The UFC is house to a few of the greatest blended martial artists on the planet, so it’s no shock that followers usually debate how the elite fighters evaluate 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 listing for each division.
Right here, The Unbiased 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 isn’t any precise science to assembling lists resembling this, various elements have been thought-about in making the rankings, together with every fighter’s total file, current file, 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 listing. In his earlier bout, Moreno gained the belt with a shocking submission of the extremely harmful Brazilian in June, after outstriking him for one of the best a part of two rounds. The pair’s trilogy bout at first of this yr was nearly as shut as their preliminary attract December 2020. A fourth conflict appears inevitable, with Moreno having gained the interim flyweight title by stopping Kai Kara-France in July.
Aljamain Sterling (21-3, bantamweight champion)
The Jamaican-American was mocked by some followers after profitable the bantamweight title through disqualification in 2020, when Petr Yan landed an unlawful knee that left Sterling unable to proceed. Whereas Yan went on to win the interim belt, Sterling recovered from neck surgical procedure and 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 heading in the right direction 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 towards his rival this April. That consequence made it seven straight wins for the grappling specialist (together with the DQ victory over Yan) and sees Sterling enter our honourable mentions.
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 current 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 dropping 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 possibly additionally new champion Leon Edwards. Usman retained his belt towards Covington twice within the final three years earlier than dropping 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 (28-7, 1 No Contest; light-weight)
The American has solely two defeats within the final six years – coming towards the best light-weight of all time in Khabib Nurmagomedov and one of the best lively light-weight proper now in Charles Oliveira. The “Diamond” holds seven wins towards 5 completely different former world champions of the game, having overwhelmed Conor McGregor twice in 2021 to enhance that tally. The primary of these two wins towards the Irishman marked the primary knockout lack of McGregor’s profession.
9. Stipe Miocic (20-4, heavyweight)
The consensus heavyweight GOAT, the part-time firefighter holds the file 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 towards one of many best ever in Daniel Cormier. The veteran additionally holds a choice victory over Ngannou, plus wins towards extra UFC champions in Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum and Andrei Arlovski.
8. Petr Yan (16-3, bantamweight)
Went precisely 5 years with out a loss till he was disqualified whereas defending the bantamweight title towards Sterling in spring 2021, in a battle he seemed properly heading in the right direction to profitable. The Russian responded by claiming the interim gold by outpointing Cory Sandhagen in a battle of the yr contender. Was deemed by many followers to be the true champion at 135lbs, regardless of his naive foul towards Sterling, and a few nonetheless maintain that view regardless of his loss to the Jamaican-American of their unification bout this April. The rematch was a closely-contested affair that Sterling gained through cut up choice, although some followers felt that the Russian had completed sufficient to edge it.
7. Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 No Contest; welterweight champion)
Edwards grew to become Britain’s second ever UFC champion with a shocking, last-gasp knockout of Kamaru Usman this August. After taking down the Nigerian-American – one thing no fighter had ever completed within the UFC – in Spherical 1, Edwards regularly rose to his ft amid an onslaught of grappling stress from the champion over the subsequent few frames, retaining himself within the battle. 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 gained 10 fights in a row, culminating in his title victory. He has endured luckless spells over time, seeing fights towards high contenders fall by on quite a few events, however finally he didn’t have to show his high quality towards any of them; he did so towards Usman in spectacular trend to enter our high 10. He additionally holds win towards 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 towards the exceptional Israel Adesanya, with Whittaker dropping 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 towards elite competitors, and his earlier run to the belt noticed him efficiently navigate a murderers’ row of opponents that’s nearly incomprehensible. He bounced again from his second loss to Adesanya with a medical factors win towards Marvin Vettori.
5. Francis Ngannou (17-3, heavyweight champion)
Certainly the toughest hitter the game has ever seen, and honorary ‘baddest man on the planet’ as UFC heavyweight champion. All however one among his wins have come through stoppage, with 12 knockouts to his title – various 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.
4. Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC; light-weight)
The Brazilian’s 2010 debut within the UFC gave approach to an inconsistent file with quite a few failed weight-cuts alongside the way in which. The previous featherweight has turned his profession round, nevertheless (save for a half-a-pound weight miss this Might), profitable 11 in a row during the last 5 years to emerge because the retired Khabib’s successor atop the light-weight division. Oliveira holds the data for many finishes (19) and most submission wins (16) in UFC historical past. Of his 33 victories as knowledgeable, a exceptional 30 have come through stoppage. His current weight miss noticed him stripped of the light-weight title that he gained final yr, however his first-round submission of Justin Gaethje the very subsequent day established him as No 1 contender instantly.
3. Israel Adesanya (23-1, middleweight champion)
Some of the thrilling fighters to observe within the historical past of the game. The previous kickboxer routinely produces hanging masterclasses towards his opponents, merely proving too slick and too intelligent for his competitors. Adesanya has confronted a who’s-who of 185lbers, beating all of them and knocking out various them. 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’s now “lapping the opposition” – a time period that may come up once more beneath – with back-to-back rematch wins towards Marvin Vettori and Whittaker previous to his choice victory over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. Was No 2 on this listing till that occasion, the place one among his Metropolis Kickboxing teammates leapfrogged him in our rankings; extra on that shortly…
2. Kamaru Usman (20-2)
In 2021, Usman was arguably one of the best blended martial artist on the earth, not to mention the UFC. The Nigerian-American is probably the most medical 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 Leon 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 3 times in 2021, greater than some other fighter on this listing aside from Poirier. Two of his three victories in 2021 got here through stoppage, and the “Nigerian Nightmare” was “lapping the opposition” in his personal phrases, having overwhelmed nearly each divisional contender of observe at the least as soon as – a few of them twice. Actually, he was on the verge a second factors victory over Edwards till the Briton produced one of many best 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 real defeat of his skilled profession in 2013, Volkanovski has gained a shocking 22 fights in a row. Actually, his solely professional loss got here towards a welterweight champion. Six of the Australian’s final seven fights have pitted him towards ‘elite’ featherweights, with some followers unfairly holding a grudge towards the champion because of the controversial nature of the second of his three choice victories over Max 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 doubt 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 33-year-old enhanced his personal declare to be labelled the 145lbs GOAT. He even holds a win towards the opposite standout contender for that title – Jose Aldo – in addition to Chad Mendes and Brian Ortega.
Volkanovski is as dynamic, composed and properly rounded as they arrive. Regardless of his seminar of a efficiency towards “Zombie”, the Australian remained third in our pound-for-pound rankings. His most up-to-date displaying towards Holloway noticed him overtake each teammate Adesanya and Usman, nevertheless, with that outing main some to lastly counsel that Volkanovski is one of the best blended martial artist alive proper now.