UFC Pound For Pound Rankings April 2017
1) Demetrius Johnson: I could easily make a case for this ranking and I can make a case against this ranking. Regardless, Mighty Mouse is preparing for his 10th title defense in the UFC Flyweight division. Which is remarkable. The Flyweight division of course, is not the strongest division in the UFC but Mighty Mouse has found different ways to defend the belt in virtually every fight and has won some bouts very impressively, bouts that I did not think he would win in the particular fashion that he did. DJ possesses knockout power in both hands, has great wrestling and has the best ground game in the division. Simply put he is the real deal. Until he loses the belt he will remain in this spot. Mighty Mouse is approaching Anderson Silva’s “Middleweight Reign” territory and has easily cemented himself as the greatest fighter in MMA history at 125 lbs. Wilson Reis is an interesting test for DJ as Reis has been a long time training partner of the last of man to defeat DJ. Dominick Cruz. I expect Reis to come ready as this title shot has been a long in the making for Reis. We will find out who is better this Saturday night on UFC on Fox 24.
2) Conor McGregor: The former Champ Champ is now just The Champ as the UFC decided to relinquish Conor McGregor of his 145 Featherweight belt. Agree or disagree Conor was NEVER going to fight at Featherweight in the UFC ever again. 145lbs was a very tough cut and a foresaw him moving up to 155 and giving up the belt and in one way or another he did. As the biggest name in the sport today and far and away the biggest draw there are serious indications that Conor will not return to fight for the UFC in 2017 and I would bet money that he will not. Discussions for a bout featuring McGregor and the best boxer of his generation Floyd Mayweather are heating up as the days go by. It is no secret how I feel about the fight I think Conor belongs in the octagon not the square in boxing that they have called a “ring” for god knows why. The longer McGregor continues his hiatus from the octagon the further down he will fall on my list. He has accomplished quite a bit in a short time but I am certain most fighters in the past had they been given the opportunity McGregor has would be in a similar situation— but they were not. Regardless, his accomplishments are remarkable which has led him to become the biggest draw that the sport has ever seen and he is still the current UFC Lightweight Champion…for now.
3) Daniel Cormier: The circumstances in which Daniel Cormier became the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion were not ideal. The first guy to admit that would be DC himself. In a perfect world DC would have won the title from Jon Jones at UFC 182. We all know that did not happen. But light was and has been at the end of the tunnel for DC as he was given the opportunity to get the belt at UFC 187 vs Anthony Johnson. He won and that has all he has done since. Defeating Alexander Gustaffson, Anderson Silva, and Anthony Johnson again most recently at UFC 210 in Buffalo. A collision course could FINALLY be in motion with the return of Jon Jones looming in July, but UFC President Dana White has made it pretty clear that he does not want to give Jon Jones the main event billing upon his return. I can’t say I blame him, the company and Daniel Cormier were burned by Jones on several occasions. If the UFC decides Jones does not deserve to headline, Cormier has said himself he will only sign to fight Jon Jones if Conor McGregor is headlining the event. So if DC is slotted in a main event slot for the UFC he will be fighting Jimi Manuwa. Did everyone notice Jimi Manuwa was sitting next to Dana White and not Jon Jones… I wonder why?…
4) Jose Aldo: Aldo is the current UFC Featherweight champion and oddly enough he can thank one man for that. Conor McGregor. Oddly enough McGregor is the man who took the belt from him and gave it back. Like it or not Aldo earned the right to be promoted to the champion spot due to the fact that he won the interim title at UFC 200 vs Frankie Edgar. Which I thought was one of his better performances especially in recent memory. He did look like the Aldo of old throwing his trademark leg kicks while utilizing his jab. Now Aldo will be taking on Max Halloway a young and up and coming fighter who is holding the belt that once was Aldo’s.. this is a cluster you know what.
5) Stipe Miocic: BREAKING NEWS: The UFC finally has a Heavyweight champion that CAN defend the belt!!!
