No.5 Junior Dos Santos
A behemoth of a heavyweight, Junior Dos Santos is currently undefeated in the UFC and shocked the world by knocking out Cain Velasquez at the first installment of UFC on Fox. We have not seen much of his critically acclaimed ground-game but his performances by way of his iron fists do not particularly have us wondering about it just yet. His 15 wins include finishes of Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum; he has also beaten familiar names like Roy Nelson, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Shane Carwin. If Fedor Emilianenko is considered as the greatest heavyweight of all-time, Dos Santos may have some work to do for in terms longevity but his resume is beyond impressive. Dos Santos will once again face Cain Velasquez in late December. The winner is slated to face.
No.4 José Aldo
(21–1): UFC Featherweight Champion
Jose Aldo could be the most gifted, supernatural athlete in the entire UFC. Posed to be a professional soccer player, Aldo traded in his cleats for gloves and marched his way through the featherweight division all the way to the top. He has 13 wins by knockout and 2 by submission, only going to a decision 6 times out of his 22 losses. His strikes are absolutely devastating, mixing up elbows, leg-kicks and flying knees. It truly is a joy to watch Aldo fight, as the muay-thai practitioner rarely delivers a lackluster fight. He has not lost since 2005, with victories over Kenny Florian, Mark Hominick, Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes. His eight-second knockout over Cub Swanson is a flying knee we may be seeing in highlight videos for as long as we live.
No.3 Jon Jones
(16–1): UFC Light Heavyweight Champion
Jon Jones may be MMA’s most hated fighter and villain at the moment but it would be ridiculous not to acknowledge what this man has done at the tender age of 25. 2011 will go down as the most successful year for any fighter ever as Jones solidified himself as a pound-for-pound great, becoming the youngest champion in the promotion’s history. Jones defeated Ryan Bader before he captured the light heavyweight title from Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 and defended that title twice against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Lyoto Machida. His size is advantageous in his division and his reach is the longest as well at 84.5 cm (shared with heavyweight Stefan Struve). After the whole UFC 151 debacle, fans will be eager to see him duke it out with Vitor Belfort in Toronto at UFC 152.
(22–2): UFC Welterweight Champion
The current UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre in one of the most accomplished fighters in the world today with lightning-fast technical standup, a tough mental game and unbelievable wrestling for someone who did not come from a college wrestling background. The French-Canadian has a physique perfect for pin-up calendars and is very strong; he leads the UFC with 68 successful takedowns landed (77.3 % accuracy). He has beaten both legends Matt Hughes and BJ Penn twice and has made the toughest competition in the division look weak when he battered Josh Koscheck, Thiago Alves, Jake Shields and Jon Fitch. He will be looking to add another name to that list when he faces Carlos Condit, the current UFC Interim Welterweight Championship. That fight is rumored to take place at UFC 154 in Montreal. If St-Pierre is successful, all roads lead to the fight of the century between him and our number one selection.
(32–4): UFC Middleweight Champion
Anderson Silva has had some forgetful performances (the first fight against Yushin Okami, Thales Leites in Montreal and Demian Maia in Abu Dhabi) but the best part is that the general MMA audience has also forgotten those performances. The longest reigning champion in UFC history is the most feared striker in the sport, winning 19 of his fights by either knockout or technical knockout. He is no slouch on the ground either with 6 submission victories; the most memorable one is easily UFC 117’s fifth-round come-from-behind victory againstin their first fight. He holds the longest winning streak in the UFC (15) and has defended his middleweight strap the most times in the company’s existence (10). He beat up Chael Sonnen in the long-awaited rematch earlier this summer and has destroyed such fighters as Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, Chris Leben and Dan Henderson. “The Spider” will probably go down as the greatest MMA fighter who ever lived. It remains to be seen if in the near future Silva meets his match or if the torch will be passed down (check out #3) but all have fallen before him in the UFC.
He has also competed in three weight classes professionally and will return to the light-heavyweight division when he welcomes Stephan Bonnar in his homeland of Brazil at UFC 153.
Benson Henderson (UFC)
Cain Velasquez (UFC)
Alistair Overeem (UFC)
Michael Chandler (Bellator)