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411 MMA Rankings 03.05.13: Bantamweight Division
Posted by Jonathan Solomon on 03.05.2013





March is here, Dominick Cruz is not and Renan Barao is fully implanted as the best bantamweight fighter in the world. Now, we look at everyone else who falls in line in our latest edition of the 411 MMA Rankings.

It's not often where an undisputed champion is forced to miss over a year and a half of action, as Cruz will, and in his place a new fighter builds up the argument that he's better. Barao has. You do that by knocking off top contender after top contender and with wins over Brad Pickett, Scott Jorgensen, Urijah Faber and Michael McDonald along with a healthy set of knees, is there anyone willing to argue that Cruz is superior to Barao in 2013?

The closest comparable situation was when UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir suffered serious injuries from a motorcycle accident and went just shy of two years before he returned (and lost). Still, it's debatable whether Mir was the number one fighter in the division worldwide with Fedor Emelianenko and Minotauro Nogueira competing in Japan.

Back to the bantamweights, who can mount the biggest challenge to Barao now? Eddie Wineland? Raphael Assuncao? Maybe Benson Henderson will chop off a leg, drop down and try his hand at 135.

Speaking of top fighters, in Bellator, Eduardo Dantas returned for his first fight since the upset against Tyson Nam last year and knocked out Marcos Galvao last month. Both Barao and Dantas train with Nova Uniao (along with featherweight champion Jose Aldo) which makes you wonder what's in the drinking water in Brazil.

In just under three weeks, the World Series of Fighting returns to NBC Sports for their second show and will feature Nam fighting Marlon Moraes in the biggest bantamweight fight held outside the UFC or Bellator. The only top fighter in the division outside North American remains Bibiano Fernandes and we're still waiting for news on when/who he will fight next.

To get caught up in the bantamweight division, check out the 411 MMA Rankings below and drop some comments if you think we're awesome or bogus.




Rankings From One Year Ago
04.10.12


1. Dominick Cruz

2. Renan Barao

3. Urijah Faber

4. Michael McDonald

5. Scott Jorgensen

6. Zach Makovsky

7. Brian Bowles

8. Eduardo Dantas

9. Bibiano Fernandes

10. Miguel Torres

11. Mike Easton

12. Alexis Vila

13. Brad Pickett

14. Chris Cariaso

15. Ed West





411's MMA Rankings Guidelines

- Which fighters are eligible for these rankings? They must meet the following qualifications: fight at least once in the past 365 days or if they have not, be officially scheduled for an upcoming fight.

- A fighter serving a disciplinary suspension will not be ranked. They can return when they have served their suspension or in the event it is rescinded. This includes fighters who may disregard their suspension locally to fight overseas.

- If a fighter appears on just one single ballot, and in the top ten, five points will be deducted to balance between other fighters who may be ranked lower, but appear on a greater amount of ballots.

- Want to complain about a fighter's ranking in the comments section? Please include an objective reason why you despise the list, and try your best to bring the rest of us to your way of thinking.




411's Official MMA Rankings


Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)






1) Renan Barao (30-1)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: February 27, 1987

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Michael McDonald - Win via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

- vs. Urijah Faber - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Brad Pickett - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 138: Leben vs. Munoz - November 5, 2011

- vs. Cole Escovedo - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill - May 28, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: Fighting perhaps the only active competitor some believed could stop him, interim-champion Barao finished another top 10 bantamweight. McDonald put up a hell of a fight but the 22-year-old fell victim to an arm and triangle choke in London, England. With Dominick Cruz still mending his knee, the reign of Barao looks to be churning along for the foreseeable future. The question then becomes, if/when Cruz is able to return, can he find a way to stop the Brazilian?




2) Urijah Faber (27-6)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 14, 1979

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Ivan Menjivar - Win via submission (standing rear naked choke) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao - July 21, 2012

- vs. Brian Bowles - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Dominick Cruz - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber - July 2, 2011

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - UFC TUF 17 Finale - April 13, 2013

Comment: It was one of the sweetest transitions you'll see all year, Uriah Faber making his way from Ivan Menjivar's shoulders to taking his back and sinking in the chokehold for the win (all while never stepping on the ground). While the majority expected him to win, he did so with enough flair, even Chotchkie's managers would be proud. Up next for the California Kid is a main event spot on FX next month where he'll fight former top contender Scott Jorgensen. The bout was agreed to with about 6 weeks to prepare (if that) due to an injury suffered by flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson, forcing his next title defense off the card.




