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MMA Top 10 Pound-for-Pound: Cruz, Benavidez Belong

Dominick CruzTwo of the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in mixed martial arts were in the cage Saturday night at WEC 47. They just weren't the two we thought they were beforehand.

Prior to WEC 47, a lot of people had bantamweights Brian Bowles and Miguel Torres in their top 10 pound-for-pound lists. (Bowles was No. 7 on my list and Torres fell just outside the top 10.) But after Dominick Cruz beat Bowles and Joseph Benavidez beat Torres, the two WEC 47 winners are both on my list of the Top 10 fighters in mixed martial arts, which is below.

(Editor's note: The individual fighter's ranking the last time we did pound-for-pound are in parentheses.)

1. Fedor Emelianenko (1): His inactivity is making his grip on the top spot more tenuous. He's supposedly fighting Fabricio Werdum on May 15, but there's no official announcement yet.

2. Anderson Silva (2): If Silva dominates Demian Maia at UFC 110 while Fedor remains inactive, I wouldn't rule out a switch at the top.

3. Georges St. Pierre (3): His March 27 fight against Dan Hardy is the biggest fight of a big month for MMA.

4. B.J. Penn (4): Hard to envision him losing to Frank Edgar at UFC 110.

5. Lyoto Machida (5): The Dragon and Shogun Rua will have a spectacular rematch on May 8.

6. Jose Aldo (6): World Extreme Cagefighting spent much of WEC 47 hyping Aldo's upcoming title defense against Urijah Faber. It's the main event of the WEC's first pay-per-view show on April 24, and therefore the most significant fight in the promotion's history.

7. Shogun Rua (8): His battle with Machida will be a rare opportunity to see a rematch between two Top 10 pound-for-pound fighters, in their primes.

8. Dominick Cruz (NR): I think we've all been underrating Cruz because all of his WEC victories prior to his fight with Bowles were by decision, and everyone likes fighters who finish fights. But now that he's the bantamweight champion of the world, I think it's a good time to re-assess his career. He's 15-1, and the only loss came at featherweight against Faber. In his own weight class, he's the best there is.

9. Rashad Evans (9): Finally gets his shot at Rampage Jackson in May.

10. Joseph Benavidez (NR): This will be the most controversial of my choices, as few people have ever listed Benavidez as a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter. But Benavidez dominated Torres, his only loss is to Cruz, and -- most importantly -- he's beating guys who are bigger than him. The truth is, Benavidez should be fighting at flyweight (125 pounds), but he's fighting at bantamweight because the WEC doesn't have a flyweight class. For the way he's beating bigger men, Benavidez belongs.

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