UFC Rankings: Power Ranking Every Fighter in Every Division

Sean SmithAnalyst IFebruary 10, 2013

UFC Rankings: Power Ranking Every Fighter in Every Division

0 of 9

    The reliability of MMA rankings has long been debated due to its subjective nature. Though the UFC recently released official rankings, even those are based on opinion.

    However, with the help of math, those personal opinions can be removed from ranking systems as much as possible. That is the aim of the following monthly UFC ranking system, which orders fighters in each division based on a formula that heavily weighs results against similar competition.

    By removing non-UFC fighters from the equation, many of whom have not proven themselves against elite competition, these rankings eliminate much of the guesswork that goes into personal rankings. That is not to say there are not elite fighters competing outside of the Octagon, but the UFC has become the major league of MMA, and there is no denying that.

    Now, let's take a look at the guidelines that have been used to determine the following divisional UFC rankings.

Rankings Guidelines

1 of 9

    The following rankings are computerized based primarily on comparing similar competition among fighters. Exhibition bouts are not considered in determining rankings.

    All fighters will be ranked in their current division as long as they have competed in that division within the past calender year. However, champions who compete outside the division in which they hold a belt will be ranked in both divisions unless one year has passed since they have defended their title.

    Retired fighters and competitors who have been out of action for more than two years will be removed from the rankings. However, fighters who return from retirement within one year of their most recent fight will be eligible for ranking as soon as their return is announced.

    Changes will be made to these guidelines at the overwhelming request of Bleacher Report readers.

     

    Note: Rankings for the women's bantamweight division will be included once competition in the class begins.

Heavyweight

2 of 9

    Alistair Overeem was supposed to—at worst—bridge the gap to a rubber match between heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez and Junior dos Santos by earning a title shot with a win over Antonio Silva at UFC 156.

    Instead, Overeem came in overconfident and was knocked out by "Bigfoot" in the third round. As a result, the heavyweight title picture is now a complete mess.

    Velasquez is only one fight removed from a dominant victory over Silva, so there wouldn't be many interested in a rematch between those two fighters, and the remaining heavyweight contenders are either locked into fights or lost in their most recent appearance.

     

    Heavyweight Rankings

    1. Cain Velasquez
    2. Junior dos Santos
    3. Antonio Silva
    4. Alistair Overeem
    5. Fabricio Werdum
    6. Frank Mir
    7. Roy Nelson
    8. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
    9. Gabriel Gonzaga 
    10. Mark Hunt
    11. Ben Rothwell
    12. Travis Browne
    13. Cheick Kongo
    14. Stefan Struve
    15. Brendan Schaub
    16. Shawn Jordan 
    17. Matt Mitrione
    18. Stipe Miocic
    19. Lavar Johnson
    20. Pat Barry
    21. Shane del Rosario
    22. Dave Herman
    23. Mike Russow
    24. Todd Duffee
    25. Phil De Fries

    Silva made made a big move upward in the rankings with his stunning stoppage of Overeem. While he's proven he's one of the best heavyweights in the world, Silva may still have some work to do to show he deserves a rematch with Velasquez.

    With his second-round submission of Ben Rothwell, Gabriel Gonzaga is also headed in the right direction. Since returning from a brief retirement, Gonzaga has won three straight fights and is finding much more success by focusing on utilizing his grappling.

    Once the owner of an 11-fight winning streak, Mike Russow has dropped off considerably in his past two appearances. The Chicago police officer was most recently defeated by Shawn Jordan in his home town at UFC on Fox 6.

     

    Non-Ranked Heavyweight

    • Shane Carwin
    • Daniel Cormier
    • Geronimo dos Santos
    • Christian Morecraft

    With Strikeforce's doors now closed, Daniel Cormier is ready to compete with the best heavyweight in the world on a consistent basis. At UFC on Fox 7 in April, Cormier will try to make a good first impression to UFC fans against former champion Frank Mir.

Light Heavyweight

3 of 9

    Glover Teixeira has long been recognized for having great potential, but he never had the chance to compete against elite competition until UFC on Fox 6 in January.

    At that event, Teixeira defeated Quinton Jackson and arrived as a contender in the UFC's light heavyweight division. The Brazilian's combination of knockout power and grappling could make him a tough opponent for many of the elite 205-pound fighters.

