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MMA Fighter Rankings: Pound-for-Pound

For decades, combat sports observers have attempted to pin a Best Pound-For-Pound Fighter label on someone. Whether it was Tyson in his heyday, Roy Jones in numerous weight classes – hell, even wrestling has its supermatch arguments – fans have wanted to crown 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. CONOR MCGREGOR (21-3)

Since landing in the Octagon three 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.

McGregor became the first fighter to ever hold two UFC belts simultaneously when he defeated Eddie Alvarez to claim the lightweight gold at UFC 205. There is no fighter on the planet who has such proven success at multiple weight classes and have done so by absolutely dominating elite-level opponents. 

2. 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 lost only one fight in the UFC and that was back in 2011 when he fought Dominick Cruz for the bantamweight title.

3. 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.

Jones was expected to challenge for the light heavyweight belt at UFC 200, but he was pulled from the event after being informed by the USADA of a potential doping violation. After fighting the allegations, Jones was suspended for a year dating until July 2017. 

There is no doubt of Jones' skill, but his conduct away from the sport has hurt his status. 

4. Dominick Cruz (22-1)

Dominick Cruz has not lost since 2007, a loss he would later avenge. Despite huge layoffs due to multiple injuries, Cruz is on a 13-fight winning streak with wins over Ian McCall, Joseph Benavidez (twice), Urijah Faber (twice) 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 his status as the top 135-er on the planet.

Cruz easily defended his 135 lbs strap against Faber at UFC 199. Up next is a bout against Cody Garbrandt, who is a perfect 10-0 in his career. 

5. JOSE ALDO (26-2)

Conor McGregor’s 13-second knockout of Jose Aldo hurt the long-tenured featherweight champion, but ‘Scarface’ is still one of the best on the planet. Aldo got counterpunched 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 six of his fights by decision, all of which were five-rounders. If there was any doubt about 'Scarface' following his loss to McGregor, it was obliterated with his UFC 200 victory over Frankie Edgar. 

6. Daniel Cormier (18-1)

Daniel Cormier 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 – which sadly may never be redeemed with Jones' suspension.

7. TJ DILLASHAW (13-3)

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 it was far from a beating. Dillashaw proved that he deserves to be among the elite fighters in the world and an immediate rematch would be fun to see.

8. Stipe Miocic (16-2)

Stipe Miocic proved to be one of the best strikers in the world when he knocked out Fabricio Werdum in the first round to claim the UFC heavyweight championship. However, the former Golden Gloves winner is more than just a boxer, as he mixes precision strikes with an amazing wrestling pedigree – he is a former NCAA Division I wrestler.

Stipe is 5-1 in his past six bouts with four victories coming within the first round and the lone loss being a five-round decision to Junior dos Santos. Miocic's ability to dictate the pace of the fight by utilizing his length or defensive wrestling ability is unmatched in the heavyweight division. 

9. Cain Velasquez (14-2)

Cain Velasquez is one of the greatest heavyweights to ever grace a cage. Cain is an aggressive boxer with crisp hands and has the ability to end his opponent at any point. Velasquez is also a two-time D-I All-American wrestler and has a tendency to shoot for takedowns in the center of the Octagon – which he will often be successful at. 

The only knock against him has been his injury history, as he has only fought twice since the start of 2013. However, he proved that he has not been hampered by those after easily dismantling Travis Browne at UFC 200. 

10. Eddie Alvarez (28-5)

Eddie Alvarez cemented himself as one of the best lightweights to ever grace the cage after knocking out Rafael dos Anjos in the first round to claim the UFC title. Though he may not be the flashiest fighter in the world, Alvarez is brilliant technically and when you couple that with his 13 years of professional experience, he is extremely hard to defeat.

It's incredibly difficult to write off his career's worth of work based on his losing effort against Conor McGregor at UFC 205. We will need to see how well he bounces back from that shellacking to cement his position among the best P4P in the world.

On The Cusp

Michael Bisping: Bisping shocked the world by beating Luke Rockhold to win the UFC middleweight championship and a few defenses will get his name mentioned with the best.

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. 

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

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