Bantamweight is among the deepest divisions within the sport at this present time. The UFC options a number of present worthy challengers to vie for the title. Nevertheless, it didn’t construct up an honest quantity of depth till concerning the halfway level of the last decade. As for the kingpin of the division, bantamweight presents two candidates with cheap arguments for the highest spot of the 2010’s. At one level or one other, Dominick Cruz and TJ Dillashaw reigned supreme for 2 separate intervals of time, constructing credible resumes to be the kingpin at 135. There are additionally viable arguments in opposition to them. Relatively than dilly dally about what these is likely to be, how about I simply leap into the rankings?
1. Dominick Cruz: No matter how anybody feels about Cruz leaping the road to problem Henry Cejudo, nobody can deny the dominance of the Dominator when he was wholesome. Placing collectively an 8-1 report, the weakest opponent on the listing would seem like Takeya Mizugaki… a hell of a technician when he was at his peak. He will get my prime spot resulting from his slim victory over Dillashaw. The bullets in his resume are the shortage of fights and finishes, Mizugaki and a Brian Bowles damaged hand being the one stoppages he pulled out. Nonetheless, Cruz’s model has by no means been replicated… and possibly by no means will, additional including to his mystique.
2. TJ Dillashaw: I get there are some who would simply assume go away Dillashaw off the listing completely given his bust for blood doping. Nevertheless, I consider it’s solely honest to penalize him for what he was caught for… the identical as it’s for many who haven’t ever been caught. Everyone knows there are loads on the market who haven’t been caught. Thankfully for the two-time champion, it was a flyweight contest he was busted in. Previous to his being obliterated by Henry Cejudo, it could possibly be argued Dillashaw received 14 in a row as his losses to Cruz and Raphael Assuncao have been razor skinny. He destroyed the profession of Barao and will have completed the identical to Cody Garbrandt as Garbrandt hasn’t received a combat since going through Dillashaw. Throw in finishes in all 5 of his title combat wins along with his 16 general wins for the last decade – twice that of Cruz – and it’s a good argument Dillashaw is the dominant 135er of the 2010’s.
3. Renan Barao: For these of you who solely know the post-Dillashaw model of Barao, you missed out on one hell of a whirling dervish. Barao misplaced his debut combat in 2005, solely to whip off 32 wins in a row, together with 10 to start the 2010’s. Barao impressed a concern neither Cruz nor Dillashaw have been in a position to replicate, his spinning back-kick to the face of Eddie Wineland being a major instance of the destruction the Brazilian was as soon as succesful off. He misplaced all his confidence following his losses to Dillashaw, bringing a tragic finish to what as soon as upon a time regarded like one of the crucial dominant runs within the historical past of the game.
4. Urijah Faber: Throughout his time within the UFC, Faber has been a bridesmaid a number of occasions, however by no means the bride. Nevertheless, apart from his rubber match with Cruz, it’s laborious to say Faber didn’t deserve every of these title pictures as he had a 10-fight successful streak at bantamweight in non-title fights. A little bit of a mouthful, however it means Faber was taking down everybody besides the very best for almost all of the last decade. It could possibly be argued he had the perfect stretch of his profession throughout 2013, securing 4 wins with three finishes for the 12 months. And to assume most believed Faber was already previous his prime when the last decade began….
5. Raphael Assuncao: It pisses me off the youthful of the Assuncao brothers by no means bought a chance to combat for the title. Following a loss at featherweight to Erik Koch in 2011, Assuncao went on a stretch the place he received 11 of 12 contests, wins over Dillashaw and Marlon Moraes included in there. Sadly for the Brazilian, his lack of fireworks within the cage prompted the promotion to go him over a number of occasions. Now 37, Assuncao’s time close to the highest has handed. With the majority of his legacy now written, he’ll go down as one of many extra underrated skills within the historical past of the game. Some of the ignored too….
6. Marlon Moraes: The previous WSOF kingpin is commonly ignored in all-time rankings resulting from his lengthy stint preventing less-than stellar competitors. Nevertheless, his UFC run has been nothing wanting magic, placing collectively a 5-2 report in opposition to a few of the greatest competitors within the division. Much more spectacular, he had a stretch of three fights the place he completed his opposition in lower than 5 minutes… mixed. It’s doable we haven’t seen the perfect out of Moraes but.
7. Cody Garbrandt: There’s a risk Garbrandt might show to be a flash within the pan. If that’s the case, it was one hell of a flash! Lower than two years after making his UFC debut – and simply sooner or later after the four-year anniversary of his skilled debut – Garbrandt handed Cruz his first profession loss at bantamweight, taking the crown from the bantamweight legend. Alongside the street to his coronation, Garbrandt delivered a number of spotlight reel KO’s. Sadly, the teenager has now been KO’d in three consecutive fights. At 28, he might nonetheless flip issues round, however the odds are in opposition to him climbing the mountain as soon as once more.
8. Aljamain Sterling: Sterling’s final two wins – over Jimmie Rivera and Pedro Munhoz – pushed him onto the listing because the proficient Serra-Longo product had some tough patches earlier than solidifying himself as a legit title contender this previous 12 months. If Sterling continues to enhance at his present charge for one more 12 months or two, he might very simply find yourself larger on this listing for the listing of the 2020’s biggest bantamweights… offered he ever will get a title shot.
9. Eduardo Dantas: Over the course of the last decade, Bellator had six totally different bantamweight champions. Just one had a number of title defenses and just one had two totally different reigns. Dantas can declare to be each of these folks. DuDu appeared to fall brief each time he was about to interrupt by way of as a really elite bantamweight – he was closely favored in his losses to Tyson Nam and Joe Warren – however his physique of labor was nonetheless spectacular and the most effective for the last decade. Nonetheless, it’s laborious to consider Dantas wasn’t able to extra.
10. Petr Yan: The good cash for who will prime this listing subsequent decade is on Yan. The Russian solely made his UFC debut in 2018 and has already bulldozed by way of six opponents, 4 of them longtime mainstays with successful information within the promotion, together with Rivera and Faber. Had he debuted earlier than 2013, Yan nearly absolutely would have been larger on this listing as his mix of violence and self-discipline is at the moment unmatched. It’s solely a matter of time earlier than he will get a crack at bantamweight gold.
Honorable Mentions: Jimmie Rivera, Henry Cejudo, Kyoji Horiguchi, John Lineker, Darrion Caldwell, Michael McDonald, Bibiano Fernandes.
Rivera had a 20-fight win streak, all however three within the decade. Sadly, most have been in opposition to less-than-impressive competitors. Cejudo spent the majority of his profession at flyweight. Horiguchi and Lineker didn’t, however in addition they harm themselves spending a very good chunk at 125. Caldwell couldn’t get previous Horiguchi. McDonald was haunted by accidents. Fernandes is listed as a bantamweight with ONE, however their bantamweight is technically featherweight.