    Jackson, meanwhile, appears fully prepared to leave the UFC after completing his contractual obligations with the organization. Until he is released or signs with another organization, though, he will remain eligible for these rankings.

     

    Light Heavyweight Rankings

    1. Jon Jones
    2. Alexander Gustafsson
    3. Anderson Silva
    4. Mauricio Rua
    5. Lyoto Machida
    6. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    7. Rashad Evans
    8. Ryan Bader
    9. Phil Davis
    10. Forrest Griffin
    11. Thiago Silva
    12. Glover Teixeira
    13. Ryan Jimmo
    14. Vinny Magalhaes
    15. James Te Huna
    16. Jimi Manuwa
    17. Quinton Jackson
    18. Matt Hamill
    19. Vladimir Matyushenko
    20. Igor Pokrajac
    21. Kyle Kingsbury
    22. Brandon Vera
    23. Fabio Maldonado
    24. Anthony Perosh
    25. Cody Donovan
    26. Cyrille Diabate
    27. Ildemar Alcantara
    28. Joey Beltran
    29. Roger Hollett
    30. Wagner Prado

    After sitting out for more than one year, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira picked up an important win in his return to the Octagon. Although Nogueira's fight with Rashad Evans was somewhat lackluster, it resulted in one of the most notable victories of the Brazilian's career.

    For Evans, the loss was extremely damaging. An impressive win over Nogueira would have prompted the UFC brass to consider Evans for a middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva, but that matchup may now be lost for the foreseeable future.

     

    Non-Ranked Light Heavyweights

    • Dan Henderson 
    • Eddie Mendez
    • Gegard Mousasi
    • Ednaldo Oliveira
    • Wanderlei Silva
    • Chael Sonnen
    • Krzysztof Soszynski
    • Ovince St. Preux
    • Brian Stann
    • Gian Villante

    Though he has been out of action for 14 months, Dan Henderson is still a light heavyweight contender and could earn a title shot with a win over Lyoto Machida at UFC 157.

    The UFC's 205-pound division is also about to receive a number of solid additions. Gegard Mousasi will be making his way to the Octagon following the closure of Strikeforce, Wanderlei Silva will return to the division after a stint at middleweight, and Chael Sonnen will compete for the light heavyweight title at the conclusion of The Ultimate Fighter 17.

Middleweight

4 of 9

    With his second-round knockout of Michael Bisping, Vitor Belfort returned to UFC title contention and spoiled the Englishman's plans of competing in a championship fight for the first time in his long UFC career.

    Since losing to Dan Henderson in his days with Pride FC, Belfort has only lost against current UFC champions Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. With another big win, Belfort could find himself in a rematch with one of those titleholders.

    Meanwhile, Bisping must go back to the drawing board once again. For six years as a UFC fighter, Bisping has been looking to break through and become a top contender, but he continues to come up short in big fights.  

     

    Middleweight Rankings

    1. Anderson Silva
    2. Vitor Belfort
    3. Chris Weidman
    4. Michael Bisping
    5. Costa Philippou
    6. Tim Boetsch
    7. Hector Lombard
    8. Yushin Okami
    9. Mark Munoz
    10. Jake Shields
    11. Alan Belcher
    12. Cung Le 
    13. Derek Brunson
    14. Chris Leben
    15. Rich Franklin
    16. Francis Carmont
    17. Tom Lawlor
    18. Ronny Markes
    19. Nick Ring
    20. Riki Fukuda
    21. Brad Tavares
    22. Tom Watson
    23. Ed Herman 
    24. Andrew Craig
    25. Chris Camozzi
    26. Rousimar Palhares
    27. Karlos Vemola 
    28. Rafael Natal
    29. Michael Kuiper
    30. Jared Hamman
    31. CB Dollaway
    32. Daniel Sarafian
    33. Alessio Sakara
    34. Jason MacDonald
    35. Buddy Roberts
    36. Thiago Perpetuo
    37. Cezar Ferreira
    38. Caio Magalhaes
    39. Sean Spencer
    40. Magnus Cedenblad

    While Belfort has reasserted himself as the second-best middleweight in the world behind Anderson Silva, there are a number of 185-pound fighters hot on his tail. In March, Yushin Okami will meet Hector Lombard in a fight that could catapult the winner into title-shot consideration. 

    Lombard, a former Bellator champion, recently picked up his first UFC win by knocking out Rousimar Palhares. Having no victories over current UFC middleweights, Palhares plummeted in the rankings as a result of the loss.

