The UFC showcases the best talent in mixed martial arts today, despite Georges St. Pierre, BJ Penn and Anderson Silva all taking time away from the octagon.
A number of star exits have paved the way for new talent to take the place as the must-see fighters of 2014, with talent in every division of the organisation. Here is in my opinion, the top ten fighters in the UFC today.
10. Ronda Rousey | Women's Bantamweight
The first and current UFC Women's Bantamweight champion is anything but a surprise inclusion in this list. To date Rousey has won each of her eight fights in MMA with an armbar submission.
Rousey is regularly listed by the vast majority of MMA sites and publications as the number one pound for pound female fighter in the world today.
She became the first female fighter to sign with the UFC in November 2012. She made her debut in the company at UFC 157 in February last year with a win over Liz Carmouche in California and thus defended her UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship for the first time.
She extended her MMA record to 8 wins and no losses at the end of the year, defeating Miesha Tate at UFC 168.
With this victory, Rousey received both Fight of the Night and Submission of the Night honours, only further illustrating her reasons for being included into this elite list.
Rousey will put her title on the line for the third time in the octagon this Saturday night at UFC 170 when she faces fellow Olympian, Sara McMann. The bout is the main event on the card and will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This will arguably be Rousey's toughest test to date, however few fans expect anything other than another successful title defense from the undefeated UFC Bantamweight Champion.
9. Urijah Faber | Bantamweight
The former WEC Featherweight Champion is now the number two pound for pound
fighter in the Bantamweight division. Had his recent championship defeat against Renan Barao been a different outcome, Faber could have been possibly been higher.
Prior to his championship bout, Faber was on a four-fight winning streak and
looked a serious threat to Barao's title reign at UFC 169. However the challenger was unable to overcome Barao's onslaught of attack and lost by TKO in the first round.
The biggest test now facing Faber is how he can respond to this recent loss. A significant defeat can either make or break a fighter, the number two Bantamweight will be hoping to get back into the wins column at the very first attempt.
8. Johny Hendricks | Welterweight
The number one ranked Welterweight in the UFC is set to face Robbie Lawler for the vacant Welterweight title at UFC 171 in Dallas, Texas next month. Prior to his loss to Georges St. Pierre in November of last year, Hendricks was on a six-fight winning streak, earning victories over big names such as Carlos Condit, Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch.
In his 17 MMA fights to date, Hendricks has won 15 and lost just two and has not been submitted or knocked out in either loss. The top ranked Welterweight in the organisation is well known for his powerful striking, particular with his favoured left hand.
Hendricks has been competing in the UFC since 2009 and got his first shot at a title against Georges St. Pierre, who had defended the title on nine different occasions. St. Pierre won the match by a split decision, however a month later he vacated the Welterweight title, leaving the door open for a new champion to be crowned.
With Hendricks being the number one Welterweight in the UFC today, he is favoured to overcome his opponent Robbie Lawler at UFC 171 and win his first championship within the organisation. No matter what the outcome, a new champion will be crowned in the division for the first time in almost six years.
7. Vitor Belfort | Middleweight/Light Heavyweight
The number one contender for Chris Weidman's UFC Middleweight title is on a three match winning streak ahead of his scheduled title fight at UFC 173 on May 24th.
Since his defeat to Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones in September 2012, Belfort has defeated Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson and has each time
received the Knockout of the Night honour for his performances in all three fights.
The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion had an unforgettable 2013 inside the octagon and now has his sights set on becoming a champion in two divisions by capturing the Middleweight title.
Belfort has has won 17 of his 24 victorious bouts by knockout, which indicates he likes to finish fights, and that's exactly what he'll be looking to do against Weidman at UFC 173.
6. Demetrious Johnson | Flyweight
The current UFC Flyweight champion has an official MMA record of 19 wins, two losses and one draw to date. Johnson is on a five fight win streak, the most recent of these coming by KO against Joseph Benavidez in December of last year, a win that earned him the Knockout of the Night honour for the first time in his career thus far.
By defending his UFC Flyweight title three times in a year, Johnson was named the 2013 Fighter of the Year by a number of websites such as FoxSports.com and MMAWeekly.com.
In addition Johnson is the inaugural UFC Flyweight Champion and has successfully defended the title since its debut. He is officially ranked the number five pound for pound fighter in the UFC today.
