The UFC is residence to a number of the greatest combined martial artists on the planet, so it’s no shock that followers usually debate how the elite fighters examine to at least one one other.
Alongside its weekly-updated rankings for every weight class, the UFC has its personal pound-for-pound rankings, containing 15 names – as with every checklist for each division.
Right here, The Impartial has constructed its personal high 10, pound-for-pound rankings for males’s UFC fighters, to be up to date month-to-month.
Whereas there is no such thing as a actual science to assembling lists reminiscent of this, a lot of elements have been thought of in making the rankings, together with every fighter’s general report, latest report, stage of exercise and calibre of opposition.
Earlier than diving into the highest 10, listed here are some honourable mentions:
Brandon Moreno (19-6-2, interim flyweight champion)
The Mexican has two attracts in his final eight outings however was in any case unbeaten in three-and-a-half-years till dropping the flyweight title again to Deiveson Figueiredo in January, which noticed him fall from No 10 on this checklist. In his earlier bout, Moreno received the belt with a surprising submission of the extremely harmful Brazilian in June, after outstriking him for the perfect a part of two rounds. The pair’s trilogy bout initially of this yr was virtually as shut as their preliminary attract December 2020. A fourth conflict appears inevitable, with Moreno having received the interim flyweight title by stopping Kai Kara-France in July.
Aljamain Sterling (22-3, bantamweight champion)
The Jamaican-American was mocked by some followers after profitable the bantamweight title by way of disqualification in 2020, when Petr Yan landed an unlawful knee. Amid neck surgical procedure, Sterling needed to wait greater than a yr for his rematch with the Russian. With many predicting that Sterling would obtain the loss that he seemed on target to endure in his first assembly with Yan – and others hoping for it – he silenced some doubters and irked others by profitable a slim choice in opposition to his rival this April. That consequence made it seven straight wins for the grappling specialist and noticed Sterling enter our honourable mentions. He then stopped former champion TJ Dillashaw by way of TKO in October, although the American was battling a dislocated shoulder all through the bout.
Max Holloway (23-7, featherweight)
The previous featherweight champion has misplaced 4 of his final seven fights, although a kind of defeats got here at light-weight and one was a controversial factors loss. Regardless of what latest outcomes counsel, the Hawaiian appears to be in his prime, shining even in defeat and producing mesmerising performances in victory. Holloway moved into our high 10 on the expense of Moreno following the Mexican’s loss to Figueiredo at UFC 270, however he dropped again out after shedding his trilogy bout with Alexander Volkanovski in July – marking the 30-year-old’s third loss to the person who dethroned him.
Colby Covington (17-3, welterweight)
The previous interim welterweight title holder is without doubt one of the greatest 170lbers on the planet, behind Kamaru Usman and perhaps additionally new champion Leon Edwards. Usman retained his belt in opposition to Covington twice within the final three years earlier than shedding it to Edwards this August. Covington responded to the latter of these losses by simply outpointing friend-turned-rival Jorge Masvidal in March, and he climbed again into our high 10 as Holloway fell following UFC 276.
10. Dustin Poirier (29-7, 1 No Contest; light-weight)
The American has solely two defeats within the final six years – coming in opposition to the best light-weight of all time in Khabib Nurmagomedov and among the best lively lightweights proper now in Charles Oliveira. The “Diamond” holds eight wins in opposition to six completely different former world champions of the game, having crushed Conor McGregor twice in 2021 and most just lately submitted Michael Chandler to enhance that tally.
9. Islam Makhachev (23-1, light-weight champion)
Some questioned the Russian’s credentials, given an absence of top-tier opponents on his report, although that was arguably attributable to highly-ranked fighters’ tentativeness to threat their spots in opposition to a harmful up-and-comer. Others accused Makhachev of benefiting from his connection to Khabib – his childhood good friend and now certainly one of Makhachev’s coaches. Regardless, the 31-year-old banished any doubt in October when he submitted Oliveira – the fighter with probably the most submission wins in UFC historical past – to win the vacant lightweigh title, suggesting that he would have achieved the identical to most contenders at 155lbs. That consequence made it 11 wins in a row for Makhachev, and 5 straight finishes for a combatant as soon as criticised for wrestling for the sake of management alone. In his first title defence, the Dagestani will tackle a fighter who will bid to change into simply the fifth ever dual-weight UFC champion, however extra on that later…
8. Stipe Miocic (20-4, heavyweight)
The consensus heavyweight GOAT, the part-time firefighter holds the report for many profitable title defences within the division – the toughest weight class at which to place collectively a sustained run. The American surrendered the belt to Francis Ngannou and the French-Cameroonian’s freakish knockout energy in March 2021, however previous to that achieved back-to-back wins in opposition to one of many biggest ever in Daniel Cormier. The veteran additionally holds a choice victory over Ngannou, plus wins in opposition to extra UFC champions in Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Andrei Arlovski.
7. Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 No Contest; welterweight champion)
Edwards turned Britain’s second ever UFC champion with a surprising, last-gasp knockout of Usman this August. After taking down the Nigerian-American – one thing no fighter had ever achieved within the UFC – in Spherical 1, Edwards frequently rose to his toes amid an onslaught of grappling stress from the champion over the subsequent few frames, conserving himself within the struggle. Then, with a minute left on the clock, Edwards knocked Usman out chilly with an ideal head kick to take his gold, beating the person who outpointed him seven years earlier.
Since that 2015 loss to Usman, 31-year-old Edwards has gone unbeaten and received 10 fights in a row, culminating in his title victory. He has endured luckless spells over time, seeing fights in opposition to high contenders fall by way of on quite a few events, however finally he didn’t have to show his high quality in opposition to any of them; he did so in opposition to Usman in spectacular vogue to enter our high 10. He additionally holds win in opposition to ex-lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos and fan favourites Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone.
