MMA Power Rankings
Tuesday, Nov. 22
Cain Velasquez had a small parcel of question marks heading into his title defense with Junior dos Santos on network television. The most obvious centered on ring rust after 13 months away and how his shoulder would hold up after rotator cuff surgery. Yet from a style perspective, the question became how he'd take dos Santos down and work things to his advantage. It was commonly thought that the longer the fight drug on, the more the pendulum would swing in favor of the cardio-king Velasquez.
Turns out all theories were moot. Dos Santos showcased his boxing skills once again, sizing up a big right hand that spelled the beginning of the end for Velasquez. As the new heavyweight champion, who is a perfect 8-0 in the UFC, dos Santos breaks into the top 10 on the pound-for-pound Power Rankings with an unnerving performance that solidifies him as one of the UFC's best. He will next face either former champion Brock Lesnar, or former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem. No rest for the wicked.
As for the rest, Anderson Silva remains the best in the world with his demolition of Yushin Okami at UFC 134. A rematch with Sonnen becomes the stiffest test of his career. Georges St. Pierre took a detour to get it, but his fight with Nick Diaz is back on for Super Bowl weekend, in a battle of two of the best pound-for-pound fighters going. Frankie Edgar finally has somebody in his crosshairs not named Gray Maynard. That's Ben Henderson, who is one of the game's most dynamic (and flexible) stars. And Dan Henderson? Well, at some point you've got to just stop and admire what he's doing at 41 years young.