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Old 04-11-2008, 08:58 AM
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Default Why some fighters get no rankings love

Why some fighters get no rankings love - MMA - Yahoo! Sports

By Dave Doyle, Yahoo! Sports Apr 4, 10:44 pm EDT

The Georges St. Pierre-Matt Serra match at UFC 83 on April 19 kicks off a six-week span in which four of the Top 10 fighters in the world compete.

But we’re coming off the first month since the inception of the Y! MMA poll last summer in which none of the Top 10 fought.

So now seems a good time to address persistent fan questions regarding why a handful of fighters never seem to get votes in the poll. You know, those combatants who have developed a fan following or hold a championship – or both – but who don’t seem to get the same respect afforded to those in the Top 10:

Matt Serra: Yes, Serra is the UFC welterweight champion. Serra considers himself a much-improved fighter, and with wins in four of his past five matches (which doesn’t include victories in Ultimate Figher 4 prelims), he has a case. But Serra is still a fighter with losses to Din Thomas and Shonie Carter on his record. Bottom line, the gregarious Long Islander needs to take St. Pierre again in the rematch to dispel the notion that his title victory on April 7 of last year was nothing but a lucky punch.

Cung Le: Le’s Strikeforce middleweight title victory over Frank Shamrock on March 29 was stirring. The former San Shou champion and kickboxer has proven himself a legitimate mixed martial artist, and the complexity of his kicking game is already among the best in the sport. But Le has yet to be tested against a fighter at his peak with a legit ground game, and he is not likely to receive serious consideration until then.

Frank Shamrock: If we were going to rank fighters based on their promotional intelligence, Shamrock would be the runaway leader. Shamrock’s ability to sell a fight without the help of the UFC’s hype machine is unparalleled, as evidenced by the $1.18 million gate in his fight with Le on March 29. But much like Tito Ortiz still can talk viewers into watching his fights though he no longer is a Top 10 fighter, Shamrock’s recent record doesn’t merit Top 10 consideration. He’s 2-2 since returning to action in 2006, with the biggest win coming over Phil Baroni, who has lost three of his past four. The other victory, against Cesar Gracie, put Gracie’s career MMA record at 0-1.

Kimbo Slice: This comes largely from new fans, but yes, there are people who think Kimbo belongs in the Top 10. This includes one reader, who shall go nameless, who actually argued that Kimbo belongs instead of Fedor Emelianenko. Kimbo may some day evolve into a Top 10 fighter. He is taking the game seriously, he is not treating this as a joke, and he is training with the legendary Bas Rutten. But right now, Elite XC promoter Gary Shaw is giving Kimbo precisely the type of kid-gloves protection you would expect from an old-school boxing promoter who stumbled onto a meal ticket. If solid veteran heavyweights like Josh Barnett, Andrei Arlovski, and Heath Herring aren’t getting Top 10 consideration, Slice certainly isn’t going to get any at this stage of his career.

The Yahoo! Sports MMA Top 10 pound-for-pound poll, the only one of its sort in mainstream sports media, features 15 reporters and editors from the major national sports websites; newspapers that cover MMA; and legitimate MMA-only news-related websites. Each voter selects his or her own top 10, with 10 points awarded for a first-place vote, nine for a second, etc., down to one point for a 10th-place vote.

The only two guidelines placed on voters are: 1. Fighters need to have competed at least once within the past 12 months in order to be considered; 2. Fighters under suspension for banned substances or drugs of abuse cannot be considered until they are reinstated. For more info on the panel, including links to their sites, click here.

10. Miguel Torres
Points: 12
Affiliation: WEC
Weight class: Bantamweight (WEC bantamweight champion)
Hometown: E. Chicago, Ind.
Record: 21-1
Last month’s ranking: 10
Most recent result: def. Chase Beebe, R1 submission, Feb. 13
Analysis:Torres has a big challenge ahead of him on June 1, as he puts his title and 14-fight win streak on the line against unbeaten Manny Tapia (9-0-1), who is coming off a war in his split decision win over Antonio Banuelos at WEC 32.

9. Dan Henderson
Points: 31
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Light heavyweight/middleweight
Hometown: Victorville, Calif.
Record: 22-8
Last month’s ranking: 9
Most recent result: lost to Anderson Silva, R2 submission, March 1
Analysis: No word yet from Henderson’s camp on what he plans on doing next with his career, and whether it will involve staying at middleweight or going back to light heavyweight. Either way, Henderson has earned the right to take as long a break as he wants after back-to-back fights against Wanderlei Silva, Quinton Jackson and Anderson Silva.

