BJ Penn, taking a left in a TKO loss to Georges St. Pierre in January, is the top-ranked lightweight in the USA TODAY/SB Nation consensus MMA rankings.
By Eric Jamison, AP
BJ Penn, taking a left in a TKO loss to Georges St. Pierre in January, is the top-ranked lightweight in the USA TODAY/SB Nation consensus MMA rankings.

By Beau Dure, USA TODAY

Who's No. 1?

Within each mixed martial arts promotion, the question is easily answered by the man with the belt. But who's No. 1 among all promotions?

Opinions might vary. That's why the USA TODAY/SB Nation consensus MMA rankings are a compilation of opinions from many sources representing a mix of mainstream media, well-established MMA sites, respected bloggers and sanctioning body WAMMA.

Bloody Elbow, SB Nation's comprehensive MMA blog, compiles the rankings. The previous rankings in the table refer to the last Bloody Elbow rankings, compiled through the same process. Henceforth, the rankings will appear monthly, though not always on the same week, allowing them to reflect the most recent major fights.

Many of the fighters in the top 10 of each weight class fight for Ultimate Fighting Championship, the dominant American promoter. UFC has the top eight light heavyweights, seven of the top 10 middleweights and nine of the top 10 welterweights. A UFC fighter is ranked first in four of the five weight classes UFC promotes.

The big exception is heavyweight, where Russian Fedor Emelianenko is the unanimous No. 1. When UFC bought out Japan's Pride promotion, Emelianenko went elsewhere. His last two bouts have been with upstart promoter Affliction, which has landed several other top heavyweights.

Japanese promotions are especially strong in the lighter weight classes, starting at lightweight, where Shinya Aoki is a close No. 2 behind UFC champion BJ Penn.

Bloody Elbow also compiles rankings for weight classes below the top five. Top fighters there are spread between UFC affiliate World Extreme Cagefighting and several Japanese promotions.

Some fighters are hard to pin down.Alistair Overeem is the Strikeforce heavyweight champion but has fought four times for other promoters since taking the belt.

The rankings could change over a busy April, which builds toward a UFC card with two matchups of top-10 fighters.

Some upcoming MMA events involving ranked fighters:

•Wednesday, UFC Fight Night (Spike, 8 ET): Welterweights, No. 5 Carlos Condit vs. Martin Kampmann. Condit was the last fighter to own the WEC belt before UFC absorbed the welterweight class. His first test in UFC is against Kampmann, who has moved down from middleweight and gets a few votes in his former and current classes.

•April 3, Bellator (ESPN Deportes, 10 on April 4): Lightweights, No. 5 Eddie Alvarez vs. Greg Loughran. This is the first round of an eight-man tournament, which will run for 12 weeks. Jorge Masvidal, who has a few votes as well, also fights in the first round.

•April 5, Dream 8 (HDNet, start time TBA): Welterweight Grand Prix contestants Shinya Aoki and Hayato Sakurai have votes, though Aoki is ranked much higher at lightweight.

•April 5, WEC (Versus, 9): Bantamweights, No. 1 Miguel Torres vs. No. 4 Takeya Mizugaki. No. 2 Brian Bowles withdrew with an injury.

•April 11, Strikeforce (Showtime, 10): Lightweights, No. 8 Josh Thomson vs. No. 17 Gilbert Melendez. The lightweight title fight isn't the main event, which is a catch-weight bout in which fighters of different weight classes split the difference. In the main event, Frank Shamrock has a few votes at middleweight, while Nick Diaz gets votes at welterweight and lightweight.

•April 18, UFC 97 (pay-per-view, 10): Middleweights, No. 1 Anderson Silva vs. No. 9 Thales Leites. Also light heavyweights, No. 5 Chuck Liddell vs. No. 8 Mauricio Rua.

The biggest card of the month includes Silva's title defense and a bout of fighters trying to stay in the top 10. Liddell, dominant through 2006, is 1-3 in his last four bouts. Rua was a star in Japan's Pride series before losing his UFC debut to Forrest Griffin. After a long injury layoff, he unconvincingly beat 44-year-old Mark Coleman.

Guidelines: You share in the USA TODAY community, so please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack other readers personally, and keep your language decent. Use the "Report Abuse" button to make a difference. Read more.
view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

UFC 187: B/R Staff Main Card Predictions

  • 4 days ago
  • 1 views

Even with the UFC's top star in Jon Jones out, UFC 187 carries on this weekend with one of the biggest pay-per-view offerings of the year. Headlined by two championship bouts, it should be a very imp read news >>

UFC Fight Night 66 Weigh-in Results: Frankie Edgar vs. Urijah Faber Official

  • 10 days ago
  • 1 views

Frankie Edgar and Urijah Faber each easily made weight for UFC Fight Night 66, but one undercard fighter missed the mark. read news >>

Chris Weidman: 'I could have very easily gone down the same wrong path as Jon Jones'

  • 18 days ago
  • 308 views

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is faced with life-changing personal and professional problems, ones that not only (temporarily) cost him his job, but read news >>

Mayweather vs. Pacquiao weigh-ins: Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao

  • 24 days ago
  • 123 views

At the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao weigh-ins, Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao both easily made weight Friday evening at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. read news >>

The Question: What Should Happen with Jon Jones When He Returns to the UFC?

  • 24 days ago
  • 1 views

The news cycle for Jon Jones is slowly going dark, at least until his legal process plays out in Albuquerque, New Mexico. We don't know what he's facing there, and we don't know if he'll serve any so read news >>

The Question: How Should the UFC Handle the Jon Jones Problem?

  • 27 days ago
  • 8 views

Unless you've been living under a rock the past two days, you know all about the current shenanigans surrounding UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Just in case, here's a quick recap: Jones wa read news >>

Mayweather vs Pacquiao Secret Weapons: Manny's Underrated Uppercut (technique video)

  • 28 days ago
  • 28 views

Manny Pacquiao is known for the straight left, but his uppercut is easily one of his trickiest, most dangerous punches. Connor Ruebusch of Bloody Elbow breaks it down. read news >>