Home MMA Constructing The Perfect UFC Division From No. 15 To Champion

Constructing The Perfect UFC Division From No. 15 To Champion

We’ve decided to set each and every ranked UFC fighter up against their numerical counterparts for the cross-divisional fantasy top-15 to end all others.

The idea is simple.

We take the #15 strawweight, #15 flyweight, #15 bantamweight, and so on, from each division and place them in a pool together.

Then we use the criteria listed below to single out one as the top #15-ranked fighter in the game.

It’s all just a bit of fun, of course, but the results managed to make the incredible depth of some of the UFC’s finest divisions quite apparent.

At the bottom of this piece we have listed our completed rankings along with the divisional champion.

The criteria that the fighters will be compared by are as follows.

Recent form

Technical ability

Championship potential

Danger to those ahead of them in the rankings

So without further ado, we’re going to start with #15 and work our way up the list.

Note that the rankings had not been updated with the results of UFC on ESPN: Thompson vs. Pettis by the time of completion. However, our eventual list would not have been changed by the movement from those fights.

#15

115lbs: Randa Markos

125lbs: Antonina Shevchenko

135lbs: Talita Bernardo

125lbs: Casey Kenney

135lbs: Ricky Simon 

145lbs: Calvin Kattar

155lbs: Charles Oliveira

170lbs: Vicente Luque

185lbs: Anderson Silva

205lbs: Misha Cirkunov

265lbs: Andrei Arlovski

 

Our pick: Vicente Luque

Luque might not be the most recognizable name on a list that contains the likes of Anderson Silva and Andrei Arlovski but with a UFC record of 8-2 (5 TKO/3 SUB)and wins over the likes of Niko Price, Jalin Turner, Bryan Barbarena, and Belal Muhammad, he has proven his suitability to the top-15 and will likely make his push towards the division’s upper-echelons in 2019.

#14

115lbs: Alexa Grasso 

125lbs: Paige VanZant

135lbs: Macy Chiasson

125lbs: Jordan Espinosa

135lbs: Thomas Almeida

145lbs: Darren Elkins

155lbs: James Vick

170lbs: Gunnar Nelson

185lbs: Elias Theodorou

205lbs: Shogun Rua

265lbs: Blagoy Ivanov

 

Our pick: Gunnar Nelson

He might have lost out against Leon Edwards in an underwhelming display at UFC London but Gunni’s talents as a finisher have not yet been diminished. There was almost a stubbornness to his approach in there on the night – one that allowed Leon to figure him out and nullify his offense for the most part. With a few tweaks he should be right back on track before the year is out.

#13

115lbs: Cortney Casey

125lbs: Mara Romero Borella

135lbs: Lina Lansberg

125lbs: Kai Kara France

135lbs: Alejandro Perez

145lbs: Chan Sung Jung

155lbs: Nate Diaz 

170lbs: Elizeu dos Santos

185lbs: Uriah Hall

205lbs: Johnny Walker

265lbs: Shamil Abdurakhimov

 

Our pick: Johnny Walker

Perhaps the most exciting prospect in the UFC as far as sheer entertainment value is concerned. Walker has looked nothing short of sensational since making his UFC debut in November of 2018. Three quick knockout finishes came with increasing levels of brutality and now, ranked thirteenth at 205lbs, it does appear as though a top-10 matchup will be on the horizon for him before too long.

#12

115lbs: Felice Herrig

125lbs: Montana de la Rose

135lbs: Bethe Correia

125lbs: Ryan Benoit

135lbs: John Dodson

145lbs: Yair Rodriguez

155lbs: Alexander Hernandez

170lbs: Neil Magny

185lbs: Antonio Carlos Junior

205lbs: Ovince St. Preux

265lbs: Tai Tuivasa

 

Our pick: Yair Rodriguez

Sure, had his last matchup against Chan Sung Jung ended one second earlier than it did, he wouldn’t have made it to his twelfth-ranked spot at 145lbs. But in many ways, it’s the boldness and dynamism possessed by Yair that allows him to attempt last-second reverse elbows and that in itself is what singles him out from the crowd.

#11

115lbs: Cynthia Calvillo

125lbs: Andrea Lee

135lbs: Tonya Evinger

125lbs: Eric Shelton

135lbs: Rob Font

145lbs: Ricardo Lamas

155lbs: Gregor Gillespie

170lbs: Demian Maia

185lbs: David Branch

205lbs: Glover Teixeira

265lbs: Marcin Tybura

 

Our pick: Gregor Gillespie

Gregor Gillespie is one of the most underrated prospects in the sport today. He applies pressure in the grappling department on a level that can only be surpassed by that of the lightweight champion. Unbeaten over his thirteen pro-fights, his mauling of Yancy Medeiros earlier this year proved his potential to compete at the very top of the stacked 155lb division.

