1. Demetrious Johnson (17-2-1)
As expected, Johnson’s speed played a huge factor in his Jan. 26 title defense against John Dodson, but it was the endurance and late offense from “Mighty Mouse” which won him the day. Johnson was set to make his second flyweight title defense against John Moraga at the “The Ultimate Fighter 17” Finale, but an injury forced the AMC Pankration representative to withdraw from the headliner. Instead, Johnson gets his second opportunity to headline a network television card, as he meets Moraga at UFC on Fox 8 in Seattle.
2. Joseph Benavidez (18-3)
Since losing a close five-round decision to Demetrious Johnson in September, Benavidez has done little to dispel the notion that he is the world’s No. 2 flyweight. The Team Alpha Male member dispatched former world No. 1 Ian McCall in February before stopping Darren Uyenoyama in the second round at UFC on Fox 7, likely putting Benavidez in line for another shot at gold.
3. Ian McCall (11-4-1)
McCall is 0-2-1 in his first three Octagon appearances, drawing with and losing to Demetrious Johnson in 2012 before starting the new year with a unanimous decision loss to Joseph Benavidez. The world’s former No. 1 flyweight will have one more chance to get back on track, and it is no easy assignment: “Uncle Creepy” will welcome Jungle Fight veteran Iliarde Santos to the 125-pound ranks at UFC 163.
4. John Dodson (14-6)
Dodson showed flashes of the power that many felt could win him the UFC flyweight title, though he ultimately came up short on Jan. 26, falling to Demetrious Johnson in a five-round unanimous decision. The loss was Dodson’s first setback in the UFC and snapped a five-fight winning streak for “The Magician.”
5. Jussier da Silva (15-2)
After suffering a second-round TKO to John Dodson in his Octagon debut, da Silva rebounded to capture a unanimous verdict against Chris Cariaso at UFC on FX 8. “Formiga” relied on takedowns and top control to impose his will in the bout’s first two rounds before surviving a final-round surge from the resilient Cariaso.
6. Darrell Montague (13-2)
Montague earned his fourth consecutive victory on May 18, submitting Jesse Miramontes with a first-round triangle choke at Submission Championship MMA 2. As one of the top 125-pound talents not currently signed to a UFC contract, it seems only a matter of time before the Tachi Palace Fights veteran gets a chance to showcase his skills in the Octagon.
7. John Lineker (21-6)
After taking a unanimous decision over Yasuhiro Urushitani in November, “Hands of Stone” showcased splendid body work on home soil in earning a second-round TKO against Azamat Gashimov at UFC on FX 8. Lineker will get to compete in Brazil once again when he faces Phil Harris at UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro.
8. John Moraga (13-1)
The once-beaten Arizona Combat Sports representative has made a serious splash with his first two UFC outings, besting Ulysses Gomez and Chris Cariaso. Moraga has been rewarded for his efforts with a title shot against Demetrious Johnson at UFC on Fox 8.
9. Will Campuzano (12-4)
Since his release from the UFC in 2011 as a bantamweight, Campuzano has won four in a row with two knockouts and one submission. The Texan’s only decision win came in the most recent defense of his Legacy Fighting Championship flyweight title, a gritty five-rounder over previously unbeaten Brazilian youngster Allan Nascimento on April 12.
10. Josh Sampo (9-2)
Sampo has made a name for himself in the past eight months by upsetting former big-show fighters. First it was Antonio Banuelos who had his Legacy Fighting Championship debut spoiled by “The Gremlin,” and then Bellator MMA vet Alexis Vila succumbed to a fifth-round guillotine choke from Sampo in their Championship Fighting Alliance title bout in January.