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
Chris Daukaus continued his ascent up the heavyweight rankings with his KO victory over Shamil Abdurakhimov at UFC 266, this past Saturday. Daukaus is now 4-0 in the UFC, with all four wins coming by way of knockout. The Philadelphia police officer took Abdurakhimov’s No. 7 ranking with the victory.
One could make the argument for Daukaus to be ranked higher than No. 6 ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik whose ranking didn’t change after his loss to No. 4 Curtis Blaydes on the pay per view portion of Saturday night’s UFC 266 card. I believe No. 7 is a fair ranking for Daukaus; however, I strongly believe that Abdurakhimov should have dropped more than one spot
Shamil Abdurakhimov ranked No. 8 at heavyweight
Two weeks ago, in this column, I wrote about how Shamil Abdurakhimov should not be ranked after not having fought in over two years. Despite his inactivity combined with losing to previous No. 10 ranked Daukus, Abdurakhimov only dropped one spot in the heavyweight rankings.
I believe Abdurakhimov is No. 8 because he has a win over current No. 9 Marcin Tybura. This was Abdurakhimov’s last victory, which came in April of 2019. Since his Tybura fight, Abdurakhimov has only fought twice, with stoppage losses to Curtis Blaydes and Chris Daukaus.
Meanwhile, Tybura has won five in a row which includes victories over current ranked heavyweights in Sergei Spivac and Walt Harris, as well as notable victories over Ben Rothwell and Greg Hardy. Tybura’s five fight winning streak came when Abdurakhimov was inactive.
I feel that Abdurakhimov should be ranked no higher than No. 12. He should not be ranked higher than No. 11 ranked Tom Aspinall, who, like Daukaus, is 4-0 in the UFC with 4 finishes. It makes sense that Aspinall is ranked lower than Daukaus since he hasn’t had the quality of opposition of Daukaus. Nevertheless, Aspinall has faced some tough competition in his own right. Aspinall gave Andrei Arlovski his only loss in his last four. The British prospect defeated then No. 14 ranked Sergei Spivac by first round knockout in his last fight, in early September. Aspinall scored his four UFC victories while Abdurakhimov was inactive.
If Abdurakhimov would have rightfully been taken out of the rankings, after he went over 18 months without competing, he would not have been voted back in the rankings after coming back and losing, following a two-year absence.
I feel that more weight should be given to quality wins by active fighters like Aspinall and Tybura. Less weight should be given to past wins of inactive fighters like Abdurakhimov, who hasn’t had a victory in over two and a half years.
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.