Rankings have inspired debate across all forms of competition. They struggle for consensus because the process ranges from mostly to entirely subjective. Scraptitude has opted for quantifiable measures of performance to create its one-of-a-kind top-15 UFC rankings; more consistent and proficient than any other to date.
Here is the criteria hierarchy:
- All fighters must have at least 10 fights in the UFC stats database. Weighted data is vital for objective decision making, and as MMA’s premier organization, the performance of UFC athletes throughout 10 fights is the minimum requirement to take a bird’s eye view. This is a chart of the sport’s best, not a list of “who’s hot right now.” LONGEVITY MATTERS.
- Fighter Dominance Rating (FDR). FDR is a unique analytic that captures performance in isolation from the win/loss tally. In a high-variance sport, anything can happen at any given moment. The higher the FDR, the more dominant the fighter has been on average throughout their career.
- Winning Percentage (Win%). Gotta win.
- Loss by Finish Rate (LBF%). This is a measure of durability, arguably the most important attribute in the sport.
- Age. At Scraptitude, we find age to be an underrated variable in fighter analysis. Peak physical performance generally happens between the ages of 28-32. Most sports pay close attention to the age of their competitors to gauge expected future performance. Scraptitude subscribes to this notion.
- Accomplishments. Has the fighter achieved championship status or contended for a belt? How does their strength of schedule (competition) compare to their peers? What have they achieved recently
- FDR: Fighter Dominance Rating – A measurement of fighter performance isolated from durability and losses.
- KD%: Knockdown Rate – the average number of knockdowns per 100 significant strikes landed
- KDA%: Knockdown Absorption Rate – the average number of knockdowns absorbed per 100 significant strikes absorbed
- WIN%: Wins divided by total fights
- FIN%: Percentage of a fighter’s wins that have come via TKO or submission.
- LBF%: Losses my finish divided by total fights.
15. Jan Blachowicz (LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 38||UFC FIGHTS: 16||WIN%: 69%||FDR: 3.69|
|KD%: 0.82||KDA%: 0.18||FIN%: 55%||LBF%: 6%|
The numbers don’t pop for Blachowicz, after losing 4 of his first 6 UFC fights. Since then, he has won 9 of 10 and captured light heavyweight gold. This 10-fight sample size has earned The Prince of Cieszyn a debut in our top-15. Precise timing highlights Blachowicz’s skill set. As a striker, he possesses buckling counterpunching. As a grappler, he’s demonstrated opportunistic takedown entries (53% takedown accuracy). Akin to every other fighter on this list, Blachowicz is remarkably durable, having lost by finish just one time in his UFC career. The light heavyweight division is getting younger and Blachowicz will have an onslaught of hungry adversaries to build his legacy upon. But first, he must defend his throne against another savvy veteran in Glover Teixeira.
14. Aljamain Sterling (BANTAMWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 31||UFC FIGHTS: 15||WIN%: 80%||FDR: 4.65|
|KD%: 0.00%||KDA%: 0.97%||FIN%: 42%||LBF%: 7%|
Sterling pulled the unimaginable feat of simultaneously winning the title and dropping nine spots from his prior ranking. At Scraptitude measurable performance matters more than hardware. “Funkmaster” saw his stats drop across the board following his DQ victory against Petr Yan. The bout emphasized concerns about Sterling’s impotent striking and offensive wrestling. From the opening bell, the Serra-Longo product fought frantically and would go on to absorb multiple knockdowns. Regardless, Sterling is an impressive fighter who has won 80% of his 15 UFC bouts in an absolutely savage division.
13. Dustin Poirier (LIGHTWEIGHT)
|AGE: 32||UFC FIGHTS: 27||WIN%: 74%||FDR: 5.66|
|KD%: 0.78%||KDA%: 0.17%||FIN%: 70%||LBF%: 15%|
Poirier has caught criticism from some of the personalities at Scraptitude, but the numbers speak louder. The former interim champion has forged himself into a tremendous fighter. While a slugfest seems to fancy Poirier, he’s also a well-rounded martial artist, able to call on whatever weapon the challenge requires. Against Anthony Pettis, it was The Diamond’s stronger frame and offensive wrestling that shined. Justin Geathje, known for his punishing leg kicks, was regularly countered with piercing left hands. Poirier’s most recent stylistic adjustment came against Conor McGregor, whose outside calf was brutalized by low kicks, setting up a boxing combination that would separate the Irishman from his senses. Poirer is the don of the lightweight division, belt be damned.
