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L.A. Times August MMA Rankings

Santos3 Heavyweight

1. Cain Velasquez

2. Junior Dos Santos

3. Alistair Overeem

4. Brock Lesnar

5. Fabricio Werdum

6. Antonio Silva

7. Frank Mir

8. Josh Barnett

9. Fedor Emelianenko

10. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

With Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira struggling, the old guard of heavyweight MMA is fading. In just about any other division, they would have been replaced by younger fighters. However, the heavyweight division is one of the thinnest in the sport. Brendan Schaub and Travis Browne are probably the closest to breaking through, and Schaub will have the chance in a week to take out Nogueira.

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Rashad Evans

3. Quinton Jackson

4. Lyoto Machida

5. Dan Henderson

6. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua

7. Forrest Griffin

8. Gegard Mousasi

9. Thiago Silva

10. Rich Franklin

Rashad Evans solidified his standing as the top contender to the light heavyweight title with a sterling performance against Tito Ortiz. Despite a 14 month layoff, Evans looked as sharp as he ever has in all aspects of the game. Evans now waits for the winner of a Jon Jones vs. Quinton Jackson bout in Denver. Dan Henderson surges up the rankings with an impressive knockout of Fedor Emelianenko. Over a two year period, Henderson managed wins over top fighters in the middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight weight classes. In the month's top light heavyweight showdown, Forrest Griffin will rematch Mauricio Rua August 27 on pay-per-view. Griffin thoroughly dominated their first bout in what was at the time a shocking upset to most.

Middleweight

1. Anderson Silva

2. Chael Sonnen

3. Yushin Okami

4. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

5. Nate Marquardt

6. Michael Bisping

7. Mark Munoz

8. Demian Maia

9. Vitor Belfort

10. Hector Lombard

Yushin Okami will be in hostile territory when he challenges Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title in Rio De Janeiro August 27. While Silva's legacy is at this point assured, the fight will play an important role in how Okami's career is remembered. Vitor Belfort returns to the top 10 after a quick knockout victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama in Philadelphia. Akiyama was custom made for Belfort's style.

Welterweight

1. Georges St. Pierre

2. Jon Fitch

3. Nick Diaz

4. Jake Shields

5. Carlos Condit

6. Josh Koscheck

7. B.J. Penn

8. Martin Kampmann

9. Rory MacDonald

10. Jake Ellenberger

Rory MacDonald is one of the youngest ranked fighters in any weight class. He only has four fights in the UFC, but during that time he scored wins over the highly respected Mike Pyle and Nate Diaz while taking top contender Carlos Condit to the limit. MacDonald has the chance to be special.

Lightweight

1. Frank Edgar

2. Gilbert Melendez

3. Gray Maynard

4. Eddie Alvarez

5. Ben Henderson

6. Melvin Guillard

7. Clay Guida

8. Jim Miller

9. Anthony Pettis

10. Shinya Aoki

The lightweight division remains the sport's strongest and deepest. Frank Edgar and Gray Maynard will fight next for the UFC lightweight title, while Gilbert Melendez and Eddie Alvarez dominate outside MMA's top promotion. Ben Henderson, Melvin Guillard, and Clay Guida are the next top UFC contenders. Jim Miller and Anthony Pettis are coming off losses, but built up impressive winning streaks prior to that. And there is no shortage of elite fighters beyond the top 10, either. Dennis Siver, Donald Cerrone and Tatsuya Kawajiri are three of the best.

Featherweight

1. Jose Aldo

2. Chad Mendes

3. Kenny Florian

4. Hatsu Hioki

5. Mark Hominick

6. Dustin Poirier

7. Diego Nunes

8. Joe Warren

9. Patricio "Pitbull" Freire

10. Marlon Sandro

Chad Mendes defeated Rani Yahya at UFC 133, but it was not the sort of performance that will generate excitement for Mendes challenging the UFC featherweight champion. Mendes played it safe and clearly had a lot of respect for Yahya's submissions. Saturday night on MTV2, Marlon Sandro will fight Pat Curran to crown Bellator's Summer Series tournament champion. The winner will be in line for a title shot in Bellator's strongest division.

Bantamweight

1. Dominick Cruz

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Demetrious Johnson

4. Brian Bowles

5. Urijah Faber

6. Miguel Torres

7. Scott Jorgensen

8. Wagnney Fabiano

9. Masakatsu Ueda

10. Renan Barao

Joseph Benavidez again impressed in defeating Eddie Wineland via unanimous decision. Benavidez doesn't look like much of a threat physically, but he's one of the most dangerous competitors in the sport. The UFC announced that a bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Demetrious Johnson will headline an October date in Washington, DC. The pace should be incredible given Cruz and Johnson are two of the sport's quickest fighters.

-- Todd Martin

Photo: Junior Dos Santos. Credit: Darryl Dyck / Associated Press

 
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