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 MMA fight analysis updates.

1. Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1)

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 his spectacular submission victory over Ray Borg at UFC 216, Johnson has now defended his strap a record-breaking 11 times. 

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.

2. Jon Jones (22-1 w/ 1NC)

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 has twice been suspended after testing positive during drug testing within the past two years. There is no doubt of Jones’ skill, but his conduct away from the sport has hurt his status. 


Since landing in the Octagon four 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 he has done so by absolutely dominating elite-level opponents.

4. Max Holloway (19-3)

After back-to-back dominant performances against the legendary Jose Aldo, Max Holloway’s position on this list can no longer be denied. The Hawaiian is now riding a ridiculous 12-fight winning streak in the UFC with victories over Aldo, Anthony Pettis and Cub Swanson, to name a few.

Holloway is aggressive, technically skilled and has the ability to finish a fight in any phase of the game. What really separates him, though, is his fight IQ. Very few fighters in the world can game-plan and adjust in the cage the way that “Blessed” does. Watch his first fight against Aldo, where he knowingly gives up Round 1 to set himself up for the finish moving forward. At just 26 years old, the sky is the limit for Holloway. 

5. Daniel Cormier (19-1 w/ 1NC)

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 that may never be avenged. The sad reality is that Cormier’s career will always be tied to Jones, which minimizes DC’s accomplishments. 

6. Stipe Miocic (17-2)

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 Sportsbook 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 5-0 in his past five bouts with four victories coming in the first round. Miocic’s ability to dictate the pace of the fight by utilizing his length and defensive wrestling ability is unmatched in the heavyweight division. 

7. Tony Ferguson (23-3)

Many see Tony Ferguson as the true UFC lightweight champion, even if he only holds the interim strap. The unorthodox, aggressive striker has won his past 10 fights in the UFC – seven of which have come via stoppage. “El Cucuy” comes from the new generation of fighters and works to integrate all of his skills – of which there are many – flawlessly together thanks to his phenomenal movement. 

Nobody really knows what is next for Ferguson. Typically the interim champ gets to challenge for the undisputed title in their next bout but we don’t know when/if Conor McGregor is going to return to the Octagon. 

8. Tyron Woodley (18-3 w/ 1 Draw)

There may be no better fighter in the world at eliminating his opponent’s strengths. Tyron Woodley is a master at keeping himself safe while sticking to his game plan. The former collegiate wrestler still has some of the best grappling defense around but has developed a striking game around his powerful right hands that causes his opponents to be hesitant in the cage.

Is this always a pretty style? No. But “The Chosen One” has made elite-level competitors look average – at best. 

9. Georges St-Pierre (26-2)

Georges St-Pierre was possibly the first true mixed martial artist to dominate the UFC. GSP holds black belts in Kyokushin karate, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Gaidojutsu and Shidoken. Few have ever controlled space and pace the way GSP has, as the Canadian is able to pick opponents apart at a distance in striking or suffocate them in the grappling game.

Many were wondering just how great GSP still was after taking four years off the sport but he came back to defeat Michael Bisping at UFC 217 – becoming just the fourth person to ever hold UFC titles in two different weight classes.

10. T.J. DILLASHAW (15-3)

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 proved that he is going to be a staple among the elite when he finished Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 to reclaim the bantamweight title.

On The Cusp

Khabib Nurmagomedov: Nobody doubts Nurmy’s prowess inside the Octagon, but weight-cutting issues and injuries have made his appearances few and far between. 

Robert Whittaker: The current UFC middleweight champion has been crushing the competition thanks to his finishing ability and cardio. One title defense and he likely cracks the top 10.

Eddie Alvarez: He put to bed any concerns people had after his brutal victory over Justin Gaethje. Now he just needs to work toward regaining the lightweight crown. 

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