MMA Power Rankings -- Bantamweight

Updated: November 8, 2011, 5:01 PM ET
By staff |
Tuesday, Nov. 8
Weight Class:

Dominick Cruz was thrown a curveball by Demetrious Johnson, who made him fight to a different tune for much of their five-round affair. It didn't matter that he broke his hand early in the fight. The end result? He swept two judge's scorecards and won the third, 49-46. Make it 10 in a row for the "Dominator," who says now he's got a bloodhound's nose toward making history.

Who will Cruz get next? That's an interesting question. Urijah Faber, who gave Cruz a pretty good run in July, will fight Brian Bowles at UFC 139 in San Jose. The winner of that tilt will likely be lined up for the bantamweight champion. Faber would love nothing more than a trilogy fight, which would double as a rubber match. They are 1-1 against each other. Bowles would like another crack at it, too, this time without the cracking in his hand.

Brazilian Renan Barao is right behind them, and after his performance against Brad Pickett at UFC 138 in Birmingham, some are arguing that he's the best fight out there for Cruz. At just 24 years old, Barao looks more impressive each time he steps in the cage, which is saying a lot for a guy who has fought -- and hasn't lost -- since 2005. If he doesn't get a crack at the strap yet, give it a little time. It seems inevitable for some point in 2012.