How Are the UFC Rankings Determined? Fully Explained Here!


All MMA fans know that the UFC is the number 1 MMA promotion with over 600 fighters. To make sure fans know the best fighters in the organization and in different weight classes, they use a simple system borrowed from boxing. They call it the UFC rankings.

ufc rankings
Screenshot of the official UFC rankings page

Selected journalists from different MMA media vote on the rankings weekly within 48 hours of a UFC event. They vote on who they think are the 15 best fighters in each division and the pound-for-pound ranks. The UFC then uses the results of their votes to decide the position of the fighters in the rankings.

Keep reading this article as we will go into more details about how UFC rankings work.

How are Rankings Determined in the UFC?

As I said earlier, the workings of the UFC rankings are simple. 20 media members from different MMA networks vote weekly. Each week, their job is to vote who are the top 15 fighters in each weight class. They also vote on pound-for-pound rankings to find out who the best fighters are regardless of the weight class. The UFC then collects all the votes and uses the final results to make the changes in the rankings.

There are no strict criteria on how the members of the voting panel should vote. The rankings are entirely based on their opinion only, but at the same time, they must stay neutral. In most cases, they use current as well as past fighter UFC results to decide fighters’ position in the rankings. They use data and stats such as wins and losses. Most of them focus on recent fights and results as well as the reputation and legacy of the fighter. Some other factors that play a big role in their votes are the method of victory and the quality of opponents.

It’s important to point up that they do not vote interim and undisputed champions. This is because the champ is clearly the best in the weight class while the interim champ is the second best.

How often are UFC rankings updated?

The UFC rankings get updates weekly even when there are no UFC events. Here is one example of how UFC updates the rankings.

For instance, let’s suppose a #12 ranked fighter competes against the #3 fighter on Saturday. If he/she wins the fight, the media members would, in that case, vote for that fighter to climb the rankings and enter the top 5. By Tuesday, the UFC would make the changes by moving the #12 ranked fighter up inside the top 5, while the losing fighter would drop down a few places. It’s as simple as that.

Who votes on UFC rankings?

According to the official UFC website, the votes are usually done by MMA media members from all over the world, mostly journalists. In 2013, around 100 journalists voted but this has dropped to 20 – 30 now.

In the past, the UFC used to publish the details of the voting panel but they have since stopped this. As a result, we don’t know the names of all people who vote on the UFC rankings.

How many ranks are there in UFC?

The UFC rankings cover all 12 weight classes in the men’s and women’s divisions. The 15 best fighters in each division get ranked with the champion and interim champion on top. The 15 best overall fighters are also ranked in the pound-for-pound list. Since there are 12 UFC weight classes for both men and women, this means that we have 14 ranks, including the pound-for-pound lists as well.

What Does Pound-for-Pound mean in the UFC?

Pound-for-pound (P4P), is a ranking list that consists of only the best fighters from all weight classes. This term comes from boxing and one of the first fighters to receive this “title” was Sugar Ray Robinson. At the time, people called him a pound for pound king which meant “the best boxer in the world regardless of the weight class”. In modern days, pound for pound has become a part of the official ranking system in various sports like boxing, MMA, and wrestling.

Why is pound-for-pound important in the UFC?
A pound-for-pound ranking list is very important in the UFC because it shows us the best fighters regardless of the weight class. In some way, you can look at the #1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter as the “Ultimate Fighter”. He/she is, in most cases, the most skilled fighter who has faced and beat every opponent from their weight class or era. These are the finest athletes in the world and are often seen as the greatest as well.

How are UFC pound-for-pound rankings determined?
The process of ranking the best pound-for-pound fighters is the same as for weight classes. There are around 20 to 30 selected journalists from various MMA media networks who vote on the pound-for-pound rankings on a weekly basis. But the only difference is that this list ranks the best fighters from all weight classes.

UFC Pound-for-Pound Ranking

The pound for pound list consists of, in most cases, champions of each UFC weight class, and other best fighters. To find out which one is the best, the members of the panel would look for the most dominant fighters who have been on the longest winning streaks or have most title defenses for instance. They will also look at their legacy, the quality of the opponents they faced, and other factors such as how active they have been in their careers.

The current #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world is Nigeria’s Kamaru Usman – the UFC welterweight champion of the world.

Do you have any questions? Let me know in the comments section.

About Ojabowale Afolabi

Ojabowale Afolabi is a content marketing strategist at a leading logistics firm. When I am not creating marketing strategies, I contribute to MMA Planet's Casual corner. If you have any questions about MMA, don't hesitate to reach out on learning(@)

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