It's a work in progress.
That's what I keep telling myself when I do these things, knowing full well that the trolls will be out in full force over any and every decision I make on fighter rankings.
There were lots of changes on some lists (read: middleweight) and no changes in others (read: pound for pound.)
Despite an impressively gritty and fan-friendly performance by Ronda Rousey, I opted to keep the arm-bar machine off my pound-for-pound list.
While she's an incredibly important figure in female sports, it's my belief that she just hasn't fought enough quality opponents for her to be considered one of the sports pound-for-pound best. Yet.
As for some notable changes, we'll start at heavyweight.
Here's something you will hear me say often during these rankings. I made a mistake.
Despite having him as my number 5 heavyweight previously I completely dropped Shane Carwin.
My decision to do so is the same reason why I don't have Dominick Cruz anywhere near my pound-for-pound list. He hasn't fought in forever. June of 2011 to be exact. You couple that with the fact he's coming off of two straight losses and all of a sudden he's off my list. I added Gabriel Gonzaga to round out my top 10 heavies.
In light heavyweight, there was another dramatic change as I moved Ryan Bader down three spots from number 8 overall to out of my top 10.
It sounds really harsh for a guy who's coming off of a submission win over Vladamir Matyushenko, but keep in mind that the guys at 8, 9 and 10 seem to be interchangeable in terms of rankings.
I knew I wanted to add James Te-Huna who has not only won four fights in a row but has gone 9-1 over his last 10 fights with seven KO victories.
Bader has gone 3-3 over his last six and has struggled against the game's best having been knocked out or submitted in fights against Jon Jones, Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida.
I kept Phil Davis and Gegard Mousasi in my top 10. Davis because his only blemish is a decision loss to a really tough Rashad Evans. Mousasi hasn't lost in six fights since his decision loss to Mo Lawal.
My middleweight division is a flipping mess, I'm not going to lie to you, but I think it's reflective of how muddled the division is.
Outside of the top five guys in the division the rest of best have bad losses, bad wins and/or glaring holes in their games.
To make sense of the organization's 185'ers I did what I always do, I studied.
I went back and started watching more Luke Rockhold fights. Holy smokes. What the hell was I thinking? He is 10-1 overall with eight finishes. Why wasn't I ranking this guy higher?
We'll really see where he stacks in the division soon as he fights Vitor Belfort next.
Same goes for Renaldo Souza. Not ranking this guy was a mistake. I went back saw more of his fights, combined that with his 6-1 record over his last seven fights and it's a no brainer to rank this guy in the top 10 somewhere.
No initially I had Costa Philippou out of my top 10 but it just didn't sit right with me.
In my mind I couldn't erase some of his recent fights from my memory. Over his last six victories he's pushed out four decision wins. And outside of his win over a badly-overmatched Jared Hamman, his pace could largely be described as plodding.
But at the end of the day the guy is 12-2 (1) and getting a record like that is tough to do, so even though it hasn't been pretty at times, he's gotten the job done which means he's right and I'm wrong. It was a mistake to leave him out and put other guys in so now I'm rectifying it.
As a result of Philippou and Souza coming into my top 10 it pushed out Rousimar Palhares and Alan Belcher.
My lists as discussed above:
Pound for Pound -
1- Jon Jones
2- Anderson Silva
3- Jose Aldo
4- Georges St-Pierre
5- Cain Velasquez
6- Benson Henderson
7- Renan Barao
8- Vitor Belfort
9- Rory MacDonald
10- Chris Weidman
Heavyweight - (Champion: Cain Velasquez)
1- Junior Dos Santos
2- Daniel Cormier
3- Alistair Overeem
4- Fabricio Werdum
5- Frank Mir
6- Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
7- Roy Nelson
8- Antonio Silva
9- Stefan Struve
10- Gabriel Gonzaga
Light Heavyweight - (Champion: Jon Jones)
1- Lyoto Machida
2- Dan Henderson
3- Alexander Gustafsson
4- Mauricio Rua
5- Glover Teixeira
6- Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
7- Rashad Evans
8- Gegard Mousasi
9- Phil Davis
10- James Te-Huna
Middleweight - (Champion: Anderson Silva)
1- Vitor Belfort
2- Chris Weidman
3- Hector Lombard
4- Michael Bisping
5- Mark Munoz
6- Luke Rockhold
7- Ronaldo Souza
8- Constantinos Philippou
9- Tim Boetsch
10- Yushin Okami