2nd Annual ’30 under 30′ ranks top young MMA talent

Posted: October 15, 2013 in Commentary/Opinion

jonestieFor 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!

  1. 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.
  2. Jose Aldo UFC FW Champion (last year #3) +1. Divisional dominance is the key to Aldo’s spot here. Can anyone touch him?
  3. 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.
  4. Renan Barao UFC Interim BW Champion (last year #7) +3. Could he be the Aldo of the bantamweight division?
  5. 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.
  6. Chris Weidman UFC MW Champion (last year #11) +5. Wait…he beat Anderson? Really?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Johny Hendricks UFC WW (last year #14) +5. Will this dude’s star keep rising, or has he peeked at #1 contender?
  10. Ben Henderson UFC LW (last year #5) -5. Rounding out the top 10, we found Bendo’s kryptonite, and his name is Pettis.
  11. Chad Mendes UFC FW (last year #18) +7
  12. Pat Curran Bellator FW Champion (last year #13) +1
  13. Joseph Benavidez UFC FLY (last year #12) -1
  14. Carlos Condit UFC WW (last year #6) -8
  15. Phil Davis UFC LHW (last year #16) +1
  16. Michael McDonald UFC BW (last year #19) +3
  17. Michael Chandler Bellator LW Champion (last year #30) +13
  18. Rory MacDonald UFC WW*
  19. Cub Swanson UFC FW*
  20. Ben Askren Bellator WW Champion (last year #29) +9
  21. TJ Grant UFC LW*
  22. Luke Rockhold UFC MW (last year #17) -5
  23. Nate Diaz UFC LW (last year #15) -8
  24. Jake Ellenberger UFC WW (last year #23) -1
  25. Ian McCall UFC FLY (last year #22) -3
  26. Eddie Wineland UFC BW*
  27. John Dodson UFC FLY (last year #27) 0
  28. Alexander Shlemenko Bellator MW Champion*
  29. Korean Zombie UFC FW (last year #26) -3
  30. 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

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