UFC president Dana White has been critical about MMA rankings. He had long asserted that Fedor Emelianenko should not be considered the world’s number one since he does nto consistently fight the best. He also has stated that he does not believe that Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem should be in the top ten. While I am not so sure about Overeem not being a top ten I do believe that there are problems in rankings. I think the tendency of some is to over rank some non-UFC fighters. They may rack up wins and impressive records, but who are they doing it against.
Let’s look at a few cases…
New Bellator signee Jay Hieron has an impressive 19-4 career record. Bloody Elbow ranks him as the #15 welterweight in the world. Hieron went 0-2 in the UFC with losses to Georges St. Pierre and Jonathan Goulet. While Hieron has compiled a nice 7 fight win streak he has done so against lesser competition. He has a career of beating up on guys who couldn’t hack it against the best. His last two losses came to UFC rejects Brad Blackburn and Chris Wilson. If someone would simply rank Hieron based on wins maybe he would deserve top 15 status, but all along guys like Mike Swick (16), Mike Pyle (18), and Matt Serra (19) all have a better resume of who they have beaten.
I find it ironic that Josh Thomson is ranked at #16 above a guy who beat him easily in Clay Guida. Thomson has consistently fought no-namers while piling up wins. Sure he beat Melendez and controversially beat Cavalcante, but he also lost to Yves Edwards who is unranked.
One of the more over ranked fights I believe is Jorge Santiago. Santiago lost to Alan Belcher and Chris Leben in the UFC (both are ranked below him) and to Mamed Khalidov and yet Santiago in ranked 9th. I think Santiago would get chewed up and spit out by guys like C.B. Dolloway in the UFC. He would struggle against top 20 UFC middleweights.
There are other cases. Fabricio Werdum is ranked ahead of the guy who beat him in Dos Santos. Robbie Lawler is ranked # 12 yet he has lost two of his last three fights and had a less than stellar UFC stint which included a loss to Pete Spratt. And somebody tell me who Ben Askren has beaten to deserve a #17 ranking in the world?
It seems to me that it is harder to gain a high ranking in the UFC even though you fight stiffer competition. Guys in smaller and less competitive organizations may rack up wins, but may not be world class. Until they can be considered the best they have to fight the best.
What do you say?