     

    Non-Ranked Middleweights

    • Tim Credeur
    • Roger Gracie
    • Tim Kennedy
    • Lorenz Larkin
    • Stanislav Nedkov
    • Luke Rockhold
    • Yoel Romero
    • Ronaldo Souza
    • Clifford Starks

    The middleweight division is about to receive a number of high-level fighters as a result of the Strikeforce merger. Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza and Tim Kennedy all have the ability to become top-10 UFC middleweights, while Roger Gracie and Lorenz Larkin could also make some noise with the right matchups.

Welterweight

5 of 9

    With a dominant victory over Jon Fitch, Demian Maia is now a serious contender in the welterweight division. It has taken the former middleweight only three fights to prove himself at 170 pounds, so one has to wonder how Maia's career would have gone if he'd competed at welterweight from the start.

    Meanwhile, Fitch is on the verge of dropping out of the top 10, having won only once in the past two-and-a-half years. Having lost decisively to three of the top six welterweights on the UFC roster, Fitch may have to consider a desperation move to middleweight.

     

    Welterweight Rankings

    1. Georges St-Pierre
    2. Johny Hendricks
    3. Josh Koscheck
    4. Mike Pierce
    5. Carlos Condit
    6. Demian Maia
    7. Rory MacDonald
    8. Jon Fitch
    9. B.J. Penn
    10. Martin Kampmann
    11. Tyron Woodley
    12. Jake Ellenberger
    13. Thiago Alves
    14. Erick Silva
    15. Kyle Noke
    16. Siyar Bahadurzada 
    17. Rick Story
    18. Dong Hyun Kim
    19. Mike Pyle
    20. Justin Edwards
    21. Sean Pierson
    22. Paulo Thiago
    23. Seth Baczynski
    24. Lance Benoist
    25. John Hathaway
    26. Matt Riddle
    27. James Head 
    28. Brian Ebersole
    29. TJ Waldburger
    30. Dan Hardy
    31. Josh Neer
    32. Che Mills
    33. Matt Brown
    34. Jay Hieron
    35. Yoshihiro Akiyama
    36. Gunnar Nelson
    37. John Maguire
    38. Pascal Krauss
    39. Duane Ludwig
    40. Mike Swick
    41. Amir Sadollah
    42. David Mitchell
    43. Aaron Simpson
    44. Nick Catone
    45. Stephen Thompson
    46. Simeon Thoreson
    47. Dan Miller
    48. Sergio Moraes
    49. Robert Whittaker
    50. Colton Smith
    51. Ben Alloway
    52. Marcelo Guimaraes
    53. Chris Clements
    54. Keith Wisniewski
    55. Brock Jardine
    56. Kenny Robertson
    57. Mike Stumpf
    58. Brad Scott
    59. Besam Yousef
    60. Papy Abedi
    61. Manuel Rodriguez

    While Maia stole the headlines, another new addition to the UFC's welterweight division made a big impact over the past month. With a knockout of Jay Hieron, Tyron Woodley showed he has the ability to become a contender in the 170-pound division.

    As Woodley looks to break into the top 10, a bout with fellow heavy-handed wrestler Josh Koscheck could be a possibility. However, Koscheck must first get past another Strikeforce import, Robbie Lawler, in order to make the matchup with Woodley realistic.

     

    Non-Ranked Welterweights

    • Roger Bowling
    • Patrick Cote
    • Nick Diaz
    • Jason High
    • Robbie Lawler
    • Hyun Gyu Lim
    • Neil Magny
    • Jon Manley
    • Nate Marquardt
    • Court McGee
    • Jordan Mein
    • Quinn Mulhern
    • Claude Patrick
    • Tarec Saffiedine
    • Jorge Santiago
    • Bobby Voelker

    The already deep welterweight division is about to get even deeper with the addition of the former Strikeforce 170-pound fighters. The merge will mean Nate Marquardt's return to the Octagon and the solid addition of Strikeforce champion Tarec Saffiedine. 

Lightweight

6 of 9

    T.J. Grant picked up a huge win over Matt Wiman to move himself into the top 10 for the first time in his UFC career. With so many elite lightweights moving to the featherweight class, the door is open for Grant to make a surprising run at a title shot.

