At this point, the state of the UFC’s rankings is something that fans have been aware of for a long time now, however things still seem to be getting worse. Following Conor McGregor’s win over Donald Cerrone earlier this month there were a few shifts in the UFC rankings… most of which made absolutely no sense whatsoever.
The hardest thing to understand with the UFC rankings is the fact that the UFC technically don’t control them. How much influence they hold over the media members that vote for the rankings is another matter however…
Let’s congratulate the media members on the one rankings move that they actually got somewhat right. McGregor moved into 15th place in the welterweight rankings, something that actually makes sense seeing as the fight took place at 170lbs and Cerrone was high in the WW rankings before his switch back to lightweight. Granted, they’ll likely ruin this by refusing to remove McGregor from the welterweight rankings for the rest of his career, but I digress…
The biggest issue that has been created with the UFC rankings over the past few years is the significant lack of consistency that has been shown, this is something that was further highlighted with Cerrone and McGregor this month.
Following the fight McGregor moved to third in the LIGHTWEIGHT rankings… despite the fact that he fought in a different division… not only this, but he is currently ranked ahead of Justin Gaethje, a man who is currently riding a three fight win streak in the division, with victories over a number of top contenders. What has McGregor got to his name in that time? A loss to Khabib and a win over Eddie Alvarez… that’s all McGregor has in the division. Why is he third in the rankings?!?!?
So now we move to Cerrone. With McGregor managing to sit up in third in the rankings at lightweight despite his latest fight taking place in a different division, Donald Cerrone saw no movement at all to his position in the rankings, despite the fact that he has lost his last two fights in the division and then hit the canvas in less than a minute against McGregor… no consistency.
Pound for Pound rankings
Now lets take a look at the pound for pound rankings. McGregor is 3-2 over his last five fights, Tony Ferguson has won his last 12 fights in a row. Both men hold victories over Donald Cerrone in their latest fights. So, who of the two sounds like the fighter you’d least want to face currently? Yep. McGregor is ranked ahead of Ferguson in the P4P rankings.
Now I will accept an argument that McGregor has proven he can take on fights across three weight divisions, something which does give him a boost when it comes to the P4P rankings, however the fact that he has been so inconsistent in his last few fights and hasn’t really put together a winning streak in a long time is a serious issue, something that has seemingly been overlooked.
The worst part of the mess that the rankings are currently in, is that they don’t really matter anyway. In the modern era the rankings mean almost nothing, the guy that is sitting at number one is often skipped past or overlooked for someone that will bring the company more money or attract more eyes to the product.
We can hope that one day, the rankings will actually matter once more. In the meantime we’ll likely see more superfights, prospects jumping up to title fights and more McGregor being randomly placed in the rankings.