Jon Jones is the official P4P best fighter in the world. But is he really the best in the UFC?
After Anderson Silva lost his title as the No. 1 fighter in the UFC, the debate became a lot more heated. And it still isn't finished.
Flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson made a case for his move up the pound-for-pound ladder when he defended his title against John Moraga last month.
Jose Aldo proved once again why he's ranked near the top of the heap when he laid waste to Chan Sung Jung last week after breaking his foot early in the fight.
The following list is simply the best fighters in the world who are currently a part of the UFC. While Dominick Cruz would typically be considered, his nearly two-year absence and lack of clearance to fight leaves him off.
The best fighters in the world, in my opinion, are the champions in each division followed by the rest. If you're the champion, no matter what gender, you're a top-10 fighter.
So without a doubt, here are the top 25 fighters in the UFC.
Chad Mendes (No. 4 Featherweight): 14-1 career record, 5-1 in the UFC, 7 finishes
Rashad Evans (No. 3 Light Heavyweight): 18-3 career record, 13-3-1 in the UFC, 8 finishes
Lyoto Machida (No. 4 Light Heavyweight): 19-4 career record, 11-4 in the UFC, 9 finishes
Michael Bisping (No. 4 Middleweight): 24-5 career record, 13-5 in the UFC, 18 finishes
Fabricio Werdum is officially ranked No. 3 in the heavyweight division, but still has some work to do before surpassing Daniel Cormier.
Werdum is 3-0 since rejoining the UFC in November of last year, posting wins over Roy Nelson, Mike Russow and a huge submission victory over "Big Nog," Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera. He has the credentials and has proven he is still on his game at the age of 36.
Werdum will likely get the next crack at the heavyweight strap. A good showing moves him up on this list no questions asked.
Cub Swanson is another fighter who deserves a shot at Aldo, but a loss to Ricardo Lamas scars his record for now.
Swanson is 5-0 in his last five fights, after losing by submission to Lamas in 2011. Four knockouts in that span have put him in the position to at least challenge for a No. 1 contender spot at featherweight.
Swanson vs. Lamas should be a bout to decide the true contender. Regardless, Swanson is one of the best fighters in the UFC.
He wants the next shot at Jose Aldo, and judging by his record, Ricardo Lamas might just get it.
Lamas is 4-0 in his UFC career, but hasn’t fought since January. He has a legitimate argument for the No. 1 contender spot after his knockout of Erik Koch who was set to face Jose Aldo before an injury.
Even if Lamas doesn’t get the next shot at the title, he is still one of the best in the deep featherweight division and deserving of a spot with the best in the UFC.
If Urijah Faber could get over failing in the clutch, he would be a top-10 fighter in the UFC.
Although Faber is a solid 4-2 in his UFC career, those two losses came in title fights. And neither of them were close decisions.
Faber is one of the most well-rounded mixed martial artists in the world, but seems to lose his composure in big fights. He does everything well, but still needs to get over the hump in title fights in the UFC to be considered elite.
An injury forced him out of his shot at Ben Henderson later this month, but TJ Grant is the true No. 1 contender in the lightweight division.
Grant has found a resurgence in his career since dropping to lightweight in 2011, posting a 5-0 record since then. His knockout of Gray Maynard in his last fight was the bout that earned him his shot.
Grant is 21-5 and looks to continue running through the lightweight division if given the chance. He has excellent power at 155 and should get the next title shot when healthy.
Joseph Benavidez is another fighter who has brought credibility to the smaller weight classes.
Benavidez is 18-3 in his MMA career that includes a 5-1 UFC record. He lost a close decision against Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight belt, but will be back soon enough.
Benavidez brings exciting energy into the cage and brawls anytime he is in there. He is 2-0 since losing to Johnson and likely needs just one more shot to avenge that loss.
Benavidez is a top fighter in the UFC and will continue to be as long as he is fighting.
It might have looked boring to the casual fan, but Rory MacDonald’s methodical victory over Jake Ellenberger showed that he is truly elite.
MacDonald is one of the best fighters in the middleweight division whose frightening demeanor in the cage is unnerving. His ability to punish opponents anywhere a fight goes is just as striking.
