An Anderson Silva loss could usher in major shake-ups in MMA rankings

Boy, do we have big news in this month's mixed martial arts rankings: The No. 7 fighter in a weight class has vanished entirely from the top 10. Poof! He's gone!

OK, that is not exactly an earth-shattering development. The welterweight in question isn't even in the UFC anymore. But his sudden disappearance is more of a story than the down-the-ladder-a-few-rungs drops we saw in the heavyweight and light heavy divisions, even more of one than the moving-on-up emergence of a couple of previously unranked guys. There's about as much movement in our top 10 rankings as you see from one of those living statue buskers along The Strip during a fight week in Las Vegas.

The winds of change do appear to be gathering steam on the horizon, however, ready to blow us away. Like a crossfire hurricane.

Anderson Silva, who has been UFC middleweight champion for going on seven years yet has gathered no moss, is our top-ranked fighter in both the 185-pound weight class and the pound-for-pound list. But nothing lasts forever. Silva fights on Saturday night, and several prominent fighters are doing the unthinkable and picking undefeated Chris Weidman, our No. 2-ranked middleweight, to conquer the champ. That sure would shake things up.

Even if "The Spider" retains his top-of-the-hill address, how long will he remain there? Fending off a succession of climbers ill equipped to send you tumbling can get tiresome after a while. At some point, probably soon, Silva is going to choose to climb a different mountain -- get those carabiners ready for Mt. Bones Jones -- or perhaps just descend from his peak into the easy chair of retirement. That sure would shake things up, too.

So would Jones departing the 205-pound division for heavy duty, as he's said he'll do by early 2014. So would welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre either stumbling against Johny Hendricks or, if he isn't made road kill by "Big Rigg," going the superfight route himself. So would José Aldo leaving featherweight behind for the bigger targets at 155 pounds. So would the presence of a healthy champion at bantamweight.

A whole lot of shaking up could be going on. Soon.

But not yet.

On to the rankings ...


1. Cain Velasquez (12-1)

2. Junior dos Santos (16-2)

3. Daniel Cormier (11-0)

4. Fabricio Werdum (16-5-1)

5. Josh Barnett (32-6)

6. Antonio Silva (18-5)

7. Alistair Overeem (36-12-1)

8. Travis Browne (14-1-1)

9. Stipe Miocic (10-1)

10. Roy Nelson (19-8)

Nelson's decisive loss to Miocic just over two weeks ago sent "Big Country" rumbling and tumbling (and jiggling) down from No. 8 and boosted Stipe into the rankings for the first time. But Roy didn't go away; our previous No. 10, Frank Mir, did. That was a difficult choice, considering that Mir owns a victory over Nelson. But Frank has been on a downslide. He did get the better of Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, but then was only marginally competitive against Junior dos Santos and Daniel Cormier. Nelson, meanwhile, was on a three-fight winning streak -- all knockouts -- going into the Miocic fight. Now Roy's UFC contract is up, and he's a free agent. Let's keep him around to see what's next.

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones (18-1)

2. Lyoto Machida (19-3)

3. Alexander Gustafsson (15-1)

4. Rashad Evans (18-3)

5. Glover Teixeira (20-2)

6. Dan Henderson (29-10)

7. Chael Sonnen (27-13-1)

8. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (21-5)

9. Phil Davis (11-1)

10. Mauricio Rua (21-7)

Finally, we're going to see Jones pick on someone his own size. The UFC announced a couple of weeks ago that the champ and his Boeing wingspan will next face Gustaffson, a 6-foot-5 Swede, at UFC 165 on Sept. 21 in Toronto. Alexander was ensured the title shot last month when the only other top guy "Bones" had not yet conquered, Henderson, dropped a close decision to Evans. But while the path to this championship bout is clear, a traffic jam could lie ahead. If Jones wins in the fall and moves up to heavyweight, as he's said he will once he's broken Tito Ortiz's record with a sixth defense of the light heavy belt, he'll leave behind a division with no clear alpha male. It'll be fun watching the top dogs sort things out.


1. Anderson Silva (32-4)

2. Chris Weidman (9-0)

3. Vitor Belfort (23-10)

4. Michael Bisping (24-5)

5. Yushin Okami (29-7)

6. Ronaldo Souza (18-3, 1 NC)

7. Luke Rockhold (10-2)

8. Mark Munoz (12-3)

9. Constantinos Philippou (12-2)

10. Tim Boetsch (16-5)

UFC president Dana White says every fighter he's talked to is picking Weidman to upset Silva this weekend. We've heard that prediction ourselves from another champion, Georges St-Pierre, plus former champs Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber, and many others. What's going on here? Have people forgotten that "The Spider" is not just the man at 185 pounds but also the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport? (Sorry for the spoiler of what's below.)


