The Independent’s pound-for-pound fighters record

The UFC is dwelling to a few of the greatest combined martial artists on the planet, so it’s no shock that followers usually debate how the elite fighters evaluate to at least one one other.

Alongside its weekly-updated rankings for every weight class, the UFC has its personal pound-for-pound rankings, containing 15 names – as with every record for each division.

Here, The Independent has constructed its personal high 10, pound-for-pound rankings for males’s UFC fighters, to be up to date all year long.

While there isn’t a actual science to assembling lists equivalent to this, plenty of components have been thought-about in making the rankings, together with every fighter’s general document, latest document, degree of exercise and calibre of opposition.

Without additional ado…

Top 10

10. Alex Pereira (8-2, light-heavyweight)

Alex Pereira turned a champion in simply his fourth UFC combat

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The Brazilian kickboxing extraordinaire loved a speedy rise by means of the middleweight rankings after transitioning to MMA, culminating in a knockout victory of his outdated rival Israel Adesanya in November 2022 to take the title. Although Pereira was stopped by Adesanya to lose the gold in a rematch this April, he bounced again with a swift transfer as much as light-heavyweight, the place he outpointed former champion Jan Blachowicz. Pereira could but combat for the title at 205lbs in his subsequent combat or two, that means he may obtain a formidable two-weight-champion standing in document time.

9. Aljamain Sterling (23-4, bantamweight)

Aljamain Sterling recorded three profitable title defences at bantamweight, all in opposition to ex-champions

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The Jamaican-American was mocked by some followers after profitable the bantamweight title through DQ in 2021, when Petr Yan landed an unlawful knee whereas main the bout. In a rematch one yr later, Sterling silenced some doubters and irked others by profitable a slender determination. He then dominated TJ Dillashaw en path to a TKO in October 2022, because the challenger battled a dislocated shoulder, and went on to beat Henry Cejudo this May, defeating the American – who had not fought in three years – through break up determination. Some observers connected asterisks to every of Sterling’s title defences, however all three got here in opposition to former world champions, earlier than he dropped the gold to Sean O’Malley with a TKO loss in August.

8. Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1, light-heavyweight)

Former UFC light-heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka

(Zuffa LLC)

The Czech turned the primary fighter from his nation to win a UFC title, when he submitted Glover Teixeira to win the light-heavyweight belt in June 2022. Prochazka’s late victory in that conflict – a combat of the yr contender – marked the fruits of a speedy run to the gold; the 30-year-old received the title in simply his third UFC combat, having beforehand knocked out ex-title challengers Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes in beautiful style. Unfortunately the Czech suffered a shoulder harm forward of his deliberate rematch with Teixeira, and he opted to vacate the belt quite than maintain up the division. Prochazka has not fought since, however the dynamic striker’s return is eagerly anticipated.

7. Charles Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC; light-weight)

Charles Oliveira has essentially the most finishes and submissions in UFC historical past

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The Brazilian’s 2010 debut within the UFC gave approach to an inconsistent document with quite a few failed weight-cuts alongside the best way, however the former featherweight then turned his profession round. An 11-fight win streak over 5 years noticed Oliveira declare and retain the light-weight title vacated by the retired Khabib, then submit Justin Gaethje in May 2022 – sooner or later after being stripped of the belt for a slender weight-miss. That win positioned him as No 1 contender as he appeared to regain the gold. However, he was submitted by Islam Makhachev in October because the Russian received the vacant title. Oliveira bounced again in June 2023, although, with a TKO win over Beneil Dariush within the first spherical. That outcome prolonged Oliveira’s information for many finishes (19) and most submissions (16) in UFC historical past.

6. Kamaru Usman (20-3, welterweight)

Kamaru Usman was a dominant welterweight champion from 2019 till 2022


In 2021, Usman was arguably the perfect combined martial artist on the planet, not to mention the UFC, and our pound-for-pound No 1. The Nigerian-American is probably essentially the most scientific wrestler within the promotion and has added knockout energy to his recreation in recent times, and he was unbeaten for 9 years between 2013 and 2022 – with a dominant welterweight title reign for the final three years of that run.

After 5 profitable defences – two in opposition to Colby Covington, two in opposition to Jorge Masvidal, and one in opposition to Gilbert Burns – Usman dropped the belt to Leon Edwards final August, dominating his outdated opponent for a lot of the combat however falling to an unbelievable, late head kick. Edwards then outpointed Usman in London this March to retain the gold.

5. Israel Adesanya (24-2, middleweight champion)

Israel Adesanya celebrates the beginning of his second reign atop the middleweight division

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One of essentially the most thrilling fighters to observe within the historical past of the game. The former kickboxer routinely produces placing masterclasses in opposition to his opponents, merely proving too slick and too intelligent for his competitors. Adesanya has confronted a who’s-who of 185lbers, knocking out plenty of them and dropping to only one. The “Last Stylebender” suffered his first defeat in professional MMA in 2021, however there was even benefit in that because the Nigerian-born New Zealander moved up a weight class to problem then-champion Jan Blachowicz for the light-heavyweight title.

