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
Mateusz Gamrot entered the top 10 in the UFC lightweight rankings with his five round, main event victory over Arman Tsarukyan on Saturday night. Gamrot won a unanimous decision, 48-47 on all three judges scorecards, in a high-level, action packed, fight of the night performance.
Mateusz Gamrot ranked No. 8 at lightweight
After watching the previous No. 12 ranked Mateusz Gamrot defeat the No. 11 ranked Arman Tsarukyan, I thought we might see the two switch spots in the rankings. I was happy to see Gamrot rise ahead of Conor McGregor and Tony Ferguson who are both on losing streaks, albeit against top competition. Gamrot is ranked No. 8 and Conor McGregor dropped to No. 12. The Polish fighter is ranked one spot ahead of No. 9 ranked Tony Ferguson. I feel like Gamrot should be ranked one sport higher, over the current No. 7 Rafael Dos Anjos.
After breaking into the welterweight rankings and having mixed results at the top of the 170-pound division, the former lightweight champ Rafael Dos Anjos returned to the 155-pound division in November of 2020 to fight the No. 7 ranked Paul Felder who took the five round main event fight on just five days notice. Dos Anjos won a split decision in what turned out to be Felder’s retirement fight. Dos Anjos didn’t fight in 2021 and returned to fight former ranked featherweight and unranked lightweight Renato Moicano in a five round co-main event at UFC 272 in March. Dos Anjos won by unanimous decision. Moicano stepped in on just four days notice after Dos Anjos’ original oppenont Rafael Fiziev had to withdraw due to COVID-19.
While Dos Anjos was inactive in 2021, Gamrot went 3-0 with stoppage victories over Scott Holtzman, Jeremy Stephens, and then No. 12 ranked Diego Ferreira. On Saturday, the former two division KSW champ earned his biggest victory of his career over Arman Tsarukyan who was ranked No. 11. Tsarukyan had only lost once in the UFC, a fight in which he took on short notice against current No. 4 Islam Makhachev in Tsarukyan’s promotional debut. In my opinion, the Tsarukyan victory should have catapulted Gamrot even further up the rankings to No. 7, past the former champ Dos Anjos.
Dos Anjos has a chance to solidify his No. 7 ranking when he fights No. 10 ranked Rafael Fiziev on July 9 in a fight that was supposed to happen at UFC 272.
Shavkat Rakhmonov ranked No. 10 at welterweight
Shavkat Rakhmonov defeated previous No. 10 ranked Neil Magny in the co-main event on Saturday night. Rakhmonov is remarkably now 16-0 with 16 finishes. He is 4-0 in the UFC with four finishes. In fact, Rakhmonov has never been outside the second round in the UFC with two first round and two second round finishes. This is the type of dominance early in a UFC career seen by fellow welterweight contender Khamzat Chimaev. Before Chimaev’s Gilbert Burns fight, he didn’t face as high of a level of competition in his first four UFC fights as what Rakhmonov has. Another notable difference with Chimaev and Rakhmonov is that Chimaev is way more popular. I feel that like Chimaev, Rakhmonov has a very good shot at welterweight title contention in the next year or two.
With the Magny victory, the Kazakh fighter took Magny’s No. 10 ranking. I’ve written in recent weeks in this column about how it seems automatic at times for a fighter to take his opponent’s ranking with a victory, and often in this scenario, the winning fighter should move up higher in the rankings. In Rakhmonov’s case, I think the ranking panelists got it right. Rakhmonov is behind No. 9 Sean Brady who is 5-0 in the UFC with his last victory coming against then No. 6 ranked Michael Chiessa.
It should be interesting to see who Rakhmonov gets matched up against next. I don’t see many top 10 welterweights who would be excited to fight him right now. Even if he fought a ranked opponent in the 11 to 15 range, we are in for a treat and hopefully the mainstream fans catch on to this ultra talented 27-year-old who this past weekend went from prospect to contender.
Upcoming Notable UFC Welterweight Fights
Jul 2 – Bryan Barbarena vs. Robbie Lawler
Jul 16 – Muslim Salikhov vs. (14) Li Jingliang
Aug 6 – (13) Geoff Neal vs. (6) Vicente Luque
Aug 20 – (2) Leon Edwards vs. (C) Kamaru Usman
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.