8. Randy Couture
Points: 52
Affiliation:Under contract to UFC
Weight class: Heavyweight
Hometown: Gresham, Ore.
Record: 16-8
Last month’s ranking: 8
Most recent results: def. Gabriel Gonzaga, Round 3 TKO, Aug. 25
Analysis: Nothing new to report here, as Randy’s one-man struggle against the big machine winds its way through the court system. Assuming there is no settlement in the interim, Couture would become ineligible for the poll on Aug. 25, the anniversary of his dramatic win over Gabriel Gonzaga.

7. Urijah Faber
Points: 56
Affiliation: WEC
Weight class: Featherweight (WEC featherweight champion)
Hometown: Sacramento, Calif.
Record: 20-1
Last month’s ranking: 7
2007 results: def. Jeff Curran, R2 submission, Dec. 12
Analysis: The winner of 12 consecutive matches, Faber defends his title on June 1 in Sacramento against Jens Pulver in what is shaping up as the biggest card in WEC history.

6. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Points: 67
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Heavyweight (UFC interim heavyweight champion)
Hometown: Vitoria da Conquista, Brazil
Record: 31-4-1
Last month’s ranking: 6
Recent results: def. Tim Sylvia, R3 submission, Feb. 2
Analysis: With word that Frank Mir will face Justin McCully in his next match, Andrei Arlovski still in contract limbo, and the fans not likely to want Nogueira’s fourth match vs. Heath Herring, the UFC’s interim heavyweight champion doesn’t have seem to have a good matchup on the horizon.

5. B.J. Penn
Points: 89
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Lightweight (UFC lightweight champion)
Hometown: Hilo, Hawaii
Record: 12-4-1
Last month’s ranking: 5
Most recent result: def. Joe Stevenson, R2 submission, Jan. 19
Analysis: It is tempting to look past Penn’s May 24 title defense against Sean Sherk and ponder the potential for exciting matchups against the likes of Kenny Florian or Roger Huerta. But a focused Penn is beyond the point of looking past opponents, which should be bad news for Sherk.

4. Fedor Emelianenko
Points: 93
Affiliation: Free agent
Weight class: Heavyweight
Hometown: Stary Oskol, Russia
Record: 27-1 (1 no-contest)
Last month’s ranking: 4
Most recent result: def. Hong Man-Choi, R1 submission, Dec. 31.
Analysis: Those who blamed UFC president Dana White when negotiations between the UFC and Fedor broke down all of sudden are quiet now that it turns out that Fedor’s affiliation with M-1 also fell apart. Funny how it works out that way every single time. Anyway, with Fedor back on the open market, both UFC and Elite XC have indicated they’re interested in the Russian heavyweight. But given that Emelianenko can spend the rest of his career fighting cream puffs in Japan for huge paychecks, why would he rush into a deal that isn’t to his liking?

3. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
Points: 112
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Light heavyweight (UFC lt. heavyweight champion)
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Record: 28-6
Last month’s ranking: 3
Most recent result: def. Dan Henderson, unanimous decision, Sept. 8
Analysis: Rampage is back in the spotlight, as Season 7 of “The Ultimate Fighter” is under way. By the time he steps into the octagon against Forrest Griffin in July, both fighters will have been out of competition since September. Which fighter will be able to more easily shake off the ring rust?

2. Georges St. Pierre
Points: 131 (two first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Welterweight (interim welterweight champion)
Hometown: Saint-Isidore, Quebec
Record: 15-2
Last month’s ranking: 2
Most recent result: def. Matt Hughes, R2 submission, Dec. 29.
Analysis: The only question left for St. Pierre heading into his April 19 showdown with Serra is this: How will he handle the pressure? GSP will face an unprecedented amount of attention fighting in front of more than 20,000 fans in his hometown, not to mention that UFC 83 will be far and away the biggest card in Canadian MMA history.

1. Anderson “Spider” Silva
Points: 145 (13 first-place votes)
Affiliation: UFC
Weight class: Middleweight (UFC middleweight champion)
Hometown: Curitiba, Brazil
Record: 21-4
Last month’s ranking: 1
Most recent result: def. Dan Henderson, R2 submission, March 1
Analysis: UFC president Dana White indicated he’s not going to allow Silva to face off against Roy Jones Jr. under boxing rules. Which is smart because Jones would slaughter Silva in his game, much as Silva would do the same to Jones under full mixed martial arts rules. In the meantime, “The Spider” will bide his time until the company decides on his next victim.


• Votes for others: Kid Yamamoto, Mauricio Rua 8; Gesias Calvancante 7; Paulo Filho 5; Chuck Liddell, Paulo Filho 3; Forrest Griffin, Matt Serra 2; Gilbert Melendez, Jon Fitch, Matt Hughes 1.

• Upcoming matches for top 10 fighters: No. 2 Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra, April 19, Montreal; No. 5 B.J. Penn vs. Sean Sherk, May 24; No. 7 Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver, June 1; No. 10 Miguel Torres vs. Manny Tapia, June 1.
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