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SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Urijah Faber among MMA mailbag topicsupdated: Thu Jul 19 2012 13:20:00

His slow start against Chael Sonnen. His fast finish. His next step. His lasting legacy.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Viewers' guide to UFC 149updated: Tue Jul 17 2012 14:48:00

The venue for Saturday night's UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta, is the 20,000-seat Saddledome. It might as well be Foothills Medical Centre, the Canadian city's 1,000-bed hospital.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Viewers' guide to UFC 148updated: Wed Jul 04 2012 16:03:00

A rematch is about making adjustments. If it weren't, we wouldn't bother putting the fighters through the toil and anguish of another training camp, another weight cut, another choice of walkout music. We'd just buy a DVD of their first fight and watch it again.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Silva still No. 2 in P4P rankings, but with room for improvementupdated: Tue Jul 03 2012 12:27:00

And Jon Jones cannot do a thing about it.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: UFC 147 Viewers Guideupdated: Thu Jun 21 2012 11:39:00

Three summers ago, when Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin met in the main event of UFC 99, the fight was promoted under the title "Comeback."

SI.com: Loretta Hunt: Anderson Silva doc Like Water is worthy precursor to UFC 148updated: Tue Jun 05 2012 15:35:00

It's five weeks out from the biggest fight of the summer and you can almost see Chael Sonnen pacing his Oregon living room, scribbling down snarky one-liners about UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Dan Henderson, Jon Jones among MMA mailbag topicsupdated: Tue May 15 2012 14:26:00

Don't ever underestimate Dan Henderson.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Jones supplants Silva as MMA's pound-for-pound kingpinupdated: Tue May 01 2012 18:01:00

It's tough to argue against Anderson Silva. The man has not lost a fight in over seven years, and in all the time since then he has decimated opponent after opponent with his lethal fluidity. He won the UFC middleweight championship way back in October 2006 and has successfully defended it a record nine times. He also owns UFC bests in consecutive wins (14), longest title reign (six years and six months, and counting) and most gasps of disbelief from awestruck fans.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Win over Lesnar offers proof of Overeem's skillsupdated: Fri Jan 06 2012 12:46:00

Alistair Overeem had fought 47 times as a mixed martial artist before he stepped into the octagon last Friday night. He had not lost since 2007, and all but two of his 11 bouts over that stretch had stretched no farther than the first round. But the main event of UFC 141 was the Dutchman's debut in the eight-sided cage that's home to the sport's crème de la crème. So there were questions.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: MMA predictions for 2012updated: Thu Dec 29 2011 11:46:00

1. Big-stage backlash. Now that the UFC is on network TV, with so many more viewers able to see the fights, it's inevitable that the wrong eyes will catch a glimpse. A curious football fan or let's-see-what's-on channel surfer will click over to Fox at the precise moment when a fighter suffers a broken limb, like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria did at UFC 140, or when one drops to the mat lifelessly after being choked unconscious, as Lyoto Machida did that same night. Or maybe the cringe-worthy moment will be a bloodbath like the first Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar fight, a bout legendary for MMA diehards but probably too brutal for the uninitiated to bear.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Does Nick Diaz deserve a shot at Georges St-Pierre?; more mailupdated: Thu Nov 24 2011 13:56:00

Some call this the most wonderful time of the year, and fans of mixed martial arts have quite a bit to be thankful for.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Muñoz dominates UFC 138, eyes future title shotupdated: Sun Nov 06 2011 10:10:00

Mark Muñoz sure knows how to get himself noticed.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Edgar's rally helps avenge Maynard in thrilling UFC 136updated: Sun Oct 09 2011 02:20:00

Fifty-eight minutes and 54 seconds. That's how long it took Frankie Edgar to defeat Gray Maynard.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Silva delivers as main act at Brazilian carnival that was UFC 134updated: Sun Aug 28 2011 02:12:00

Anderson Silva might as well have put on a feathery outfit and ridden to the Octagon aboard an ornately decorated float borrowed from a local samba school.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Cruz remains atop bantamweight table in July MMA rankingsupdated: Mon Jul 04 2011 17:42:00

He's nicknamed "The Dominator," but Dominick Cruz didn't exactly overwhelm Urijah Faber in the main event of UFC 132 Saturday night in Las Vegas. Still, Cruz was speedy and forceful enough to retain his bantamweight championship.

