MMA pound-for-pound rankings mid-year 2012

Jon Jones arrives for his light heavyweight title

Jon Jones arrives for his light heavyweight title bout against Rashad Evans at UFC 145 at Philips Arena in Atlanta. (April 21, 2012) (Credit: Getty Images)

Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica is the deputy sports editor for cross

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Most pound-for-pound MMA rankings have the same five fighters in the top five slots, so the bottom five are those you really have to consider and make decisions about.

Newsday's P4P rankings are done every six months or so rather than monthly so as to be more comprehensive in assessing fighters' bodies of work since most of them only compete two or three times per year.

Here's the list, in true countdown order:

10. FRANKIE EDGAR (UFC, lightweight, 14-3-1)

As tough as they come in MMA, but he's 1-2-1 in his last four fights since 2011. Still, he holds on to the No. 10 spot here. At 155, he can stand with the best even though he should head to the back of the line after losing a split decision to Ben Henderson. At 145, he could make for at least three fascinating matchups right away — Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, Chan Sung Jung.

Previous ranking: 4
Next fight: TBD.

9. DAN HENDERSON (UFC, light heavyweight, 29-8)

Three straight wins over big opponents -- "Shogun” Rua, Fedor Emelianenko and Rafael Cavalcante — have given Henderson a career renaissance at age 41. Can he land his “H-Bomb” right hand on Jon Jones on Labor Day weekend to win his first UFC title? Either way, Henderson can excel in two different weight classes, giving him added stature in P4P lists.

Previous ranking: 10
Next fight: UFC 151 vs. Jon Jones on Sept. 1

8. GILBERT MELENDEZ (Strikeforce, lightweight, 21-2)

One of the few high-profile fighters in Strikeforce, he keeps on winning — seven straight since April 2009. Melendez drew some criticism for his split decision win over Josh Thomson in May, but, here's the thing: he won the fight. Hard to see any 155-pounders in Strikeforce that came close to him. Of course, there's the whole UFC thing, but that won't happen any time soon.

Previous ranking: 7
Next fight: Sept. 29 vs. Pat Healy

7. BEN HENDERSON (UFC, lightweight, 16-2)

Henderson has the cardio and flexibility to last as champion for some time. He can take a punch and he can work a good ground game. Yes, he's coming off a split decision win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 150, but a win is a win.

Previous ranking: NR
Next fight: TBA vs. Nate Diaz

6. JUNIOR DOS SANTOS (UFC, heavyweight, 15-1)

“Cigano” put a hurting on Frank Mir in May and won by a second-round TKO, giving him seven stoppages in nine UFC bouts. They say he has a strong ground game (a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will do that for you), but we rarely see it because he has lead pipes for hands.

Previous ranking: 9
Next fight: TBD

5. DOMINICK CRUZ (UFC, bantamweight, 19-1)

He tore up his knee ligaments while training to defend his title against Urijah Faber (again). Cruz is one of the quickest fighters around and has looked unbeatable in his last three fights. Once he heals, he is expected to fight interim champion Renan Barao to unify the 135-pound titles.

Previous ranking: 5
Next fight: TBD

4. JOSE ALDO (UFC, featherweight, 21-1)

His sprint through the crowd in Rio was as exciting as the knee he landed to the face of Chad Mendes in January. Still the most dominant 145-pounder in the world regardless of how he may look from one title defense to the next.

Previous ranking: 5
Next fight: UFC 153 vs. Erik Koch on Oct. 13

3. GEORGES ST-PIERRE (UFC, welterweight, 22-2)

Similar to an injured starting quarterback, a fighter shouldn't necessarily lose his standing in these rankings. But Jon Jones has dominated his competition so thoroughly that without anything to compare it with, GSP drops one spot. He is expected to return in November from ACL surgery and fight Carlos Condit to unify the welterweight titles.

Previous ranking: 2
Next fight: November

2. JON JONES (UFC, light heavyweight, 16-1)

In 2012, Jones beat up Rashad Evans for five rounds, then beat up a telephone pole with his Bentley. It will be interesting to see how Jones rebounds from the DWI incident once he's inside the cage against Henderson.

Previous ranking: 3
Next fight: UFC 151 vs. Dan Henderson on Sept. 1.

1. ANDERSON SILVA (UFC, middleweight, 30-4)

What's left to say about this fighter? Well, how about this: He stopped Chael Sonnen via second-round TKO and is now toying with the idea of fighting GSP at a catchweight for the superfight fans have been asking for since 2010.

Previous ranking: 1
Next fight: TBD

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