Silva atop first UFC poll

The first Ultimate Fighting Championship rankings were released Monday, and there was no surprise at the top.

Middleweight champion Anderson Silva checked in as the top pound-for-pound UFC fighter in the world, just ahead of light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre.

The rankings are new to the UFC and their existence was announced only last week. A media panel votes on the top pound-for-pound fighters in the UFC, as well as the top 10 contenders in each weight division.

The champions in each weight class are locked into the No. 1 spot and are not eligible for voting, which will be conducted after every live UFC event and will be posted on Mondays.

The new project, done in collaboration with FightMetric, was developed with the goal of giving fans an idea of where fighters stand in each weight class.

The rankings will be used mainly to promote fan interest, so don’t expect them to be the final authority on matchups, especially title shots.

“Listen, we’re still going to make the fights the fans want, regardless of the rankings,” UFC president Dana White said.

The system already is drawing criticism because the rankings are UFC-only, excluding fighters from competing mixed martial arts organizations.

Also, some media have expressed concern about having their access limited by fighters, camps or managers, or even the UFC, because of how they vote.

All voters will have their ballots posted as soon as rankings are updated on Mondays.

The Review-Journal has a vote, but is not participating at this time.

■ PETTIS MIGHT DROP – White got a text message from Anthony Pettis on Saturday night, almost immediately after Jose Aldo continued his reign as UFC featherweight champion with a unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar at UFC 156.

Pettis long has been considered one of the top contenders at 155 pounds, but has yet to get a title shot. His chance probably will come after Benson Henderson defends the belt against Gilbert Melendez, but Pettis is tired of waiting.

White said Pettis told him in the text he can make 145 and would do it for a shot at Aldo.

“It didn’t cross my mind until he texted me, but it’s crossing my mind now,” White said. “I like it.”

■ PROFITABLE TRIP – There was a huge contingent of Brazilian fans at Mandalay Bay Events Center for UFC 156, with four Brazilians on the main card.

They were cheering and singing for their guys all night, and they also could have made a handsome payday if they had faith in a clean sweep.

A $20 parlay on the four Brazilians, Aldo (minus-220), Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (plus-350), Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (plus-320) and Demian Maia (plus-160), would have paid over $1,400.

■ WORLD SERIES OF FIGHTING RETURNS – Las Vegas-based World Series of Fighting has announced plans to hold a second event after its Nov. 3 debut at Planet Hollywood.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski will fight Anthony Johnson on the next card March 23 in Atlantic City.

The announcement also included a three-year partnership with NBC Sports Network to air six WSOF events a year.

■ WHITE SLAMS COUTURE – White is fuming at news that UFC Hall of Famer and Las Vegas resident Randy Couture signed a deal with Viacom that will include coaching on a new Bellator reality show on Spike TV.

White said he is happy he won’t have to deal with Couture again.

“I don’t respect him at all, not even a little bit,” White said. “The only time Randy Couture is a man is when he sets foot in the cage. As soon as his big toe steps out of that cage, he’s the furthest thing from it. That’s it, that’s the way I feel about it.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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