3. Nate Marquardt (29-8-2) 4. Vitor Belfort (19-8) 5. Jorge Santiago (21-7) 6. Jake Shields (23-4-1) 7. Robbie Lawler (16-5, 1 NC) 8. Demian Maia (11-1) 9. Chael Sonnen (24-10-1) 10. Yushin Okami (23-5)

Others receiving consideration: Yoshihiro Akiyama, Kazuo Misaki, Paulo Filho, Ronaldo Souza, Hector Lombard

Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre (19-2) 2. Jon Fitch (19-3, 1 NC) 3. Thiago Alves (16-6) 4. Jake Shields (23-4-1) 5. Matt Hughes (43-7) 6. Paulo Thiago (11-1) 7. Josh Koscheck (13-4) 8. Carlos Condit (23-5) 9. Marius Zarmoskis (13-3) 10. Mike Swick (14-2)

Others receiving consideration: Martin Kampmann, Jay Hieron, Dan Hardy, Mike Pierce, Paul Daley

Lightweight

1. B.J. Penn (14-5-1) 2. Shinya Aoki (21-4, 1 NC) 3. Eddie Alvarez (18-2) 4. Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2) 5. Gray Maynard (8-0, 1 NC) 6. Frankie Edgar (10-1) 7. Kenny Florian (11-4) 8. Joachim Hansen (19-8-1) 9. Diego Sanchez (21-2) 10. Sean Sherk (33-4-1)

Others receiving consideration: Tyson Griffin, Gilbert Melendez, Mizuto Hirota, Satoru Kitaoka, Gesias Calvancante

Featherweight

1. Mike Thomas Brown (22-4) 2. Urijah Faber (22-3) 3. Hatsu Hioki (20-3-2) 4. Jose Aldo (15-1) 5. Takeshi Inoue (16-3) 6. Leonard Garcia (13-4) 7. Raphael Assuncao (14-1) 8. Mackens Semerzier (4-0) 9. Wagnney Fabiano (12-2) 10. Bibiano Fernandes (7-2)

Others receiving consideration: Josh Grispi, Joe Soto, Masanori Kanehara, Marlon Sandro, Joe Warren

Bantamweight

1. Brian Bowles (8-0) 2. Miguel Torres (37-2) 3. Masakatsu Ueda (10-0-2) 4. Takeya Mizugaki (12-3-2) 5. Dominick Cruz (14-1) 6. Akitoshi Tamura (14-7-2) 7. Will Ribeiro (10-2) 8. Damacio Page (11-4) 9. Rani Yahya (15-4) 10. Joseph Benavidez (10-1)

Others receiving consideration: Eddie Wineland, Eduardo Dantas, Marcos Galvao, Antonio Banuelos, Mike Easton

Flyweight

1. Jussier da Silva (3-0) 2. Shinichi Kojima (10-4-5) 3. Yuki Shojo (9-5-2) 4. Yasuhiro Urushitani (16-4-6) 5. Ryuichi Miki (9-3-3) 6. Rambaa Somdet (6-2) 7. Mitsuhisa Sunabe (11-5-3) 8. Pat Runez (3-0) 9. Masaaki Sugawara (9-3-1) 10. Alexis Villa (6-0)

Others receiving consideration: Ayumu Shioda, Noboru Tahara, Atsushi Takeuchi, Kiyotaka Shimizu

Pound-for-pound

1. Anderson Silva (Brazil) 2. Georges St. Pierre (Canada) 3. Fedor Emelianenko (Russia) 4. Lyoto Machida (Brazil) 5. B.J. Penn (U.S.) 6. Mike Thomas Brown (U.S.) 7. Dan Henderson (U.S.) 8. Brian Bowles (U.S.) 9. Miguel Torres (U.S.) 10. Jake Shields (U.S.)

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