12. Jorge Masvidal (WELTERWEIGHT)
|AGE: 36||UFC FIGHTS: 25||WIN%: 68%||FDR: 6.02|
|KD%: 0.80%||KDA%: 0.60%||FIN%: 47%||LBF%: 0%|
Some have accused Masvidal of being more flash than substance. That can be attributed to him prioritizing his pockets over all else. When necessary, Masvidal takes his risks, and often to devastating results for his opponents. Beyond his finishes of Darren Till and Ben Askren, “Gamebred” has a penchant for blending offense and defense, attacking in every phase while remaining fundamentally responsible. He’s one of the sport’s most well-rounded competitors, technical in all phases with electric athleticism and ironclad durability. The opportunity of a lifetime awaits as Masvidal gets a second crack at Kamaru Usman – this time with a full training camp.
11. TJ Dillashaw (BANTAMWEIGHT)
|AGE: 35||UFC FIGHTS: 16||WIN%: 75%||FDR: 11.1|
|KD%: 0.9%||KDA%: 0.54%||FIN%: 67%||LBF%: 13%|
TJ Dillashaw’s PED suspension has nearly come to an end. The former champion comes back to a bantamweight division that has grown by leaps and bounds since his days as the titleholder. Should Dillashaw come back the same fighter, he will fit in among the division’s elite. His next fight is an opportunity to prove exactly that, as “The Snake” is scheduled to fight Cory Sandhagen, who has collected posterizing knockouts in his previous two bouts against Frankie Edgar and Marlon Moraes. Many believe that a win will merit the 35-year-old a shot at the title.
10. Robert Whittaker (MIDDLEWEIGHT)
|AGE: 29||UFC FIGHTS: 16||WIN%: 81%||FDR: 5.31|
|KD%: 1.2%||KDA%: .83%||FIN%: 38%||LBF%: 13%|
Bobby Knuckles is what these power rankings are all about. He’s prodigious, racking up a hall-of-fame caliber resume at just 29-years-old. Whittaker’s story is far from over and he has a chance to end up one of the sport’s all-time-great fighters. However, he’s been finished by two of the MMA’s premier strikers, which is the facet Whittaker hangs his own hat on. We’ve now seen “The Reaper” noticeably hurt in his last five fights. It would behoove Whittaker to use his wrestling more, which has been effective when implemented. I’d like to see him jump from .15 to roughly .4 takedowns per round (50th percentile).
9. Stipe Miocic (HEAVYWEIGHT)
|AGE: 38||UFC FIGHTS: 18||WIN%: 78%||FDR: 4.68|
|KD%: 0.72%||KDA%: 0.65%||FIN%: 64%||LBF%: 17%|
At 38-years-old, Miocic’s best days as an athlete are likely behind him. That doesn’t mean we should sound the funeral bells. Jan Blachowicz won the light heavyweight title at age 37 and defended it against Israel Adesanya at age 38. The Cleveland native continues to demonstrate improvements in his nutrition and skill acumen while competing in a division that has traditionally hosted the sport’s oldest active competitors. Miocic maintains upside and would cement himself in the G.O.A.T. conversation should he reclaim the heavyweight title.
8. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (STRAWWEIGHT)
|AGE: 33||UFC FIGHTS: 14||WIN%: 71%||FDR: 9.43|
|KD%: 0.01%||KDA%: 0.23%||FIN%: 20%||LBF%: 7%|
Joanna “Champion” isn’t here because she’s a fearless badass. She is here because she is a former champion, arguably re-won the belt in her last bout with Zhang Weili, and has taken on the best WMMA has to offer since setting foot in the UFC. Also known as “The Boogeywoman”, Joanna has only lost to UFC champions, while running up ungodly strike totals on overwhelmed challengers. Her performances vs Andrade, Zhang, and Shevchenko all demonstrate that she’s among the sport’s most formidable competitors.
7. Valentina Shevchenko (FLYWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 32||UFC FIGHTS: 11||WIN%: 82%||FDR: 4.69|
|KD%: 0.2%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 44%||LBF%: 0%|
Perhaps the most brilliant technician on this list, Shevchenko has no issue dancing beneath Amanda Nunes’ thunderous shadow, using its shade to collect bodies and cash checks. It’s difficult to properly capture the mechanistic poetry of “Bullet’s” fighting style as she outclasses opponents. Should she have been birthed with a bigger frame, she may have defeated Nunes – her only UFC losses to date. A dominant performance in a superfight with another female champion is the obvious path to a higher ranking.
