Many questions remain around Jon Jones in the wake of the past week, in which he tested positive for cocaine metabolites in an out-of-competition drug test, checked himself into rehab, then checked out a day later.
One thing that no one sane questions, however, is his hold over the light heavyweight division.
So much has gone down since UFC 182 that it almost seems easy to forget that Jones put on a masterful performance against his toughest foe, beating a game Daniel Cormier four rounds to one on most cards.
While the first three rounds were competitive, Jones demoralized Cormier in the fourth round with takedowns, then cruised through the championship rounds to seal that deal.
Thus, he added the Olympian and former Strikeforce Grand Prix tourney champ to his list of conquered challengers; one bout after ending Glover Teixeira's 20-fight win streak; which itself came not long after defeating five former champions in a row.
So while the storm continues to swirl around Jones outside the cage, his grip on the 205-pound weight class remains iron. Jones got all six first-place votes in the current SB Nation light heavyweight poll. Each of the first three spots were also unanimous, as Alexander Gustafsson, who can earn a rematch with Jones if he defeats Anthony Johnson on Jan. 24, took across-the-board second-place honors. Cormier took all six thirds in the wake of his loss. Johnson, meanwhile, got three four-place votes and three fifths to claim fourth, while Phil Davis rounds out the top five heading into his fight in Stockhlom with No. 8 Ryan Bader.
(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. At the moment, this does not affect any fighters generally considered in the discussion for a top 10 light heavyweight spot. In the case of Jones, because he was not suspended not had his license revoked by NAC, he remains eligible).
1. Jon Jones (21-1, 60 points) -- Starting with the championship rounds against Gustafsson at UFC 165, Jones has won 11 of his past 12 rounds.
2. Alexander Gustafsson (16-2, 54 points) -- Gustafsson has been training for his bout with Johnson in San Diego, and plans on adjusting to time zone change by not changing his routine during, thus making up for a nine-hour difference between California and Sweden.
3. Daniel Cormier (15-1, 48 points) -- Given how much can change in a short period of time at both 205 and 265, Cormier can afford to wait and see how things unfold for a bit before picking his path forward.
4. Anthony Johnson (18-4, 39 points) -- Johnson's won eight in a row with five knockouts along the way. A win over Gustafsson in his hometown would cap one of the sport's great in-ring redemption stories.
5. Phil Davis (13-2, 1 NC, 31 points) -- Davis is in a tough spot: He's several wins away from Jones, trains with Gustafsson, and is friendly with Cormier. Bader is next on his agenda.
6. Rashad Evans (24-3-1, 30 points) -- Out for the past 14 months, the 35-year-old former champ will have to wait a bit longer, as Glover Teixeira had to pull out of their planned February bout.
7. Glover Teixeira (22-4, 25 points) -- The lingering knee injury which caused him to pull out of the Evans fight on top of two straight losses in which he lost all eight rounds is the Brazilian veteran's latest setback.
8. Ryan Bader (18-4, 20 points) -- With three straight wins following a stretch in which he was finished by both Teixeira and Machida, the fight with Davis represents his last, best chance against elite competition.
9. Emanuel Newton (25-7-1, 9 points) -- The Hardcore Kid is one of the sport's most unorthodox fighters. But it works, as the Bellator champ has won seven in a row and 13 out of his past 14.