SI.com: Tim Marchman: UFC needs to market some fresh facesupdated: Wed Jun 29 2011 16:12:00

The other day, I was watching a ballgame on television and saw an advertisement for UFC 132. It promised violence.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Jon Jones on verge of joining P4P eliteupdated: Wed Jun 01 2011 17:02:00

These mixed martial artists sure don't move around like they used to.

SI.com: Tim Marchman: Aldo underscores irrelevance of MMA pound-for-pound rankingsupdated: Thu May 05 2011 18:46:00

I don't know how you feel about the matter, but I've always thought that ranking the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world was a slightly ridiculous thing to do.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: St-Pierre remains atop SI.com's pound-for-pound ratingsupdated: Tue May 03 2011 17:40:00

If you're one of those fans who live for the TV sportscast highlight reels -- reverse dunks and upper-deck homers and 60-yard bombs to in-stride receivers -- Georges St-Pierre is not the mixed martial artist for you. You'll find much more satisfaction in watching Anderson Silva, who has put exclamation points on three of his past four fights with sudden and spectacular finishes.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Silva looks to UFC card in Rio, possible St-Pierre showdownupdated: Mon Apr 04 2011 14:29:00

SAN DIEGO -- Anderson Silva says he's perfectly happy to close out his current UFC contract and, perhaps, his fighting career in the division he's ruled going on four years.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Jon Jones justifies standing in April MMA rankingsupdated: Fri Apr 01 2011 11:54:00

Now you know why SI.com had Jon "Bones" Jones ranked at No. 1 among light heavyweights last month, above a bunch of fighters with more sparkly resumes, including then-UFC champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.

SI.com: Tim Marchman: Fighters with best chance vs. Jon Jonesupdated: Wed Mar 23 2011 13:28:00

If you haven't seen it by now, you ought to make it a high priority to do so: Jon Jones made Mauricio "Shogun" Rua look like a relic on Saturday. There were a great many unknowns going into the title fight at UFC 128. No one really knew how mentally tough Jones was; no one knew how he would handle leg kicks or serious submission attempts, and no one knew how he would deal with an opponent he couldn't break. We still don't know. Shogun broke, and the one fighter who should have been able to never did crack Jones' legs, or tie them up. It was a mauling.

SI.com: Tim Marchman: Is rising MMA star Phil Davis' prime upon us?updated: Thu Mar 10 2011 18:04:00

Four months ago, at UFC 123, Phil Davis, a 26-year-old light heavyweight prospect who is two good wins away from serious title contention, cinched the veteran Tim Boetsch in the sort of hold that makes you squint, on the off chance that you didn't actually see what you thought you saw.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: St-Pierre, Silva, Aldo headline March MMA rankingsupdated: Tue Mar 01 2011 14:41:00

This is not the Bowl Championship Series. No competitor is going to miss out on a shot at the title or a trip to Pasadena because he is ranked No. 3 instead of No. 2 in the monthly SI.com mixed-martial-arts fighter rankings.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Staggering ticket sales for UFC 129, but will fan experience suffer?updated: Wed Feb 23 2011 18:02:00

Dana White has always nurtured the vigorous growth of the UFC as if he were the manager of a rising rock band loath to rush the act from nightclubs to theaters to arenas to stadiums for fear of muddying its hit sound.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: MMA mailbag brimming with February rankings backlashupdated: Thu Feb 17 2011 14:44:00

Now I know what Vitor Belfort feels like. In the days after Anderson Silva stopped him with a devastating attack that was as spectacular as it was sudden, I took a few kicks to the face myself from readers for my February fighter rankings. The biggest point of contention was my flip-flopping the consensus opinion among media rankings and putting UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at No. 1 ahead of Silva, the middleweight champ. But that was not my only ranking that rankled readers. I took some heat for putting a division champion below a guy who's fought at that weight only once. And slotting Alistair Overeem at No. 2 among heavyweights made me the heavy for several readers who apparently don't put much weight in his Strikeforce title belt.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: With Fedor out, Strikeforce tourney finds itself on the ropesupdated: Tue Feb 15 2011 17:33:00

The Heavyweight Grand Prix is lying flat on the mat, stunned and fully mounted, punches raining down, the referee keeping a close eye on things, ready to jump in if need be. Now it's time to see if Strikeforce's ambitious tournament has some fight left.

