What are Meta-Rankings?
All rankings are subjective, but they are still used for various purposes such as consensus and debate. Meta-Rankings should be able to show who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA. We collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites that regularly update their Top 10 rankings.
We compile the Top 10 MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 1 points for a first place ranking and 10 for a 10th place ranking. Any fighter that does not receive a Top 10 ranking, is assigned a score of 11. This is used to “normalize” the data so computations are weighted appropriately. Each fighter’s total points is divided by the number of ranking sites to determine their average rank and standing in the Meta-Rankings.
Unfortunately, we had to eliminate plenty of bigger name sites that do not rank fighters outside of the UFC.
In addition, each ranking site that was chosen has their own ranking criteria. Fighters that have been suspended or inactive may still show up on various rankings sites if they do not have the same criteria. For example, here on RankingMMA, we remove fighters with inactivity over 18 months. Sherdog has a 1-year inactivity window if the fighter does not have an upcoming fight booked, although they self-admittedly do not comply with it. FightMatrix has a 450-day inactivity window. MMAjunkie is 24 months of inactivity. Lastly, ESPN has no criteria listed. As for drug suspensions, RankingMMA has always removed fighters that have been suspended. After compiling these rankings and noticing we are the only site to do so, we may change that practice.
Werdum and Velasquez were consensus picks for #1 and #2. After that comes the debate. Overeem’s ranking a couple of votes for #3, but MMAjunkie’s ranking dropped him down. Other fighters receiving votes were Vitaly Minakov and Frank Mir.
Light Heavyweight Division
Jones, Cormier, and Anthony Johnson were consensus picks for #1-3. Bader narrowly edged out Gustafsson for the #4 spot, thanks to MMAjunkie ranking Gustafsson at 7. Other fighters receiving votes were Quinton Jackson and Corey Anderson.
Rockhold, Weidman, and Yoel Romero were consensus picks for #1-3. Fight Matrix was the only ranking site to rank Belfort higher than Jacare Souza. Tim Kennedy’s ranking was hurt due to being pulled out for inactivity on Sherdog and FightMatrix. Other fighters receiving votes were Anderson Silva, Robert Whittaker, David Branch, Uriah Hall, and Mamed Khalidov.
Lawler was the only consensus pick at #1. Rory MacDonald would have been a consensus for #2, but Fight Matrix had him at 3. A litany of fighters that were suspended are ranked (Lombard, Palhares, Shields). Lombard is not ranked by 3 of the ranking sites, but Sherdog and ESPN have him in their Top 10. Other fighters receiving votes were Rousimar Palhares, Jake Shields, Benson Henderson, and Neil Magny.
Dos Anjos was the only consensus pick at #1. Khabib Nurmagomedov would have likely been ranked #2, but he has been inactive for over 18 months. Despite the inactivity and no scheduled bout, MMAjunkie and ESPN have him ranked at #2. Gilbert Melendez, currently serving a lengthy suspension is still ranked by MMAjunkie, ESPN, and FightMatrix. Other fighters receiving votes were Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson, Justin Gaethje, Al Iaquinta, Evan Dunham, and Benson Henderson.
There were no consensus rankings for Featherweight. Even UFC champion Conor McGregor did not get a unanimous #1 rank, which makes him the only UFC champion not to be a consensus #1. Edgar and Aldo were tied for #2. Other fighters receiving votes were Jeremy Stephens, Dennis Bermudez, Hacran Dias, and Daniel Weichel.
Cruz was the only consensus pick at #1. Raphael Assuncao’s ranking was hurt by his inactivity on Sherdog and FightMatrix. There was a 3-way tie for 9th place with Thomas Almeida, Eduardo Dantas, and Darrion Caldwell all averaging 10.0. Other fighters receiving votes were Caldwell, Marcos Galvao, Takeya Mizugaki, Michael McDonald, Jimmie Rivera, Frankie Saenz, and John Lineker.