It could all change very soon, as the world of UFC gets ready to witness some of the very best fighters in the world go head-to-head. In any case, the men’s pound-for-pound rankings are an excellent way to keep track of who can actually claim to be the best.
The UFC has long been the elite mixed martial arts organization, so the fighters who can call themselves champions can also be regarded as the best in the world. This is being written before the big UFC lightweight championship bout between the number one and two in the world. But, for now, these are the best UFC fighters on the planet.
5. Israel Adesanya
Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya already had a successful professional boxing and kickboxing career before he even stepped into the MMA arena. But he showed that his skills could easily translate into the octagon, as he rose quickly to become the middleweight champion.
Although he had come unstuck as he tried a move to light heavyweight, he still looked the best in the middleweight division.
That ended at UFC 281 in November when Adesanya lost to Alex Pereira as he defended his title for the sixth time. Now Adesanya needs a rematch to climb back up the rankings.
4. Kamaru Usman
Usman is another top UFC fighter who is looking to regain his place at the top of his division.
The former collegiate wrestler was an overwhelming favorite to beat Leon Edwards at UFC 278 to successfully complete the sixth defense of his welterweight championship. But it didn’t work out that way.
A head kick knockout in the fifth round gave Edwards the title and left Kamaru Usman experiencing only his second ever MMA defeat – and first since becoming part of the UFC. It was the second meeting between the two, and now a third fight has been scheduled for this March.
3. Leon Edwards
So who’s the fighter that stunned the welterweight division and now proudly holds the UFC belt? This Jamaican-born British fighter started training in MMA when he was just 17 and has risen through the ranks ever since to become the champion in his field.
Although he took a while to get going in the UFC, Edwards took his defeat to Kamaru Usman back in 2015 as a stepping stone and went unbeaten for the next seven years.
Only a no contest decision in a bout in 2021 has changed the course of his development and he will now be desperate to prove that beating Usman was no fluke.
2. Islam Makhachev
This Russian fighter is on the cusp of finally being named the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world. After going undefeated in 11 MMA fights, Makhachev made the jump to the UFC in 2015, and only has one defeat, experienced very early on, to blot his record.
Makhachev has not shied away from catchweight bouts either – and finally claimed the vacant lightweight championship when he defeated veteran fighter Charles Oliveira at UFC 280 in October of last year. Now he is getting ready for his sternest test yet.
1. Alexander Volkanovski
This Australian fighter is considered the number one pound-for-pound UFC fighter in the world thanks to a 25-1 MMA record that has seen him go undefeated since way back in 2013.
Able to fight at both featherweight and lightweight, Alexander ‘The Great’ has now defended his title on four occasions.
But he’ll be moving back up to lightweight to take on Islam Makhachev which has some pundits thinking that he won’t have what it takes to claim the crown and become a two-weight champion.