When Jon Jones walked to the cage at UFC 165 at the Air Canada Centre, he was wearing a shirt that read, “Not Quite Human.” In hindsight it was quite an ironic fashion statement because he was pushed to the limits by Alexander Gustafsson and looked human for the first time in the Octagon.
Despite being taken down and bleeding for the first time in the UFC career, the light-heavyweight kingpin showed a champion’s resolve and won a unanimous decision in an instant classic and Fight of the Year candidate.
Heading into the bout he was the consensus best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, but when you look at what Gustafsson was able to do to him it’s clear there are still holes in his game. He was No. 4 on our pound-for-pound rankings and No. 1 at light-heavyweight before the bout and remains in those spots now.
Sudbury, Ont.’s Mitch Gagnon took a huge leap up the Canadian pound-for-pound ranks after looking better than ever in his UFC 165 win over Dustin Kimura – earning Submission of the Night along the way.
In the first bout on the pay-per-view Khabib Nurmagomedov took down another contender in Pat Healy and leapfrogged a few people in the 155-pound ranks.
Francis Carmont has become accustomed to getting booed on fight night – he certainly isn’t the most exciting fighter on the UFC roster that’s for sure. But the teammate of Georges St-Pierre keeps winning and he now finds himself in the top 10 at middleweight after dominating Constantinos Philippou in Toronto.
Earlier in the month, Glover Teixeira proved he’s worthy of a title shot after knocking out Ryan Bader with a perfect two-punch combo even though he was on wobbly legs when he did it. Even though a lot of people want to see a Jones-Gustafsson rematch, Teixeira is now 5-0 in the UFC and remains the top contender at 205 pounds.
Ronaldo (Jacare) Souza showed that he has the ability to beat anyone at 185 pounds after dismantling Yushin Okami in Brazil.
Also, there’s a new addition to the featherweight top 10 as Bellator star Patricio (Pitbull) Friere showed why he’s one of the best 145-pounders in MMA with a blistering 79-second KO of former WEC and UFC contender Diego Nunes this month.
With that, here are sportsnet.ca’s latest MMA rankings:
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1. Jose Aldo
He has barely ever in trouble and has outclassed all of his opponents.
2. Georges St-Pierre
In terms of elite, well-rounded MMA skills, and game plans no fighter is better than GSP.
Between size and skill, he is the most dangerous fighter in the UFC.
He looked very human in his classic win over Gustafsson at UFC 165, but still pulled off some tremendous moves.
5. Anderson Silva
One knockout loss does not diminish his absurd skill set.
6. Anthony Pettis
New UFC lightweight champ is as dynamic as they come.
7. Renan Barao
Elite striking, grappling and finishing instinct have led to a ridiculous unbeaten streak.
8. Demetrious Johnson
The fastest fighter in MMA is quickly rising up the P4P ranks.
9. Joseph Benavidez
He is the best fighter in the UFC that has never been champion.
10. Chris Weidman
Still improving but his win over Silva proved he’s dangerous in all areas.
NOTE: Dominick Cruz would be on the list, but due to his inactivity he has been left off the list.
Honourable mention: Benson Henderson, Junior dos Santos, Urijah Faber, Pat Curran, Michael Chandler, Chad Mendes
1. Georges St-Pierre
Johny Hendricks might be his toughest test to date.
2. Rory MacDonald
Big test upcoming in Robbie Lawler.
3. T.J. Grant
Recovering from a concussion. May have to fight once more before getting a title shot.
4. Mitch Gagnon
Rising 135-pounder looked outstanding submitting Dustin Kimura at UFC 165.
5. Jordan Mein
Still no fight lined up after a TKO loss to Matt Brown in April.
6. Mark Bocek
Forced out of UFC 165 injured.
7. John Makdessi
Knocked out Renee Forte at UFC 165 with precision striking.
8. Ivan Menjivar
Was controlled for much of his UFC 165 bout against Wilson Reis.
9. Yves Jabouin
Won controversial decision over Dustin Pague in Winnipeg.
10. Ryan Jimmo
Expected to face Jimi Manuwa on Oct. 26 in England.
Honourable mention: Claude Patrick, Nick Ring, Antonio Carvalho, Sam Stout, Jesse Ronson, Sean Pierson
1. Cristiane Santos
Explosive power, well-rounded offence, great defence. A scary individual.