In UFC fight, mixed martial arts and brain science collideupdated: Thu Feb 10 2011 08:37:00

So, the Packers won the Super Bowl, but fans of mixed martial arts can't stop talking about how Anderson Silva took down Vitor Belfort in an Ultimate Fighting Championship title match with a single kick.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Shields out to spoil Silva vs. St-Pierreupdated: Mon Feb 07 2011 19:15:00

It's almost a foregone conclusion.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Winners, losers from UFC 126updated: Mon Feb 07 2011 18:33:00

It's not rocket science to figure out the big winners from Saturday's UFC 126 in Las Vegas. Jon Jones emerged as a light heavyweight title contender with a victory against Ryan Bader. Anderson Silva, on the strength of a stunning front kick, was devastating in a first-round knockout of Vitor Belfort. A rusty Forrest Griffin won a unanimous decision over Rich Franklin after a long layoff, and the former light heavyweight champion should continue to progress when he hits the road to work with new trainers, as he says he'll do for his next fight.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Silva, Jones prevail in stunning fashion at UFC 126updated: Sun Feb 06 2011 02:35:00

Who does Anderson Silva think he is, Jon "Bones" Jones?

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Silva vs. Belfort no 'normal' fightupdated: Fri Feb 04 2011 12:26:00

There are two types of fuel that fire fights -- competitive or personal. The competitive juice is the stuff that makes fighters want be the best. The personal type attaches memory and feeling to that goal. That fuel can sustain fighters at the point of burnout, and it can also rob them of energy when they most need it.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Confidence is key for Belfortupdated: Fri Feb 04 2011 12:24:00

For the first three or four minutes of any fight, there aren't a whole lot of guys scarier than Vitor Belfort. Fists a-blazing, the Brazilian comes charging out of the gates like an angry bull with dinner reservations.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: St-Pierre, Silva headline Feburary MMA rankingsupdated: Tue Feb 01 2011 20:21:00

Power rankings on the sports pages have always seemed a little silly to me. Yet I eagerly pore over them with the colossal seriousness that someone more educated than I might devote to a Kierkegaard treatise. When the experts rank my favorite NFL team at No. 21, say, I scan the list and invariably find a team ranked above us that we beat. (Us? We? No, I don't play pro football, but my unbridled, even unbalanced passion for the game has bred in me the righteousness to invoke such we're-all-in-this-together language.) Seemingly glaring indignities like my Giants being underrated by as little as one or two spots never fail to get me riled up, though not so much when we're ranked above a team we lost to.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Chael Sonnen still smarter than us, but where's it gotten him?updated: Tue Jan 04 2011 22:10:00

Chael Sonnen is smarter than you. It doesn't matter if you're a Nobel laureate, the brightest light in Mensa or even Yogi Bear. The self-satisfied UFC middleweight is smarter than the average bear, too, and he's certain he is brainier than you as well. That is what gets the man in trouble.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Stann, Silva among risers in UFC 125 stock watchupdated: Mon Jan 03 2011 17:36:00

So UFC 125 didn't exactly end with a "Resolution" as promised. Lightweight champ Frankie Edgar fought five hard rounds with Gray Maynard only to draw on final scorecards in the event's headliner. No matter, there were still plenty of good finishes this past Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, and with a third match between Edgar and Maynard now in the works, let's take a look at some of the winners and losers from the supporting cast.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: MMA predictions for 2011updated: Wed Dec 29 2010 12:12:00

1. WEC makes its mark on TUF. Although the UFC's seminal reality show has maintained an impressive watermark of about 1 million viewers per episode going into its 13th season, the show could use a jump-start. And who better to give that then the Tasmanian devils of World Extreme Cagefighting, who are set to cross over to big-brother UFC as 2011 gets underway. Newly minted UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz and recent 135-pound transplant Urijah Faber get my vote to coach TUF 13. They've got history (Faber handed Cruz his only professional loss early in his 145-pound title reign), beef (Cruz rubs the normally hang-loose Faber the wrong way), and good support squads (Faber with Team Alpha Male and Cruz with Lloyd Irvin and Alliance MMA). That's all the makings of good reality TV. (Now if only Spike producers could shoot the show higher than 30 frames per second.)

