Who decided that a “bantam” was lighter than a “feather”? Anyway, here’s a look at the messy 135-pound division:
- UFC roster and rankings
- SB Nation recent cuts/signings, bantamweight roster/records/history, analysis and meta-rankings
Updated March 13
Dominick Cruz (2-0 UFC, 9-1 Zuffa, 19-1 overall): Had won seven straight in WEC (incl. Bowles, Benavidez 2x, Jorgensen) before taking title from Faber in UFC debut. Defended title against Demetrious Johnson on Oct. 1, 2011. Hurt since then.
Renan Barao (5-0 UFC, 7-0 Zuffa, 30-1 overall): Born in 1987 and already has more than 30 fights. And not counting a no contest, he has won his last 30, most recently against Faber and McDonald (Feb. 16). On the ground, he’s more of a submission guy than a ground-and-pounder. Next: Eddie Wineland, June 15
Eddie Wineland (2-2 UFC, 6-4 Zuffa, 20-8-1 overall): Held WEC belt way back when. Rebounded from two losses with a four-fight tear and spectacular KOs. Won SD over Pickett (Dec. 29). Next: Renan Barao, June 15
Urijah Faber (3-2 UFC, 11-5 Zuffa, 27-6 overall): Long the WEC’s main draw, having beaten everyone at 145 pounds and holding a 21-1 record. Since then, he has lost five title bouts. Beats everyone else, though, with a terrific sub of Menjivar (Feb. 23). Next: Scott Jorgensen, April 13
Raphael Assuncao (3-1 UFC, 6-3 Zuffa, 19-4 overall): Had some good wins at higher weight classes. Lost UFC debut to Erik Koch, dropped to 135 and won three straight, most recently shutting down Easton.
Mike Easton (3-1 UFC, 13-2 overall): Favorite son of the D.C. area, even if a couple of his decisions here (one over Dodson) were dubious. After a two-year absence, he appeared in the UFC and won three before losing to Assuncao. Next: Brad Pickett, April 6
Scott Jorgensen (3-2 UFC, 10-5 Zuffa, 14-6 overall): 7-3 in WEC with a five-fight run that earned him a title shot vs. Cruz. Won first two in UFC, lost to Barao and Wineland, beat Albert. Next: Urijah Faber, April 13
Michael McDonald (4-1 UFC, 5-1 Zuffa, 15-2 overall): Has knocked many fighters down a peg. (Skip to the 6:20 mark of that video.) This Michael McDonald has done quite well to get a title shot right after his 22nd birthday, but hasn’t beaten anybody other than the fading Torres and lost to Barao (Feb. 16).
Brad Pickett (2-2 UFC, 5-3 Zuffa, 22-7 overall): Gotta love a guy nicknamed “One Punch” who wins a lot of fights by submission, including a Peruvian necktie. Most recently beaten up by Wineland. Next: Mike Easton, April 6
Bryan Caraway (2-1 UFC, 2-3 Zuffa, 17-6 overall): Already a known quantity when he appeared on TUF, going 2-0 in Strikeforce and 0-2 in WEC. Won first two UFC bouts with his 14th and 15th career submissions; lost a questionable decision to Mizugaki (March 2).
Johnny Eduardo (1-1 UFC, 26-9 overall): Has had two 11-fight win streaks in his career, the first ending in 1999, the other after losing seven of 10. Lost UFC debut, beat Jeff Curran in May. Injured, out of Jabouin bout March 16.
George Roop (2-5 UFC, 12-9-1 overall): Lanky guy still looking for the right weight class. Not great as lightweight on TUF and in UFC. Lost three of last four at 145 but did KO Grispi. Next: Reuben Duran, March 16
Francisco Rivera (2-1 UFC, 2-2 Zuffa, 9-2 overall): Bounced out of Zuffa for nearly a year but returned with a win. TKO win was lost to drug test, but he KO’d Figueroa (Feb. 2). Next: Hugo Viana, April 20
Dustin Kimura (1-0 UFC, 11-0 overall): Won his debut over Camus (Feb. 2), but coming in overweight is not a way to make a first impression.
RECENT RELEASES (from UFC)
Eduardo Dantas (15-3 overall): Bellator champion took a fight in Shooto: Brazil, losing to Tyson Nam. Returned to defend belt with KO of mentor Galvao.
Marcos Galvao (13-6-1 overall): Won fall 2012 Bellator bantamweight tournament, but he was 0-2 in WEC. Lost title shot to close friend Dantas.
No tournament this season.
BEST OUTSIDE UFC AND BELLATOR
Bibiano Fernandes (13-3 overall): Lost to Faber and Yamamoto early in career but has been a force in Dream. Wiped out Yoshiro Maeda on New Year’s Eve card.
Tyson Nam (12-4 overall): Big win over Bellator champ Dantas at Shooto Brazil. Next: Marlon Moraes, World Series of Fighting, March 23
Masakatsu Ueda (16-2-2 overall): Beat Dantas a few years ago in Shooto. Lost to Travis Marx in Bellator. Next: Jens Pulver, One FC, April 5
Marlon Moraes (9-4-1 overall): Took split decision win over Torres at WSOF 1. Next: Tyson Nam, World Series of Fighting, March 23
Miguel Torres (40-6 overall): Dominant WEC champion until losing to Bowles in 2009. Huge slide since then.