2. Ronda Rousey
Things with Tate have gotten person during filming of TUF 18.
3. Cat Zingano
Recovering from knee surgery.
4. Sarah Kaufman
Will make her UFC debut against Jessica Eye at UFC 166.
5. Miesha Tate
Will get a second crack at Rousey on Dec. 28 at UFC 168 after TUF 18.
6. Sara McMann
Pulled out of scheduled bout with Kaufman.
7. Jessica Eye
Tough 125-pounder set for UFC and bantamweight debut against Kaufman.
8. Leslie Smith
Looked great against Jennifer Maia at Invicta FC 6.
9. Alexis Davis
Meets Liz Carmouche next.
10. Michelle Waterson
“The Karate Hottie” became the Invicta FC atomweight champ in April by beating Jessica Penne just over one year after having a child.
Honourable mention: Liz Carmouche, Marloes Coenen, Jessica Aguilar, Joanne Calderwood, Claudia Gadelha, Jessica Penne
1. Cain Velasquez
Looks to put stamp on JDS trilogy at UFC 166.
2. Junior dos Santos
Wants his belt back after big KO of Mark Hunt.
3. Fabricio Werdum
Could wait to face winner of Cain/JDS 3.
4. Daniel Cormier
His UFC 166 bout against Nelson could be his last at heavyweight.
5. Antonio Silva
Faces Mark Hunt in Australia.
6. Travis Browne
Scheduled for bout vs. Barnett at UFC 168.
Looked impressive in win over Mir at UFC 164. See above.
8. Stipe Miocic
Executed a perfect game plan against Nelson at UFC 161.
9. Frank Mir
Lost to Barnett by TKO; some thought it was an early stoppage.
10. Roy Nelson
Cormier is next for Big Country.
Honourable mention: Ben Rothwell, Alistair Overeem, Gabriel Gonzaga, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt, Stefan Struve
1. Jon Jones
Showed champion’s heart and some holes in his game against Gustafsson.
2. Glover Teixeira
Likely Jones’ next challenger.
3. Alexander Gustafsson
Pushed Jones to the limit at UFC 165 and many thought he earned the decision.
4. Phil Davis
A win over Machida at UFC 163 was the biggest of his career.
5. Lyoto Machida
Dropping to middleweight.
6. Gegard Mousasi
Looking at possibly moving back down to middleweight.
7. Rashad Evans
Meets Sonnen at UFC 167.
8. Dan Henderson
Headlines a Brazil card against Vitor Belfort next.
9. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Injury troubles have surfaced again.
10. Chael Sonnen
A win over Rashad makes him a contender again.
Honourable mention: Mauricio Rua, Thiago Silva, Ryan Bader, Muhammed Lawal, James Te-Huna
1. Chris Weidman
Looks to repeat history at UFC 168.
2. Anderson Silva
Wants to avenge loss to Weidman.
3. Ronaldo Souza
He can beat anyone in the division.
4. Vitor Belfort
Meets Hendo at 205 next.
5. Michael Bisping
A bout with Munoz is set for Oct. 26 in England.
6. Luke Rockhold
Was forced out of UFC 166.
7. Yushin Okami
Jacare made him look silly.
8. Mark Munoz
A win over Bisping puts him close to a title shot.
9. Alan Belcher
Recovering from eye injury suffered at UFC 159.
10. Francis Carmont
Some call him boring, but he just keeps winning.
Honourable mention: Tim Kennedy, Constantinos Philippou, Tim Boetsch, Ronny Markes, Andrew Craig
Fights outside Canada for first time in years at UFC 167.
2. Johny Hendricks
Looks to take GSP’s belt on Nov. 16.
3. Carlos Condit
Looks to end Matt Brown’s win streak at UFC on FOX 9.
4. Rory MacDonald
Win over Lawler could earn him a title shot.
5. Demian Maia
Faces Jake Shields on Oct. 9.
6. Robbie Lawler
A win over MacDonald would likely mean a title shot.
7. Jake Ellenberger
Didn’t do much of anything against MacDonald.
8. Mike Pierce
The most underrated welterweight. Welcomes Rousimar Palhares to the division.
9. Tarec Saffiedine
Outgoing Strikeforce champ has been battling injuries all year.
10. Matt Brown
Six straight wins earned him a shot against Condit.
NOTE: Nick Diaz would be in the top 10 though he says he is currently retired.
