Rankings Focus: Renan Barao drops on pound-for-pound list, but not enough

Renan Barao dropped to No. 8 in the UFC official pound-for-pound rankings.

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UFC president Dana White had Renan Barao as his top pound-for-pound fighter in the world before UFC 173. In the official UFC rankings, he was No. 3 behind Jon Jones and Jose Aldo.

So how much does he fall now, after losing his bantamweight title rather unexpectedly to T.J. Dillashaw on Saturday night in Las Vegas? Not too far, apparently.

Barao comes in this week at No. 8 in the UFC rankings, still over welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (9) and ahead of Dillashaw, who makes his pound-for-pound debut at No. 11. 

Both are questionable. Hendricks might have a loss on his record against Georges St-Pierre, but he likely should have won that fight by decision. If he won, he would be on an eight-fight winning streak. Let’s say you do count the GSP loss against him — is that loss worse than Barao losing to a relative unknown in Dillashaw? I think not.

Barao comes in this week at No. 8 in the UFC rankings, still over welterweight champion Johny Hendricks (9) and ahead of Dillashaw, who makes his pound-for-pound debut at No. 11.

Dillashaw should probably be ahead of Barao, too. Most of the time, if you have a head-to-head win against someone, you should be above them in the rankings. It’s not always that clear cut. I didn’t think Chris Weidman should have been ranked ahead of Anderson Silva after beating him the first time. But that was Anderson Silva and after Weidman won again, of course he should be above him.

Barao’s biggest win came against Urijah Faber and he did it twice. He was the UFC bantamweight champion, but never actually beat the former champion, Dominick Cruz, because Cruz has been out for two years due to injury. As good as Barao was and is — he had not lost since 2005 before Saturday — he didn’t have an incredible UFC résumé. Granted, that’s mostly because of a thin division and that’s not his fault.

But when you preside over a weak weight class and then lose definitively, you should take a major slide in the rankings. Because maybe you weren’t as good as people thought you were.

Inexplicable move of the week: Johnny Eduardo the week’s big winner

Johnny Eduardo was the big winner after UFC 173.

The fighter who moved up the most spots in the division rankings this week was actually a guy who didn’t even compete.

Johnny Eduardo climbed three spots up to No. 9 in the UFC bantamweight rankings. Not bad for a guy with one win — and one fight — in two years. Eduardo knocked out Eddie Wineland at UFC Fight Night in Cincinnati on May 10.

It was super impressive and Wineland has been a top contender at 135 for some time. But is Eduardo really a top-10 talent? Ahead of former champion Dominick Cruz, for goodness sake? That’s not so realistic. But maybe that’s more of a statement on the depth — or lack thereof — at bantamweight.

Also, Wineland is still ranked No. 5 after losing to Eduardo. Strange division hierarchy here.

Rankings riffs

— Anthony Pettis moved up two spots in the pound-for-pound rankings to No. 6. Pettis has not fought in nine months and will not fight again until December. Weird.

— Jake Ellenberger dropped two spots on the welterweight list to No. 7 after being dominated and finished by Robbie Lawler. Absolutely fair. Daniel Cormier moved up a pair of sports to No. 2 at light heavyweight. Better news is that he’s finally not being voted on in the heavyweight division.

— Unfortunately, Vitor Belfort is still being ranked as a light heavyweight. But Ovince St. Preux moved ahead of him on the list to No. 13 this week. So, there’s that. Belfort’s dance in the middleweight rankings with Lyoto Machida continued, too. The two flip-flop at Nos. 2 and 3 every week, seemingly. Belfort is back on top. For now.