For the second year in a row, Beyond the Cage has ranked the top 30 male fighters under the age of 30 years old in MMA. The list was compiled by Beyond the Cage hosts Jim Gramm & Dave Sadler by using the following criteria: Championship/title contender status, rank in weight class, record/level of competition in last calender year (Oct. ’12-’13) and potential to improve.
The 2013 list is below along with movement (up or down) compared to the 2012 list. Let us know what you think the comment section below!
- Jon Jones UFC LHW Champion (last year #1). For the second straight year, this is no shock at all. I have a feeling Bones is going to top this list…well, until he turns 30.
- Jose Aldo UFC FW Champion (last year #3) +1. Divisional dominance is the key to Aldo’s spot here. Can anyone touch him?
- Mighty Mouse UFC FLY Champion (last year #4) +1. I would have been tempted to slide Pettis all the way up to this spot, but that might be diminishing Johnson and the entire flyweight division. I get it.
- Renan Barao UFC Interim BW Champion (last year #7) +3. Could he be the Aldo of the bantamweight division?
- Anthony Pettis UFC LW Champion (last year #24) +19. This guy is so exciting, it makes me excited for his next fights. I’m pulling for Showtime to hold the belt for the next several years.
- Chris Weidman UFC MW Champion (last year #11) +5. Wait…he beat Anderson? Really?
- Junior Dos Santos UFC HW (last year #2) -5. Junior saw his rank on this list and vowed to not only destroy Cain this weekend, but also both Klitschko brothers–at the same time.
- Alexander Gustafsson UFC LHW (last year #20) +12. Gus is the highest ranked fighter on this entire list to have never held a UFC belt. And well deserved too.
- Johny Hendricks UFC WW (last year #14) +5. Will this dude’s star keep rising, or has he peeked at #1 contender?
- Ben Henderson UFC LW (last year #5) -5. Rounding out the top 10, we found Bendo’s kryptonite, and his name is Pettis.
- Chad Mendes UFC FW (last year #18) +7
- Pat Curran Bellator FW Champion (last year #13) +1
- Joseph Benavidez UFC FLY (last year #12) -1
- Carlos Condit UFC WW (last year #6) -8
- Phil Davis UFC LHW (last year #16) +1
- Michael McDonald UFC BW (last year #19) +3
- Michael Chandler Bellator LW Champion (last year #30) +13
- Rory MacDonald UFC WW*
- Cub Swanson UFC FW*
- Ben Askren Bellator WW Champion (last year #29) +9
- TJ Grant UFC LW*
- Luke Rockhold UFC MW (last year #17) -5
- Nate Diaz UFC LW (last year #15) -8
- Jake Ellenberger UFC WW (last year #23) -1
- Ian McCall UFC FLY (last year #22) -3
- Eddie Wineland UFC BW*
- John Dodson UFC FLY (last year #27) 0
- Alexander Shlemenko Bellator MW Champion*
- Korean Zombie UFC FW (last year #26) -3
- Eduardo Dantas Bellator BW Champion*
Some interesting notes here. Anthony Pettis was the biggest mover for obvious reasons. He came in at #24 last year and skyrocketed all the way to the top 5. Michael Chandler moved up 13 spots. Alexander Gustafsson jumped all the way up to #8. As for newcomers, Rory MacDonald is at 18 and Cub Swanson is just a notch below. The biggest drop was Dominick Cruz. Due to his seemingly eternal injury status he fell completely off the list.
Removed due to age: Nick Diaz #9, Cain Velasquez #10, Jim Miller #21, Donald Cerrone #25, Ryan Bader #28)
Removed due to Injury/Inactivity: #8 Dominick Cruz
*1st year on list