3) Michael "Mayday" McDonald (15-2)


Height: 5'8

Birthday: January 15, 1991

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via submission (arm-triangle choke) - UFC on Fuel: Barao vs. McDonald - February 16, 2013

- vs. Miguel Torres - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans - April 21, 2012

- vs. Alex Soto - Win via KO (strikes) - UFC 139: Shogun vs. Henderson - November 19, 2011

- vs. Chris Cariaso - Win via decision (split) - UFC 130: Rampage vs. Hamill - May 28, 2011

- vs. Edwin Figueroa - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC Fight Night: Nogueira vs. Davis - March 26, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: On the bright side, he still has a long career ahead of him. Suffering his first loss in almost four years, Mayday went to the fourth round for the first time in his career but could not make it to the deciding fifth. There are plenty of candidates for him to fight next and plenty of top 10 contenders at that. Perhaps Pickett or Easton or even Wineland could find there way looking across the cage at McDonald sometime this year.




4) Eddie Wineland (20-8-1)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: June 26, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Brad Pickett - Win via decision (split) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

- vs. Scott Jorgensen - Win via KO (punches) - UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall 2 - June 8, 2012

- vs. Joseph Benavidez - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Versus: Hardy vs. Lytle - August 14, 2011

- vs. Urijah Faber - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. Ken Stone - Win via KO (slam) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





5) Bibiano Fernandes (13-3)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: March 30, 1980

Currently Fighting With: ONE Fighting Championship

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Yoshiro Maeda - Win via technical submission (triangle choke) - DREAM 18 - December 31, 2012

- vs. Gustavo Falciroli - Win via decision (unanimous) - ONE FC: Pride of a Nation - August 31, 2012

- vs. Antonio Banuelos - Win via TKO (strikes) - Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 - December 31, 2011

- vs. Rodolfo Marques - Win via decision (unanimous) - Fight for Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 - December 31, 2011

- vs. Takafumi Otsuka - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - Dream 17 - September 24, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




6) Brad Pickett (22-7)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: September 24, 1978

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Loss via decision (split) - UFC 155: dos Santos vs. Velasquez - December 29, 2012

- vs. Yves Jabouin - Win via KO (punch) - UFC on Fuel 5: Struve vs. Miocic - September 29, 2012

- vs. Damacio Page - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Silva - April 14, 2012

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC 138: Munoz vs. Leben - November 5, 2011

- vs. Ivan Menjivar - Win via decision (unanimous) - WEC 53: Henderson vs. Pettis - December 16, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Mike Easton - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Mousasi - April 6, 2013





7) Tyson Nam (12-4)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: October 6, 1983

Currently Fighting With: World Series of Fighting

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eduardo Dantas - Win via KO (punch) - Shooto Brazil 33 - August 25, 2012

- vs. Chanti Johnson - Win via decision (unanimous) - CageSport 16 - October 1, 2011

- vs. Chuck Jordan - Win via TKO (strikes) - Sportfight: Brawl at the Barn - September 9, 2011

- vs. Chanti Johnson - Win via TKO (strikes) - Square Ring Promotions - July 29, 2011

- vs. Jesse Brock - Loss via decision (unanimous) - Sportfight: All In - January 28, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Marlon Moraes - WSOF 2: Arlovski vs. Johnson - March 23, 2013

Comment: Nam will finally fight for the first time since his upset knockout of DuDu Dantas last summer in 18 days when he goes up against Marlon Moraes in Atlantic City. The winner will instantly become the top bantamweight in the promotion, although no plans have been confirmed as far as championships go.



8) Raphael Assuncao (19-4)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: July 19, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Mike Easton - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Issei Tamura - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Fuel: Munoz vs. Weidman - July 11, 2012

- vs. Johnny Eduardo - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami - August 27, 2011

- vs. Erik Koch - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones - March 19, 2011

- vs. LC Davis - Win via decision (unanimous) - WEC 52: Faber vs. Mizugaki - November 11, 2010

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown




9) Eduardo Dantas (15-3)


Height: 5'10

Birthday: February 3, 1989

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Marcos Galvao - Win via KO (punches) - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

- vs. Tyson Nam - Loss via KO (punch) - Shooto Brazil 33 - August 25, 2012

- vs. Zach Makovksy - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Alexis Vila - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 59 - November 26, 2011

- vs. Ed West - Win via decision (split) - Bellator 55 - October 22, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: After securing his first title defense, Dantas was visibly upset at the sight of his fallen friend who he had knocked out moments earlier. Despite the melancholy feelings, he reaffirmed his place as one of the best bantamweights in the world with the win.





