The ever-anticipated update to the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings is in, and it’s sparked some significant changes. Islam Makhachev, the UFC lightweight champion, has risen to the number one spot after securing his second victory over Alexander Volkanovski.
The UFC athlete rankings provide fans with an intriguing insight into the progress of the top 15 fighters in each division. Additionally, the pound-for-pound rankings allow us to identify the best fighters, irrespective of their weight class.
Yet, the nature of UFC matchmaking and ranking systems has often been a subject of controversy. These rankings also play a role in matchmaking and determining the next opponent for each fighter. The UFC rankings are decided upon by over 20 media members hailing from various networks. Their role is to vote on the top 15 fighters in each weight class, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings. While there are no strict criteria in place, neutrality is expected.
The pound-for-pound rankings have not been without their share of controversies. Long-standing featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski previously held the number one spot in the pound-for-pound rankings. However, after suffering a loss to Islam Makhachev in February, Volkanovski managed to maintain his top position.
This led to widespread criticism from fans and Makhachev’s team regarding the fairness of the voting system. On the other side of the debate, some fans argued that Volkanovski’s numerous title defenses warranted his top spot.
The pound-for-pound rankings saw a significant shakeup following Jon Jones’ return in March. Jones managed to secure victory against Ciryl Gane, becoming the new heavyweight champion. This catapulted him to the number one position in the pound-for-pound rankings, climbing a staggering nine spots. This shift did not come as a surprise, considering Jones boasts an impressive 11 title defenses and remains technically undefeated.
In the latest update to the pound-for-pound rankings, we see a new number one contender. UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has finally taken the top spot, with Jon Jones slipping to number two. This adjustment follows Makhachev’s convincing victory over Alexander Volkanovski in their rematch.
The two fighters squared off for the second time at UFC 294 on October 21. Makhachev was originally slated to face Charles Oliveira, but Oliveira withdrew due to an injury sustained during his fight camp. Volkanovski stepped in on short notice.
The bout concluded swiftly. In the first round, Makhachev delivered a decisive head kick that sent Volkanovski to the canvas. Makhachev continued with a ground-and-pound assault until the referee stepped in to halt the contest. With this victory, Makhachev successfully defended his title for the second time, solidifying his claim to the number one spot in the pound-for-pound rankings.