UFC rankings: The UFC is home to some of the best mixed martial artists on the planet, so it’s no surprise that fans often debate how the elite fighters compare to one another.
Along with its weekly updated rankings for each weight class, the UFC has its own pound-for-pound rankings, with 15 names – as is every list for each division.
Here, The Independent has compiled its top 10, pound-for-pound rankings for men’s UFC fighters, which will be updated monthly.
While there is no exact science to compiling such lists, a number of factors are considered in creating the rankings, including each fighter’s overall record, recent record, activity level, and potential opposition.
Before we get into the top 10, here are some honorable mentions:
- 1 Brandon Moreno (19-6-2, Interim Flyweight Champion)
- 2 Aljamin Sterling (21-3, bantamweight champion)
- 3 Max Holloway (23-7, featherweight)
- 4 Colby Covington (17-3, welterweight)
- 5 Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 No Contest; lightweight)
- 6 Steph Miocic (20-4, heavyweight)
- 7 Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 no contest; welterweight champion)
- 8 Peter Yan (16-3, Bantamweight)
- 9 Robert Whittaker (23-6, middleweight)
- 10 Francis Ngannou (17-3, Heavyweight Champion)
- 11 Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC; lightweight)
- 12 Israel Adesanya (23-1, middleweight champion)
- 13 Kamaru Usman (20-2)
- 14 Alexander Volkanovski (25-1, featherweight champion)
Brandon Moreno (19-6-2, Interim Flyweight Champion)
The Mexican has two draws in his last eight bouts but was unbeaten in three-and-a-half years until returning the flyweight title to Davison Figueiredo in January, making him No. 10 on the list. fell off. In his previous bout, Moreno won the belt in June by outlasting the incredibly dangerous Brazilian for the best part of two rounds. The pair’s Trilogy bout at the start of this year was close to their initial draw in December 2020. A fourth clash seems inevitable, with Moreno winning the interim flyweight title by stopping Kai Cara France in July.
Aljamin Sterling (21-3, bantamweight champion)
The Jamaican-American was mocked by some fans after winning the bantamweight title by disqualification in 2020, when Peter Yan took an illegal knee that prevented Sterling from continuing. While Yann won the interim belt, Sterling recovered from neck surgery and had to wait over a year for a rematch with Rousey. With many predicting that Sterling would receive the loss he endured in his first meeting with Yann – and others hoping for it – he won a narrow decision against his opponent this April. The win silenced some doubters and angered others. The result made it seven consecutive wins for the grappling specialist (including a DQ victory over Yan) and saw Sterling join our Honorable Mentions.
Max Holloway (23-7, featherweight)
The former featherweight champion has lost four of his last seven, though one of those defeats was by lightweight and a controversial points decision. Despite what the recent results suggest, Hawaii seem to be at their peak, shining in defeat and putting on impressive performances in victory. Holloway moved into our top 10 at the expense of Moreno after losing to Mexican Figueiredo at UFC 270, but fell back after losing a trilogy bout with Alexander Volkanovski in July – the 30-year-old’s third loss. . deposed him.
Colby Covington (17-3, welterweight)
One of the best 170lbers on the planet behind former interim welterweight titleholder Kamaru Usman and perhaps new champion Leon Edwards. Osman retained his belt against Covington twice in the past three years before losing to Edwards this August. Covington responded to those losses by easily outlasting friend-turned-rival Jorge Masvidal in March, and he moved back into our top 10 as Holloway fell after UFC 276.
Dustin Poirier (28-7, 1 No Contest; lightweight)
The American has only two losses in the last six years – against the greatest lightweight of all time in Khabib Nurmagomedov and the best active lightweight at the moment in Charles Oliveira. “Diamond” has seven victories against five different former world champions in the sport, beating Conor McGregor twice in 2021 to better that tally. The first of those two wins against the Irishman marked the first knockout loss of McGregor’s career.
Steph Miocic (20-4, heavyweight)
The unanimous heavyweight GOAT, the part-time firefighter holds the record for the most successful title defenses in the division – the toughest weight class in which to consistently compete. The American surrendered the belt to Francis Ngannou and the freak knockout power of French-Cameron in March 2021, but before that had back-to-back wins against one of the biggest wins of all time in Daniel Cormier. The veteran also picked up a decision victory over Ngannou, in addition to wins over more UFC champions in Junior dos Santos, Fabricio Werdum, and Andrei Arlovski.
Leon Edwards (20-3, 1 no contest; welterweight champion)
Edwards became Britain’s second UFC champion that August with a stunning, last-gasp knockout of Kamaru Usman. After taking down the Nigerian-American – something no fighter had ever done in the UFC – in Round 1, Edwards kept himself in the fight amid an onslaught of grappling pressure from the champion over the next few frames. He stood on his feet. Then, with a minute left on the clock, Edwards knocked Usman out cold with a perfect head kick to take the gold, defeating the man who knocked him out seven years ago.
Since losing to Usman in 2015, the 30-year-old Edwards has gone undefeated and won 10 consecutive fights, culminating in his title win. He has endured several unlucky spells over the years and seen fights against top contenders on several occasions, but ultimately has not had to prove his quality against any of them. He did so brilliantly against Usman to enter our top 10. He also has wins over former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos and fan favorites Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone.
