By Josh Reese
The top ten Bantamweights in the world, this top ten features fights from as far as One FC to Bellator champions and who can forget the scrappy UFC guys. So take a look and see if you agree or disagree with FNM’s opinion.
1. Renan Barao (29-1-1NC) Ok we believe the hype, 1 loss in his entire career is legit. His last 5 wins have come against very good competition. At only 25 years old the sky is the limit, he is part of the Nova Uniao team who also produced Jose Aldo, Jussier da Silva along with many other fighters… Barao is the UFC Interim Bantamweight Champion.
2. Dominick Cruz (19-1) Yes we know that Cruz is the belt holder the number one…. Although now Barao is a belt holder too, which is the only reason I can justify having Cruz number 2… When you really look at Cruz’s wins 4 have come against current Flyweights and then an on the decline Urijah Faber… If Cruz can’t even finish the smaller guys, how will he fair against a very tough Barao?
3. Michael McDonald (15-1) A no doubt look that these 3 guys will be at the top of this list for a long time, it is close to a sure thing that Barao will defend his belt once before Cruz comes back. McDonald 4-0 in the UFC will almost certainly get the first crack at the Interim belt.
4. Bibiano Fernandes (11-3) The UFC believed in him and so do we…. He was going to be a part of UFC 149 but failed negotiations caused him to be a-part of ONE FC. He is a world class grappler and in his last fight against Antonio Banuelos he used his hands to end it quickly in the 1st round.
5. Eduardo Dantas (14-2) you could put Dantas at number 4 but he is young he will have the time to move up. Dantas is a former Shooto champ and is the current Bellator Bantamweight belt holder, he made it through decent competition in the Bellator tournament. He then took out top 20 fighter in Zach Makovsky in the 2nd round.
6. Luis Alberto Nogueira (14-2) a Bellator and Shooto Brazil veteran has two losses to his name, the first to our number 5 and then his most recent an odd hiccup to Ed West at Bellator 51. One step away from having a rematch with the current Bellator champ… No doubt a top BW in any organization
7. Urijah Faber (26-6) Faber has slid down the list a touch, it isn’t because he is not talented. It is more because younger guys are just passing him up. Faber a WEC star has lost 5 title fights and no doubt will have a much longer climb to get back to a title shot. If he even gets another one, too his credit aside from his two losses to Mike Brown and one to Tyson Griffin early in his career. His only losses have been to MUCH more talented guys in Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, and at UFC 149 to Renan Barao.
8. Brian Bowles (10-2) Only two losses on Bowles record, both to top 10 BW’s Cruz and Faber.. He is known as a finisher, and a bonus winner 3 subs of the night to go with a KO of the night. When on his A game he is a one of the most well rounded fighters in the division.
9. Mike Easton (13-1) Most people don’t have him this high, but Easton is legit and a huge BW. He is on a current 8 fight win streak, he just beat top BW Ivan Menjivar it may have not been the best win but it extended his streak and is in line for a big fight on the horizon.
10. Raphael Assuncao (17-4) Assuncao already a strong and dynamic fighter at Featherweight has now made two successful trips down to Bantamweight. He is (2-0) at a more appropriate weight class and has looked fairly decent with a TKO and a Decision to Issei Tamura and (tough) Johnny Eduardo respectively. At 5’4 he has one of the more smaller Featherweights and now fighting guys more his size.
Some guys on the cusp
Zach Makovsky (14-3) his last fight was to the Bellator champ but before that was riding a 8 fight win streak
Miguel Torres (40-5) needs to return to his old self to be back in the mix
Francisco Rivera (9-2) since being dropped from the UFC he is back