Rankings Review: Daniel Rodriguez Replaces Robbie Lawler in the UFC Welterweight Rankings

September 2, 2021

It might be an understatement to say the UFC has some questionable rankings.  You would expect rankings to be questionable as they are subjective; however, in this column, I will point out rankings that I think are glaring mistakes.  I will also analyze significant movement in the rankings that I agree with.

Editorial Commentary by Peter Parsons

In last week’s Ranking’s Review column, I was critical of Robbie Lawler entering the UFC welterweight rankings despite not winning a fight in over four years.  This week Daniel Rodriguez replaces Robbie Lawler at No. 15.

Daniel Rodriguez ranked No. 15 at welterweight

Daniel Rodriguez was one of the five fighters who I featured in last week’s column, who I thought should be ranked ahead of Robbie Lawler. Rodriguez was the only one of these fighters who had a fight on Saturday night.  “D-Rod” defeated the biggest name on his resume in former lightweight title contender Kevin Lee.  Saturday night’s victory makes it 6-1 in the UFC for the former Contender Series’ alum.

Rodriguez has stayed very active since debuting in the UFC in February of last year with an upset victory over Tim Means.

The other welterweights who I featured in last week’s column who I feel are a solid win away from having a number next to their name are Michel Pereira, Khaos Williams, James Krause and Randy Brown.

Joe Rogan tests positive for COVID, forced to reschedule comedy show in Nashville

Song Yadong ranked No. 15 at bantamweight

Last week I was very critical of Raulian Paiva entering the bantamweight rankings.  The former flyweight Paiva is just 1-0 in the UFC bantamweight division after defeating previous No. 14 ranked Kyler Phillips in a controversial decision.  Paiva entered the rankings after the UFC did not resign long time ranked bantamweight Jimmie Rivera.

I wrote that Song Yadong was the clear pick to be in the bantamweight rankings.  The 23-year-old Chinese fighter has a draw over current No. 14 ranked Cody Stamann and a win over No. 13 ranked Marlon Vera.  Yadong is coming off a recent victory over top prospect Casey Kenney.

This week Yadong re-entered the bantamweight rankings at No. 15 and Raulian Paiva is out.  This change is what I called for; however, I think the voting panelists had this blatantly wrong in the first place.

Neither Paiva nor Yadong had a fight since last week.  We too often see rankings change between fighters who haven’t had recent fights.  In this case, it was a good correction.

Other bantamweights who I felt should be ranked ahead of Paiva and who I think are a solid win away from a ranking are Ricky Simon, Raoni Barcelos, Timur Valiev, Adrian Yanez and Sean O’Malley.

My rankings would look different than any other writer or fan who follows the sport closely.  This is to be expected, as rankings are subjective.  Rankings should be based primarily on results and not perceived potential or popularity.

Some people think rankings do not matter.  Rankings do matter.  They matter when it comes to matchmaking.  They matter when it comes to contract negotiations.

Let’s keep the rankings conversation going.  Do you agree or disagree with the above Ranking Review? Express your thoughts in the comments below.