FiveOuncesOfPain.com has updated its rankings for the month of March. As a disclaimer, these are my own personal rankings and are not necessarily a reflection of the opinions of fellow staff members of 5 Oz.
You can see the updated rankings in their entirety by CLICKING HERE.
Here’s a rundown of some of the changes that were made from last month and the logic behind my decisions:
Top Ten Pound-for-Pound: Forrest Griffin had been rated ahead of Quinton Jackson but I leap frogged the two even though I believe that Griffin is the better fighter. Pure fighting ability counts for a lot, but body of work accounts for even more in my mind. Since December, Griffin has a lot to Rashad Evans while Jackson has not one, but two wins over top ten-caliber opponents in Wanderlei Silva and Keith Jardine.
Also debuting at ten in my top ten p-4-p is Mike Thomas Brown. Urijah Faber had been ranked ahead but my estimation of Brown increased following his win decisive win over Leonard Garcia. I’ve believed in Brown as a top fighter for a long time but I didn’t think of him as a top ten pound-for-pound guy until his performance vs. Garcia.
Heavyweight: I really believe in Gabriel Gonzaga’s talent and I disagree with those who think he’s all hype. The guy is legit. He has tremendous skills on the ground for a big man and his standup is solid. However, results matter and losses to Fabricio Werdum, Randy Couture, and now Shane Carwin have made it difficult for me to justify a spot in the heavyweight top ten for Gonzaga. I decided to remove him from the top ten and replace him with Werdum, a fighter who holds two head-to-head victories against him.
A lot of people are moving Carwin into their top ten rankings but it is too soon for me. I consider him top 15 but it’s very difficult for me to justify ranking a fighter in the top ten when he doesn’t hold more than one win over a top ten fighter. I am impressed with Carwin and really believe in him but outside of Gonzaga and a few other wins, his overall body of work isn’t all that impressive. One more win over a highly-regarded fighter and he’ll get the nod from me.
Light Heavyweight: I flip-flopped Jackson and Griffin following Jackson’s win at UFC 96 and also flip-flopped Renato Sobral with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for no other reason than what I will label as a “market correction.” It’s never a bad idea to analyze your rankings and simply ask yourself “Is this the right way to rank these fighters?”
Middleweight: No changes.
Welterweight: I believe that Paulo Thiago’s win over Josh Koscheck was a fluke but a loss is a loss and the result has to be factored into Koscheck’s ranking. I moved Koscheck down while moving Jake Shields and Matt Hughes up. Also, I moved Diego Sanchez out of the 170 rankings because I know consider him a full-time lightweight. In his place, I decided to move Nick Thompson back into the top ten. Paul Daley may not be a top ten welterweight but he’s definitely top 20 and Thompson’s win over him on an recent MFC card was a meaningful one.
I am seeing Thiago show up in the top ten of a lot of ranking polls but he is now top ten in my opinion. Look, his 11-0 record is impressive but outside of his win over Koscheck, who has he really beaten? And it’s not like he looked outstanding vs. Koscheck. Koscheck was winning the fight until he got caught. Sorry, but I haven’t seen anything from Thiago yet that makes me believe he’s one of the ten best welterweights in the world. Personally, I think fighters such as Marcus Davis and Anthony Johnson deserve to be ranked ahead of Thiago at 170.
Lightweight: No changes.
Featherweight: Brown overtakes Faber for reasons stated above and in the top ten pound-for-pound listing. Leonard Garcia moves down to four while Jose Aldo moves up to five. Garcia did not look good in losing to Brown and while Chris Mickle isn’t a top contender, Aldo’s performances in his recent fights have just been too impressive to ignore. If you put him in there with top contenders with the exception of Brown and Faber, I believe that Aldo beats them.
Also, with Masakazu Imanari defeating a world class competitor Atsushi Yamamoto during the DREAM featherweight Grand Prix at DREAM.7 at 137 pounds, I now consider him a true featherweight again. A respectable win at featherweight coupled with Garcia’s poor effort compelled me to rank him at three overall. I just think Imanari’s game is sick and I think he’d be able to hang with both Brown and Faber.
CLICK HERE to see the updated rankings in their entirety.