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
When the UFC rankings were released this week, a noticeable name was missing in the women’s strawweight and women’s pound for pound rankings. Joanna Jedrzejczyk last stepped foot in the Octagon at UFC 248 in March of 2020 when she battled Zhang Weili for the strawweight title in a fight of the year classic.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk removed from the strawweight rankings
I don’t see a problem with Jedrzejczyk being removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity after not having fought for over 19 months. I said in the past in this column that in my opinion a fighter should be removed from the rankings due to inactivity if they haven’t fought in over 18 months.
Where I do see a problem is with the lack of consistency when it comes to removing fighters due to inactivity. I’ve written about Shamil Abdurakhimov and Sergei Pavlovich remaining in the rankings despite not having fought in over two years.
Brianna Van Buren ranked No. 15 at strawweight
With Jedrzejczyk out of the rankings, we see Van Buren enter at No. 15. Van Buren is just 1-1 in the UFC with a victory over Livinha Sousa and a loss against Tecia Torres in her last fight. There is no shame in losing to current No. 8 ranked strawweight Tecia Torres; however, the lone UFC victory should not be enough to be ranked in the women’s strawweight division, the division that is widely considered the deepest women’s division in the UFC. It should also be noted that Van Buren hasn’t been very active herself with her lone win coming in July of 2019 and her last fight versus Torres was 16 months ago in June of 2020.
Who should be ranked instead of van Buren?
Loma Lookboonmee is 3-1 in the UFC with her only loss coming against current No. 13 ranked Angela Hill. The 25-year-old Thai fighter is coming off of back-to-back unanimous decision victories over Sam Hughes and Jinh Yu Frey. Lookboonmee is scheduled to face Cheyanne Buys on November 20.
Jessica Penne returned in April after being out for four years with a victory over Lupita Godinez. She returned in August with a first round armbar victory over fellow former title challenger Karolina Kowalkiewicz. Penne is scheduled t fight Brazilian prospect Luana Pinheiro on November 20.
Randa Markos doesn’t have the best record, but the Canadian has been actively fighting the who’s who of the 115-pound division. The TUF 20 semi-finalist has losses against current and past ranked fighters in Mackenzie Dern, Amanda Ribas, Claudia Gadelha, Nina Nunes, Alexa Grasso, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Jessica Penne. She has a 2017 win over current No. 2 ranked Carla Esparza, a 2018 draw against current No. 3 ranked Marina Rodriguez, and a 2019 first round submission victory over current No. 13 ranked Angela Hill. Markos is coming off a victory this past Saturday over Liviana Souza who Van Buren had her only UFC victory against.
Another strawweight who should not be ranked is No. 14 Felice Herrig. It’s been over a year since Herrig has fought, she has lost three in a row, and she hasn’t won a fight since 2017. Herrig does not currently have a fight scheduled.
Upcoming Notable UFC Strawweight Fights
Oct 30 – (10) Amanda Ribas vs. (12) Virna Jandiroba
Nov 6 – (1) Zhang Weili vs. (C) Rose Namajunas
Nov 20 – Jessica Penne vs. Luana Pinheiro
Nov 20 – Luana Lookboonmee vs. Cheyanne Buys
Dec 18 – (6) Nina Nunes vs. (11) Amanda Lemos
Andre Arlovski unranked at heavyweight
With his victory on October 16 over Carlos Felipe, the veteran Belarussian has now won four of his last five over the last year and a half. Durning this stretch, the 42-year-old former champ has defeated a couple of heavyweight prospects just outside the rankings in Canadian Tanner Boser and Brazilian Carlos Filipe. Arlovski snapped Felipe’s three fight winning streak. Arlovski’s only loss in his last five was against current No. 11 ranked Tom Aspinall.
For the regular readers of this column, you know who I’m going to say Arlovski should be ranked ahead of. Sergei Pavlovich has now been inactive for two years. Besides his inactivity, Pavlovich’s two UFC victories are less impressive than Arlovski’s recent victories. Pavlovich defeated Marcelo Golm and Maurice Greene, two fighters who are not in the UFC anymore. It should be highlighted that Arlovski’s recent five fight stretch has come while Pavlovich ahs been inactive.
It’s blatantly obvious that Arlovski should be ranked ahead of Pavlovich. I’ve written previous Rankings Review columns about how Tai Tuivasa should be ranked after winning three in a row by first round stoppage and how Alexander Romanov should be ranked after going 4-0 in the UFC. Yes, they all should be ranked ahead of Pavlovich; however, the real debate should be, who should be ranked between Arlovski, Romanov and Tuivasa?
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.