Alright fans, this is starting to get better and better. I personally love the smaller weight-classes and the 135 are some of my favorites. The bantamweight’s are some of the most thrilling,exciting fighters to watch. Besides the flyweights, the 135′s are some of the most mesmerizing fighters to watch in my opinion.
The bantamweight division inside the UFC hasn’t been around that long, but definitely has a great of amount of potential and some of the best fighters at 135 lbs. Prior to UFC 31, 150-pound (68 kg) fighters were known as Bantamweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. After which, the weight limit was raised to 155 lb (70 kg), and the division became reinstated as the lightweight class.
The WEC played another big part in the UFC’s bantamweight division. Eddie Wineland defeated Antonio Banuelos at WEC 20 on May 5, 2006 to become the WEC’s first ever 135 lb champ. Almost a year later at WEC 26, Chase Beebe defeated Wineland via unanimous decision (48–47, 48–46, 48–46) to become the new WEC Bantamweight champion. Beebe was on a five fight winning streak before beating Wineland. He then want on to successfully defend his title against contender at the time Rani Yahya.
Then on February 13, 2008 the man that would be the name of the bantamweight division rose out of the ashes. Miguel Torres defeated Beebe via submission (guillotine choke) at 3:59 of Round 1 to become the new WEC Bantamweight champion. Beebe would then go on a slump losing 4 more in a row, while Torres would win 3 straight as the WEC’s bantamweight champ. Torres was the man to beat and we he met top contender Brian Bowles August 9, 2009 at WEC 42, Bowle’s back was against the wall, but that didn’t stop him from dethroning the champ. Bowles defeated Torres via KO (punches) at 3:57 of round 1 to become the new WEC Bantamweight Champion.
From there Torres would lose via submission guillotine in the second round to eventual contender Joseph Benavidez. Bowles title run would be short lived as major contender Dominick Cruz would show up and play spoiler. At WEC 47, Cruz defeated Bowles via TKO (injury) at 5:00 of round 2 to become the new WEC Bantamweight Champion. Cruz would go on to be the face of the bantamweight division. The WEC Bantamweight division was absorbed into the UFC on December 16, 2010, as part of the UFC-WEC merger. Dominick Cruz won the inaugural UFC Bantamweight Championship when he defeated Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53. Cruz would go on to meet a fellow rival in Urijah Faber in the UFC’s first bantamweight title fight. Cruz and Faber would get FOTN honors, but Cruz won a unanimous decision. Cruz also beat current Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson via unanimous decision. Cruz has yet to finish a fight in the UFC with his last four fights all going the way of decision.
Cruz and Faber were TUF coaches and were scheduled to meet in a rematch for the title. The rubber match between Cruz and Faber was expected to take place on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148. However, on May 7, 2012, Cruz was forced to pull out of the bout citing a torn ACL.
Renan Barão was expected to face Ivan Menjivar on July 7, 2012 at UFC 148 to possibly determine the number one contender. Barão instead faced Urijah Faber for the Interim Bantamweight title after current champion Dominick Cruz was injured. It was originally scheduled to take place at UFC 148 however, due to an injury to headliner José Aldo (who supposed to make title defence in the events’ main event fight), the Faber/Barão bout was moved to July 21, 2012 and headlined UFC 149 for the Interim Bantamweight Championship.He won the fight via unanimous decision to become the Interim UFC Bantamweight Champion. He is now expected to face Dominick Cruz for the Unified UFC Bantamweight Championship at a later date.
These rankings are opinions of myself and no one else’s.
1. Dominick Cruz- Current Champ
2. Renan Barão- Current #1 contender & Interim Champ
3. Michael McDonald
4. Urijah Faber
5. Brian Bowles
6. Brad Pickett
7. Eduardo Dantas- Current Bellator Champ
8. Eddie Wineland
9. Scott Jorgensen
10. Miguel Torres
Look for the conclusion to my rakings tomorrow as I rank the Flyweight division.