He still says he’ll never fight GSP, but if he keeps winning the fight will likely become inevitable if St-Pierre is still the champion.
At 15-1, with the only loss coming to Carlos Condit, MacDonald has the chance to move all the way up this list.
After a disappointing UFC debut, Anthony Pettis showed in his last two knockout victories that "Showtime" is back.
Pettis will get a shot at UFC gold when he faces off with Benson Henderson for the lightweight title on August 31. The anticipated rematch will prove who the better lightweight really is.
He is an electrifying striker who is most famous for his off-the-cage kick that wrapped up his victory over Henderson when they were in the WEC. He can strike with anyone and is hungry to prove he is one of the best fighters in the world.
At 16-2 with 13 finishes, he just might be. His next bout will give him the chance to prove it.
With no opponent set in the near future, it’s a mystery as to what Vitor Belfort’s next move will be.
Belfort has stated that he only wants fights at middleweight if it is for the title. Knockout wins over Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold in his last two fights seem to indicate he may have a gripe.
Belfort is one of the best fighters to ever step inside of the Octagon, holding a career record of 23-10. He came closer than anyone to dethroning Jon Jones and is still defying the odds at the age of 36.
Belfort has always been known for his powerful punches, and his kicks are making waves recently, catapulting him to top-tier status in the UFC. He’s one of the best. Period.
He’s lost his last two fights inside of the Octagon, but Carlos Condit is still a natural-born killer.
Despite the defeats, Condit put up great fights with GSP and Johny Hendricks. Condit showed in those bouts that his wrestling could use some work, but when there’s a fight on deck, Condit will always show up.
With 26 of his 28 career victories coming by way of knockout or submission, Condit is one of the most prolific finishers in the entire UFC.
He throws strikes with reckless abandon and is just a fighter to put it simply. Not many guys can say they’ve beaten him in the UFC, and he’s undoubtedly one of the best fighters in the organization.
A win against Martin Kampmann on August 28 would qualify this.
He’s a former Olympic wrestler and is undefeated in his first 12 career MMA fights. Daniel Cormier is already making waves as a top-tier fighter.
Although not particularly exciting, Cormier’s stunning control of Frank Mir in his UFC debut was very impressive. Cormier has never been taken down, and through beatings of top-10 heavyweights Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett, he showcased his power.
Cormier is in the process of making a cut to light heavyweight to challenge Jon Jones for the light heavyweight strap, but a bout with Roy Nelson is on the horizon.
If Cormier can control a bigger Roy Nelson like he has all of his other opponents, he’ll continue moving up this list.
He beat Cain Velasquez once, and in October, he’ll have the opportunity to do it again.
Junior dos Santos has long been one of the most brutal fighters in the UFC. He has seven knockouts inside the Octagon and a 16-2 record in his career.
His knockout of the granite-chinned Mark Hunt in May marked his return to prominence in the division and earned him a shot at a rubber match with Velasquez.
Dos Santos is the best boxer in the heavyweight division and is more than capable of beating anyone when healthy.
He may not beat Velasquez at UFC 166, but his record still warrants a spot as one of the best in the UFC.
He put John Fitch to sleep, almost knocked Martin Kampmann’s head off and then proceeded to outblast Carlos Condit. Hendricks is for real.
When "Big Rigg" meets Georges St-Pierre in November for the welterweight title, he will most likely need more than just his devastating power. But if he lands a clean shot, GSP may be in trouble.
At 15-1, Hendricks is nicely making his way up the ladder of UFC fighters. He is an accomplished wrestler with Dan Henderson-like power in his hands.
He’s, without a doubt, the No. 1 contender in the welterweight division and gets closer to cracking the P4P top 10 with every victory.
Many fans, including myself, scored the lightweight title fight between Gilbert Melendez and Ben Henderson in favor of Melendez. He is right there.
He might have lost the fight, but his skills were put on full display in his UFC debut and proved that he is one of the best fighters out there. It won’t be long until he gets another crack at that title.
Melendez is a brawler who trains with the infamous Diaz brothers, so you know he always comes to fight. He may not be champion, but he can bang with anybody.