    Also sliding into the top 10 for the first time is Khabib Nurmagomedov, who breezed through Thiago Tavares with a first-round stoppage of his own. 

    Furthermore, Evan Dunham is creeping back toward title contention after defeating Gleison Tibau in a closely contested bout.

     

    Lightweight Rankings

    1. Benson Henderson
    2. Gray Maynard
    3. Nate Diaz
    4. Jim Miller
    5. Donald Cerrone
    6. Joe Lauzon 
    7. Jamie Varner
    8. Melvin Guillard
    9. TJ Grant
    10. Khabib Nurmagomedov
    11. Evan Dunham
    12. Gleison Tibau
    13. Rafael dos Anjos 
    14. Matt Wiman
    15. Takanori Gomi
    16. Mac Danzig
    17. Fabricio Camoes
    18. Paul Sass
    19. Edson Barboza
    20. Ross Pearson
    21. Bobby Green
    22. Myles Jury 
    23. Michael Johnson
    24. Jacob Volkmann
    25. Tony Ferguson
    26. Danny Castillo
    27. Anthony Njokuani
    28. Mark Bocek
    29. George Sotiropoulos
    30. Thiago Tavares
    31. John Makdessi 
    32. Sam Stout
    33. Isaac Vallie-Flagg
    34. Yves Edwards
    35. Jeremy Stephens 
    36. Tim Means
    37. Ramsey Nijem
    38. Francisco Trinaldo
    39. Rustam Khabilov
    40. Joe Proctor
    41. Abel Trujillo
    42. Daron Cruickshank
    43. John Cholish
    44. Justin Salas
    45. Jon Tuck
    46. Cristiano Marcello
    47. Reza Madadi 
    48. Rafaello Oliveira
    49. Michael Chiesa
    50. Mike Rio
    51. Norman Parke
    52. Mike Wilkinson
    53. Anton Kuivanen
    54. Mitch Clarke
    55. Tiequan Zhang
    56. Colin Fletcher
    57. Brendan Loughnane
    58. CJ Keith
    59. Lucas Martins
    60. Vinc Pichel
    61. Al Iaquinta
    62. Jeremy Larsen

    While Grant, Nurmagomedov and Dunham were the big winners of the past month, Jacob Volkmann plummeted. In his most recent fight, Volkmann suffered a stunning loss to Strikeforce import Bobby Green via third-round submission.

    Wiman also fell following his poor performance against the surging Grant. Though he's been a recognizable face in the 155-pound division for quite some time, Wiman has not found a way to pick up the big wins that would make him a contender.

     

    Non-Ranked Lightweights

    • Ryan Couture
    • Terry Etim
    • Caros Fodor
    • Renee Forte
    • Pat Healy
    • Kurt Holobaugh
    • Adriano Martins
    • Gilbert Melendez
    • KJ Noons
    • Mike Ricci
    • Aaron Riley 
    • Diego Sanchez
    • Josh Thomson
    • Kazuki Tokudome
    • James Vick 

    Gilbert Melendez has been considered one of the world's top lightweights for years. In April, we will find out whether or not the attention he received was deserved, as he'll battle Benson Henderson for the UFC lightweight title.

Featherweight

7 of 9

    Despite his long title reign, Jose Aldo has not been considered to be on the same level as some of the other dominant UFC champions. By beating former lightweight titleholder Frankie Edgar, Aldo should finally start to get more of the respect he deserves.

    Although Edgar came up short in a third straight title fight, he came closer to beating Aldo than any of the champion's previous UFC opponents. There are a lot of options moving forward for Edgar, and one of them is definitely to remain at 145 pounds.

     

    Featherweight Rankings

    1. Jose Aldo
    2. Frankie Edgar 
    3. Chad Mendes
    4. Ricardo Lamas
    5. Chan Sung Jung
    6. Dustin Poirier
    7. Cub Swanson
    8. Erik Koch
    9. Nik Lentz 
    10. Dennis Siver
    11. Rani Yahya
    12. Diego Nunes
    13. Clay Guida
    14. Hatsu Hioki
    15. Bart Palaszewski
    16. Manny Gamburyan
    17. Charles Oliveira
    18. Hacran Dias
    19. Rony Jason
    20. Marcus Brimage
    21. Maximo Blanco
    22. Felipe Arantes
    23. Godofredo Pepey
    24. Milton Vieira
    25. Darren Elkins
    26. Antonio Carvalho
    27. Rodrigo Damm
    28. Jimy Hettes
    29. Mike Brown
    30. Josh Grispi
    31. Diego Brandao
    32. Steven Siler
    33. Matt Grice
    34. Nam Phan
    35. Cole Miller
    36. Daniel Pineda
    37. Dennis Bermudez
    38. Pablo Garza
    39. Eddie Yagin
    40. Max Holloway
    41. Leonard Garcia
    42. Robert Peralta
    43. Cody McKenzie
    44. Sam Sicilia
    45. Justin Lawrence
    46. Jason Young
    47. Akira Corassani
    48. Andy Ogle
    49. Yaotzin Meza

