Now that the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter is in the books, and the strawweight division is up and running, the question of rankings come in to play.
The UFC released the official rankings Monday, but before they came out, I took some time to compile my own list.
The list below is strictly my opinion. I also listed possible matchups moving forward that I would like to see. Let's take a look:
SHONTE BARNES' RANKINGS
Champion – Carla Esparza
1. Jessica Penne
2. Rose Namajunas
3. Claudia Gadelha
4. Joanne Calderwood
5. Joanna Jedrzejezyk
6. Randa Markos
7. Tecia Torres
8. Aisling Daly
9. Felice Herrig
10. Paige VanZant
11. Heather Clark
12. Juliana Lima
13. Angela Hill
14. Bec Rawlings
15. Tina Lahdemaki
Matchups I'd like to see moving forward:
Carla Esparza vs. (5) Joanna Jedrzejezyk – I don't agree with this fight, but it's what Dana White wants. I can't argue with that. He's the boss. I personally think that Carla should take 6 months off and promote the belt. There is no clear cut no. 1 contender since Gadelha lost to Jedrzejezyk. There needs to be another fight to set someone out from the pack. You know, the pack that she's already destroyed.
(1) Jessica Penne vs. (4) Joanne Calderwood – I'm giving Penne the No. 1 contender slot by default. No one deserves that spot, but with a win here, she could make a case to be back on top. This could be a great fight also.
(2) Rose Namajunas vs. (7) Tecia Torres – This is the rematch that we've all been waiting for and the UFC needs to deliver on this one. Since the dominating loss to Esparza, Namajunas needs to gain some steam to get back in the mix. What better way to do this than to schedule a grudge match. Tecia Torres is still an elite fighter, and the first person to give Namajunas a loss. This fight just makes sense.
(3) Claudia Gadelha vs. winner of Namajunas/Torres – Gadelha's loss doesn't do too much damage to her ranking. It was a hard fought battle, so she should definitely get a shot at another high level fighter. Take a bit of time off and facing the winner of the Namajunas/Torres fight would be incredible. Heck, let's do it in Brazil!
(6) Randa Markos vs. (8) Aisling Daly – Since her loss to Namajunas and Penne, Markos has a lot of catching up to do. Daly is a huge 115er who can upset a lot of ladies. If Markos can get past her, she could make a case for another shot at a top 5 fighter.
(9) Felice Herrig vs. (10) Paige VanZant – Felice Herrig is more of the gate keeper of the strawweight division. If VanZant can get past this bout, she can make a case for a top 5 matchup. Herrig needs a win like this to show that she is still an elite fighter.
(11) Heather Clark vs. (13) Angela Hill – This is the fight I would like to see, but it won't happen anytime soon. Clark is going to have ACL surgery after winning against Bec Rawlings. The next best matchup would be (12) Juliana Lima.
What do you think about the strawweight rankings? Let us know by Tweeting us at @MMAdashinsider.
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