5. Chris Weidman | Middleweight
Yet another fighter who can look back on a glorious 2013 is the current UFC Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman. In July of last year, he became the first man to defeat Anderson Silva in the UFC. By doing so he earned the Knockout of the Year honour with MMAInsider regarding the fight as the biggest upset of the year.
Weidman's professional MMA record to date is eleven wins, no losses and to prove his KO victory over the seemingly unbeatable Silva was no fluke, the newly crowned Middleweight Champion repeated the feat in December last, this time with a decisive TKO triumph over the Brazilian.
Following his two comprehensive wins over Silva, Weidman is now set to defend his Middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in May of this year at UFC 173. Given his current form, Weidman will prove a formidable opponent for any fighter, especially Belfort.
4. Renan Barao | Bantamweight
The UFC Bantamweight champion has a fantastic MMA record of 32 wins, one loss and one no contest. Since his no contest bout, he has been on a phenomenal 22 match winning streak that stretches all the way back to 2008 which includes wins in the WEC, UFC and a number of other MMA organisations.
Barao won the UFC interim Bantamweight title in 2012, defeating Urijah Faber. He went on to defend the interim title on two occasions before being promoted to the official UFC Bantamweight Champion.
He defended the UFC Bantamweight Champion for the first time as the undisputed champion against a familiar opponent in Faber at UFC 169 earlier this month with a TKO victory in the first round. The Brazilian looks set to be a star in the UFC for many years to come.
3. Cain Velasquez | Heavyweight
A two time UFC Heavyweight Champion, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt Cain Velazquez is now in his second reign with the title having lost it to Junior Dos Santos in 2011 only to regain the title from the Brazilian just over a year later.
Velasquez possesses superior cardio and an endurance level which allows him to gain the upper hand in fights particularly title bouts which are scheduled for five, five minute rounds. The vast majority of his 13 wins to date have come by way of knockout, with eleven KO's thus far in his career.
With a career record of 13 wins and one loss, Velasquez is a fierce competitor who once gets down to his striking game is near impossible to stop given his pure power and endurance.
With his prolific knockout record, Velazquez has been awarded with the UFC Knockout of the Night honour on three occasions, including his TKO title win over Brock Lesnar in 2013. Velazquez is ranked the number one heavyweight in MMA and the joint third pound for pound fighter in the UFC today.
2. Jose Aldo | Featherweight
Not just the current UFC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo was the final WEC Featherweight Champion and was awarded the UFC title following the merger of the two organisations in 2010.
He made his debut as champion in the UFC in 2011 at UFC 129. He defended the title against Mark Hominick, earning the Fight of the Night honour for his performance. Aldo has defended the UFC Featherweight title a further five times since his debut, defeating fierce competition from the likes of Kenny Florian and Frankie ''The Answer'' Edgar.
Aldo holds an excellent MMA record of 24 wins and one loss from 25 fights to date. His most recent win and title defence came against Ricardo Lamas at UFC 169 on the 1st of February 2014. Aldo is recognised for his devastating leg kicks which have helped win him many fights throughout his career so far. He is currently ranked as the number two pound for pound fighter in the UFC.
1. Jon Jones | Light Heavyweight
At UFC 128, Jon ''Bones'' Jones became the youngest champion in the history of the organisation. At the age of just 23, Jones defeated Mauricio ''Shogun'' Rua to become the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. Since then, no other fighter has been able to stop the dominance that Jones has displayed in the vastly competitive division.
Jones has defended the title multiple times against former champions of the Light Heavyweight Division such as Quinton ''Rampage'' Jackson, Lyoto ''The Dragon'' Machida and Rashad Evans. His career record stands at 19 wins and one loss with the vast majority of his victories coming by way of knockout.
In addition, Jones has yet to be knocked out, has yet to submit and thus far his only loss came due to a disqualification for illegal strikes. Jones is ranked as the number one fighter in the world by a number of publications as well as the number one pound for pound fighter in the UFC.
Still only 26, Jones looks set to be the star that spearheads not just the UFC but all of MMA into the future, with each passing fight his career record looks more and more impressive.
Is this your top ten UFC fighters today? If not who would make your list? Have your say below.
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