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Cleaning out the MMA mailbag for the New Yearupdated: Tue Dec 28 2010 20:15:00

With the last few days of the year blowing by like the gusty snowfall that's piled up in the whiteout Northeast, it's time to clean out the mailbag in preparation for 2011. The new year will waste no time in bringing the action, as Saturday night's UFC 125 has a bunch of promising matchups. But if my e-mail in box is any indication, fans aren't quite ready to move on from the deeds and misdeeds of 2010.

SI.com: Jeff Wagenheim: Playing Secret Santa with MMA's finestupdated: Fri Dec 24 2010 09:44:00

This is the time of year when lots of folks are wrapping and unwrapping presents, so here are some suggested recipients in the mixed martial arts world whose gifts would keep on giving, all through 2011:

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Ten New Year's resolutions for MMA fighters, promotersupdated: Thu Dec 23 2010 13:06:00

New Year's is a time for fresh starts, new beginnings. It's a time to look disdainfully at the person you have been, and look longingly into the idealistic future at the person you will become.

SI.com: Tim Marchman: MMA looks to New York commission approval, St-Pierre-Silva in 2011updated: Wed Dec 22 2010 17:34:00

Fight people work in a constant now, so that if you ask a lot of them what the stories of the coming year are likely to be you get a lot of dead silence, followed by hasty improvisations on the angles they happen to have interests in. Once you get past the angles, all the talk is of growth and expansion. Mixed martial arts has attained a state like that of the American economy. It needs constant growth just to meet its obligations.

SI.com: Steven Marrocco: Top 10 MMA stories of 2010updated: Wed Dec 22 2010 11:47:00

1. UFC sells 10 percent share to Abu Dhabi-based Flash Entertainment. Despite several offers to go public or take on additional investors, the Ultimate Fighting Championship remained a private outfit since Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta purchased it in 2001. Amid explosive growth in the decade's second half, UFC president Dana White repeatedly said the promotion's parent company, Zuffa LLC, would never dilute its ownership. But in January, that's exactly what it did when it sold a 10 percent stake in the UFC to the Abu Dhabi-owned entertainment company Flash Entertainment. Fertitta said the sale would benefit the UFC's strategic goals in the Middle East and other developing countries while keeping intact its management structure. One month later, the promotion announced its entry into the Middle Eastern market with UFC 112, held an arena to be constructed specifically for the event. The first event would later prove challenging -- to put it charitably.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Five observations from UFC 122updated: Sun Nov 14 2010 04:01:00

Five observations from UFC 122, where Yushin Okami beat Nate Marquardt to become the No. 1 contender in the middleweight division:

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Underappreciated Okami can nab title shot with victory at UFC 122updated: Fri Nov 12 2010 18:01:00

Japanese middleweight Yushin Okami is the kind of guy who no one really wants to fight, and I mean that in the best possible way. In the end, it boils down to risk and reward.

SI.com: Jon Wertheim: Looking ahead to Saturday's UFC 122 in Germanyupdated: Fri Nov 12 2010 18:00:00

SI.com caught up with Sports Illustrated senior writer Jon Wertheim to talk about Saturday's UFC 122 card at the König Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Watered-down WEC, UFC cards stress necessity of pending mergerupdated: Wed Nov 10 2010 16:23:00

Two fight cards this week speak to the reasons Zuffa decided it was time to fold WEC into the UFC.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Aldo tightens hold on featherweight top spot; more rankingsupdated: Fri Oct 01 2010 23:16:00

Jose Aldo is good. Very, very good. The 24-year-old Brazilian affirmed his status as mixed martial arts' best featherweight Thursday night by throttling Manny Gamburyan midway through the second round.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Silva-Sonnen classic demands excuse-free rematchupdated: Thu Aug 12 2010 15:09:00

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: There is no such thing as a lucky submission. Locking on a triangle choke or an armbar isn't like throwing up a half-court shot at the buzzer or launching a Hail Mary pass into the end zone. A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is not a lottery ticket.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Getting inside Anderson Silva's UFC 117 victory over Chael Sonnenupdated: Tue Aug 10 2010 17:26:00

How did Anderson Silva submit Chael Sonnen?

