One of the great things about sports is it generates discussion. Friends, family members, and strangers often chew the fat over who is the best athlete, team, or franchise, often reminiscing about yesteryear. Some sports lend themselves perfectly to such discussions, such as soccer, hockey, and tennis. However, combat sports are notoriously difficult to compare athletes due to the different weight categories.
The internet is awash with a long-running debate on which soccer player is the best of all time: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi. It is relatively easy to compare the two because they are from the same era, have competed against each other, and played for similarly matched teams during their careers.
But what about boxers and UFC fighters? There may be an absolute beast of a featherweight fighter who will never in a million years get to take on someone in the heavyweight category. Can you compare them? Yes, you can with pound-for-pound rankings.
Pound-for-pound rankings are a genius system that allows people to compare combat sports athletes from different weight divisions. They take into as many as a dozen factors but imagine that all the fighters are the same weight, putting them on an even keel. This means that someone in the lightweight division can be compared to someone who is a massive favorite in a heavier weight class who would ordinarily be an enormous favorite with the OnlineSportsBetting. UFC regularly updates its pound-for-pound rankings; these are the current top three in the men’s sport.
He may be 35 years old, but Kamaru Usman is number one in the UFC pound-for-pound ranking system. Known as “The Nigerian Nightmare,” and for a good reason, Usman is one of the most complete fighters the UFC has ever seen. Standing at 6ft 0in tall and weighing 170 lbs, Usman fights in the welterweight division.
Usman is the current UFC welterweight champion, one who is on a 19-fight winning streak. He lost his second professional MMA fight by submission against Jose Caceres in May 2013 but has won every contest since.
You next get to see Usman step into the famous octagon ring at UFC 278 in August when he takes on British fighter Leon Edwards. This pair fought in December 2015, with Usman winning by unanimous decision. The battle will be far more one-sided this time around.
Australia’s Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski is the UFC Featherweight champion of the world and second in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. Volkanovski made his professional MMA debut in May 2012 and won his first three contests. He slipped up to Corey Nelson in his fourth fight, with Nelson winning by TKO. However, since then, nobody has come close to stopping Volkanovski, and he is enjoying a streak of 22 consecutive victories.
It is not like Volkanovski is fighting nobodies either because he does not shy away from a clash. The Australian superstar has fought Max Holloway three times – Holloway is ranked eighth by the pound-for-pound system – and has won all three contests. Volkanovski is one of UFC’s all-time greats.
Israel Adesanya is currently ranked third in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, although he used to find his name at the very top. “The Last Stylebender” hails from Lagos, Nigeria, but spends his time in Auckland, New Zealand.
Adesanya is the reigning UFC Middleweight champion, one with a 23-1 professional record. The only blip on an otherwise perfect record was in March 2023 when Adesanya stepped up to Light Heavyweight for a clash with Jan Blachowicz, which he lost by unanimous decision. At middleweight, Adesanya is a beast.
Fifteen of his 23 victories have come from knockouts, thanks to Adesanya being one of the best strikers in UFC. He has successfully defended his middleweight title five times, and there seems to be nobody who can get anywhere near him in this division.
What Are The Requirements To Be A UFC Fighter?
UFC fighters are some of the best athletes in the world. They have to be able to handle a lot of physical and emotional pain on a daily basis in order to be successful in the sport. In order to become a UFC fighter, you need to meet several requirements.
- First, you have to be extremely physically fit. You need to be able to lift heavy weights and run long distances.
- Second, you need to have strong fighting skills. You need to be able to fight on the ground or in the air.
- Third, you need to be able to stay calm under pressure.
- Fourth, you need good mental toughness. You have to be able to keep your composure when things get tough.
- Fifth, you need good public speaking skills. You have to be able to communicate with the media and fans.
- Sixth, you need great discipline and self-control. You have to be able to focus all of your energy on training and fighting.
- Lastly, you have to have a lot of courage and determination. You have to be willing to face any challenge that comes your way in order to become a UFC fighter.
Rankings Criteria: What’s Important When Ranking a Fighting Athlete?
A fighter’s ranking is determined by the quality of his or her opponents. This is because a fighter’s rank can be increased with a victory against a better ranked opponent. The following are some of the factors that are considered when ranking fighters:
- Quality of opponents faced
- Number of fights won
- Who their opponents were
- Total number of rounds fought
- Performance in each fight
The UFC ranks its fighters in four divisions:
- Lightweight (155 pounds)
- Featherweight (145 pounds)
- Light heavyweight (205 pounds)
- Heavyweight (265 pounds)
The UFC also ranks its fighters in several other weight classes and disciplines.
With the advent of online streaming services, and the increasing popularity of MMA as both a sport and entertainment, there is a rapidly growing number of professional fighters. The UFC has been one of the main promoters for MMA sports worldwide.
When ranking UFC athletes, it is important to consider a few key factors:
- First and foremost, pound-for-pound rankings are based on physical ability.
- Secondly, the weight class in which an athlete competes is also important.
- Thirdly, fighters should be judged on their performances in UFC bouts only.
- Fourthly, fighters must be ranked according to their current standing within the UFC.
- Lastly, fighters must be considered on an individual basis and not in any specific order.
There is no doubt that the UFC has some of the best pound-for-pound athletes in the world. From fighters like Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya to coaches like Traevor Wittman and Greg Jackson, UFC is known for its exciting matchups and top-notch talent. If you’re a fan of MMA or just looking to see some of the best athletes on the planet compete in a physical challenge, there’s no better place to watch than at a UFC event.