#10

115lbs: Carla Esparza

125lbs: Jessica-Rose Clark

135lbs: Irene Aldana

125lbs: Magomed Bibulatov

135lbs: Cody Stamann

145lbs: Josh Emmett

155lbs: Paul Felder

170lbs: Leon Edwards

185lbs: Brad Tavares

205lbs: Jimi Manuwa

265lbs: Justin Willis

 

Our pick: Leon Edwards

It’s easy to forget exactly how experienced Leon Edwards is within the UFC – having posted a 9-2 record inside the octagon. His UFC London victory over Gunnar Nelson was perhaps the finest win of his career to date and his seven-fight win-streak (which contains back-to-back wins over Nelson and Donald Cerrone) will no doubt see him edge closer to the top-5 in the near future if he can continue to impress.

#9

115lbs: Michelle Waterson

125lbs: Lauren Murphy

135lbs: Sara McMann

125lbs: Rogerio Bontorin

135lbs: Petr Yan

145lbs: Mirsad Bektic

155lbs: Donald Cerrone

170lbs: Robbie Lawler

185lbs: Jared Cannonier

205lbs: Ilir Latifi

265lbs: Aleksei Oleinik

 

Our pick: Petr Yan

Another name that might not be familiar to those not in-the-know, Petr Yan really is a force to be reckoned with in the champion-less bantamweight division. His perfect UFC run so far has most-recently seen him defeat the former UFC flyweight title challenger John Dodson and overall, we are seeing a noticeably better Petr Yan in there each and every time he makes the walk. At 26, he is certainly one to watch at 135lbs.

#8

115lbs: Tecia Torres

125lbs: Roxanne Modafferi

135lbs: Marion Reneau

125lbs: Tim Elliott

135lbs: John Lineker

145lbs: Cub Swanson

155lbs: Anthony Pettis

170lbs: Santiago Ponzinibbio

185lbs: Derek Brunson

205lbs: Corey Anderson

265lbs: Cain Velasquez

 

Our pick: Santiago Ponzinibbio

Ponz has the power to trouble anyone in the welterweight division right now. In terms of sheer physicality, he makes for a very tough matchup for everyone ranked above him and with his spot well-established on the peripheries of the elite-tier, one huge statement in his next outing should see him enter the title conversation.

#7

115lbs: Weili Zhang

125lbs: Joanne Calderwood

135lbs: Yana Kunitskaya

125lbs: Alex Perez

135lbs: Jimmie Rivera

145lbs: Jeremy Stephens

155lbs: Justin Gaethje

170lbs: Darren Till

185lbs: Paulo Costa

205lbs: Volkan Oezdemir

265lbs: Alistair Overeem

 

Our pick: Paulo Costa

This one was tough. There were a lot of big hitters on this list, names that would certainly outshine Borrachinha in terms of name-value but upon closer inspection, it became pretty evident that genuine title-challengers were lacking. Costa has a few creases to iron out but as a 27-year-old middleweight with athletic attributes as freakish as his, you can imagine that he has a very good chance of making waves at 185lbs before too long.

#6

115lbs: Karolina Kowalkiewicz

125lbs: Liz Carmouche

135lbs: Aspen Ladd

125lbs: Alexandre Pantoja

135lbs: Cody Garbrandt

145lbs: Zabit Magomedsharipov

155lbs: Edson Barboza

170lbs: Ben Askren

185lbs: Chris Weidman

205lbs: Jan Blachowicz

265lbs: Alexander Volkov

 

Our pick: Zabit Magomedsharipov

Zabit managed to ease past Jeremy Stephens at UFC 235 in a measured performance that proved his ability to hang at the top-level. In many peoples’ eyes, this lanky featherweight is the most promising prospect in the sport and from what we’ve seen so far, he is fully-deserving of that title – boasting a perfectly-rounded MMA game no matter where the fight goes.

#5

115lbs: Claudia Gadelha

125lbs: Alexis Davis

135lbs: Cat Zingano

125lbs: Wilson Reis

135lbs: Dominick Cruz

145lbs: Renato Moicano

155lbs: Kevin Lee

170lbs: Jorge Masvidal

185lbs: Israel Adesanya

205lbs: Dominick Reyes

265lbs: Derrick Lewis

 

Our pick: Israel Adesanya

UFC 236’s interim-middleweight title-challenger is about as polished and dynamic a striker as you’re ever likely to see inside the octagon. Equal parts terrifying and technical, Adesanya rose through the ranks at 185lbs in 2018 (the year of his promotional debut) with phenomenal momentum – beating Derek Brunson and Brad Tavares among others on his way to his first shot at UFC gold.