SI.com: Josh Gross: Sonnen did everything but beat Silvaupdated: Mon Aug 09 2010 10:09:00

Chael Sonnen accomplished everything he told the world he would against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Everything, that is, except the most important thing.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Underdog Sonnen won't let Silva dance to victory at UFC 117updated: Fri Aug 06 2010 15:58:00

Though he wouldn't admit it, UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva came strolling into the UFC 117 pre-fight press conference on Thursday afternoon in San Francisco looking like a man who had intentionally made himself into everything Chael Sonnen claims to hate. He wore a pink sweater and a smile, his baseball cap was flipped backward on his head. Two diamond earrings flashed in his ears.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Silva drops from light heavyweight Top 10 in July MMA rankingsupdated: Fri Aug 06 2010 14:36:00

If July felt like a slow fight month, that's because it was. Especially when compared to what's in store through the remainder of 2010. In August alone, 19 of the mixed martial artists ranked among the Top 10 of their weight class will step into a cage -- highlighted by three fights pitting the top two fighters in their respective divisions. Two already have, as Jon Jones and Yushin Okami earned victories Sunday in San Diego.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Time on Silva's side against mouthy Sonnen at UFC 117updated: Thu Aug 05 2010 13:04:00

Sometime Saturday night, likely not much past midnight in the East, Chael Sonnen will step into a cage with Anderson Silva. Doors locked behind them, a referee will offer his final instructions. The middleweights -- one a respected champion, the other similar in his deluded mind -- will square off in what is destined to be remembered as a speak-now-or-forever-hold-your-peace moment. And it will be real and undeniable.

SI.com: Josh Gross: All that's missing from Okami's resume is a UFC championshipupdated: Thu Jul 29 2010 17:56:00

All too quietly Yushin Okami has established himself as the most successful Japanese mixed martial artist inside the UFC.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Questions about UFC 117, Werdum-Fedor rematch, more mailupdated: Fri Jul 23 2010 17:24:00

@JosPear Keep hearing Chael Sonnen has a tough chin. Isn't Chris Leben's chin tougher and Anderson Silva put him down? Are we sold on this bout being for real?

SI.com: Josh Gross: May MMA rankingsupdated: Thu Jun 03 2010 19:24:00

When current WEC matchmaker Sean Shelby and I established the now-buried MMA Media Top 10 in 2001, it became a goal of mine to see mixed martial artists ranked in a real way. Yes, there were periods when I soured on the idea -- e.g. confusion among weight classes in different regions of the world and the likelihood that top fighters in competing promotions would never fight -- but for the most part I hung in there, convinced the exercise was worthwhile because it put fighters' accomplishments into context, assigned them value on the open market, and held promoters accountable when it came to matching title fights.

SI.com: Josh Gross: What's next for new MMA light heavyweight champion Rua?updated: Mon May 10 2010 17:39:00

Long gone is the Chuck Liddell-inspired Ice Age, when a successful defense of the UFC light heavyweight title was the norm and not the exception. With his win over Lyoto Machida on Saturday, Mauricio Rua became the sixth light heavyweight to hold the UFC title since 2007.

SI.com: Josh Gross: April MMA Rankingsupdated: Tue May 04 2010 03:23:00

With six of SI.com's 10 best mixed martial artists in action this April, it's no wonder the latest divisional and pound-for-pound rankings underwent their own springtime renewal.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Garcia, Jung delivered all-timer, more WEC 48 mailupdated: Tue Apr 27 2010 16:21:00

Leonard Garcia-Chan Sung Jung was like a KFC Double Down. I know we're all supposed to love healthy, clean, well-prepared food but I'll be damned if two pieces of fried chicken with cheese and bacon in between them isn't just amazing sometimes. Just like how we're all supposed to love highly technical bouts, but sometimes seeing two guys go out and just wing it is fun as hell. --Brian Alleman, Tulsa, Okla.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Penn, Silva fail to shine in UFC's Middle Eastern debutupdated: Sun Apr 11 2010 05:32:00

Well, we won't have a hard time remembering the Ultimate Fighting Championship's first effort in Abu Dhabi. In the shadows of all things red, fast and Italian, Dana White, Lorenzo Fertitta and Frank Fertitta came to the Arabian Peninsula touting two high-performance machines of their own.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Looking ahead to UFC 112 in Abu Dhabiupdated: Fri Apr 09 2010 16:10:00

It wasn't so long ago, you'll remember, that everyone outside of a certain Russian heavyweight grasped championship belts like they'd just been plucked out of the Pacific.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Little uncertainty as Penn, Silva get ready for UFC 112updated: Thu Apr 08 2010 15:13:00

You know there's something strange going on when three UFC champions put their respective titles on the line within a two-week span, and the most pressing questions they face revolve around when they're going to gain or lose weight so they can fight one another.