A 1-3 record in his last four fights makes the question of his spot next to the top fighters in the world a tougher one. The answer is still simple, though.
Frankie Edgar lost two close decisions to Ben Henderson for the lightweight title, before dropping to featherweight to lose another close decision to Jose Aldo. His ability to adapt in any fight was still evident in defeat however.
"The Answer" has long been considered one of the best fighters in the UFC, and his move to a more natural weight class should put some life back into his career. He is a clean boxer, has exceptional movement and could probably fight for an hour if needed.
His most recent victory over Charles Oliveira put him back on the map and solidified his standing as a top featherweight fighter.
His losses were too close to disprove his standing as one of the best in the world, though.
For all of those fans who still don’t acknowledge the legitimacy of women’s MMA, this one is for you.
She’s mean, nasty and incredibly rowdy, and Ronda Rousey is one of the best fighters in the UFC. If you don’t agree, then I’m positive she’ll break your arm, too.
Rousey is only 7-0 in her MMA career, but all seven of those victories have come by way of first-round armbar victories. Her opponents know exactly what she is going to do, but have yet to stop it.
The entire buzz surrounding Rousey lately has been crazy. Her feud with fellow coach of The Ultimate Fighter coach Miesha Tate and her upcoming role in Expendables 3 are just two of the storylines.
Her all-around game is improving to go along with her shockingly good Judo game. She’s a UFC champion and has earned a spot in the top 10 without a doubt.
Chris Weidman is only 10-0 in his MMA career, but he is the middleweight champion, and therefore, a top-10 fighter. And oh yeah, he beat Anderson Silva.
Weidman sits at No. 5 on the pound-for-pound list, according to ESPN, but his resume shouldn’t put him above almost every champion even if he did beat the GOAT.
The All-American holds six UFC victories, including big wins over Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. He is one of the best wrestlers in all of MMA with a dangerous submission game.
He truly is solid in all areas and can earn his way up the list of the best fighters in the UFC if he can beat Anderson Silva again in December.
He is the champion, but, for now, No. 9 is as high as he should be.
While Renan Barao isn’t the lineal bantamweight champion due to the extended absence of Dominick Cruz, his performance has earned him much deserved praise.
Barao is currently on a 30-fight win streak. That’s right, 30 fights.
Barao has fought for the interim bantamweight title twice, thus far, handily defeating Uriah Faber and Michael McDonald. His 20 finishes in 31 career fights reveals how dangerous he is on his feet and on the ground.
His standing as the best in the division will only be solidified when he gets a chance at Dominick Cruz to unify the titles, but in Cruz’s absence, he is, without a doubt, the best at bantamweight.
Although he’s 4-0 in UFC title fights, two split decisions may have some questioning if Benson Henderson is the true lightweight champion.
A win is a win, and Henderson did enough to get a victory in all of his title fights. He doesn’t back up, and his ability to throw anything allows him to engage and hurt anyone inside the Octagon.
Henderson is 19-2 in his career, including 10 finishes. He will get a chance to avenge a loss from his WEC days when he meets Anthony Pettis on August 31.
Ben Henderson recently proposed to his girlfriend after beating Gilbert Melendez by split decision at UFC on Fox 7, proving his nickname “Smooth” fits in more ways than one.
He is the UFC lightweight champion which automatically makes him a top-10 fighter in my book. Looking at his level of competition, No. 7 seems about right.
Feel free to discard the casual fan’s opinion that smaller fighters aren’t exciting. Demetrious Johnson’s showcase of all-around skills against John Moraga showed he’s one of the best fighters in any weight class.
The diminutive flyweight champion has been on a tear since finding a natural home at 125 pounds, racking up a 4-0 record, including 3-0 record in title fights since a draw in his UFC debut.
The man known as "Mighty Mouse" has shown a fantastic all-around style, racking up three knockouts and seven submission victories in his career. He is 18-2 as a mixed martial artist and is only getting better.
He’s 5’3’’ and 125 pounds, but Johnson is No. 6 on this list after proving, yet again, that his skills are far superior to his competition at flyweight.
