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
Movsar Evloev moved up three sports to No. 10 in the UFC featherweight division with his unanimous decision victory over Dan Ige this past Saturday. The undefeated 28-year-old improved his pro MMA record to 16-0 and is now 6-0 in the UFC.
Movsar Evloev ranked No. 10 at featherweight
Movsar Evloev took Dan Ige’s No. 10 ranking with a victory over the tough Hawaiian in the co-main event at the UFC Apex on Saturday. Often, we see a fighter take their opponent’s ranking with a victory, as was the case two weeks ago when Michel Pereira took Santiago Ponzinibbio’s No. 14 ranking, which I featured in my last article in this column. Like Pereira, I think there’s a strong case to be made for Evloev to be ranked one spot higher.
The current No. 9 ranked featherweight is Bryce Mitchell, who has a very similar record to Evloev. Mitchell is 15-0 overall and also has a 6-0 record in the UFC. It comes down to their level of competition and strength of schedule.
Mitchell’s biggest win came against Edson Barboza, a fighter who has been ranked behind Ige since Barboza lost to Ige just over two years ago. Before Evloev and Mitchell’s recent fights, Evloev defeated Hakeem Dawodu who was ranked No. 15 at the time and Mitchell defeated Andre Fili who was unranked. Also, Evloev has been more active in the last couple of years than Mitchell.
By no means is this a ranking that stands out as a glaring mistake. I just think it’s another case of the voters giving a fighter his opponent’s ranking without looking at the finer details of the next ranked fighter, as I did above. You even hear UFC commentators’ say that fighter A will take fighter B’s ranking with the victory.
Ranked ahead of Mitchell at No. 8 in the UFC featherweight division is Giga Chikadze. I wouldn’t rank Evloev ahead of Chikadze at this point.
Erin Blanchfield unranked at women’s flyweight
Erin Blanchfield scored the biggest victory of her career on Saturday night with a second-round guillotine choke submission over JJ Aldrich. Going into the fight Aldrich had won her last three fights in the UFC women’s flyweight division.
Blanchfield was previously ranked No. 15 before Tracy Cortez took her No. 15 ranking recently with a unanimous decision victory over Melissa Gatto at UFC 274 last month. I agreed with Cortez getting the No. 15 ranking with her win over the previously undefeated Gatto; however, I feel that Blanchfield earned her No. 15 ranking back with her submission victory over Aldrich on Saturday.
Blanchfield is now 3-0 in the UFC. The 23-year-old first entered the rankings with a unanimous decision over Miranda Maverick who was 2-1 in the UFC with her only loss at the time being a controversial split decision against current No. 14 Maycee Barber.
Interestingly, Blanchfield’s only career loss came against Tracy Cortez early in their careers under the Invicta FC banner. Cortez won a split decision over Blanchfield, who was only 19 years old at the time.
Cortez is now 4-0 in the UFC, however, her first two fights were at bantamweight. Cortez missed weight in her flyweight debut against Justine Kish. The Gatto fight was her first UFC fight where she made the 126-pound flyweight limit.
Of note, Blanchfield’s fight against Aldrich was the first fight on the card on Saturday night, which on a side note, didn’t make sense as it was one of the most anticipated fights on the card between two fighters just outside the rankings. It would have been the fight that was the least watched live based on the fight’s card placement. Although it shouldn’t, maybe the lack of the fight’s profile has something to do with Blanchfield not getting back into the rankings with her submission victory over Aldrich.
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.