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Times’ MMA rankings for January: The fall of Ronda Rousey, the rise of Cody Garbrandt

Cody Garbrandt poses for photographers before UFC 207 last month.
Cody Garbrandt poses for photographers before UFC 207 last month.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

The Los Angeles Times’ mixed-martial arts ranking for January, as put together by Todd Martin.

Heavyweight

1. Stipe Miocic

2. Fabricio Werdum

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3. Cain Velasquez

4. Alistair Overeem

5. Junior Dos Santos

6. Ben Rothwell

7. Vitaly Minakov

8. Josh Barnett

9. Derrick Lewis

10. Andrei Arlovski

The biggest event of the month in heavyweight MMA took place abroad. Mirko Cro Cop turned back the clock at age 42, knocking out three opponents including King Mo Lawal to win Rizin’s Open Weight Grand Prix tournament. Afterwards, the legend announced his retirement from the sport of MMA.

Light Heavyweight

1. Daniel Cormier

2. Anthony Johnson

3. Phil Davis

4. Alexander Gustafsson

5. Glover Teixeira

6. Ryan Bader

7. Jimi Manuwa

8. Liam McGeary

9. Misha Cirkunov

10. Ovince St. Preux

Following an impressive victory in December, Jared Cannonier will receive the biggest opportunity of his career when he takes on Glover Teixeira in a featured bout at UFC 208. Cannonier is one of a number of fighters looking to break into the established top mix of the division.

Middleweight

1. Michael Bisping

2. Yoel Romero

3. Luke Rockhold

4. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

5. Chris Weidman

6. Gegard Mousasi

7. Robert Whittaker

8. Kelvin Gastelum

9. Derek Brunson

10. Krzysztof Jotko

Chris Weidman, coming off the first two losses of his MMA career, will have an opportunity to rebound when he takes on Gegard Mousasi at UFC 210 in Buffalo. Mousasi is looking to earn a title shot himself, so the stakes are high for this battle between elite middleweights.

Welterweight

1. Tyron Woodley

2. Demian Maia

3. Stephen Thompson

4. Robbie Lawler

5. Rory MacDonald

6. Ben Askren

7. Carlos Condit

8. Donald Cerrone

9. Dong Hyun Kim

10. Neil Magny

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley has been outspoken recently in his perception that he has been treated differently on the basis of race. While there is some merit to the notion that he at times has gotten harsher criticism than one might expect from a fighter in his position, few new champions wouldn’t receive heavy criticism for spending as much effort as Woodley has appearing to make efforts to select opponents. Neil Magny takes Johny Hendricks’ place in the rankings after defeating him in a close fight at UFC 207.

Lightweight

1. Conor McGregor

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov

3. Tony Ferguson

4. Eddie Alvarez

5. Rafael Dos Anjos

6. Edson Barboza

7. Nate Diaz

8. Justin Gaethje

9. Michael Chiesa

10. Beneil Dariush

Justin Gaethje improved his MMA record to a perfect 17-0 with a gutsy performance at WSOF’s NBC event on New Year’s Eve. His opponent Luiz Firmino was getting the best of the action in the first couple rounds but Gaethje fired back and forced a doctor’s stoppage after the third round. Gaethje may never get the credit he deserves fighting his prime outside the UFC but he is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport.

Featherweight

1. Jose Aldo

2. Max Holloway

3. Frankie Edgar

4. Cub Swanson

5. Ricardo Lamas

6. Daniel Straus

7. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

8. Jeremy Stephens

9. Anthony Pettis

10. Doo Ho Choi

Yair Rodriguez made a statement with his destruction of MMA legend B.J. Penn in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card. Penn looked slow and fragile, serving as little more than a kicking bag for the dynamic Rodriguez. It was sad seeing Penn with that form but may serve as a springboard for Rodriguez as he rises in the sport.

Bantamweight

1. Cody Garbrandt

2. Dominick Cruz

3. T.J. Dillashaw

4. Marlon Moraes

5. Bibiano Fernandes

6. John Lineker

7. Eduardo Dantas

8. Raphael Assuncao

9. Jimmie Rivera

10. Thomas Almeida

Cody Garbrandt scored a scintillating upset of Dominick Cruz to capture to the UFC bantamweight title. Garbrandt was quicker and hit harder, handing Cruz the most decisive loss of his storied career. Garbrandt will now need to take on former training partner T.J. Dillashaw, who was dominant in his own right in a win over John Lineker on the same card. WSOF champion Marlon Moraes also picked up another victory over Josenaldo Silva.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Valentina Shevchenko

3. Holly Holm

4. Julianna Pena

5. Ronda Rousey

6. Cat Zingano

7. Sara McMann

8. Raquel Pennington

9. Alexis Davis

10. Sarah Kaufman

Ronda Rousey’s return to MMA was a short-lived one. Rousey, the onetime queen of women’s fighting, suffered an ignominious knockout defeat in just 48 seconds at the hands (literally) of Amanda Nunes. It’s an intriguing story how a fighter who was so dominant for so long had her career fall apart in such quick order.

Flyweight

1. Demetrious Johnson

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Henry Cejudo

4. Kyoji Horiguchi

5. Jussier Formiga

Women’s Strawweight

1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

2. Claudia Gadelha

3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

4. Jessica Aguilar

5. Jessica Andrade


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