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
Raquel Pennington re-entered the bantamweight rankings at No. 10 this week after her victory this past Saturday over No. 12 ranked Pannie Kianzad. Pennington was dropped from the UFC rankings due to inactivity. She had not fought since June of 2020 when she defeated Marion Reneau.
Raquel Pennington ranked No. 10 at bantamweight
Raquel Pennington should be ranked higher than No. 10 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Pennington came into her June 2020 fight ranked No. 6 against Marion Reneau. Pennington won a unanimous decision against Reneau who was ranked No. 10 at the time. She came back this past Saturday after 15 months away to defeat No. 12 ranked Pannie Kianzad.
Meisha Tate came back recently after being away for nearly five years and defeated Marion Reneau who was No. 12 at the time, two spots lower than when she fought Pennington. The win saw Tate re-enter the rankings at No. 8 which I did not disagree with. In Meisha Tate’s last fight before retiring in 2016, she lost to Pennington. Based on their recent results, Pennington should be ranked higher than Tate.
Pennington has won two in a row and three of her last four. All three of those wins have come against ranked opponents. Her only loss in that stretch was against current No. 2 Holly Holm. In July of 2019, Pennington defeated current No. 4 ranked Irene Aldana. Before the Aldana fight, Pennington lost to current No. 1 ranked Germaine De Randamie. Before the De Randamie fight, Pennington challenged for the bantamweight title, losing to current champ and female GOAT Amanda Nunes. Pennington has a less than stellar 12-8 record; however, she has been in there with the best the division has to offer.
Pennington is also ranked behind No. 9 Sara McMann who has only fought four times since September of 2017. McMann has gone 1-3 over that period, having lost to common opponent Marion Reneau. I think Pennington should be ranked a minimum of No. 8 and perhaps as high as No. 5 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
Should Pennington have been pulled from the UFC rankings due to inactivity?
In my last two Rankings Review column’s, I talked about Sergei Pavlovich and Shamil Abdurakhimov being ranked at heavyweight despite not having fought in over 22 months and over 24 months, respectively. We are seeing an obvious lack of consistency with fighters being ineligible for rankings due to inactivity. Pennington was inactive for a much shorter duration that Pavlovich and Abdurakhimov.
I said in the previously mentioned articles that, in my opinion, 18 months should be the maximum time that a fighter should remain eligible for rankings while inactive. Pennington went 15 months without competing. If Pennington never left the rankings, she likely would have gone into her fight this past Saturday versus Kianzad in the top 6. With a win over the surging Kianzad, Pennington would have at least maintained her ranking.
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.