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UFC Bantamweight rankings: What could be next for division GOAT Dominick Cruz?

ufc bantamweight rankings

Dec 11, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Dominick Cruz is declared the winner by unanimous decision against Pedro Munhoz during UFC 269 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The UFC bantamweight division is maybe the strongest it has ever been. A case can be made that it has usurped the lightweight division as the deepest and most talent-rich in the sport. Deciding the 10 best is no easy task, but nevertheless, here are the official MixedMartialArts.com UFC bantamweight rankings top-10.

UFC bantamweight rankings

10. Ricky Simon (19-3)

After back-to-back losses to division legend Urijah Faber and then top-five talent Rob Font, it seemed like Ricky Simon had hit a ceiling and may not reach his potential. However, he has bounced back in a major way since then. Winning four straight and capping the run off with a dominant performance over bantamweight rankings stalwart Raphael Assuncao at UFC Vegas 45. The future seems once again bright for the man with the immaculate mullet.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

9. Marlon Vera (20-7-1)

Marlon Vera's UFC run has not been without several setbacks, but The UItimate Fighter Latin America alum is starting to hit his stride as he finishes his seventh year in the promotion. He continues to get better, and scoring a knockout win over a future UFC Hall-of-Famer in Frankie Edgar at UFC 268 was a stamp on his arrival as a top-10 bantamweight in the world.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

8. Dominick Cruz (24-3)

Former division king Dominick Cruz has only fought twice over the last four years. Splitting his matchups with former two-division champion Henry Cejudo and one-time LFA champion Casey Kenney. His fight IQ and unique style make him a hell of a challenge at 135-pounds even now. He proved that once again in beating Pedro Munhoz at UFC 269 and having his first winning streak since 2016. With the name-value he has, a fight with a top-five fighter next would not seem out of the question.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

7. Merab Dvalishvili (14-4)

ufc bantamweight rankings

Sep 25, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Merab Dvalishvili celebrates his TKO victory against Marlon Moraes during UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Merab Dvalishvili is the epitome of a wash, rinse, and repeat fighter. Everyone knows what's coming and they still can't stop this man. His five straight wins have proven he's a legitimate force in the division, and his mix of wrestling and endless cardio is a serious problem for a whole bunch of top-10 bantamweights in the UFC. 2022 may be the year "The Machine" earns his first title fight.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

6. Rob Font (19-5)

At 34, when most fighters start declining at this weight, Rob Font is becoming the best version of himself. He has seemingly hit a new peak in his skillset and is a very dangerous fighter hovering under the superstar's radar. Although he was unable to score the biggest win of his career against Jose Aldo at UFC Vegas 44, he still remains a threat to any fighter looking to jump up in the bantamweight contender line.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

5. Cory Sandhagen (14-4)

Many observers of the sport felt Cory Sandhagen was championship material heading into his July fight against TJ Dillashaw. Despite what some consider a controversial loss to the two-time champ, those same folks still thought "The Sandman" was deserving of a title fight. Well, as luck and injuries would have it the 29-year-old got that chance at UFC 267. Although he came up short against new interim champion Petr Yan, he still put forth a performance worthy of a spot in the rankings top-five.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

4. TJ Dillashaw (17-4)

After two years away following his USADA suspension, two-time bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw showed he is still very much an elite 135-pounder by beating Sandhagen in an ultra-competitive fight in July. If not for a torn knee ligament suffered in his victory, Dillashaw could have been competing for gold at UFC 267. However, he is instead recovering from his third major surgery in the last few years. In the end, father time and wear and tear may be his biggest hurdle in staying relevant in the division. A title eliminator bout against MMA legend Jose Aldo is likely his next booking in the Octagon.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

3. Jose Aldo (31-7)

ufc bantamweight rankings

Feb 2, 2019; Fortaleza, Brazil; Jose Aldo (red gloves) reacts to fight against Renato Moicano (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Arena CFO. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Jose Aldo continues to be an ageless wonder. To still be competing at a high-level, and in a weight class below where he became an MMA legend is awe-inspiring. The 35-year-old once against proved his elite-level talent by battering Rob Font for five-rounds in the main event of UFC Vegas 44. Now, "The King of Rio" seems primed for a showdown next with former two-time division champion TJ Dillashaw.

Next fight: Waiting for next booking

2. Champion - Aljamain Sterling (20-3)

Aljamain Sterling is the only champion in any of our rankings that doesn't hold the top spot. Since 2018, "Funkmaster" has been red hot and has looked outstanding at times. However, he won the championship in March by disqualification in a fight he was badly losing in. His inability to get back in the Octagon since -- following neck surgery -- has only strengthened doubters resolve in believing he is a paper champion. But now he can shut them all up at UFC 273 when he faces the Russian to unify their two titles. .

Next fight:vs. Petr Yan at UFC 273

1. Petr Yan (16-2)

Petr Yan has been the proverbial bull in a China shop during his three-year run in the UFC. His lone blemish will go down as an all-time bonehead moment when he was disqualified for an illegal knee in his UFC 259 title fight loss to Sterling. The American's neck injury has made it impossible for "No Mercy" to right that wrong in 2021, but in 2022 he will finally get that opportunity as an interim champion at UFC 273.

Next fight: vs. Aljamain Sterling at UFC 273