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Article:The Sports Brief's MMA rankings - 11.19.08

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1. Fedor Emelianenko

2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

3. Brock Lesnar

4. Andrei Arlovski

5. Josh Barnett

6. Randy Couture

7. Tim Sylvia

8. Alistair Overeem

9. Frank Mir

10. Gabriel Gonzaga

Honorable mention: Shane Carwin, Ben Rothwell, Fabricio Werdum, Heath Herring, Chiek Kongo, Aleksander Emelianenko, Mirko Cro Cop, Junior Dos Santos

What an impressive performance by Lesnar at UFC 91. At this point, you have to think that guys like Fedor, Nog and Mir have the best chance to take him down with their ability to win a fight off their back. Gonzaga had a solid showing, as well, and with his size, grappling and jiu-jitsu technique, perhaps he’s on his way to another title challenge. Shane Carwin is a sleeper, as well. His striking may be more ferocious than Lesnar, but his wrestling, while credible, is not up to par. It’ll be interesting to see how the UFC develops him as a potential star. Nonetheless, the Fedor-Arlovski fight on the Affliction card should be a blockbuster.

Light Heavyweight:

1. Forrest Griffin

2. Quinton Jackson

3. Lyoto Machida

4. Wanderlei Silva

5. Rashad Evans

6. Maurcio ‘Shogun’ Rua

7. Chuck Liddell

8. Thiago Silva

9. Keith Jardine

10. Babalu Sobral

Honorable mention: Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Tito Ortiz, Vladimir Matyushenko, Brandon Vera, Luis Cane

Pretty cool that UFC 92 will feature four of The Sports Brief’s top-5 light heavyweights in the world on the same card. Machida and Silva will finally touch gloves at UFC 94, with the winner potentially looking at a title shot in the near future. Shogun returns at UFC 93 against Mark Coleman, and there are rumblings about a Chuck Liddell-Anderson Silva fight headlining UFC 95 in London, England. A lot of activity in this division in the coming months as the top fighters are competing against each other. It’ll be interesting to see how the division shakes out once the dust has settled.


1. Anderson Silva

2. Matt Lindland

3. Dan Henderson

4. Rich Franklin

5. Robbie Lawler

6. Cung Le

7. Yushin Okami

8. Gegard Mousasi

9. Michael Bisping

10. Nathan Marquardt

Honorable mention: Denis Kang, Cael Sonnen, Paulo Filho, Frank Trigg, Patrick Cote, Frank Shamrock, Kazuo Misaki, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Chris Leben, Ricardo Almeida, Ronaldo Souza

The Anderson Silva-Patrick Cote was disappointing in how it ended, but I don’t feel Silva should have caught that much flack. I interpreted his performance as slow and methodical, picking apart his opponent in Roy Jones like fashion (his idol, by the way). While it was unfortunate to see Cote injure his knee to end the fight, there’s no doubt he was on his way to a loss. Perhaps the most unfortunate part of all this is that he almost deserves a rematch because of the premature ending, something that I certainly don’t want to see. But the division is becoming more and more interesting. Lawler could potentially come over after EliteXC closed up shop, and Denis Kang has just been added to the mix fresh off a devastating knockout over “The man formerly known as the Beastman” Marvin Eastman.

Bisping and Maia seem in line for a contender clash, as well. Meanwhile, Henderson and Franklin will mix it up at 205. What does that do for anyone? Okami returns soon and will most likely be granted the next crack at Silva, but I don’t see him winning that fight if he even gets it. And with the WEC folding, Cael Sonnen is now a name to be discussed. His win over Filho, however, is tainted due to Filho showing up fat and disinterested.

Anyone see Mousasi kick the snot out of Ronaldo Souza? Look out for this guy. I’d be interested to see who he fights next.


1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Jon Fitch

3. Jake Shields

4. Thiago Alves

5. Josh Koscheck

6. Diego Sanchez

t-7. Matt Hughes

t-7. Matt Serra

9. Karo Parisyan

10. Carlos Condit

Honorable mention: Nick Thompson, Mike Swick, Marcus Davis, Drew Fickett, Jay Hieron

This weight class has been fairly inactive as of late aside from Thiago Alves destroying Josh Koscheck. But I’ll tell you this: I became a huge Koscheck fan because of that fight. He took the fight on two weeks notice, took all that punishment but continued to come forward and scored some notable points against Alves. He had his moments and even appeared to hurt Alves at one point. And despite that convincing loss he’s still headlining the Dec. 10 Fight Night against Yoshida. The St. Pierre-Penn fight is still a couple months away, and this division will continue to be fairly quiet for a while. Hopefully Jake Shields signs with the UFC. He’s a legitimate threat to anyone in this division, especially the titleholder.


1. BJ Penn

2. Eddie Alvarez

3. Joachim Hansen

4. Shinya Aoki

5. JZ Cavalcante

6. Takanori Gomi

7. Josh Thomson

8. Tatsuya Kawajiri

9. Sean Sherk

10. Kenny Florian

Honorable mention: Gilbert Melendez, KJ Noons, Nick Diaz, Victor Ribero, Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta, Frankie Edgar

What an effort by Kenny Florian, and kudos to him for calling out BJ Penn. There’s no one left in the division for him to fight right now, not even Sean Sherk (at least not at the moment). The only unfortunate thing is that is will still be a long time before a fight with Penn happens, considering he is not fighting GSP until Super Bowl weekend.

Meanwhile, overseas where most of the lightweight talent is these guys all appear heading towards the K-1 New Years Eve event, where Hansen and Calvalcante are already scheduled to fight. Alvarez was supposed to fight Diaz on the Nov. 8 ShoXC event, but that was obviously scrapped. That would have been one hell of a fight. Suprisingly, Gomi lost a split decision to Johnny No Name last week, but we’ll chalk that up to a bad night. He’s still one of the best of the world.

Pound 4 Pound:

1. Anderson Silva

2. Fedor Emelianenko

3. Georges St. Pierre

4. BJ Penn

5. Miguel Torres

6. Forrest Griffin

7. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

8. Mike Brown

9. Quinton Jackson

10. Brock Lesnar

Lesnar creeps in with his impressive performance over Couture, and honestly, the sky is the limit for this guy. Don’t be surprised if he makes his way up this chart over the next year. Meanwhile, let’s all welcome unheralded Mike Brown to the mix, as he pops in at number 8 on the list. His impressive destruction of former WEC featherweight champ and pound for pound elitist Urijah Faber was shocking to some, but somewhat expected by others. He was bigger, stronger and more powerful than the former champ, and up until he caught Faber with that short right, he had been dominating and controlling the fight. I interpreted Faber’s ridiculous spinning back elbow as a somewhat desperate move, a sign that he realized it would take something spectacular and unordinary to chop down Brown.

Well there you have it. Let us know what you think and if we missed any fighters that you feel should be mentioned here. Chances are we may have, but for the most part we think we’ve accounted for the best in the world here.


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