5 Best UFC Fighters Not Currently in the Official Fighter Rankings
The UFC rankings panel has done pretty well to include all the best UFC competitors in the official rankings. However, for one reason or another, some elite UFC fighters have been omitted.
Some, such as Georges St-Pierre and Nick Diaz, were removed from the rankings due to inactivity. Others, including Mike Pyle and Masanori Kanehara, have been left out rather inaccurately despite defeating opponents inside the Top 15.
Here are the five best fighters who do not currently hold a spot among the Top 15 contenders in their respective divisions.
5. TJ Grant
When TJ Grant last competed, he became the top contender in the lightweight division by picking up a fifth consecutive win with a knockout against Gray Maynard.
Unfortunately, Grant suffered a concussion and has not returned to action since that May 2013 victory. A result of his inactivity, Grant was removed from the 155-pound rankings.
As time has passed, that win over Maynard means less and less. The former lightweight title challenger has now been knocked out in three straight fights.
Grant would have been much further up this list back in 2013, but he'll now have to prove himself again when he returns.
4. Mike Pyle
With his recent win over Gunnar Nelson, Rick Story jumped to No. 12 in the welterweight rankings.
Considering Story was beaten by Mike Pyle in 2013, it seems odd that Quicksand doesn't even own a spot in the Top 15 right now.
Since May 2009, Pyle has only lost to adversaries currently ranked among the Top 15 welterweights. Meanwhile, he has beaten Story as well as solid unranked opponents such as John Hathaway and Josh Neer.
At 39 years old, Pyle's decline is impending. However, right now, the veteran should have a spot in the 170-pound rankings.
3. Martin Kampmann
Martin Kampmann was among the best in the welterweight division when he announced that he'd be taking a break from competition.
The Hitman did lose to Johny Hendricks and Carlos Condit in his past two outings, but many great 170-pounders have lost to those men. Prior to those defeats, Kampmann bested Jake Ellenberger, Thiago Alves and Story in three straight outings.
Should Kampmann decide to return from his concussion-induced hiatus, he'll immediately be considered a contender again in the welterweight class.
2. Nick Diaz
As recently as April, Nick Diaz told MMA Fighting he would rather work at Walmart than return to the Octagon.
Things changed when Diaz was offered a bout against former middleweight champion Anderson Silva, though. Diaz is now set to make his return in January 2015, when he will step into the Octagon opposite the fighter widely regarded as the greatest in MMA history.
Diaz had been removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity, having last competed in March 2013. However, with an upset win over Silva or even a respectable performance, one can expect Diaz will find himself back in the Top 15—possibly in multiple divisions.
1. Georges St-Pierre
In his most recent outing, Georges St-Pierre defeated Johny Hendricks to retain his welterweight championship. However, the Canadian decided to temporarily step away from fighting following that win.
With Anderson Silva being dethroned, St-Pierre finally had a chance to gain ground in the race to become the greatest fighter in MMA history. However, he wanted the UFC to improve their drug testing, which factored into his decision to relinquish the 170-pound crown.
Firas Zahabi, St-Pierre's trainer at Tristar Gym, recently told The MMA Hour that he believed the former welterweight champion will return to the Octagon.
If he does, St-Pierre should immediately shoot toward the top of the rankings that he has been removed from.