10) Mike Easton (13-2)


Height: 5'5

Birthday: January 25, 1984

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Raphael Assuncao - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Ivan Menjivar - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. Jared Papazian - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller - January 20, 2012

- vs. Bryan Bloodworth - Win via TKO (strikes) - UFC on Versus: Cruz vs. Johnson - October 1, 2011

- vs. Chase Beebe - Win via decision (split) - UWC 7: Redemption - October 3, 2009

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Brad Pickett - UFC on Fuel: Gustafsson vs. Mousasi - April 6, 2013





11) Scott Jorgensen (14-6)


Height: 5'4

Birthday: September 17, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. John Albert - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on Fox 5: Henderson vs. Diaz - December 8, 2012

- vs. Eddie Wineland - Loss via KO (punch) - UFC on FX: Johnson vs. McCall 2 - June 8, 2012

- vs. Renan Barao - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit - February 4, 2012

- vs. Jeff Curran - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 137: Penn vs. Diaz - October 29, 2011

- vs. Ken Stone - Win via KO (punch) - UFC: TUF 13 Finale - June 4, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- vs. Urijah Faber - UFC TUF 17 Finale - April 13, 2013





12) Takeya Mizugaki (17-7-2)


Height: 5'7

Birthday: December 16, 1983

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Bryan Caraway - Win via decision (split) - UFC on Fuel: Silva vs. Stann - March 3, 2013

- vs. Jeff Hougland - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC on Fuel: Franklin vs. Le - November 10, 2012

- vs. Chris Cariaso - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 144: Edgar vs. Henderson - February 26, 2012

- vs. Cole Escovedo - Win via TKO (punches) - UFC 135: Jones vs. Rampage - September 24, 2011

- vs. Brian Bowles - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber 2 - July 2, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





13) Ivan Menjivar (25-10)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: May 30, 1982

Currently Fighting With: UFC

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Urijah Faber - Loss via submission (standing rear naked choke) - UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche - February 23, 2013

- vs. Azamat Gashimov - Win via submission (armbar) - UFC 154: GSP vs. Condit - November 17, 2012

- vs. Mike Easton - Loss via decision (unanimous) - UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen 2 - July 7, 2012

- vs. John Albert - Win via submission (rear naked choke) - UFC on Fuel: Sanchez vs. Ellenberger - February 25, 2012

- vs. Nick Pace - Win via decision (unanimous) - UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz - August 6, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





14) Luis Alberto Nogueira (15-3)


Height: 5'6

Birthday: April 10, 1985

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Francisco Figueredo Jr. - Win via submission (arm triangle choke) - BOTB: Para vs. Brazil - November 29, 2012

- vs. Marcos Galvao - Loss via TKO (elbows) - Bellator 73 - August 24, 2012

- vs. Hiroshi Nakamura - Win via KO (strikes) - Bellator 70 - May 25, 2012

- vs. Alexis Villa - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Zak Laird - Win via submission (guillotine choke) - Bellator 53 - October 8, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown





15) Marcos Galvao (13-6-1)


Height: 5'3

Birthday: June 23, 1982

Currently Fighting With: Bellator Fighting Championships

Last 5 fights:

- vs. Eduardo Dantas - Loss via KO (punches) - Bellator 89 - February 14, 2013

- vs. Luis Nogueira - Win via TKO (elbows) - Bellator 73 - August 24, 2012

- vs. Travis Marx - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 68 - May 11, 2012

- vs. Ed West - Win via decision (unanimous) - Bellator 65 - April 13, 2012

- vs. Alexis Vila - Loss via decision (split) - Bellator 55 - October 22, 2011

Next scheduled appearance:

- Unknown

Comment: In an emotional fight between friends, it was Galvao who came up short and on the receiving end of a knockout. He could not match champion Dantas' speed and it cost him in the second round. Marcos will now have to enter a future tournament if he has a second title fight on his mind.








Closing Comments: Marlon Moraes, Anthony Leone, Yves Jabouin, Jimmie Rivera and Ed West received additional votes.

Dominick Cruz and Brian Bowles are ineligible for inactivity because neither has fought over the last 365 days.





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