Honourable mention: Martin Kampmann, Tyron Woodley, Josh Burkman, Ben Askren, Dong Hyun Kim, Thiago Alves, Erick Silva, Rick Story
1. Anthony Pettis
His first title challenger will be Thomson
2. Michael Chandler
Smashed David Rickels in 44 seconds at Bellator 97 to remain unbeaten. Has looked unbeatable.
3. Benson Henderson
Suffered his first UFC loss against Pettis.
4. TJ Grant
Has earned a title shot.
5. Gilbert Melendez
Meets Diego Sanchez at UFC 166.
6. Josh Thomson
Will look to take Pettis’ belt at UFC on FOX 9.
7. Eddie Alvarez
Resolved the issues with Bellator; rematch with Chandler set for Nov. 2 PPV event.
8. Khabib Nurmagomedov
His win over Healy at UFC 165 put him in title shot conversation.
9. Gray Maynard
TJ Grant made him look silly at UFC 160.
10. Rafael dos Anjos
Has won five straight and just beat Donald Cerrone.
Honourable mention: Pat Healy, Evan Dunham, Gleison Tibau, Nate Diaz, Donald Cerrone, Jim Miller, Jorge Masvidal, Jamie Varner, Edson Barboza, Melvin Guillard
1. Jose Aldo
Is superb in all facets of MMA.
2. Pat Curran
Defends his title against Daniel Straus on Bellator’s PPV card.
3. Chad Mendes
Completely outclassed Clay Guida at UFC 164; meets Nik Lentz next.
4. Ricardo Lamas
Title shot or No. 1 contender bout is next for him.
5. Chan Sung Jung
Likely will be on the shelf a long time after UFC 163 loss to Aldo.
6. Cub Swanson
Finished Siver impressively at UFC 162.
7. Frankie Edgar
Coaches TUF 19 against B.J. Penn.
8. Dustin Poirier
Faces Diego Brandao at UFC 168.
9. Eric Koch
Was outclassed by Poirier.
10. Patricio Friere
Knocked out Diego Nunes at Bellator 99.
Honourable mention: Dennis Siver, Nik Lentz, Hacran Dias, Hatsu Hioki, Rani Yahya
1. Renan Barao
Defended interim belt against Wineland at UFC 165. UFC wants him to fight Cruz next.
2. Urijah Faber
Meets McDonald next.
3. Michael McDonald
Submitted Pickett brilliantly at UFC Fight Night 26. See above.
4. Raphael Assuncao
Looked terrific against Vaughan Lee; faces Dillashaw next.
5. Eddie Wineland
Looked great against Barao before getting caught.
6. Yuri Alcantara
Looked good early against Faber.
7. Brad Pickett
Was tapped by McDonald.
8. T.J. Dillashaw
Currently on a great streak of impressive stoppage wins.
9. Eduardo Dantas
The Bellator champ is one of the best young fighters out there.
10. Bibiano Fernandes
Meets Soo Chul Kim at ONE FC 11 on Oct. 18.
NOTE: Dominick Cruz would be No. 1 on the list, but due to his inactivity he has been excluded.
Honourable mention: Eduardo Dantas, Mike Easton, Ivan Menjivar, George Roop, Scott Jorgensen, Takeya Mizugaki, Erik Perez
1. Demetrious Johnson
Looks for second win over Benavidez.
2. Joseph Benavidez
Earned a rematch with Mighty Mouse.
3. Ian McCall
Welcomes Scott Jorgensen to the flyweight division.
4. John Dodson
Meets Montague to UFC in October.
5. John Moraga
Gave Johnson a tough test in title tilt.
6. Darrell Montague
Finally makes his UFC debut at UFC 166.
7. Jussier da Silva
Looks to bounce back from loss to Benavidez.
8. Tim Elliott
Dominated Gaudinot in exciting fashion.
9. John Lineker
Has looked fantastic of late; stopped Jose Maria Tome at UFC 163.
10. Louis Gaudinot
Lost to Elliott at UFC 164 after long layoff.
Honourable mention: Chris Cariaso, Ulysses Gomez, Jose Maria Tome, Mamoru Yamaguchi, Rambaa Somdet, Yasuhiro Urushitani
MMA rankings are subjective, and ultimately have no real bearing on how fights should or do play out, but they inevitably get fans talking about the sport and its best fighters. Send your thoughts and arguments to @MikeyJ_MMA.