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SB nation pound-for-pound rankings: 'Mighty Mouse' squeaking his way toward top

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the chatter about UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson seems to revolve around his drawing power or lack thereof.

But for today, we'll leave that sort of chatter for the strange little subset of the Internet audience that gets downright gleeful when an MMA event isn't a ratings or ticket-selling success. You wonder why they even watch the sport to begin with.

Anyway, when it comes to the action inside the Octagon, all but Johnson's most myopic detractors give "Mighty Mouse" his due.

Johnson once again proved he was one of the sport's finest all-around tacticians at UFC 178, when he did exactly what he needed to do against an overmatched foe in Chris Cariaso: Make him look like he didn't belong, then finish him.

That extended what's been one of the sport's most impressive runs in recent years: Johnson is 11-1-1 over the past four-and-a-half years. In his only loss, he went the distance with Dominick Cruz in a 135-pound title fight. He's 7-0-1 at 125 pounds, with seven straight wins, five successful title defenses, and finishes in three of his last four bouts.

And with that success has come growing recognition for his skills. Johnson jumped up a spot in the latest SB Nation pound-for-pound rankings. With two second-place votes, four thirds, and a fifth, he took 48 points. That's just two behind second-place Jose Aldo, who took the other four second-place votes. Jon Jones, of course, was the unanimous pick for No. 1.

Beneath him, Cain Velasquez dropped a spot to No. 4, likely as much due to inactivity as anything else. UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman rounded out the top five with three fourth-place votes, two fifths, and a sixth.

Noteworthy among the bottom half of the top 10 is the first appearance of UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who, with eight points, is tied with Anderson Silva for ninth.

(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. As of this writing, this does not affect any fighters who would generally be considered pound-for-pound top 10-worthy).

P4P ranks

1. Jon Jones (20-1, 60 points) The biggest question at the moment is whether Jones will be able to rehab his knee in time for the planned Jan. 3 bout against Daniel Cormier.

2. Jose Aldo (24-1, 50 points) Some have called Aldo "vulnerable" heading into his rematch with Chad Mendes. But that's a strange tag for someone who hasn't lost a fight since 2006.

3. Demetrious Johnson (21-2-1, 48 points) A well-earned break is on tap for DJ, who defended his title three times in nine months.

4. Cain Velasquez (12-1, 42 points) When you're down to hypotheticals as to why a champion could possibly be beat - in this case, the fact Velasquez has never faced someone with Fabricio Werdum's jiu-jitsu - then you're at the point where you're a dominant champion.

5. Chris Weidman (12-0, 38 points) At this point, it almost seems like the aging, inactivity, non-TRT Vitor Belfort is simply a name to get out of the way before Weidman can get back to the business of plowing through the division's true elites.

6. Anthony Pettis (17-3, 22 points) Given his fantastic skill set, Pettis would likely be ranked higher if he fought more often. Fortunately, all seems clear for his title defense against Gilbert Melendez.

7. Johny Hendricks (16-2, 20 points) It will be interesting to see what sort of adjustments Hendricks makes against Lawler, who made a fight of it in their March bout once he started fearlessly wading through Hendricks' punches.

8. T.J. Dillashaw (11-2 11 points) No, Joe Soto wasn't the highest-ranked fighter out there. But Dillashaw handled a tough situation at UFC 177 like a true champ and bolstered his stock in the process.

9t. Ronda Rousey (10-0, 8 points) Ten wins to no losses with nine-first round finishes is a pretty compelling argument in Rousey's favor.

9t. Anderson Silva (33-6, 8 points) Silva is only a few months away from his opportunity to prove whether he still belongs on this list.

Votes for others: Daniel Cormier 5, Junior dos Santos 5, Dominick Cruz 4, Chad Mendes 3, Renan Barao 2, Vitor Belfort 1.

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