1. Dominick Cruz - This is an obvious choice as the inaugural UFC champion has rolled through opposition like Joseph Benavidez, Uriah Faber, Scott Jorgensen & Brian Bowles with his unorthodox array of strikes and movement to go with unyielding stamina. The Dominator is one of those champions that always look like an easy puzzle to solve on tape. Then when you get in the cage you spend twenty five minutes looking for a corner piece.
Next up: Demetrious Johnson @ UFC Live 6
2. Joseph Benavidez- Only Cruz has been able to thwart Benavidez blend of wrestling and power striking. The Uriah Faber protégé is as energetic and relentless a fighter as the sport has to offer. While his short stature hurt him in the stand up exchanges with the much taller Cruz, his low center of gravity gives him a great wrestling base and his scrambling ability makes him hard to hold down. His last fight over Eddie Wineland was relegated to the prelims of the prelims. Letâ€™s hope for a more deserving spot in his next fight.
Next Up: TBD
3. Uriah Faber- He is the only man to defeat Cruz, albeit an inexperienced version. And the California kid gave Dominick all he could handle in their recent brawl for the belt. Faber blazed his way through the featherweight division in the WEC with strong wrestling and dynamic strikes from obscene angles. His success helped to shine a light on the lower divisions in the states and that has brought out stronger competition. He is still a major draw and a rubber match with Cruz looms if they both handle business in their upcoming bouts.
Next Up: Brian Bowles @ UFC 139
4. Brian Bowles- After ending Miguel Torres long winning streak and reign as WEC Bantamweight champion with a stunning stoppage. Brian dropped his belt to Cruz in an unsatisfying way when Bowles was stopped due to a broken hand after two rounds. Brian was behind in the fight, but he deserves a chance to avenge his lone defeat. A win against Uriah will get him there. His heavy hands and underrated submission game give him a chance against any bantamweight.
Next Up: Uriah Faber @ UFC 139
5. Demtrious Johnson- The incredibly speedy wrestler may be better suited to the Flyweight division when the UFC brings it in. But he also may find a strap around his waist if he can add Cruz to his already impressive UFC ledger of Miguel Torres & Kid Yamamoto.
Next Up: Dominick Cruz @ UFC Live 6
6. Miguel Torres- I thought Miguel earned the tight decision against Johnson with his work from the bottom. But it was definitely close, so Iâ€™ll abide by the decision but Iâ€™m not going to penalize Torres too much. Like Faber, he upped the anti for the Bantamweights and finds himself fending off the upstarts with his sharp striking and ultra active submission game.
Next Up: TBD
7. Hideo Tokoro- The long time veteran made headlines when he won the Dream Bantamweight Grand Prix in what is probably the highlight of his exciting, but up and down career. Tokoro can be a thrilling fighter who prefers striking and has nasty knees.
Next Up: Antonio Banuelos @ Dream 17
8. Scott Jorgensen- Young guns has won six of seven with the lone loss coming to Cruz. He scored a brutal knock out over Ken Stone in his UFC debut and promises more of the same after his comprehensive defeat at the hands of the champion.
Next Up: Jeff Curran @ UFC 137
9. Masakazu Imanari- The submission specialist dropped the Grand Prix finale to Tokoro after an impressive submission win against Kenji Osawa in the semi-finals. He has an array of dangerous leg submissions to go with a granite chin.
Next Up: Abel Cullum @ Dream 17
10. Renan Barao- After losing his debut, the Brazilian has won 26 of 27 fights with the lone blemish being a NC after an illegal Soccer kick. At twenty-four years of age and with twenty eight fights already under his belt. The sky looks to be the limit here as he begins to step up the competition in the Octagon.
Next Up: Brad Pickett @ UFC 138