Holy smokes it has been a longtime since the UFC could honestly say they have a Heavyweight champion a real defending Heavyweight champion. Now they do in Stipe Miocic. Miocic took the belt from Fabricio Werdum and defended the belt vs Alistair Overeem. Miocic has proved on several occasions that he can take a punch, kick or a knee. One fight that comes to mind was his Heavyweight slobber knocker match up with Junior Dos Santos which took place in December of 2014. Three years later in May of 2017 the two Heavyweight strikers will collide in the cage again. As Miocic looks to redeem his last defeat as the champion and Junior Dos Santos looks to claim a belt that was once his. I can’t wait for this fight as this is easily one of the best skill for skill fight in recent Heavyweight title fight history.
6) Cody Garbrandt: “No Love” has officially arrived as he defeated the longtime Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and it was a pretty eye-opening win. I said back in December and I will say it again. Garbrandt put on the best challenger vs champion performance in UFC history. Well the best since T.J. Dillashaw defeated Renan Barao and hey!.. what a transition that was.. next on the docket for the new UFC Bantamweight Champ is his former training partner and now current rival T.J. Dillashaw. Just before the Bantamweight clash we will all have the pleasure of watching both fighters verbally spar and hopefully spar with their fists on The Ultimate Fighter: Redemption. Safe to say I will have my DVR set to record that series.
7) Dominick Cruz: Cruz is coming off of his most devastating defeat vs Cody Garbandt back at UFC 207, but this was Cruz’ first loss in 9 years, 9 months, and 6 days. I expect Cruz to get back on the horse soon and challenge the winner of Garbandt vs Dillashaw for the Bantamweight belt. He deserves another shot at the belt that was once his then taken away and then regained and then lost. Wow. What a whirlwind of a career for Cruz it has been filled with plenty of high’s and low’s but he is the most professional fighter in the UFC today. As after the defeat Cruz handled the loss like a man standing before the media and taking any and all questions with the darkest sunglasses you will ever see. I am excited to see which Cruz we see upon his return will it be the Cruz that lost to Garbrandt or the Cruz that beat T.J. Dillashaw. Only time will tell which version we will see and who we will see it against.
8) Tyron Woodley: Woodley is not a favorite of mine and it has zero to do with his mouth outside the cage it has everything to do with his ability or lack there of inside the cage. For a guy with as much god given ability, Woodley has only show the ability in spades. Woodley could be known as the most powerful striker and wrestler in the sport but has often times looked tentative and this dates back to the Strikeforce days. I don’t know if he has a mental block or if he just feels like fighting at a certain pace due to his wide muscular frame he has been known to gas easy in 5 round fights past the 3rd round as we witnessed this vs Stephen Thompson in the first fight especially. I hope the next time I see Tyron in the octagon I hope he does less talking and more fighting in his next fight. Woodley is lined up to most likely face the winner of a Welterweight showdown between two UFC vets Demian Maia and Jorge Masvidal.
9) Michael Bisping: The count called his shot and then took two h-bombs in his first title defense winning the fight in controversial fashion. That was just the beginning. Bisping demanded a “money fight” a term that was invented by both Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Well it is safe to say Michael Bisping got his wish as he will be taking on the fighter that I consider to be “The Greatest” in the history of the UFC Georges St.Pierre. If promoted correctly Bisping vs GSP could be the biggest fight of the year. For now, what we know is that they signed to fight but we have no date or venue locked up.. yet. Like it or not Bisping is the champ and like it or not he has never had a big money fight and at times in combat sports the champion does what the whatever he wants. In this case it is more than fair. I expect some hate mail from Yoel Romero fans.
10) Max Halloway: Max “Blessed” Halloway took on Anthony Pettis in a late-change five round interim title fight. He passed the test with flying colors. Putting on an impressive performance in which he pretty much destroyed Anthony Pettis, quickly. Most of this could be contributed to the fact that Pettis should have never dropped down in weight in the first place but regardless of that Halloway took advantage of a golden opportunity thanks to the man who last defeated him Conor McGregor. Now Halloway will be taking on the 2-time Featherweight champion Jose Aldo at UFC 212. Judging that staredown from yesterday’s media day. I am willing to go out on a limb here and say one fighter will be knocked out whether it is Aldo or Halloway now that is the real question…