UFC Rankings Review: Marlon Vera Remains at No. 5 at Bantamweight After Defeating Dominick Cruz – Should He Have Moved Up?

August 18, 2022

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

Marlon “Chito” Vera defeated former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz by fourth round knockout in the main event of the UFC Fight Night in San Diego this past Saturday.  The fight was the first of several high-profile bantamweight fights scheduled in the next couple of months.

Marlon Vera ranked No. 5 at bantamweight

This past Saturday, Marlon Vera had his highest profile victory of his career over who many people regard as the best bantamweight of all time in Dominick Cruz.  The 29-year-old Ecuadorian’s victory over Cruz was his fourth straight since his loss to Jose Aldo in 2020.  Aldo is ranked No. 3 and therefore, it doesn’t make sense for Vera to go ahead of Aldo who hasn’t lost since the Vera fight.  I feel that Vera should have been bumped up one spot ahead of current No. 4 Cory Sandhagen.

Sandhagen has lost two in a row and three out of his last five, albeit against the top of the bantamweight division in current champ Aljamain Sterling, TJ Dillashaw, and Petr Yan.  Sandhagen had two highlight reel KOs against Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes between his Sterling and Dillashaw fights.

When ranking Sandhagen and Vera, to me it comes down to their wins in the last two years.  Vera has defeated Sean O’Malley, Davey Grant, Frankie Edgar, Rob Font and Dominick Cruz.  Sandhagan has the two victories over Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes in the last two years.  Moraes had been on a losing streak and has since retired and Edgar is one fight away from retirement.

Sandhagen has a fight scheduled against Song Yadong on September 17.  With a victory over Yadong, I would put Sandhagen back ahead of Vera.

There will be more movement at the top of the bantamweight rankings after UFC 278 on Saturday night when No. 3 ranked Jose Aldo takes on No. 6 ranked Merab Dvalishvili.  See below for a full list of upcoming notable UFC bantamweight fights.

Cynthia Calvillo ranked No. 14 at UFC women’s flyweight

With her loss against Nina Nunes this past Saturday, Cynthia Calvillo has now lost four in a row at flyweight.  Calvillo won her flyweight debut in June of 2020 over Jessica Eye.  Calvillo went on to lose against top flyweights in Katlyn Chookagian, Jessica Andrade and Andrea Lee.  Nina Nunes was a strawweight coming up to fight Calvillo in what turned out to be Nunes retirement fight.  I feel like the loss to Nunes should have dropped Calvillo out of the rankings.

Calvillo’s lone flyweight victory over Eye should not hold so much weight as Eye had gone on to lose three straight after the Calvillo fight and announced her retirement after her last loss against Maycee Barber.

In my last Rankings Review article, I wrote about who should be ranked ahead of No. 15 Molly McCann.  I feel like Miranda Maverick and Maryna Moroz should be ranked ahead of Calvillo.  I also feel like Molly McCann should be ranked ahead of Calvillo.

Since my last Rankings Review article, it was announced that Molly McCann will be fighting against No. 12 Erin Blanchfield at the MSG card in November.  See below for a list of upcoming notable fights in the UFC women’s flyweight division.

Upcoming Notable UFC Bantamweight Fights

Aug 20 – (6) Merab Dvalishvili vs. (3) Jose Aldo

Sep 17 – (10) Song Yadong vs. (4) Cory Sandhagen

Oct 1 – Rani Yahya vs. Cody Garbrandt

Oct 1 – Trevin Jones vs. Raoni Barcelos

Oct 15 – Jonathan Martinez vs. Cub Swanson

Oct 22 – (13) Sean O’Malley vs. (1) Petr Yan

Oct 22 – (2) TJ Dillashaw vs. (C) Aljamain Sterling

Upcoming Notable UFC Women’s Flyweight Fights

Aug 20 – Shanna Young vs. Miranda Maverick

Sep 17 – Sijara Eubanks vs. Maryna Moroz

Sep 17 – Mariya Agapova vs. Gillian Robertson

Oct 15 – (6) Viviane Araujo vs. (5) Alexa Grasso

Oct 22 – (7) Manon Fiorot vs. (1) Katlyn Chookagian

Nov 12 – (15) Molly McCann vs. (12) Erin Blanchfield

Dec 3 – (9-SW) Amanda Ribas vs. (13) Tracy Cortez

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.