He then started to “lap the opposition” with back-to-back rematch wins in opposition to Vettori and Whittaker previous to his determination victory over Jared Cannonier at UFC 276. Adesanya then suffered simply his second MMA defeat – and first at middleweight – in dropping the title to outdated foe Alex Pereira in November. Pereira, who twice beat Adesanya in kickboxing bouts throughout 2016 and 2017, stopped the Kiwi within the last spherical to dethrone “Stylebender” on the finish of an exciting encounter. But Adesanya lastly exorcised his demon by knocking out Pereira within the second spherical in April, regaining the title and reasserting himself as the perfect middleweight within the UFC.

4. Leon Edwards (21-3, 1 NC; welterweight champion)

Leon Edwards made a profitable first defence of the welterweight title in March

(Action Images through Reuters)

Edwards turned Britain’s second ever UFC champion with a surprising, last-gasp knockout of Usman in August. After taking down the Nigerian-American – one thing no fighter had ever performed within the UFC – in Round 1, Edwards frequently rose to his toes amid an onslaught of grappling strain from the champion over the subsequent few frames, preserving himself within the combat. Then, with a minute left on the clock, Edwards knocked Usman out chilly with an ideal head kick to take his gold, beating the person who outpointed him seven years earlier. Then, this March, Edwards outpointed Usman in London to solidify his standing as champion.

Edwards’ first win over Usman noticed him enter our record, whereas the second propelled him up the rankings. Since his 2015 loss to the “Nigerian Nightmare”, Edwards is unbeaten with 11 straight wins (save for a No Contest in opposition to Belal Muhammad in 2021).

3. Islam Makhachev (24-1, light-weight champion)

Islam Makhachev received the UFC light-weight title by submitting Charles Oliveira in November

(AFP through Getty Images)

Some used to query the Russian’s credentials, given an absence of top-tier opponents on his document, although that was arguably because of highly-ranked fighters’ tentativeness to threat their spots in opposition to a harmful up-and-comer. Others accused Makhachev of benefiting from his connection to Khabib – his childhood good friend and now considered one of Makhachev’s coaches. Regardless, the 31-year-old banished any doubt in October when he submitted Oliveira – the fighter with essentially the most submission wins in UFC historical past – to win the vacant light-weight title, suggesting that he would have performed the identical to most contenders at 155lbs.

Makhachev then made it 12 wins in a row by outpointing Alexander Volkanovski in February, matching the Australian’s document streak for an energetic fighter whereas retaining his title in opposition to the featherweight champion in a really shut contest. In advance of that combat, many advised {that a} Makhachev win would make him the brand new pound-for-pound No 1, however Indy Sport was extra impressed by Volkanovski’s exhibiting in the next weight class and wish to see Makhachev add some extra notable names to his resume. As such, the Russian was our No 2, till…

2. Jon Jones (27-1, 1 NC; heavyweight champion)

Jon Jones returned to the UFC in March to gather a title in a second division

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When Jon Jones returned to the UFC in March after a three-year absence, profitable the heavyweight title by submitting Ciryl Gane within the first spherical, many believed that the American confirmed himself as the best of all time. Plenty of followers additionally felt that he ought to go straight to the highest of any and all pound-for-pound lists. And Jones’ victory actually was spectacular, notably as a result of method during which it was achieved and the components across the 35-year-old’s heavyweight debut.

It was additionally sufficient for the previous two-time light-heavyweight champion to shoot straight into our rankings at No 2, along with his long-term resume standing out greater than Makhachev’s (Jones has crushed quite a few world champions), however his lack of exercise preserving him beneath our No 1 – in the meanwhile, at the least.

1. Alexander Volkanovski (26-2, featherweight champion)

Alexander Volkanovski has defended and retained the featherweight title 5 instances

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After struggling the only real defeat of his skilled profession in 2013, Volkanovski received a surprising 22 fights in a row. In truth, his solely professional losses have come in opposition to a welterweight champion and a light-weight champion.

All of the Australian’s latest fights have pitted him in opposition to high names. In 2022, Volkanovski placed on a clinic in opposition to fan favorite Chan Sung Jung earlier than producing a masterclass to outpoint Max Holloway for the third time, leaving little doubt about his superiority over the person he dethroned in 2019. In doing so, the 34-year-old enhanced his personal declare to be labelled the 145lbs GOAT. He even holds a win in opposition to the opposite standout contender for that standing – Jose Aldo – in addition to victories over Chad Mendes, Brian Ortega, and Yair Rodriguez.

Volkanovski is as dynamic, composed and properly rounded as they arrive. He had the prospect to verify his standing as pound-for-pound king when he challenged light-weight champion Makhachev on dwelling turf in February, in a bid to change into simply the fifth ever dual-weight UFC champion, and – though he narrowly misplaced on factors – he remained our No 1. That is as a result of beautiful efficiency produced by the Aussie in that combat, with Volkanovski dropping Makhachev twice, neutralising the Russian in most of the grappling exchanges, and arguably profitable the bout regardless of a major measurement drawback. He then returned to featherweight to cease interim champion Rodriguez in July.

Volkanovski additionally retains the returning Jon Jones at bay, for now…

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