Peter Yan (16-3, Bantamweight)
He went exactly five years without a loss until his bantamweight title defense against Sterling was disqualified in the spring of 2021, a fight he looked very well on his way to winning. The Russian claimed the return gold, edging out Cory Sandhagan in the fight of the year. Many fans considered him the true champion at 135lbs, despite his callous fouls against Sterling, and some maintained that view despite their unification loss to the Jamaican-American that April. The rematch was a closely contested affair that Sterling won via split decision, although some fans felt that Rousey did enough to push her.
Robert Whittaker (23-6, middleweight)
Australia has tasted defeat only twice in the last eight years. Both of those losses came against the extraordinary Israel Adesanya before Whittaker lost the middleweight belt to his rival by TKO in 2019 before dropping a debatable decision to the “Ultimate Stylebender” this February. Between those bouts, “The Reaper” racked up three straight wins against elite competition, and his first run to the belt saw him successfully navigate a killer lineup of opponents that is almost unfathomable.
Francis Ngannou (17-3, Heavyweight Champion)
Arguably the hardest hitter in the sport, and the honorary ‘saddest man on the planet’ as the UFC heavyweight champion. All but one of his wins have come via stoppage with 12 knockouts to his name – some of them in less than 60 seconds. After suffering back-to-back decision losses in 2018, the Cameroonian recorded four straight first-round KOs before avenging the loss to Miocic to secure the gold with another vicious finish. He then shocked fans and pundits by out-wrestling interim champion Cyril Gain for a successful defense this January. A trend.
Charles Oliveira (33-8, 1 NC; lightweight)
The Brazilian’s 2010 debut in the UFC gave way to a mixed record with several failed weight cuts along the way. The former featherweight has turned his career around, however (save for cutting half a pound this May), winning 11 straight over the past five years to emerge as the successor to the retired Khabib at the top of the lightweight division. . Oliveira holds the record for most finishes (19) and most submission wins (16) in UFC history. Of his 33 victories as a professional, a remarkable 30 have come via stoppage. His recent weight loss robbed him of the lightweight title he had won last year, but a first-round submission of Justin Gaethje the following day made him an instant No. 1 contender.
Israel Adesanya (23-1, middleweight champion)
One of the most exciting fighters to watch in the history of the game. The former kickboxer routinely produces stunning masterclasses against his opponents, proving to be too smart and clever for his competition. Adesanya has beaten a who’s who of 185 pounds and knocked out many of them. “The Last Stylebender” suffered his first loss in pro-MMA in 2021, but there was merit as the Nigerian-born New Zealander challenged then-champion John Blachowicz for the light heavyweight title. Increased weight class to do. He is now “lapping the opposition” – a term that will come up again below – with back-to-back rematch wins over Marvin Vettori and Whittaker before his decision against Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. It was number 2 on the list. That event, where one of his city kickboxing teammates overtook him in our rankings. More on that soon…
Kamaru Usman (20-2)
In 2021, Usman was the best mixed martial artist in the world, let alone the UFC. The Nigerian-American is one of the most clinical wrestlers in the promotion and has added knockout power to his game. Last year, Usman extended his unbeaten run to nine years, a 19-fight winning streak that included a dominant title win and five successful defenses in 2019 before he was stopped by Leon Edwards this August. from, captured the title with a stunning knockout defeat.
Despite losing to the man he pointed out in 2015, Usman remains at No. 2 here. Also of great merit is the fact that the 35-year-old has fought three times in 2021, more than any other fighter on this list except Poirier. Two of his three victories in 2021 came via stoppage, and the “Nigerian Nightmare” was, in his own words, “leaping the opposition”, beating almost every divisional contender of note at least once – Some of them twice. In fact, he was on the verge of a second points victory over Edwards until the Brit produced the biggest KO in UFC history.
Alexander Volkanovski (25-1, featherweight champion)
After suffering the only defeat of his professional career in 2013, Volkanovski has won a remarkable 22 consecutive fights. In fact, his only pro loss came against the welterweight champion. Six of the Australian’s last seven fights have come against ‘elite’ featherweights, with some fans unfairly holding grudges against the champion due to the controversial nature of his second of three victories over Max Holloway. expressed
This April, Volkanovski took on fan favorite Chan Sung Jung and put on an absolute clinic to stop the “Korean Zombie” in the fourth round. In July, he produced a masterclass to overtake Holloway for a third term, leaving no doubt about his lead over the man he dethroned in 2019. Volkanovski made the Hawaiian, seen by some fans as the greatest featherweight of all time, look like another. competitor. In doing so, the 33-year-old furthered his claim to be labeled the 145lbs GOAT. He even picked up wins against another standout contender for the title – Jose Aldo – as well as Chad Mendes and Brian Ortega.
Volkanovski is as dynamic, composed and well-rounded as they come. Despite his seminar performance against “Zombie”, the Australian finished third in our pound-for-pound rankings. His most recent showing against Holloway saw him outclass both teammates Adesanya and Usman, however, this outing has led some to finally suggest that Volkanovsky is the best mixed martial artist alive right now.
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