Jon Jones closed the gap on Anderson Silva in the Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound poll, but not even a comprehensive victory over the toughest opponent of his career could vault Jones past the UFC's long-reigning middleweight champion.
Jones garnered seven of the 21 first-place votes cast by the panel of mixed martial arts journalists, but it was far from enough to pass Silva.
Nothing that Jones can do may wind up being enough to overtake Silva unless they happen to fight. Given what has come out of the mouth of both Silva and UFC president Dana White about a potential Silva-Jones fight, that's not likely to occur.
Silva is 37 years old, and his record is extraordinary. He's unbeaten in the UFC, having reeled off a record 14 consecutive victories. He's 10-0 in UFC title fights and was only challenged once, when he was well behind Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in 2010 before rallying to win with a dramatic triangle choke in the waning moments.
Silva isn't going to fight much longer and perhaps not past the end of the year. He's facing Sonnen again at UFC 148 but expect him to have a better plan this time around. Sonnen's style is perfect for Silva's given his wrestling pedigree, but it's not as if Silva is helpless against wrestlers.
Silva submitted Dan Henderson in 2008, and Henderson was an Olympic wrestler, which Sonnen is not.
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If Silva gets past Sonnen and remains active, his potential opponents would be Mark Munoz and Michael Bisping. And with all due respect to those two fighters, Silva would be a massive favorite against both.
A Silva-Jones fight would be epic and perhaps the biggest night in UFC history if it were to occur.
Sadly, though, it doesn't look like it will happen. And that means that, barring a shocking upset, Jones is going to have to wait until Silva retires to assume his spot atop the rankings.
An important note: two prominent fighters were not eligible for this month's poll, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and contender Nick Diaz. St. Pierre has not fought since April 30, 2011, and the poll has a rule that all fighters must have a fight within 12 months. Given that, St. Pierre was kept out and all votes that were made for him were disregarded. Diaz is ineligible before he's on a suspension from the Nevada Athletic Commission for failing a drug test and the poll's rule bans suspended fighters until they're cleared or they've served their penalty.
With that, let's move on to take a look at how the latest voting shaped up:
1. Anderson SilvaPoints:
203 (14 of 21 first-place votes)Affiliation:
UFC (middleweight champion)Weight class:
TKO2 Yushin Okami, Aug. 27Previous ranking:
Title defense vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, July 7
2. Jon JonesPoints:
195 (7 of 21 first-place votes)Affiliation:
UFC (light heavyweight champion)Weight class:
W5 Rashad Evans, April 21Previous ranking:
Title defense vs. No. 9 Dan Henderson, date TBA
3. Jose Aldo
Affiliation: UFC (featherweight champion)
Weight class: Featherweight
Last outing: TKO1 Chad Mendes, Jan. 14
Previous ranking: 4
Up next:Title defense vs. Erik Koch, date TBA
4. Dominick CruzPoints:
UFC (bantamweight champion)Weight class:
W5 Demetrious Johnson, Oct. 1Previous ranking:
Title defense vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 148, July 7
5. Junior dos Santos
Affiliation: UFC (heavyweight champion)
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last outing:TKO1 Cain Velasquez, Nov. 12
Previous ranking: 6
Up next:Title defense vs. Frank Mir at UFC 146, May 26
6. Benson Henderson
Affiliation: UFC (lightweight champion)
Weight class: lightweight
Last outing: W5 Frankie Edgar, Feb. 25
Previous ranking: 7
Up next:Title defense vs. No. 8 Frankie Edgar, date TBA
7. Gilbert MelendezPoints:
Strikeforce (lightweight champion)Weight class:
W5 Jorge Masvidal, Dec. 17Previous ranking:
Title defense vs. Josh Thomson, May 19
8. Frankie EdgarPoints:
L5 Benson Henderson, Feb. 25Previous ranking:
Rematch vs. champion Benson Henderson, date TBA
9. Dan Henderson
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last outing: W5 Mauricio Rua, Nov. 19
Up next:Title challenge vs. champion Jon Jones, date TBA
10. Carlos Condit
Affiliation: UFC (interim welterweight champion)
Weight class: Welterweight
Last outing: W5 Nick Diaz, Feb. 4
Previous ranking: NR
Up next:Nothing scheduled
Others receiving votes: Joseph Benavidez, 15; Rashad Evans, 15; Gray Maynard, 8; Frank Mir, 2; Eddie Alvarez, 1; Eduardo Dantas, 1; Cain Velasquez, 1.
Denny Burkholder, CBSSports.com; Elias Cepeda, Fight! Magazine; Mike Chiappetta, MMA Fighting and Fight! Magazine; Steve Cofield, Cagewriter; Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press; Dave Deibert, Post Media; Dave Doyle, MMA Fighting; Josh Gross, ESPN.com; Ariel Helwani, MMA Fighting; Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports; Damon Martin, MMA Weekly; Todd Martin, freelance; Steven Marrocco, MMA Junkie; Franklin McNeil, ESPN.com; Dave Meltzer, The Wrestling Observer; John Morgan, MMA Junkie; Brett Okamoto, ESPN.com; Ken Pishna, MMA Weekly; Mike Straka, Spike TV and Sirius/XM; Dann Stupp, MMA Junkie; Jeff Wagenheim, SI.com.
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