Dos Santos's victory over Frank Mir last Saturday in UFC 146 set him apart from 10 men who previously held the heavyweight championship: The win gave dos Santos at least one successful title defense.
Junior dos Santos (R) punches Frank Mir during his heavyweight title defense at UFC 146.That put him alongside only Maurice Smith, Kevin Randleman, Randy Couture (in stints two and three as champion), Tim Sylvia (in both of his reigns) and Brock Lesnar as the only UFC fighters to successfully defend the heavyweight belt at least once.
Dos Santos will face former champ Cain Velasquez in a rematch later this year that will prove pivotal to his career. If he wins, it will not only vault him near the top of the pound-for-pound rankings, it may also signify that a lengthy reign is in store.
Only two heavyweights in the UFC would figure to have a shot to beat dos Santos, who is fifth in this month's rankings. They would be Velasquez, whom dos Santos knocked out in 64 seconds in November to win the belt, and Alistair Overeem. Overeem is sidelined after failing a random drug test in March and won't be able to fight until 2013, at the earliest.
It's no guarantee that dos Santos would beat Velasquez again, but it's also no guarantee that Overeem will be back in the title mix after angering UFC president Dana White over what White says are lies Overeem told him about using performance-enhancing drugs.
If Overeem doesn't get a shot at dos Santos, it would leave Velasquez as the only guy in the division with an above-average chance to derail him. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has talked of moving to heavyweight, though White said he doesn't expect that to occur any time soon.
Dos Santos' one successful defense equaled Smith, Randleman, Sylvia (Reign 1), Andrei Arlovski and Couture (Reign 3). Only Couture (Reign 2), Sylvia (Reign 2) and Lesnar have made two defenses.
With that, it's time to check the updated ratings.
1. Anderson Silva
2. Jon Jones
3. Jose Aldo
4. Dominick Cruz
5. Junior dos Santos
6. Benson Henderson
7. Frankie Edgar
8. Dan Henderson
9. Gilbert Melendez
10. Carlos Condit