First, there were five. Then 7. And now, at UFC 152, the UFC will crown the first ever UFC Flyweight Champion. Champion number 8. The men on this list are the best in the world, they're champions for a reason. But, how do they compare with each other? Now, there are several things to look at when ranking a UFC champion. Do you look at their entire body of work, or just what they've done since joining the UFC. Do you look at the depth of their division, or lack thereof? Maybe record, or the list of names they've beaten? How about the number of times they've defended their belt, or how long they've had it? Either way, its your list. And here's mine.
8) - Demetrius "Mighty Mouse" Johnson/ Joseph Benavidez winner - With all due respect to these two small warriors who will duke it out to make history at UFC 152, the winner of this fight, in my mind, is automatically placed at number 8. I don't want to take away from these two guys, because I like them both. But these guys both left the division because of failed attempts to snatch the title away from Dominick Cruz. In Joseph's case he failed twice. This is a fresh start for both of them and maybe in time the winner of this fight can possibly move up the list. For now however, the last spot on this list will suffice. And that's not a bad thing.
7) - Benson Henderson - Its very interesting when you look back at the Henderson/Pettis fight. Henderson closed out with WEC career by losing his WEC championship. Pettis closed his by getting the title, and momentum. Fast forward to right now and its Henderson with the UFC belt strapped around his waist while Pettis is one of the many challenges to the belt. Did a lot of people think Henderson would bounce back the way he has? In his UFC debut he plowed through Jim Miller in a way that nobody else to that point had. He backs that up with a win over Clay "Footloose" Guida and uses that victory to win the title from Frankie Edgar, who was starting to look like a dominant champion himself. I personally thought Edgar did enough to win the rematch, but the fact of that matter is that Ben Henderson is your UFC Lightweight champion. And number 7 on this list.
6) - Junior dos Santos - This list is not easy to make, and it may seem blasphemous to rank him at 6, but the guy only has one title defense, and that was against a replacement. With all due respect to Mir, I didn't think he deserved to be in the cage that night against the champ. And Junior showed us all why. But the champ doesn't get to choose who he fights, in most cases at least. With that said, if he gets past Cain again, and then past Overeem, he has to jump up a spot or two on this list. Where would he go from that point?
5) - Dominick Cruz - I am a fan of Cruz. Try not to hold that against me. But I have him on here because of his two Bantamweight title defenses. He avenged his only loss in his win over Urijah Faber and then went on to defeat Demetrius Johnson with a broken hand. I think he has the potential to be the GPS or Silva of his division. And no, do not confuse that with me thinking that he will be as good as them. I don't think that. What I meant was that he has the ability to own the division and start cleaning it out soon. We'll see of Barao or McDonald let that happen.
4) - Jose Aldo - This guy is a beast. In every sense of the word. Though he hasn't shown what he's truly capable of during his time in the UFC. Reports show that he was sick in his fight with Hominick, either way he was unable to finish him. He also went 5 rounds with Kenflo. He did, however, go onto to make a statement when he kneed Chad Mendes' head off and jumped out of the cage to look for it. Possibly to keep it as a trophy. Up next is easily the biggest test of his career in Frankie Edgar. Can I go ahead and go on record in saying that I don't like waiting until October 13th to see this fight?
3) - Jon "Bones" Jones - Yes, he was the 2011 Fighter of the Year. He's just about cleaned out his division in a very short amount of time. And he's destroyed everyone that he's faced. So why do I have him at number 3? Because of numbers 2 and 1.
2) - GSP - If I were looking at what's happened lately as opposed to full title reigns, Jones would have been at 2. He did have 4 wins last year while GSP has been on the shelf. But its GSP, the guy who's only weakness seems to be that he can't take eyepokes that well. The guy who is on a 9 fight win streak, which includes 6 UFC Welterweight title defenses. The guy who makes us think twice about thinking gymnastics is "girly".
1) - Anderson Silva - 10 straight UFC Middleweight championship defenses, though it should be 11. Mr. Travis Lutter, who tapped in the second round to both strikes and a submission, didn't make weight. So therefore it doesn't go down in the history books as an actual title defense. I don't need to go through all his accomplishments, you guys know them. You can say what you want about some of the guys he's faced and beaten. You can be bothered by some of his performances. Heck, maybe you don't like his high pitched voice. But here's the truth. You can't do a clean sweep in the UFC unless you are something special. And Anderson Silva is something special. Something else that's special? That fact that there is a legit chance that #1 and #2 on this list end up fighting each other in 2013.