Rich fight Brazil's congestion with helicoptersupdated: Thu Apr 08 2010 09:57:00

Commuter battle lines in one of Brazil's biggest cities are drawn on the ground, underground and also, in the air.

Beating traffic in Brazilupdated: Thu Apr 08 2010 09:57:00

In Sao Paulo, Brazil, known as the world's capital of traffic, people try to find solutions to their problem.

SI.com: Josh Gross: March MMA Rankingsupdated: Fri Apr 02 2010 18:12:00

Start small. End big. March, capped by a hyperactive 10-day stretch, registered a real impact on SI.com's latest mixed martial arts rankings.

SI.com: Josh Gross: How good a mixed martial artist can Toney become?updated: Thu Mar 04 2010 18:37:00

In his autobiography penned with Sherdog.com news editor Loretta Hunt, Randy Couture revealed that he received an offer from the UFC in 2006 to fight two-division champion boxer James Toney. Four years later, Toney has finally signed with the UFC, reigniting the possibility of a bout with Couture.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Sonnen battered, bruised and busy after UFC 109updated: Wed Feb 10 2010 21:02:00

For Chael Sonnen, winning never hurt so much.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Sonnen looks to solve Marquardt puzzle at UFC 109updated: Thu Feb 04 2010 17:47:00

Chael Sonnen has a gift for soundbytes. It helps that he's willing to say absolutely anything, from the cringe-inducingly honest to the comedically implausible, all with an air of absolute sincerity.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Consistency at the top across all divisionsupdated: Thu Feb 04 2010 17:22:00

Updated to include 2009's closing cards and the first month of 2010, SI.com's latest mixed martial arts rankings feature changes to the middle and bottom of most weight divisions. While consistency reigns among the top three in all classes, there is expected to be considerable movement as the calendar shifts from winter to spring.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Anderson Silva tops year-end P4P rankingsupdated: Mon Dec 28 2009 13:46:00

For the final mixed martial arts rankings of 2009, it makes sense to look back to where things stood at the start of the year.

SI.com: MMA: Decade highlights and lowlightsupdated: Fri Dec 18 2009 12:53:00

FIGHTER OF THE DECADE: Fedor Emelianenko Emelianenko isn't the only fighter to ply his trade exclusively during the first decade of the 2000s, but he is the best. Competing in a wholly unforgiving sport, the 33-year-old Russian boasts -- not that he would -- an unparalleled resume featuring 31 victories in 33 fights. The other two? A dismissed loss in 2000 (that he violently avenged) and a no-contest against the second best heavyweight in MMA history, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, who Emelianenko has beaten twice.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Busy November causes shuffle in all divisionsupdated: Wed Dec 02 2009 14:14:00

A busy month of November left its mark on SI.com's latest mixed martial arts rankings. Outside of the lightweight division, which gets the spotlight in December, each class experienced some shuffling.

SI.com: Jon Wertheim: Anderson Silva is my Sportsman choiceupdated: Tue Nov 24 2009 16:05:00

Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Nov. 30. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer. You love mixed martial arts. No, you hate mixed martial arts. It's the hottest, rawest, awesomest sport going, a video game come to life, the main cause of boxing's death spiral. No, it's legalized assault and battery, an affront to civilization, the Church of the Lowest Common Denominator. As mixed martial arts -- and the UFC in particular -- continue to grow, it also continues to polarize. And both sides are, of course, entitled to their opinion.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Velasquez cracks the top 10, 'Shogun' climbsupdated: Wed Oct 28 2009 11:20:00

November is shaping up to be the most important month of fights this year.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Shields proves biggest winner in latest shuffleupdated: Tue Sep 29 2009 12:31:00

It's all about turnover in mixed martial arts rankings. With aging fighters leaving the sport, established contenders pursuing options away from the cage and young challengers clawing their way to the top, job security reads like an oxymoron for the men atop SI.com's MMA rankings.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Why UFC needs a Grand Prix, Belfort may face Silva, more UFC 103 notesupdated: Tue Sep 22 2009 11:36:00

On Saturday in Dallas, Texas, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre hoped to learn the name of his next challenger.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Nogueira matters again, but Marquardt may be the one to watchupdated: Thu Sep 03 2009 11:46:00

Randy Couture said it simply enough after dropping a competitive decision to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: The Brazilian great is who the former two-division UFC champion thought he was.

