The UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings are one of the most divisive topics of conversation in MMA, so naturally, we had a go at creating our own.
The current pound-for-pound ranking system isn’t exactly one that has any bearing on the sport itself. It merely stands a show of status for the top-15 fighters in the game, one that is decided upon by several members of the media – and not anyone who has anything to do with match-making or the fighters themselves.
The criteria that will be considered for our own spin on the P4P rankings are as follows.
- Technical skill
- Recent form
- Overall arc of career
- Calibre of opposition
- Ability to finish
- Success in multiple weight-classes
- Results vs. others listed in the P4P rankings
#15 – Conor McGregor
A loss to an undefeated champion of Khabib’s stature isn’t enough to relegate the former dual-weight world champion from our rankings entirely but we’re going to have to see more activity from the Irishman in 2019 to see him make his climb into the upper-echelons once again.
#14 – Valentina Shevchenko
Shevchenko has managed to bounce back from her UFC 215 loss to bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in stunning form. She now sits as the deserving champion of the women’s flyweight division and is reportedly expected to stamp her authority on the division with her first title-defense against Jessica Eye.
#13 – Tony Ferguson
‘El Cucuy’ proved he is nothing less than a force of nature with his UFC 229 victory over Anthony Pettis. Weird and wonderful in equal measure with his approach – the showdown between him and divisional champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is perhaps the most eagerly-anticipated fight you could possibly make in MMA today so let’s pray that we finally see it this year.
#12 – Rose Namajunas
Namajunas proved that her first-round TKO defeat of the formerly-dominant strawweight queen Joanna Jeedrzejczyk was no fluke with another win at UFC 223 but now, finds herself sitting at the top of the one of the most talent-rich divisions in the game. We will learn a lot about ‘Thug’ Rose in her next outing.
#11 – Cris Cyborg
Sure, we just saw her get absolutely flattened by Amanda Nunes in one of the biggest shocks of last year but in truth, the effect of her ten years of dominance and penchant for brutal knockouts cannot be undone by one fight. One would hope that we get to see Justino in action in the UFC once again before she either retires or takes her business elsewhere.
#10 – Stipe Miocic
DC may have stolen away his heavyweight title in July but the most dominant heavyweight champion in the history of the UFC is far from done. With no fight lined up as of yet, though, we’ll have to wait at least a little while longer to see the Cleveland native attempt to bounce back.
#9 – TJ Dillashaw
He’s still the king of the bantamweight division but man, it was quite frankly insane to watch the 125lb champion run through him like that. Dillashaw’s weight-cut has been something that many have pointed to as a potential reason for his swift demise but even still, he falls shy of the elite tier on this list due to his most recent setback.
#8 – Robert Whittaker
Last seen in his instant-classic with Yoel Romero, Whittaker displayed the heart of a champion in every sense of the word as he went into the fire with the former-Olympian over five rounds. Kelvin Gastelum will meet him in the UFC 234 headliner next month and hopefully we can all enjoy ‘The Reaper’ competing regularly in 2019.
#7 – Max Holloway
Holloway’s phenomenal performance against Brian Ortega at UFC 231 was a masterpiece in gritty-but-technical offense and now, he finds himself well-established as the featherweight champion. Whether he looks to move up and test himself in the shark-infested waters at lightweight remains to be seen.
#6 – Henry Cejudo
2018’s surprise package managed to completely one-up his upset of former P4P #1 Demetrious Johnson by absolutely decimating TJ Dillashaw in the space of 32 seconds at UFC Brooklyn last weekend. With a shot at the bantamweight title now seemingly in his future – look to Cejudo to emerge as one of the UFC’s most recognizable faces this year.
#5 – Tyron Woodley
The most underrated fighter on the UFC’s roster today has successfully defended his title more than any champion in their current reign – effectively shutting down every fighter placed in front of him so far. Now, with Kamaru Usman waiting to take him on at UFC 235 – do not be surprised to see ‘The Chosen One’ move deeper into the top-5 this year if he can earn his fifth defence.
#4 – Amanda Nunes
The queen of women’s MMA stamped her authority on 2018 with one of the biggest shock victories the sport has ever seen. She now holds wins over two former bantamweight champs (Rousey, Tate), the long-reigning featherweight champ (Cyborg), and the newly-crowned flyweight champion (Shevchenko) – who she defeated twice.
#3 – Khabib Nurmagomedov
2018 was well and truly the year of Khabib Nurmagomedov. Pulling off a dominant victory in the most-watched MMA event in history – his air of invincibility only grew as he moved to 27-0 as a professional. His future is, of course, up in the air to a certain extent due to his post-fight antics at UFC 229 but one would assume he will be free to compete before the year’s end.
#2 – Daniel Cormier
Last time around, DC was the only man getting that top spot but now, of course, you won’t be impressing anyone if you can guess who pipped him to the post. Still, Cormier had one helluva 2018 and will be looking to end his career on a high note in 2019.
#1 – Jon Jones
Of course, it was going to be ‘Bones’. For all the pre-fight controversy that surrounded his UFC 232 return against Alexander Gustafsson – when he stepped into the octagon that night, it was business as usual. The best fighter on the planet and a shoo-in for the #1 spot. The fight to make for him is clearly a third showdown with Daniel Cormier at heavyweight – a matchup that would be the most prestigous in the history of the sport.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena