MMA pound-for-pound rankings to open 2014

Ronda Rousey, top, punches Miesha Tate during the

Ronda Rousey, top, punches Miesha Tate during the UFC 168 mixed martial arts women's bantamweight title fight. (Dec. 28, 2013) (Credit: AP)

Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica Mark La Monica

Mark La Monica is the deputy sports editor for cross

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Female fighters, non-champions and no more Georges St-Pierre. The 2013 year-end pound-for-pound MMA rankings look far different than in past editions.

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

Here's the list, in true countdown order:

10. RONDA ROUSEY (UFC, bantamweight, 8-0)

Rousey finally needed more than one round to finish her opponent by armbar submission. And she did it against her archrival Miesha Tate at UFC 168 on Dec. 28. Amid boos from the crowd, Rousey showcased improved striking and showed just how effective her judo background can be in throwing opponents around the cage.

Previous ranking: NR

Next fight: UFC 170 vs. Sara McMann, Feb. 22

9. ANDERSON SILVA (UFC, middleweight, 33-6)

Silva shattered his left leg in two places in his bid to regain the middleweight title from Chris Weidman at UFC 168. He figures to be out for at least a year, assuming the 38-year-old wants to continue fighting.

Previous ranking: 3

Next fight: TBD

8. VITOR BELFORT (UFC, middleweight, 24-10)

Three fights in 2013 for Belfort: three top-10 opponents, three head-kick knockouts. Belfort beat Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold in the first round and Michael Bisping in the second round. Next up for the 36-year-old Brazilian is a shot at Weidman's middleweight title some time in 2014.

Previous ranking: NR

Next fight: TBD

7. ANTHONY PETTIS (UFC, lightweight, 17-2)

Last August, Pettis finally got a shot at the UFC lightweight title, a fight promised to him at the end of 2010. He submitted Benson Henderson to win the championship and is now rehabbing a knee injury.

Previous ranking: NR

Next fight: TBD

6. RENAN BARAO (UFC, bantamweight, 33-1, 1 NC)

Barao stopped Eddie Wineland in his second interim title defense. He hasn't lost a fight since his first one -- in 2005. He puts that streak on the line Super Bowl weekend in a title unification bout.

Previous ranking: 9

Next fight: UFC 169 vs. Dominick Cruz, Feb. 1

5. CHRIS WEIDMAN (UFC, middleweight, 11-0)

Weidman, from Baldwin, successfully defended his title against Silva at UFC 168 on Dec. 28. He checked a kick that broke Silva's leg in two places, resulting in a TKO by injury. The middleweight champion awaits a date against Belfort next.

Previous ranking: 10

Next fight: TBD.

4. DEMETRIOUS JOHNSON (UFC, flyweight, 19-2-1)

His three title defenses have gone like this, from oldest to newest: unanimous decision, fifth-round submission, first-round knockout. The top 125-pounder out there keeps looking better and better with each fight.

Previous ranking: 7

Next fight: TBD

3. CAIN VELASQUEZ (UFC, heavyweight, 13-1)

In his second successful title defense, Velasquez scored a fifth-round TKO of Junior Dos Santos, cementing his position as the top big man in the sport right now.

Previous ranking: 6

Next fight: TBD

2. JOSE ALDO (UFC, featherweight, 23-1)

Aldo moves up two spots here as Silva suffered two losses and Georges St-Pierre vacated his welterweight title to take a break from the sport. But Aldo was already good enough to be No. 2. The Brazilian hasn't lost a fight since 2005, and is coming off a fourth-round TKO of "The Korean Zombie" Chan Sung Jung.

Previous ranking: 4

Next fight: UFC 169 vs. Ricardo Lamas, Feb. 1

1. JON JONES (UFC, light heavyweight, 19-1)

Jones faced what proved to be his toughest test yet as a fighter, going the distance against Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September in what many consider the fight of the year. Jones won by unanimous decision.

Previous ranking: 1

Next fight: UFC 172 vs. Glover Teixeira, April 12

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