SI.com: Couture-Nogueira live blog, more from UFC 102updated: Sun Aug 30 2009 14:59:00

Zuffa isn't promoting a UFC championship fight tonight in Portland, Ore., but one could certainly make the case that titles are on the line.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Marquardt knows what's coming vs. Maia, but can he stop it?updated: Thu Aug 27 2009 09:29:00

Demian Maia doesn't bother keeping his game plan a secret. He knows there's no use. No matter what the unbeaten middleweight might say in advance of his bout with Nate Marquardt at UFC 102 this Saturday, everyone already knows that the longest Maia (10-0) likes to stay on his feet is the time it takes him to walk from the dressing room to the Octagon.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Mailbag: From 'Cyborg' to Couture, readers voice their opinionsupdated: Tue Aug 25 2009 16:54:00

With a little more than a week remaining in what has been a wild month in mixed martial arts -- both in and out of the cage -- SI.com readers aren't short on opinions or questions. From the heavyweight legends and 185-pound contenders on the UFC's upcoming card in Portland, Ore., to the thought of Anderson Silva moving up two weight divisions has readers curious, perplexed and somewhat annoyed. After Cris "Cyborg" Santos demolished Gina Carano at Strikeforce, several SI.com loyalists were left wondering whether the new champ deserved to be ranked among the 10 best fighters in the world, regardless of weight -- and gender.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Silva sets sights on heavyweightsupdated: Tue Aug 25 2009 11:42:00

Anderson Silva wants big-money event fights. And he's willing to work at heavyweight to make sure they happen.

SI.com: Josh Gross: MMA Rankings: Stunning victories, failed tests cause chaosupdated: Tue Aug 18 2009 11:06:00

It's been a while since SI.com's last set of rankings, and the volatility of mixed martial arts has taken its toll on each division's top 10. A chemically enhanced Josh Barnett caused movement among heavyweights, while Anderson Silva and Gegard Mousasi forced light heavyweights to shuffle. At middleweight, Dan Henderson has re-emerged as a force, and the welterweights find new order in their bottom five.

SI.com: Bryan Armen Graham: Philly's fighting spirit alive and well at UFC 101updated: Tue Aug 11 2009 14:30:00

You can see it out the window of the rickety SEPTA car, as you rumble down the R7 line past Joe Frazier's gym and through the hardscrabble neighborhoods of North Philly, where alternating blocks of pristine brownstones and bombed-out vacants make the brick-and-mortar landscape.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Fighting or playing? With Silva, the difference isn't always obviousupdated: Mon Aug 10 2009 14:57:00

Any time UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva steps in the cage, the line between fighting and playing always gets a little blurry. But against former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in Philadelphia on Saturday, Silva managed to do both at the same time, dwarfing his larger opponent with an awe-inspiring striking display and brilliant defensive maneuvers.

SI.com: BLOG: Penn, Silva dominate UFC 101 main eventsupdated: Sun Aug 09 2009 02:57:00

A blow-by-blow recap of Saturday's co-main event fights at UFC 101 in Philadelphia:

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: Did Silva find a real opponent in Griffin?updated: Sat Aug 08 2009 02:39:00

UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva isn't simply in search of a new challenge when he moves up in weight to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in Philadelphia this weekend. What he needs is someone who will give him an actual fight. He needs an opponent who can knock him out of his current holding pattern and force him to be the exciting finisher he used to be. He needs a Rocky Balboa to his Apollo Creed, to put it in terms that Philly can understand, and he needs it now.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: UFC 99 crucial to Silva's futureupdated: Thu Jun 11 2009 12:06:00

It's a tough time to be a legend of MMA. The hungry crop of next-generation fighters is always nipping at your heels, the threat of a Dana White-imposed retirement might be only one or two losses away, and all while the money is just starting to get good. Wanderlei Silva -- a legend who was doing this back when bare fists were the order of the day -- summed up the difficulties perfectly when I spoke to him about what might be at stake in his clash with Rich Franklin at UFC 99 in Germany this weekend.