Similar to old times in boxing, the heavyweight champion of the world is usually considered the baddest man on the planet. Cain Velasquez is one of them.
Velasquez suffered his only loss back in November 2011, losing to Junior dos Santos by a 64-second knockout. A little over a year later, he gave dos Santos one of the most one-sided beatings in UFC history to earn his title back.
At 12-1 in his career, with 10 finishes, Velasquez is as dangerous as they come. He is an exceptional wrestler who can control any opponent on the ground and has shown that his cardio is unparalleled in the division.
Add all that to his crisp boxing and 57.34 striking percentage, and you have a heavyweight champion who seems poised to stay at the summit for a while.
He’ll meet dos Santos again in October which will qualify or disprove his standing at No. 5 in the UFC. But for now, eight first-round finishes is hard to argue with.
After breaking his foot minutes into his latest title fight and still emerging with a TKO victory, there’s no question how good Jose Aldo is.
Aldo was criticized after his win over Chan Sung Jung for looking too tentative and hesitant to engage. It’s probably difficult to move and kick with the same ferocity if your foot is broken.
Aldo is an almost perfect 23-1 in his MMA career, including an 8-0 record in career title fights. Known for arguably the best and most deadly kicks in all of the UFC, Aldo can give you a thorough beating, even if he doesn’t finish you.
With guys like Ricardo Lamas and Cub Swanson knocking at the door for a featherweight title shot, Aldo will have plenty of chances to continue solidifying his standing as one of the best in the world.
Forget his perceived cardio issues. Until Aldo loses a title fight, he will remain at least No. 4 in the UFC.
He might have been put to sleep a bit earlier than he wanted to at UFC 163, but Anderson Silva is still one of the best fighters in the UFC.
The loss to Chris Weidman still hurts, but Silva will get his chance at redemption on December 28. While he implemented the same game plan as always in the first fight, it was clear, he wasn’t worried about Weidman’s power and skill.
Everyone knows the resume of "The Spider": 33-5 including 16-1 in the UFC, 26 finishes, a record 10 middleweight title defenses, the list goes on and on. Silva has earned his distinction as the best fighter of all-time and one upset loss doesn’t negate that.
I’m sure many can argue that placing Silva at No. 3 in the UFC is asinine, but what if the rematch sees him do to Weidman what he’s done to so many others?
One loss doesn’t ruin a career, especially one as astounding as Silva’s. He’s not the best in the UFC anymore, but he can only reasonably drop below GSP and Jones.
Jon Jones is the future of the UFC and likely needs only a few more fights to clean out the light heavyweight division. But he still isn’t No. 1.
Bones is 18-1 in his MMA career, with the only loss coming from a disqualification. He’s finished 10 of his 13 fights in the Octagon and has defended his light heavyweight title five times.
Jones is considered by most to be the No. 1 fighter in the world at 25 years old, and his progression every time he steps in the cage seems to warrant that. He’s great in all areas, and his unorthodox striking coupled with an astounding reach makes him almost impossible to defend against.
A victory over Alexander Gustafsson in September will earn him the UFC record for light heavyweight title defenses. If Jones can maul “The Mauler,” he’ll be a step closer to passing GSP for No. 1 in the UFC.
Whether you like his style or not, Georges St-Pierre is the best fighter in the UFC.
I’ve been on record as saying that Jon Jones is a much more dangerous and exciting fighter, but GSP has earned this spot. He’s defended his welterweight title eight times, avenged his only two losses and consistently dominates every opponent.
At 24-2 and 18-2 in the UFC, GSP’s resume is rivaled only by Anderson Silva, who would hold this spot if it wasn’t for a lapse in judgment which led to a knockout loss. GSP is infamous for out-wrestling opponents and controlling them on the ground to earn unanimous decision wins, but the level of competition is unparalleled.
St-Pierre will take on heavy-handed No. 1 contender Johny Hendricks in November. If he weathers the power in Big Rigg’s hands and earns another title victory, no matter how it is achieved, the boring label should be retired.
He’s landed 1,153 career significant strikes in the Octagon, which is, by far, the most in UFC history.
Want to still keep telling me GSP isn’t the best fighter in the UFC?