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SportsColumnistsMark La Monica

Mid-2011 MMA pound-for-pound rankings

From left. UFC champions Cain Velasquez (heayweight), Frankie

From left. UFC champions Cain Velasquez (heayweight), Frankie Edgar (lightweight), Jon Jones (light heavyweight), Anderson Silva (middleweight) and Dominick Cruz (bantamweight) pose for a photo during a news conference for UFC 129 in Toronto. (April 29, 2011) Credit: AP

Yes, we know no championship belt exists for the fighter on top of this or any other pound-for-pound list. Yes, we know it's a mythical thing "they" dreamed up. Yes, we know weight classes and the unified rules prevent most of these mixed martial artists from fighting each other.

And, your point is?

P4P lists pass the time in between fights, and since most fighters only step in the cage two or three times a year, that's a lot of clock-watching. And given the space in the calendar between fights, we're most comfortable doing pound-for-pound rankings on a semiannual basis. Anything more than that is just a reaction to the last fight.

So here we go with the mid-2011 P4P rankings, in countdown form.

10. GRAY MAYNARD (lightweight, UFC, 11-0-1)

Some think he beat Frankie Edgar on New Year's Day. But whatever the judges' cards said, Maynard showed he belongs at the top of the 155-pound division.

Previous ranking: NR
Next fight: TBA vs. Frankie Edgar

9. NICK DIAZ (welterweight, Strikeforce/UFC, 14-6)

Not sure why he doesn't get more love in other' rankings. He has sick jiu-jitsu and is widely considered the best technical boxer in mixed martial arts. Diaz has won 10 straight, including four Strikeforce welterweight title defenses.

Previous ranking: NR
Next fight: Oct. 29 vs. Georges St-Pierre at UFC 137 in Las Vegas

8. CAIN VELASQUEZ (heavyweight, UFC, 9-0)

Velasquez hasn't fought since turning Brock Lesnar from machine to man last October because of a shoulder injury. But he has resumed training and is reportedly ready to return in November. Tough luck for whoever comes up against the first Mexican heavyweight champion in combat sports. Velasquez can strike, he can wrestle and he can go 25 minutes easily.

Previous ranking: 7
Next fight: Nov. 19 vs. Junior Dos Santos at UFC 138 in San Jose, Calif.*

7. FRANKIE EDGAR (lightweight, UFC, 13-1-1)

Edgar fought to a draw with Maynard last time out and pulled out of the re-rematch with an injury. The two are set to fight once they're both ready, perhaps as early as UFC 135 in Denver on Sept. 24. October is more likely though.

Previous ranking: 4
Next fight: TBA vs. Gray Maynard

6. JON FITCH (welterweight, UFC, 26-3-1)

Another fighter, Nick Diaz, gets a shot at Georges St-Pierre's UFC welterweight title while Fitch just hangs out. He fought BJ Penn to a majority draw last February, which sounds blah. But consider this: Fitch outstruck Penn in the third round, 134-0. Ever see another fighter blank Penn like that?

Previous ranking: 5
Next fight: TBA

5. JON JONES (light heavyweight, UFC, 13-1)

Not sure there's been a more meteoric rise through MMA since Royce Gracie beat up the entire arena at UFC 1. Jones seems to reinvent the sport each time he steps in the cage.

Previous ranking: NR
Next fight: Sept. 24 vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 135 in Denver.

4. DOMINICK CRUZ (bantamweight, UFC, 18-1)

Cruz avenged his only defeat when he won a unanimous decision over Urijah Faber at UFC 132 on July 2. Even in the fifth round, the bantamweight champion pushed the pace in what was a thrilling albeit close fight.

Previous ranking: 6
Next fight: TBA

3. JOSE ALDO (featherweight, UFC, 19-1)

The featherweight champion didn't look his best when he defeated Mark Hominick before 55,000 fans at UFC 129 in Toronto. Still, if you weighed 145 pounds, would you want to get in the cage with him? Heck, if you weight 245 pounds, would you want to get in the cage with him?

Previous ranking: 3
Next fight: TBA

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

This is one way to look at GSP's last fight: He looked out of sorts in beating Jake Shields by decision in front of 55,000 fans at UFC 130 in Toronto. Here's another way: He fought more than half the five-rounder without being able to see out of one eye.

Previous ranking: 2
Next fight: Oct. 29 vs. Nick Diaz at UFC 137 in Las Vegas

1. ANDERSON SILVA (middleweight, UFC, 28-4)

Nothing short of a loss or retirement will move Silva out of the No. 1 spot anytime soon. His front-leg-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort is a candidate for knockout of the year.

Previous ranking: 1
Next fight: Aug. 27 vs. Yushin Okami at UFC 134 in Rio.

* Date and location not official yet.


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