6. Robert Whittaker (24-6, middleweight)
The Australian has tasted defeat simply twice within the final eight years. Each of these losses got here in opposition to the outstanding Israel Adesanya, with Whittaker shedding the middleweight belt to his rival by TKO in 2019 earlier than dropping a debatable choice to the “Final Stylebender” this February. Between these bouts, the “Reaper” earned three straight wins in opposition to elite competitors, and his earlier run to the belt noticed him efficiently navigate a murderers’ row of opponents that’s virtually incomprehensible. He bounced again from his second loss to Adesanya with a masterful factors win in opposition to Marvin Vettori.
5. Charles Oliveira (33-9, 1 NC; light-weight)
The Brazilian’s 2010 debut within the UFC gave technique to an inconsistent report with quite a few failed weight-cuts alongside the way in which, however the former featherweight then turned his profession round (save for a half-a-pound weight-miss this Might). An 11-fight win streak over 5 years noticed Oliveira declare the light-weight title vacated by the retired Khabib, retain it late final yr, then submit Justin Gaethje this Might – in the future after being stripped of the belt for the afore-mentioned weight-miss. That the majority latest win prolonged Oliveira’s information for many finishes (19) and most submissions (16) in UFC historical past and positioned him as No 1 contender as he seemed to regain the gold. Nonetheless, he was submitted by Makhachev in October because the Russian adopted in his good friend Khabib’s footsteps by profitable the 155lbs title. As such, Oliveira, 33, dropped a spot in these rankings.
4. Francis Ngannou (17-3, heavyweight champion)
Absolutely the toughest hitter the game has ever seen, and honorary ‘baddest man on the planet’ as UFC heavyweight champion. All however certainly one of his wins have come by way of stoppage, with 12 knockouts to his title – a lot of them achieved in fewer than 60 seconds. After struggling back-to-back choice losses in 2018, the Cameroonian recorded 4 straight first-round KOs earlier than avenging a defeat by Miocic to safe the gold with one other vicious end. He then shocked followers and pundits by outwrestling interim champion Ciryl Gane for a profitable first defence this January. A phenom.
3. Israel Adesanya (23-2, middleweight)
One of the thrilling fighters to observe within the historical past of the game. The previous kickboxer routinely produces placing masterclasses in opposition to his opponents, merely proving too slick and too intelligent for his competitors. Adesanya has confronted a who’s-who of 185lbers, knocking out a lot of them and shedding to only one. The “Final Stylebender” suffered his first defeat in professional MMA in 2021, however there was even advantage in that because the Nigerian-born New Zealander moved up a weight class to problem then-champion Jan Blachowicz for the sunshine heavyweight title.
He then started to “lap the opposition” – a time period that may come up once more beneath – with back-to-back rematch wins in opposition to Vettori and Whittaker previous to his choice victory over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. Adesanya then suffered simply his second MMA defeat – and first at middleweight – in shedding the title to outdated foe Alex Pereira in November. Pereira, who twice beat Adesanya in kickboxing bouts throughout 2016 and 2017, stopped the Kiwi within the ultimate spherical to dethrone “Stylebender” on the finish of an exhilarating encounter.
2. Kamaru Usman (20-2, welterweight)
In 2021, Usman was arguably the perfect combined martial artist on the planet, not to mention the UFC. The Nigerian-American is probably the most scientific wrestler within the promotion and has added knockout energy to his sport. Final yr, Usman prolonged his unbeaten run to 9 years, his 19-fight win streak together with a dominant title win in 2019 and 5 profitable defences earlier than he dropped the title with a late, mesmerising knockout defeat by Edwards this August.
Regardless of that loss to a person he outpointed in 2015, Usman retains the No 2 spot right here. Additionally of nice advantage is the truth that the 35-year-old fought thrice in 2021, greater than some other fighter on this checklist except for Poirier. Two of his three victories in 2021 got here by way of stoppage, and the “Nigerian Nightmare” was “lapping the opposition” in his personal phrases, having crushed virtually each divisional contender of be aware at the very least as soon as – a few of them twice. The truth is, he was on the verge a second factors victory over Edwards till the Briton produced one of many biggest KOs in UFC historical past.
Was our No 1 right here till UFC 276 in July, the place a sure smaller champion overtook him…
1. Alexander Volkanovski (25-1, featherweight champion)
Since struggling the only defeat of his skilled profession in 2013, Volkanovski has received a surprising 22 fights in a row. The truth is, his solely professional loss got here in opposition to a welterweight champion. Six of the Australian’s final seven fights have pitted him in opposition to ‘elite’ featherweights, with some followers unfairly holding a grudge in opposition to the champion as a result of controversial nature of the second of his three choice victories over Holloway.
This April, Volkanovski took on fan favorite Chan Sung Jung and placed on an absolute clinic to cease the “Korean Zombie” within the fourth spherical. In July, he produced a masterclass to outpoint Holloway for the third time, leaving little question about his superiority over the person he dethroned in 2019. Volkanovski made the Hawaiian, seen by some followers as the best featherweight of all time, appear to be simply one other contender. In doing so, the 34-year-old enhanced his personal declare to be labelled the 145lbs GOAT. He even holds a win in opposition to the opposite standout contender for that title – Jose Aldo – in addition to Chad Mendes and Brian Ortega.
Volkanovski is as dynamic, composed and effectively rounded as they arrive. His most up-to-date displaying in opposition to Holloway noticed him overtake each teammate Adesanya and Usman, with that outing main some to lastly counsel that Volkanovski is the perfect combined martial artist alive proper now. He’ll get the prospect to verify his standing as pound-for-pound king when he challenges light-weight champion Makhachev on residence turf in February, in a bid to change into simply the fifth ever dual-weight UFC champion.