Former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida has left the list of MMA's pound-for-pound best following a narrow split decision loss to fellow ex-titleholder Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 123 on Nov. 20 at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Despite a third-round surge by the Brazilian karateka, Jackson's aggression in the first two stanzas won over the judges, leading to a verdict that few predicted and many would question. Nonetheless, Machida's second career loss, coupled with his brutal dispatching at the hands of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in May, caused his ouster from the rankings. As a result, UFC 205-pound title contender Rashad Evans and Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez each move up one spot.
Filling the void created by Machida's absence is WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who enters the list at No. 10. Currently ranked as the world's top 135-pounder, Cruz stuck-and-moved his way to a five-round split decision title defense in his August rematch against Joseph Benavidez. The Alliance MMA product has tasted defeat just once in 17 bouts, having been submitted in 2007 by Urijah Faber -- a man who he could very well meet again now that "The California Kid" has dropped to 135 pounds.