FAQ for MMA Prospects Rankings MMA Prospects Rankings are comprised of any fighter that has not participated in the UFC, PRIDE, Strikeforce main card, or a Bellator tournament (Bellator and Strikeforce sometimes sign guys to 1-fight contracts on their undercards as regional draws. This does not eliminate a prospect from eligibility).
There is no age limit. Glover Teixeira, Michel Prazeres, and Ryan Jimmo are all recent examples of why eliminating a prospect just because they are north of 30 is a mistake.
A prospect must have at least fought once professionally to be considered eligible. I will not rank prospects based solely off their past sporting success (amateur wrestling, BJJ tournaments, K-1 experience, etc.), who have never participated in a sanctioned MMA fight.
What criteria do you use to rank your prospects?
Potential. That is the big word in all of this. Which fighters competing around the world have the potential to one day be fighting on the biggest stage. Athletic backgrounds such as wrestling, K-1 experience, former crossover athletes from Judo, BJJ, or even pro football are taken into account. Many of the top fighters in the world come from some sort of athletic background that separates them from the pack. That’s my #1 criteria I am looking for. Beyond that, I start looking at the fighter’s record, his finishing rate, and the strength of competition he has faced.
If he shows decent potential, I will begin watching some footage from YouTube. I will then start looking at the camp he fights for and his ultimate potential of one day signing with the UFC or Bellator. If I stumble onto a prospect that is in his late 30’s with a solid record, but he fights out of an unknown camp and has continually fallen short against stiffer competition, there is a good chance I am not listing him in this report. I am not looking for guys that would simply fill the bottom barrels of the UFC's or Bellator’s rosters, but prospects that could actually be future contenders.
Here are some additional rankings criteria:
- Activity in the last 3 years
- Last 5 fights
- Most recent performance
- Strength of competition
- Performance against top competition
- Estimated ability against future competition
To make it simple, we only look at fights that have happened in the last 3 years of action. Thus, currently it is 2014, so the only fights that can be factored into a ranking are from the years 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. Anything before then is essentially wiped clean. Why is that? Fighters develop and decline rapidly. In order to provide rankings that are current and reflect what has happened in the now, rather than the past, we confine a fighter's activity to this 3-year window.
From there, we heavily utilize the fighter's last 5 fights. We look at these fights more so than any other action that may have happened in 2011 or 2012. We want our rankings to reflect how the fighter is currently performing. Therefore, if a fighter fights 12 times in the last 3 years, we will heavily emphasize their performance over the last 5 fights, rather than the previous ones.
There are many fighters sporting undefeated records from developing fight scenes, especially abroad. Something we take into consideration is the strength of competition they have faced. If a fighter has compiled a bunch of wins against competition that is lackluster they will likely have a difficult time moving up in the rankings until they face stiffer competition in order for us to accurately predict how they would perform against exceedingly tougher competition.
If a fighter has fought elite competition and fallen short, we factor in how they performed. If a fighter fairs well against a higher-ranked adversary, they could still move up in the rankings.
We watch nearly every fight, regardless of promotion in order to formulate these rankings.
* (NR) = Not Ranked
Reasons for exclusions from rankings:
- Inactivity over 18 months
- Changing weight classes. A fighter must debut in their new weight class in order to officially be ranked there. Upon their debut, they will immediately be removed from their former weight class.
- Retirement. Once a fighter is presumed retired based on interviews or lack of activity, they are removed from the rankings until further clarification is provided.
Former Prospects that have been called up to the Big Leagues (UFC or Bellat0r Tournaments):
Clifford Starks – Signed by UFC
Jake Hecht – Signed by UFC
Bruno Santos – Signed by Bellator
Vyacheslav Vasilevsky – Signed by Bellator
Giva Santana – Signed by Bellator
Andrew Craig – Signed by UFC
Daniel Sarafian – Signed by UFC
Cezar Ferreira – Signed by UFC
Thiago Perpetuo – Signed by UFC
Tom Watson – Signed by UFC
Tor Troeng – Signed by UFC
Jason Butcher – Signed by Bellator
Perry Filkins – Signed by Bellator
Antonio Braga Neto – Signed by UFC
Uriah Hall – Signed by UFC
Dylan Andrews – Signed by UFC
Josh Samman – Signed by UFC
Luke Barnatt – Signed by UFC
Krzysztof Jotko – Signed by UFC
Claudio Henrique Silva – Signed by UFC
Mats Nilsson – Signed by UFC
Andy Enz – Signed by UFC