SI.com: Arash Markazi: Lyoto Machida ushers in new era for UFC, mixed martial artsupdated: Mon May 25 2009 16:13:00

As Lyoto Machida walked through the corridors of the MGM Grand Garden Arena back to the locker room after knocking out previously undefeated Rashad Evans in the second round of their main-event fight Saturday, tears welled up in his eyes as he looked down at the new UFC light heavyweight championship belt wrapped around his waist.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Storylines leading into Silva vs. Griffinupdated: Thu Apr 30 2009 11:10:00

You really don't need to look further than the style matchup generated by Anderson Silva and Forrest Griffin to get excited by their August fight. But if you did, it's not difficult to find scenarios that make Silva-Griffin meaningful beyond the mere potential of a great fight.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Why Maynard should call it quits, 'Mayhem' isn't ranked, much moreupdated: Mon Apr 27 2009 17:14:00

To football, wrestling and weightlifting, Kyle Maynard can add mixed martial arts to his arsenal of feats.

SI.com: Josh Gross: A rebuttal from Silva & Co., guys he should face, updated rankingsupdated: Thu Apr 23 2009 16:08:00

UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva isn't bored. Nor is he frustrated. About his decision win over Thales Leites at UFC 97 on Saturday, Silva is said to be satisfied. And criticism following the contest, in which Leites refused to engage while trying anything he could to avoid the champion's infrequent attacks, has fallen on deaf ears.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Live blog from UFC 97updated: Mon Apr 20 2009 09:46:00

SI.com's Josh Gross provides first-rate analysis from the UFC 97 showdowns in Montreal featuring light heavyweights Chuck Liddell and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and, in the main event, Thales Leites and Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.

SI.com: Josh Gross: For better or worse, Leites finds himself on brink of historyupdated: Fri Apr 17 2009 14:03:00

Win or lose Saturday in Montreal, Thales Leites finds himself a partner to history.

SI.com: Josh Gross: More on Penn-St. Pierre, top P4P fighters and MMA on network TVupdated: Fri Feb 13 2009 16:52:00

With so many stories unfolding in the last 10 days, it felt appropriate to hit on a bunch of topics. Judging from the emails in my inbox, fight fans aren't sure where to focus. There's plenty of clutter from St. Pierre-Penn 2, some positive and negative reaction to my latest rankings, and a sense of excitement following news that MMA would return to CBS and Showtime.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Silva's latest defense more showboating than substanceupdated: Sun Oct 26 2008 17:24:00

When Anderson Silva puts on a show with his hands and feet, it generally makes for a short night. Saturday evening at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Ill., however, the "show" featured more dancing and showboating than punching and kicking.

SI.com: Ben Fowlkes: UFC's Atlanta foray brings a trio of notable storylinesupdated: Thu Sep 04 2008 15:44:00

You almost have to feel bad for the fighters on Saturday's UFC 88 card in Atlanta. With the announcement of Randy Couture's return dominating MMA headlines, the weekend fights in Georgia seem like an afterthought. The blame can be split, though: part Couture's legal media show, part UFC 88's lineup.

SI.com: Josh Gross: SI.com readers weigh in on MMA's most crucial stretch of the yearupdated: Wed Jul 23 2008 19:59:00

In the midst of mixed martial arts' most crucial stretch of the year, readers react to Anderson Silva's victory over James Irvin at UFC Fight Night 14, Fedor Emelianenko's dismantling of Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned and a host of other issues. We'll also look forward to this coming Saturday, when MMA returns to primetime on CBS.

SI.com: Josh Gross: Tanner reaches twilight of stellar careerupdated: Tue Jul 01 2008 10:29:00

Evan Tanner came to mixed martial arts looking for adventure. He found fame, success and a UFC championship.

SI.com: Josh Gross: 'Spider' set for July 19 bout -- 20 pounds heavierupdated: Wed Jun 18 2008 11:32:00

While celebrating Father's Day at a friend's barbecue in Redondo Beach, Calif., watching the sun descend in a pristine western sky, Ed Soares' phone lit up with a text message.

SI.com: Pramit Mohapatra: UFC 82 recapupdated: Wed Mar 05 2008 12:59:00

It's rare to find an athlete who makes even the most exaggerated descriptions of his or her accomplishments seem unjust. Basketball had Michael Jordan. Football had Jerry Rice. And now Mixed Martial Arts has Anderson Silva.

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