#4

115lbs: Tatiana Suarez

125lbs: Joanna Jedrzejczyk

135lbs: Raquel Pennington

125lbs: Deiveson Figueiredo

135lbs: Pedro Muhnoz

145lbs: Alexander Volkanovski

155lbs: Al Iaquinta

170lbs: Rafael dos Anjos

185lbs: Kelvin Gastelum

205lbs: Anthony Smith

265lbs: Curtis Blaydes

 

Our pick: Tatiana Suarez

One of the biggest factors that played into this pick was the danger that Tatiana Suarez poses to those within her division. There’s not one strawweight on the planet that she doesn’t match up well against and with a style that is in some ways reminiscent of a female Khabib Nurmagomedov, many are picking her to come away with UFC gold before the year is out. Take note now before she gets it done!

#3

115lbs: Nina Ansaroff

125lbs: Katlyn Chookagian

135lbs: Ketlen Vieira

125lbs: Ray Borg

135lbs: Aljamain Sterling

145lbs: Frankie Edgar

155lbs: Dustin Poirier

170lbs: Stephen Thompson

185lbs: Ronaldo Souza

205lbs: Thiago Santos

265lbs: Junior dos Santos

 

Our pick: Dustin Poirier

Poirier will finally get his crack at the UFC lightweight title, albeit an interim belt, when he rematches the featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 236. The Diamond is a man reborn since making the switch up to 155lbs and despite being temporarily shut out of the divisional title-picture due to the madness surrounding its three most recognisable faces, Dustin now has the opportunity to push for pound-for-pound honours against one of the greatest fighters on the planet next month.

#2

115lbs: Joanna Jedrzejczyk

125lbs: Sijara Eubanks

135lbs: Holly Holm

125lbs: Joseph Benavidez

135lbs: Raphael Assuncao

145lbs: Brian Ortega

155lbs: Conor McGregor

170lbs: Colby Covington

185lbs: Luke Rockhold

205lbs: Alexander Gustafsson

265lbs: Francis Ngannou

 

Our pick: Francis Ngannou

Again, danger to those within your division is king here and in the weight-class with the lowest margin for error, Francis Ngannou has proven his ability to completely blast through some of the most dangerous athletes on the planet. There were lessons to be learned for him after his UFC 220 loss to Stipe Miocic but by the looks of things, it does appear as though the hulking Cameroonian is ready to fulfil the potential many have attached to him in recent times.

#1

115lbs: Jessica Andrade

125lbs: Jessica Eye

135lbs: Germaine de Randamie

125lbs: Jussier Formiga

135lbs: Marlon Moraes

145lbs: José Aldo

155lbs: Tony Ferguson

170lbs: Tyron Woodley

185lbs: Yoel Romero

205lbs: Daniel Cormier

265lbs: Stipe Miocic

 

Our pick: Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson has the most impressive recent win/loss ratio of anyone else on this list and he has done it by consistently fighting the best of the best. It truly is an unmissable spectacle whenever El Cucuy steps in to compete and while he is currently in the process of dealing with some personal issues outside of the octagon, Tony remains the finest example of a no. 1 contender on the planet.

The champions

115lbs: Rose Namajunas

125lbs: Valentina Shevchenko

135lbs: Amanda Nunes

125lbs: Henry Cejudo

135lbs: VACANT

145lbs: Max Holloway

155lbs: Khabib Nurmagomedov

170lbs: Kamaru Usman

185lbs: Robert Whittaker

205lbs: Jon Jones

265lbs: Daniel Cormier

 

Our pick: Jon Jones

Jon Jones is the greatest fighter on the planet, hell, he may even be the greatest talent the sport has ever known. Regardless of your feelings about him, the failed-tests, the controversies, and the picograms, if we’re basing this off of the results we’re seeing in there on fight-night, Bones is king, simple as.

jones smith ufc 235

Overall rankings

(c) – Jon Jones – 205lbs

#1 – Tony Ferguson – 155lbs

#2 – Francis Ngannou – 265lbs

#3 – Dustin Poirier – 155lbs

#4 – Tatiana Suarez – 115lbs

#5 – Israel Adesanya – 185lbs

#6 – Zabit Magomedsharipov – 145lbs

#7 – Paulo Costa – 185lbs

#8 – Santiago Ponzinibbio – 170lbs

#9 – Petr Yan – 135lbs

#10 – Leon Edwards – 170lbs

#11 – Gregor Gillespie – 155lbs

#12 – Yair Rodriguez – 145lbs

#13 – Johnny Walker – 205lbs

#14 – Gunnar Nelson – 170lbs

#15 – Vicente Luque – 170lbs

Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena

About Cillian Cunningham

Lead mixed martial arts writer who can be contacted at cillian@punditarena.com.