MMA Power Rankings -- BANTAMWEIGHT

Updated: March 5, 2012, 11:18 AM ET
By ESPN.com staff | ESPN.com
Monday, March 5
Weight Class:
 
Date:


With the departure of perennial No. 2 banty Joseph Benavidez and fellow top-10er Demetrious Johnson to the newly formed flyweight division, things have opened up in the 135-pound Power Rankings. Now there is a definitive top, which consists of UFC champion Dominick Cruz, and the bane of his existence, Urijah Faber, who are coaching opposite each other on the "Ultimate Fighter 15." At season's end, they will square off in a rubber match to determine who sits alone at the summit. Between then and now, the bad blood between the two will be televised for everyone to enjoy.

Otherwise, this is a weight class that's very competitive.

Of the most buzz-worthy names coming up the rungs in the bantamweight division, Renan Barao's looks the most dangerous to threaten for a title. Since losing his first pro MMA bout in 2005, he has gone 28-0-1, and is coming off an impressive win over Scott Jorgensen at UFC 143. And then there's Michael McDonald, who faces Miguel Torres at UFC 145. A win against the former WEC champion will skyrocket the 21-year-old's standing in the division, and towards a title shot. Or, to a showdown with Barao in a title eliminator.

Meanwhile former No. 1 contender Demetrious Johnson has also defected to the 125-pound class. Stalwarts like Brian Bowles and Bibiano Fernandes move up in the division, and Bellator's Eduardo Dantas move in.