1. Georges St-Pierre (24-2)

2. Johny Hendricks (15-1)

3. Carlos Condit (28-7)

4. Rory MacDonald (14-1)

5. Demian Maia (18-4)

6. Nick Diaz (26-9, 1 NC)

7. Martin Kampmann (20-6)

8. Jake Ellenberger (29-6)

9. Ben Askren (11-0)

10. Tarec Saffiedine (14-3)

Watch as we do our best Dana White imitation: Hey Jon Fitch, you're out of here! Actually, our dismissal of the longtime UFC title contender should come as far less of a surprise than Dana's did back in February. Fitch was coming off a loss but before that had stopped the ascendance of one of the promotion's rising contenders. The 35-year-old seemed to have some tread left. But his World Series of Fighting debut just over two weeks ago sure was flat. It took Josh Burkman just 41 seconds to choke out a man who in the past should have been checked for gills considering his proficiency against chokeholds. We all stop breathing at some point.


1. Benson Henderson (19-2)

2. Gilbert Melendez (21-3)

3. Anthony Pettis (16-2)

4. T.J. Grant (21-5)

5. Josh Thomson (20-5, 1 NC)

6. Pat Healy (29-16, 1 NC)

7. Gray Maynard (12-2-1, 1 NC)

8. Michael Chandler (11-0)

9. Nate Diaz (16-9)

10. Jim Miller (22-5)

Usually, fighters have to fight -- or have someone directly above or below them fight -- in order to move up or move down in the rankings. But with no big dances in this division over the last month, it was a time to stare at what is and reassess. And seeing Chandler at the bottom of this top 10, where he's been for months, has always seemed off. Will he live up to his new position when he defends his Bellator title against David Rickels on July 31?


1. José Aldo (21-1)

2. Frankie Edgar (14-3-1)

3. Pat Curran (18-4)

4. Chad Mendes (11-1)

5. Ricardo Lamas (13-2)

6. Erik Koch (13-2)

7. Chan Sung Jung (13-3)

8. Cub Swanson (19-5)

9. Clay Guida (30-13)

10. Dustin Poirier (13-3)

Put your seatbelt on and prepare for turbulence. We still have a month before Aldo defends his UFC belt against Jung, who replaces injured Anthony Pettis in the UFC 163 main event on Aug. 3 in Las Vegas. But this weekend Edgar will try to solidify his spot when he takes on Charles Oliveira, and in late August Mendes fights Guida. Busy summer for 145-pounders.


1. Dominick Cruz (19-1)

2. Renan Barão (30-1, 1 NC)

3. Michael McDonald (15-2)

4. Urijah Faber (28-6)

5. Eddie Wineland (20-8)

6. Raphael Assunção (20-4)

7. Scott Jorgenson (14-7)

8. Brad Pickett (22-7)

9. Mike Easton (13-2)

10. Erik Perez (13-4)

OK, so I need to tell you something about the UFC bantamweight division, and it is that ... ouch! No, what I meant to say is ... ow, that hurts! Man, even typing about the 135-pound weight class -- headed by injured champion Cruz and injured interim champ Barão -- causes pain. Let's just leave this division alone until one of the top guys is ready to fight.


1. Demetrious Johnson (16-2-1)

2. Joseph Benavidez (16-3)

3. Ian McCall (11-3-1)

4. John Dodson (14-6)

5. John Moraga (13-1)

6. Jussier da Silva (15-2)

7. Darrell Montague (12-2)

8. John Lineker (21-6)

9. Louis Gaudinot (6-2)

10. Chris Cariaso (14-5)

The focus of the MMA world is on this weekend's fights in Las Vegas, as well it should be, considering that pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva is the UFC 162 headliner. But three weeks later, in the main event of a card in Seattle that will be televised on the Fox network, Johnson will defend his 125-pound belt against Moraga. "Mighty Mouse" is always worth watching, especially if you have a DVR or VCR and can go slo-mo with the recording.


1. Ronda Rousey (7-0)

2. Cristiane Santos (10-1, 1 NC)

3. Cat Zingano (8-0)

4. Sarah Kaufman (15-2)

5. Liz Carmouche (8-3)

6. Sara McMann (7-0)

7. Miesha Tate (13-4)

8. Jessica Aguilar (15-4)

9. Marloes Coenen (21-5)

10. Alexis Davis (13-5)

Rousey and Tate have taken their shrill rivalry to reality television, which seems fitting. But while the UFC champ and the former Strikeforce belt holder are trading verbal jabs in anticipation of their rematch, others in the division will be fighting it out to position themselves for the next shot at the belt. Zingano will have a claim once her knee is healed, but later this month Carmouche, who tested Rousey in the promotion's historic first women's bout back in February, will be back in action. And next month it'll be Sarah vs. Sara (Kaufman vs. McMann). Check back soon for a new reality.

Pound for pound

1. Anderson Silva

2. Jon Jones

3. Georges St-Pierre

4. José Aldo

5. Cain Velasquez

6. Benson Henderson

7. Dominick Cruz

8. Ronda Rousey

9. Demetrious Johnson

10. Renan Barâo

Same as it ever was. For now.

Questions? Comments? To reach Jeff Wagenheim or contribute to the MMA mailbag, click on the E-mail link at the top of the page.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.