Our Alternative UFC Pound For Pound Top-15
The UFC’s pound for pound rankings aren’t perfect, hell, they might not even be all that good.
And with that in mind, I wanted to jump in and take my own P4P criteria and put it to the test - so I could bring you an alternative take on one of the sport’s most widely discussed topics.
#15 - Colby Covington
First up, we have perhaps the single greatest threat to Kamaru Usman’s title - the man who plays heel to the world of mixed martial arts, Colby Covington. Love him or hate him, Colby is a highly skilled athlete - one who has beaten everyone he has fought not named Kamaru Usman in the last six years - holding victories over Tyron Woodley, Robbie Lawler, Demian Maia, and Rafael dos Anjos.
#14 - Ciryl Gane
Interim-champion Ciryl Gane could have the skillset that may well carry the heavyweight division into its new era - a polished, well-refined striking approach that really has no equal within the weight class. That said, his inevitable clash with the champ Francis Ngannou will be a stylistic matchup for the ages - a collision of power and finesse that really could go either way. For now, Gane will have to settle for the 14th spot on our list.
#13 - Justin Gaethje
He might have been thoroughly dominated by Khabib Nurmagomedov in his last outing, but Justin Gaethje - for all of his clear shortcomings on the mat - is still very clearly one of the best fighters in the sport, still the same guy who shed his reckless approach in favour of a more calculated style - a style that saw him shock the world by outclassing Tony Ferguson. Justin Gaethje is not out of the picture yet, that’s for certain.
#12 - Robert Whittaker
Not only is Robert Whittaker one of the greatest middleweights of all-time, but I would venture to say that he is one of the greatest fighters of his era, full stop. Three wins out of three fights since losing his title have seen The Reaper once again place considerable distance between himself as his fellow middleweights - but even now, even with the improvements he has clearly made, his rematch with Israel Adesanya is going to be a mammoth task!
#11 - Petr Yan
Next up we have the former bantamweight champion Petr Yan - a man who in reality, was dominating his last matchup against Aljamain Sterling before one moment of madness proved to be his undoing. That said, Yan remains the most well-rounded 135lb fighter on the planet - a fighter who is nothing short of an assassin in there. And when the time comes for him to attempt to win back his belt, chances are we’ll see an even better version of this Russian standout.
#10 - Max Holloway
You know we’re dealing with a ridiculously talented top-10 when the former featherweight king Max Holloway is just about sneaking his way in. Because while we can’t technically say that the best is Blessed at featherweight these days - due to Alexander Volkanovski’s place at the top of the division - but based on his most recent victory - a legendary, record-breaking beatdown of Calvin Kattar, there’s every chance that this ever-improving future Hall Of Famer can find his way to the top of the mountain again.
#9 - Stipe Miocic
If any fighter can find his way back from a rough loss like the one he just sustained at the hands of Francis Ngannou, it’s Stipe Miocic. A veteran of the fight game at this stage, Miocic has rebounded from knockouts before - rising to get the better of Daniel Cormier when they had their soon-to-be-legendary trilogy. Experienced as they come, Miocic’s next outing will be an absolutely crucial one for establishing where his future within the sport will lie.
#8 - Brandon Moreno
The newly crowned champion of the flyweights - Brandon Moreno - managed to showcase some serious improvements in his rematch against the champ Deiveson Figueredo. The pair are now signed for a third battle - but Moreno just seems to be on the path to greatness. An increasingly well-rounded fighter, Brandon’s determination is without question his most admirable trait as a fighter and athlete. Sure, he’s ranked at eighth for now, but expect big things in this guy’s future if he can continue to improve.
#7 - Charles Oliveira
Though he still has to answer some questions - namely coming in the form of the looming presence of Dustin Poirier at the top of the division - Charles Oliveira’s rise to the top of the lightweight pile has been an absolute joy to behold. Once a meandering featherweight contender who was deemed too wild to be a success, his refinement at 155lbs and eventual rise to championship status has been an incredible success story. Expect him to break into the top-5 if he can find a way past Poirier next time around.
#6 - Jan Blachowicz
If the Charles Oliveira success story was unexpected, then Jan Blachowicz’s late-career surge towards 205lb glory seemed damn near impossible by comparison. But through his wins over Dominick Reyes, Israel Adesanya, and Corey Anderson in particular - Blachowicz has been able to single himself out as one of the best in the sport. Once his legendary Polish power came into existence, we were dealing with a very different version of Jan Blachowicz, making him the single greatest light-heavyweight fighter on the planet at present.
#5 - Dustin Poirier
As the highest-ranked non-champion on our list, Dustin Poirier’s pound for pound ambition will be heavily impacted by the result of his next outing - which should without question be a matchup against the lightweight champ Charles Oliveira. And though both men haven’t cracked the top-3 just yet, I’d be inclined to think that the victor will find himself right in the mix as we revisit these rankings in a few months. And based on his recent form, you’d have to assume that The Diamond will be favoured.
#4 - Alexander Volkanovski
If you beat Max Holloway twice - under any circumstances - you’re clearly on another level entirely. And for Alexander Volkanovski, who twice managed to get the better of the Hawaiian - along with wins over José Aldo and Chad Mendes - his status as a truly exceptional fighter is completely beyond any doubt. Chances are, him and Max will clash at least once more in the future - but for now, with a major test in front of him in the form of Brian Ortega, Volk’s reputation only looks set to improve as he builds on his legacy.
#3 - Francis Ngannou
If there’s one indisputable fact to be taken from our enjoyment of mixed martial arts, it’s that Francis Ngannou is a terrible matchup for every single other fighter on the UFC roster. Such is the level of power he brings to the table. And with an eye on his upcoming matchup against Ciryl Gane, you have to think that the winner of that fight will be poised to rule the heavyweight division for some time. A potential future pound for pound number 1, if he can continue to make improvements as he has.
#2 - Israel Adesanya
Next up, we have the middleweight king Israel Adesanya - a man who, despite being unsuccessful in his attempt to become a two-weight world champion - is still very much the top dog among the middleweight crop. And again, while Blachowicz got the better of him, it did seem as though the physicality of the light-heavyweight division was a major factor. And through the strength of his resumé at 185lbs, I couldn’t help but pick him for the second spot here.
#1 - Kamaru Usman
And finally, with Jon Jones now absent, the pound for pound number 1 is clearly The Nigerian Nightmare Kamaru Usman. If once upon a time it could have been said that Usman was a boring fighter, a one-dimensional winner by trade, well, with his ever-improving striking skills, that time has well and truly ended. Now a vicious one-punch knockout artist, as demonstrated in his victories over Gilbert Burns and Jorge Masvidal - Usman could well be the champion who is least likely to lose his belt over the course of the coming year. Need we say anymore? Your pound for pound king, ladies and gentlemen!