    With several new additions and returns from lengthy absences, the featherweight rankings have changed drastically over the past month. As the former lightweights who have moved to 145 pounds continue to find their place in the division, these rankings will continue to undergo frequent and significant adjustments.

     

    Non-Ranked Featherweights

    • Stephen Bass 
    • Josh Clopton
    • Mizuto Hirota
    • Conor McGregor
    • Anthony Pettis

    Though he was considered by many to be next in line for a lightweight title shot, Anthony Pettis did not want to wait around and risk being passed over again. Instead, he will drop to 145 pounds for a blockbuster fight with Aldo.

Bantamweight

8 of 9

    It was originally believed that Renan Barao would sit on the interim bantamweight title and wait for fellow champion Dominick Cruz to return from injury. However, Barao is now set to defend his belt against Michael McDonald at UFC on Fuel TV 7.

    Though Cruz's return date remains unknown, there's a good chance the winner of the bout between Barao and McDonald will meet Cruz in their following appearance.

    Cruz has been out of action since October of 2011, when he defeated now-flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson in a bantamweight title defense.

     

    Bantamweight Rankings

    1. Renan Barao
    2. Urijah Faber
    3. Eddie Wineland
    4. Brad Pickett
    5. Michael McDonald
    6. Raphael Assuncao
    7. Mike Easton
    8. TJ Dillashaw
    9. Francisco Rivera
    10. Scott Jorgensen
    11. Erik Perez
    12. Ivan Menjivar
    13. Johnny Eduardo
    14. Hugo Viana
    15. Edwin Figueroa
    16. Alex Caceres
    17. Motonobu Tezuka
    18. Vaughan Lee
    19. Takeya Mizugaki
    20. Reuben Duran
    21. Yves Jabouin
    22. Dustin Kimura
    23. Bryan Caraway
    24. John Albert
    25. Chico Camus
    26. Roland Delorme
    27. Mitch Gagnon
    28. Dustin Pague
    29. Norifumi Yamamoto
    30. Johnny Bedford
    31. Issei Tamura
    32. Marcos Vinicius
    33. Azamat Gashimov

    After being stripped of a win following a failed drug test (via MMAJunkie.com), Francisco Rivera picked up an important win over Edwin Figueroa that boosted him in the rankings. Although he's not the most technical fighter, Rivera's power makes him a dangerous matchup for a lot of 135-pound fighters.

     

    Non-Ranked Bantamweights

    • Yuri Alcantara
    • Brian Bowles
    • Dominick Cruz
    • Kyung Ho Kang
    • George Roop

    Cruz isn't the only elite bantamweight who has been on the shelf. Brian Bowles also missed all of 2012 and has no date set for his next bout.

Flyweight

9 of 9

    Demetrious Johnson has made the most of the UFC's addition of the flyweight division and is on his way toward becoming a great champion. 

    Already, Johnson has defended his belt once and holds wins over the top three contenders in the 125-pound class. There's a good chance some rematches will be coming Johnson's way, and that could mean a lengthy run as the UFC's flyweight titleholder.

     

    Flyweight Rankings

    1. Demetrious Johnson
    2. Joseph Benavidez
    3. John Dodson
    4. Ian McCall
    5. John Moraga
    6. Louis Gaudinot
    7. Darren Uyenoyama
    8. John Lineker
    9. Tim Elliott
    10. Jussier Formiga
    11. Chris Cariaso
    12. Phil Harris
    13. Ulysses Gomez 

    With a win over Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez proved he's still one Johnson's biggest threats despite having recently lost to the champion. While Benavidez might want to make some improvement before having a rematch with "Mighty Mouse" so soon, he's the clear top contender and could be next in line for a title shot.