Johny Hendricks (15-1):
Johny Hendricks is one of MMA’s best wrestlers, during his time at Oklahoma State University Hendricks was a four time NCAA Division I All-American and a two time National champion. While Hendricks has used his wrestling in MMA, he’s become known for his sensational one-punch knockout power. He has knocked out notable Welterweights like Martin Kampmann and Jon Fitch in under one minute and most recently had an impressive win over Carlos Condit, which earned him a title shot against long-time champion Georges St-Pierre at UFC 167.
Dominick Cruz (19-1):
Dominick Cruz is currently the UFC’s Bantamweight champion and is the final WEC Bantamweight champion. Cruz has been dominate at Bantamweight using his superior foot-work and boxing coupled with his wrestling to earn wins over guys such as Joseph Benavidez, Ian McCall, Urijah Faber and current UFC Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. However, Cruz has suffered some set backs in two ACL surgeries, which have kept him sidelined for over two years. In his return at UFC 169 Cruz will be taking on interim champion Renan Barao to unify the titles.
Jose Aldo (23-1):
The UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo is one of the very best mixed martial artists in the world. Known for his devastating striking, especially his leg kicks, Aldo has utilized these skills paired with his black belt level jiu-jitsu to defend his UFC Featherweight title five consecutive times. Aldo was also the WEC’s final Featherweight champion and holds wins over the best in the division, including Urijah Faber, Mike Brown, Chad Mendes and Frankie Edgar.
Benson Henderson (19-3):
Henderson is a former WEC and UFC Lightweight champion and besides a loss in his third pro fight, the only man to beat him has been Anthony Pettis on two occasions. Henderson defeated many very admirable opponents, but was known for having very controversial decision victories in championship bouts. He holds wins over Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez, Nate Diaz and many other top ten Lightweights.
Alexander Gustafsson (15-2):
Gustafsson was an up-and-comer who earned wins over Matt Hamill, Thiago Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Those three wins were a part of a six fight win streak that earned Gustafsson a shot at Light Heavyweight champion, Jon Jones. No one seemed to think Gustafsson had a chance against Jones, but he brought Jones the toughest fight of his career in a definite “Fight of the Year” candidate.
Daniel Cormier (13-0):
While he holds a perfect 13-0 record in his professional MMA career at Heavyweight, Daniel Cormier will be making his next appearance in the octagon as a Light Heavyweight. In his wrestling days Cormier was a NCAA runner-up and would later compete in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games. As for MMA, Cormier won the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. In his short four year career Cormier has defeated Roy Nelson, Antonio Silva, as well as two former UFC Heavyweight champions in Josh Barnett and Frank Mir.
Junior dos Santos (16-3):
It’s very likely that former UFC Heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos is going to be the second best Heavyweight in the world for a long time. Take away a defeat early in his career and dos Santos has only fell to one man, current UFC Heavyweight champ, Cain Velasquez. However, dos Santos did defeat Velasquez in their first meeting and has also defeated notable Heavyweights in Fabricio Werdum, Gabriel Gonzaga, Frank Mir and Shane Carwin.
Chael Sonnen (28-13-1):
Chael Sonnen is the self-proclaimed “bad guy” of the UFC and his WWE-like persona has made him one of the most popular fighters in the UFC. However, Sonnen has backed the talk up with his fighting prowess. Over his last nine fights Sonnen holds a 6-3 record, what makes that so impressive is those three losses have only come in title fights, two against Anderson Silva and the other against Jon Jones. Sonnen holds wins over Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami, Michael Bisping and most recently Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.
* Georges St-Pierre, Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping, Alexander Gustafsson, Miesha Tate, Jose Aldo, Anthony Pettis, and Johny Hendricks advance to round two.
*Georges St-Pierre, Chael Sonnen, Alexander Gustafsson, and Anthony Pettis advance to round three.
*Georges St-Pierre and Alexander Gustafsson advanced to the final round.
Which one of these 16 fighters has your vote? Give your opinion in the poll below or comment if you think someone else deserves to be on the cover.