The UFC have updated their pound-for-pound ranking in light of a spectacular night of action at Madison Square Garden.
UFC 244 lived up to the billing as one of the greatest cards in recent years, with stacked action from top to bottom.
Jorge Masvidal dismantled Nate Diaz in their BMF title fight, while Darren Till enjoyed a successful middleweight debut with a composed performance over Kelvin Gastelum.
Corey Anderson produced one of the shocks of the year by smashing Johnny Walker into oblivion in just one round and Kevin Lee delivered one of the knockouts of the year against rising contender Gregor Gillespie.
Naturally, this caused a stir in the UFC’s Las Vegas headquarters and had an impact on their pound-for-pound rankings.
Check out how the top ten looks below.
UFC POUND-FOR-POUND LIST
Here are the ten best fighters in the world according to the UFC…
- Jon Jones
- Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Henry Cejudo
- Stipe Miocic
- Amanda Nunes
- Daniel Cormier
- Maax Holloway
- Israel Adesanya
- Tony Ferguson
- Kamaru Usman
The list is compiled by members of the media who travel the world to watch fighters in action based on a series of criterion.
According to the official UFC website: “The media members were asked to vote for who they feel are the top fighters in the UFC by weight-class and pound-for-pound. A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC.
A fighter can appear in more than one weight division at a time. The champion and interim champion are considered to be in the top positions of their respective divisions and therefore are not eligible for voting by weight-class.
“However, the champions can be voted on for the pound-for-pound rankings.”
Of course, there are always likely to be discrepancies given the list is formulated based on opinion, but fans are still rankled by some of the names on the list.
For instance, former two-weight world champion Conor McGregor remains at No.12 on the official list, despite not having won a fight since 2016 nor having defended a belt.
Bitter rival and current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has also expressed his dismay at not being higher on the list.
The Russian has never lost inside the octagon and spoke in the aftermath of his win over Dustin Poirier about the apparent injustice which has been done upon him.
“You know what’s interesting in this sport, even if you’re 28-0, 12-0 in the UFC, you’re one of the biggest stars, you smash everybody, people are going to talk about you ‘have to fight him, you have to fight with him, you have to fight with him’ — give me just respect,” Nurmagomedov said at the UFC 242 post fight press conference.
“Put me on No.1 pound-for-pound fighter next week because I think I deserve this because I dominate with all my opponents. I’m undefeated. I think I deserve some respect.”
Of course, it is very hard to argue a case against a fighter who has only ever lost one round in his MMA career.
But to truly be considered a pound-for-pound great, it only seems fair to recognise those who transcend weight categories and take on contenders far outside their own comfort zone.
Khabib has refused to ever leave the lightweight division, even maintaining 38-year-old welterweight legend Georges St-Pierre would have to drop down to 155lbs for the first time in his career if a superfight is to take place between the two.
Below, talkSPORT.com have compiled our own ranking system to determine who is truly deserving of the pound-for pound spot.
10. Daniel Cormier (Heavyweight)
In December 2018, Daniel Cormier seemed on top of the world after choking out Derrick Lewis at UFC 230.
The Louisiana-native had, for so long, lived in the shadow of bitter rival Jon Jones following back-to-back losses. But after claiming both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight titles in the space of six months, it seemed as though ‘DC’ was finally extinguishing those ghosts.
But then Jones returned against Alexander Gustafsson in emphatic style to reclaim his 205lbs strap and Cormier lost his rematch with Miocic to see his pound-for-pound ranking slide considerably.
Despite his legacy being secured, the 40-year-old is targeting one final fight against Miocic to expunge the defeat from his record and cement his status as a true pound-for-pound great.
9. Max Holloway (Featherweight)
Since being beaten by Conor McGregor as a fresh-faced featherweight in 2013, Holloway has developed into one of the most skilled fighters inside the octagon.
A pressure fighter who builds into a crescendo as fights progresses, the Hawaiian put on a striking clinic against top featherweight contender Brian Ortega to cement his place as the best in the world at 145lbs after dethroning Jose Aldo twice.
However, despite many believing ‘Blessed’ would do his best work at lightweight, Dustin Poirier used his physical strength and power to bully the smaller man out of the fight to claim the interim lightweight strap.
A drop back down in weight seemed like a logical step, but it seems like only a matter of time before the 27-year-old begins his assault on the lightweight division, only furthering his pound-for-pound supremacy.
8. Tony Ferguson (Lightweight)
Tony Ferguson is perhaps the best fighter to ever set foot inside the octagon and never even get a title shot.
‘El Cucuy’ is on a 12-fight win streak, yet has still never fought for the undisputed lightweight title, with injuries and poor timing playing a huge fight.
Ferguson is a cardio machine with an arsenal of ferocious strikes which can cut opponents to ribbons and a pedigree of Jiu-jitsu which can render men helpless.
A fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov has been booked FOUR times, yet surely MMA fans have to see who can truly lay claim to being the best 155lbs fighter in the world.
7. Israel Adesanya (Middleweight)
Prior to his UFC 243 undisputed middleweight title fight, many questioned if Adesanya had the composure and the mettle to step out in front of the sold-out Marvel Stadium to put on a clinic against Robert Whittaker.
After performing a choreographed dance with his childhood friends, it soon became the former kickboxing world champion was destined to leave with the strap.
The Nigerian-born New Zealander has vanquished all in his path at 185lbs and fans have not seen one man capture the imagination like since a certain fighter from Dublin all those years ago.
Fights with Yoel Romero and even Darren Till could beckon for ‘The Last Stylebender’, with a tantalising clash with Jon Jones up at light-heavyweight potentially on the horizon.
6. Kamaru Usman (Welterweight)
Former pound-for-pound contender Tyron Woodley was once renowned for being one of the most explosive and devastating fighters on the planet until he stepped in against ‘The Nigerian Nightmare’.
Even the 32-year-old’s most ardent fans would have been stunned at how easily Usman was able to dismantle the champion en route to a convincing unanimous victory at UFC 235.
Currently on a 10-fight win streak, Usman is freakishly strong and his top game, wrestling and clinch control are all world-class.
His first defence is against none other than nemesis Colby Covington at UFC 245 and the Nigerian will be hoping to silence the obnoxious American Top Team member on December 15.
5. Stipe Miocic (Heavyweight)
The most successful heavyweight champion in UFC history was brought crashing down to earth last year after being knocked out by Daniel Cormier inside one round.
A shock result given the Ohio-native’s pedigree on the feet, he claimed his revenge in sensational style this summer. Despite being three rounds down, he showed tremendous tactical nous to switch up his gameplan and hand Cormier his first ever loss at heavyweight.
A firefighter in his spare time, Miocic will be forever associated as one of the best heavyweights in the company’s history given the ease in which he reigned prior to the first Cormier fight.
Should a trilogy take place, the 37-year-old now knows he has DC’s number and will look to end their rivalry once and for all.
4. Khabib Nurmagomedov (Lightweight)
Seeing the most dominant fighter in MMA history so far down on this list may surprise many fans. But, true to talkSPORT fashion, there is a method to the madness.
Khabib is a physically imposing and dominant lightweight, but fans want to see the best test themselves. Take, for instance, Demetrious Johnson prior to his UFC release.
The former flyweight champion dominated his division, but his desire to remain there left fans fearing his legacy may forever be tainted.
Seeing ‘The Eagle’ move up to welterweight would be a treat for fans and becoming a two-weight world champion would cement Khabib’s legacy as the best to ever step into the octagon.
3. Henry Cejudo (Bantamweight/Flyweight)
Cejudo may not be everyone’s cup of tea. In fact, it would probably be fair to say he can be quite annoying outside the octagon.
However, when the cage closes and the Olympic gold medallist gets to work, there are few better in the world.
The fourth simultaneous two-division in UFC history, the 32-year-old beat Marlon Maraes to claim the vacant bantamweight strap to add to his flyweight one.
Wins over Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw and the aforementioned Moraes means he has beaten some of the best in the world across two weight categories and is even targeting a move to featherweight in 2020 once he has recovered from shoulder surgery.
2. Amanada Nunes (Bantamweight)
Nunes has put her name top of the list in the argument to determine who is the ‘Greatest Woman of All Time’ with a series of exceptional wins.
The 31-year-old has beaten Holly Holm, Cris Cyborg and UFC legend Ronda Rousey all within the first round to cement her legacy as one of the best to ever do it.
By retaining the bantamweight strap against Holm, Nunes has almost extinguished all of her options in the female game. The Brazilian believes she is the greatest fighter of all time and it is hard to disagree with her having won the featherweight strap as well.
“I am the best MMA fighter of all time in general (male or female),” Nunes told the renowned Brazilian outlet Combate. “I’m going to keep on defending the featherweight title. I’m going to keep on making history.”
1. Jon Jones (Light-Heavyweight)
Forget the pictograms, the eye pokes and the disqualification against Mark Hammil in 2009 – Jon Jones is the greatest fighter to have ever stepped foot in the octagon.
During his rise to the top of the light-heavyweight division at just 23, Jones wiped out an entire generation of superstars.
‘Bones’ has a fantastic ability to be able to beat fighters at their own game. He beat up Chael Sonnen via ground and pound, beat Thiago Santos in a kickboxing match and even managed to out-wrestle Daniel Cormier.
During his defence against Santos, there were suggestions Jones had lost some of his dynamism as he laboured to yet another decision victory. But one thing is for sure; the 31-year-old will have to lose a fight first before suggestions of demise are to be taken seriously.