It might be an understatement to say the UFC has some questionable rankings. You would expect rankings to be questionable as they are subjective; however, in this column, I will point out rankings that I think are glaring mistakes. I will also analyze significant movement in the rankings that I agree with.
Editorial Commentary by Peter Parsons
Casey O’Neil defeated Antonina Schevchenko this past Saturday by second round TKO. The Scottish born Australian, who fights out of Vegas, is now 3-0 in the UFC with three finishes.
Casey O’Neil ranked No. 14 at women’s flyweight
Casey O’Neil made her UFC debut in February of this year with a second round TKO over Shana Dobson, who was fresh off a major upset victory over Mariya Agaapova. O’Neil returned in June with a victory over Lara Procopia, who was coming off a victory over popular British flyweight Molly McCann. This past Saturday, O’Neil collected the biggest name on her resume in Antonina Schevchenko, to go 3-0 in the UFC with three finishes. Getting three finishes in your first three UFC fights is very rare in any of the women’s divisions.
Sometimes we don’t see fighters enter the rankings without beating a ranked contender. For example, why is heavyweight Tai Tuivasa not ranked after winning three straight by first round KO? Meanwhile Sergei Pavlovish is ranked after defeating previous No. 13 ranked heavyweight Marice Greene over 23 months ago. Greene has since lost three out of his last four and is no longer in the UFC.
On the other hand, why is Raulian Paiva ranked at bantamweight after a controversial majority decision victory over Kyler Philips who was ranked No. 14 at the time. This was Paiva’s only bantamweight victory after moving up from flyweight. Philips got his ranking after beating Song Yadong who is now unranked. Meanwhile Yadong holds many impressive victories at bantamweight including his most recent victory over Casey Kenney. Being ranked after winning one fight over a No. 14 ranked fighter could make sense at flyweight, however, it doesn’t make sense in the stacked UFC bantamweight division.
These are cases of voting panelists putting too much weight on a single victory over a lower ranked fighter and not enough weight on consecutive victories which is not easy to do in the UFC.
I was happy to see O’Neil in the rankings because we don’t always see a fighter enter the rankings without defeating a ranked opponent. I think O’Neil is very deserving of her No. 14 ranking.
Could O’Neil be ranked higher? I could see her being as high as No. 11 ahead of Roxanne Modafferi, Andrea Lee and Maycee Barber.
There are many good matchups to be made for O’Neil. The 24-year-old Australian seems to have all the tools to be a future title contender in the UFC women’s flyweight division.
Upcoming Notable UFC Women’s Flyweight Fights
Oct 16 – Manon Fiorot vs. Mayra Bueno Silva
Oct 16 – Sijara Eubanks vs. Luana Carolina
Nov 13 – (8) Jessica Eye vs. (12) Andrea Lee
Nov 20 – (6) Joanne Calderwood vs. (10) Alexa Grasso
Dec 11 – Gillian Robertson vs. Priscila Cachoeira
My rankings would look different than any other writer or fan who follows the sport closely. This is to be expected, as rankings are subjective. Rankings should be based primarily on results and not perceived potential or popularity.
Some people think rankings do not matter. Rankings do matter. They matter when it comes to matchmaking. They matter when it comes to contract negotiations.
Let’s keep the rankings conversation going. Do you agree or disagree with the above Ranking Review? Express your thoughts in the comments below.