6. Israel Adesanya (MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 31||UFC FIGHTS: 10||WIN%: 90%||FDR: 6.29|
|KD%: 1.73%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 44%||LBF%: 0%|
Here we have arguably the most evolved striker to step into the octagon. It has taken the artist known as Stylebender just three years to accumulate 10 UFC fights. In doing so, he’s gone 9-1, securing the middleweight title and defending it twice. While one could doubt Adesanya’s ascending trajectory due to his loss to 15th-ranked Jan Blachowicz, we at Scraptitude are measured. The loss to the light heavyweight champion established two things: 1) Adesanya can compete with the best at the weight class. 2) Notions of Adesanya being a big middleweight are overblown.
5. Francis Ngannou (HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 34||UFC FIGHTS: 13||WIN%: 85%||FDR: 5.47|
|KD%: 4.3%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 100%||LBF%: 0%|
“Film grinders are likely to disagree with Ngannou being named as a top-15 UFC fighter. He doesn’t have a diverse or technical skill profile, relying on physical gifts and unsurpassed punching power. So I ask you, did Bob Sapp beat down Ernesto Hoost because of his picture-perfect technique? Heavyweights play by different rules. Being the biggest, scariest, most destructive force has a long history of success at the highest level of combat sports. Ngannou is the George Foreman of the UFC heavyweights and I fear for an aging Stipe in the rematch.”
The above is an excerpt from the previous rankings. In the time since, Ngannou has taken the heavyweight throne, knocking out the consensus UFC heavyweight G.O.A.T. For Ngannou, the skills are catching up to his immense physical tools. In terms of power, he’s an absolute anomaly, finishing every single one of his victories and carrying a UFC-leading 4.3% KD%. Long live the king.
4. Max Holloway (FEATHERWEIGHT)
(SEE: Method and Madness Article)
|AGE: 29||UFC FIGHTS: 24||WIN%: 75%||FDR: 10.01|
|KD%: 0.30%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 61%||LBF%: 4%|
If there was any doubt about the greatness of Max Holloway, he silenced critics with a statement performance against Boston’s Calvin Kattar. Before the fight, many considered Kattar a nightmare stylistic matchup who would test the bravado (and chin) of the always-game Hawaiian. Holloway went on to drill 271 shots into the head of his overmatched opponent and reignite enthusiasm for his title hunt. However, the 4th slot in our power rankings is likely the highest Max will ever climb. While tempered, his 75% WIN% does underline the limitations of his approach. We’ve seen a failure to make on-the-fly adjustments in the McGregor, Poirier II, and Volkanovski fights.
3. Jon Jones (HEAVYWEIGHT)
|AGE: 33||UFC FIGHTS: 21||WIN%: 95%||FDR: 9.92|
|KD%: 0.30%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 50%||LBF%: 0%|
Bar none, Jon Jones is the standard of excellence in MMA. After years of light heavyweight dominance, “Bones” leaps to heavyweight in one of the sport’s most compelling storylines. Having bridged two generations, Jon eclipses all of his contemporaries, and that shows in the numbers. However, Jones’ two most recent opponents have each provided a stiff test, and before that, he bullied a miscast challenger in Anthony Smith. It’s been quite a while since we have seen the former light heavyweight champion turn in a dominant performance against an anticipated contender. A win over the 5th-ranked Ngannou would bounce Jones back to his #1 spot.
2. Kamaru Usman (WELTERWEIGHT CHAMPION)
|AGE: 33||UFC FIGHTS: 13||WIN%: 100%||FDR: 9.57|
|KD%: 0.68%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 31%||LBF%: 0%|
There is no overestimating Kamaru Usman. In his recent test against longtime teammate Gilbert Burns, Usman demonstrated the new wrinkles added to his game under the tutelage of Trevor Whittman. Finishing two tough adversaries in his last three fights, The Nigerian Nightmare has accumulated four knockdowns and established a reputation for his striking prowess. In the process, Usman has continued to demonstrate superior endurance and durability. He’s arguably the most complete fighter in the sport.
1. Amanda Nunes (BW/FW CHAMPION)
|AGE: 33||UFC FIGHTS: 17||WIN%: 88%||FDR: 9.21|
|KD%: 0.85%||KDA%: 0.00%||FIN%: 73%||LBF%: 12%|
The sheer dominance exhibited by Amanda Nunes is unsurpassed. The Lioness has tallied 12 straight victories, 7 coming by way of first-round stoppage. Fight after fight, she justifies blowout odds in a way only rivaled by Valentina Shevchenko, an opponent whom Nunes has felled twice. With one division tamed and the other extinguished, the two-division champion has the utmost claim to the power rankings throne.