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MMA Fighter Rankings: Pound-for-Pound

For decades, boxing observers attempted to pin a Best Pound-For-Pound Fighter label on one boxer. Whether it was Tyson in his heyday, Roy Jones in numerous weight classes, or the Pacquiao vs Mayweather debate, fans wanted to pick one fighter as the best. It’s the same for MMA, with even more heated debate as the UFC now dwarfs boxing in popularity.

Who is the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet? There is art and science in our list, and some good ol' down-home opinion based on what fight fan Justin Hartling sees in the Octagon. See the OddsShark Pound-For-Pound Rankings below and watch for updates.

1. Demetrious Johnson (24-2-1)

There is no more technically perfect fighter in MMA today than Demetrious Johnson. He’s able to move and exploit angles like few fighters have ever been able to do in combat sports. With a first round TKO victory over Henry Cejudo at UFC 197, ‘Mighty Mouse’ now has eight consecutive title defenses.

Johnson has defeated all-comers and none of them have come close to slowing him down. ‘Mighty Mouse’ has only lost one fight in the UFC and that was back in 2011 when he fought Dominick Cruz for the Bantamweight Title.

2. Jon Jones (22-1)

No doubt about it, Jon Jones is one of the greatest fighters ever. ‘Bones’ has been damn near unbeatable, with his one career loss coming from a DQ against Matt Hamill in 2009. Jones had defended his light heavyweight title eight consecutive times, which is the most in divisional history, before he was stripped due to legal problems.

Most still see Jones as the champion, despite Daniel Cormier officially holding the belt, so it comes as no surprise that Bones was scheduled to get an immediate title match at UFC 197. However, followng an injury to DC, Jones defeated Ovince Saint Preux at the event in a rather lackluster decision for the interim title.

3. Rafael dos Anjos (24-7)

It took over seven years in the UFC for Rafael dos Anjos to finally get a shot at the UFC lightweight title and he did not disappoint. RDA put on a dominant five round performance against Anthony Pettis, a fighter that was once looked at as being unstoppable, at UFC 185. The Brazilian’s list of victories is a who’s-who of top tier fighters (Pettis, Benson Henderson, Donald Cerrone twice).

RDA’s decimated Cerrone in his first title defense to end 2015. It took 66 seconds for the world to fully realize that dos Anjos is one of the best P4P fighters on the planet.

4. Dominick Cruz (21-2)

Dominick Cruz has not lost since 2007, a loss he would later avenge. Despite huge layoffs due to multiple injuries, Cruz is on a 12-fight winning streak with wins over Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez (twice), Urijah Faber and Demetrious Johnson. Cruz has proven to be a ghost in the Octagon as his footwork has made him nearly unhittable. A tight win over T.J. Dillashaw cemented himself as the top 135-er on the planet.

Cruz will defend his newly won bantamweight belt against Faber in a rubber match at UFC 199.

5. LUKE ROCKHOLD (15-2)

Luke Rockhold is easily one of the most well rounded fighters in the world and he proved that when he made Chris Weidman’s face look like hamburger at UFC 194. The American Kickboxing Academy product got the opportunity to flash more than just his striking, showing his underrated wrestling and ground-and-pound skills in that fight.

Rockhold now has victories over Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Michael Bisping in his past three fights with only the title fight making it into the third round. His first title defense will come at UFC 199, when he will face off against Bisping for a second time. 

6. TJ DILLASHAW (11-2)

Ever since being thrust into the main event of UFC 173 to compete for the bantamweight title, T.J. Dillashaw has looked amazing. His mixture of aggression and Octagon control has proven he deserves to be looked at as one of the world’s best, especially with two wins against previous P4P king Renan Barao. Dillashaw has parted ways with Team Alpha Male to train in Colorado with Elevation Fight Team after splitting his past fight camps between the two.

Dillashaw may have lost his bantamweight title to Cruz, but if was far from a beating. Dillashaw proved that he derseves to be among the elite fighters in the world and an immediate rematch would be fun to see.

7. CONOR MCGREGOR (19-3)

Since landing in the Octagon two and a half years ago, Conor McGregor went from a relative unknown to the most popular fighter on the planet. Some people want to discredit his fighting abilities because he talks shit, but he backs it up better than anyone else.

There may not be a deadlier and more creative striker in the world and his knockout over Jose Aldo firmly entrenched him as the best featherweight on the planet. However, his P4P rankings took a hit after he jumped to welterweight and lost to Nate Diaz by second round submission at UFC 196. Though there have been rumors of McGregor not cutting to 145 lbs again, that is the weight that he can dominate at.

8. JOSE ALDO (25-2)

Conor McGregor’s 16-second knockout of Jose Aldo hurt the long-tenured featherweight champion, but ‘Scarface’ is still one of the best on the planet. Aldo got counter-punch perfectly, but more than anything he looked like he was full of nervous energy during the walkouts and fighter introductions.  

There still may be no better fighter in the world when it comes to endurance or stamina. Since joining the UFC, Aldo has won five of his fights by decision, all of which were five-rounders. 

9. Robbie Lawler (26-10, 1NC)

Since rejoining the UFC in 2013, Lawler is 8-1 with four knockouts and has become the welterweight champion. ‘Ruthless’ has proven he can go the distance with decision victories over Johny Hendricks, Matt Brown and Carlos Condit, but his hands are possibly the heaviest in the UFC and he’s always capable of knocking out any competitor.

Lawler is now widely expected to face off against Tyron Woodley at UFC 201. A win over Woodley at that event will mean that Lawler has victories over four of the top fix ranked fighters in the divison accorsing to the UFC's rankings. 

10. Daniel Cormier (17-1)

Daniel Comier has proven his remarkable abilities at both heavyweight and light heavyweight while picking up wins against some of the biggest names in the sport today. Cormier has translated his Olympic caliber wrestling skills to MMA and has shown time and time again that he is able to control almost every fighter on the planet.

The lone blemish on his record is a loss to rival Jon Jones - a defeat he will aim to rectify when the two square off at UFC 200. 

On The Cusp

Fabricio Werdum: 'Vai Cavalo' suffered a setback when his recklessness got the better of him and he lost his UFC Heavyweight belt at UFC 198. 

Cain Velazquez: If Cain could stay healthy enough to fight twice a year he would be called one of the best heavyweights to ever fight. 

Georges St-Pierre: There have been more rumblings that the one-time pound-for-pound champ wants to make a return to the Octagon.

Chris Weidman: The All-American was undefeated before one critical mistake against Rockhold doomed him.

Frankie Edgar: With a victory over Jose Aldo at UFC 200, then Edgar will certainly vault into the top 10. 

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