Michael Bisping doesn’t believe Islam Makhachev or Alexander Volkanovski are the rightful heirs to the No. 1 pound-for-pound throne.
Earlier this month, Islam Makhachev put his UFC lightweight championship on the line for the first time against current 145-pound titleholder Alexander Volkanovski. It was the first time in promotional history that the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world squared off with the man sitting in the No. 2 spot and the fight did not disappoint. The two warriors engaged in a back-and-forth battle for 25 minutes that saw Makhachev retain his title via unanimous decision.
Despite scoring a win over the No. 1 ranked fighter in the world, Islam Makhachev has remained in the No. 2 spot igniting a debate over who the true pound-for-pound king is among fans and fighters. However, if you ask Michael Bisping, neither Islam Makhachev nor Alexander Volkanovski is deserving of the No. 1 ranking. Speaking in a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, ‘The Cout’ said:
“Who is the pound-for-pound number one? … That is the big story,” Michael Bisping said. “Recently, we had UFC 284… number one pound-for-pound against the number two… A lot of rankings still have Alexander Volkanovski as the pound-for-pound number one (even though he lost)… Volkanovski is still, against Islam, probably pound-for-pound a better fighter… (But), I don’t think Alexander Volkanovski is the pound-for-pound number one on the planet.
“That title belongs to a man that returns next week to the Octagon. Of course, I’m talking about Jonny ‘Bones’ Jones. He’s been out of action for a while, three years away from the Octagon. We know this. But that’s the guy. That’t the guy who’s run roughshod over the light heavyweight division for years, generations, taking out champion after champion,” Bisping continued. “We’re splitting hairs here, because they’re all good… However, Jon Jones, when you look at what he’s done… You can’t deny the man” (h/t MMA News)
Is Michael Bisping Forgetting About Jon Jones’ Lackluster Performances Against Thiago Santo and Dominick Reyes?
While one can respect and understand how Michael Bisping came to the conclusion that Jon Jones is deserving of the No. 1 P4P ranking, it seems as though ‘The Count’ is forgetting Jon Jones’ last two lackluster appearances in the Octagon.
Jon Jones will make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon on March 4 when he challenges Ciryl Gane for the vacant UFC heavyweight championship. ‘Bones’ has not competed in more than three years, making him a curious choice as the top of Bisping’s personal pound-for-pound ranking. Jones has also had multiple decision victories that were highly scrutinized by fans that believe a “champion’s advantage” is the only thing that saved Jones from defeat.
In 2013, many fans felt that Alexander Gustafsson did enough to defeat Jones for the light heavyweight title at UFC 165. ‘Bones’ eventually put the controversy to bed with a third-round knockout of Gustafsson five years later at UFC 232. However, fans were once again calling foul after Jones escaped with closely contested decisions over Thiago Santos and Dominick Reyes before vacating the title to make his heavyweight transition.
Do you agree with Michael Bisping? Let us know who you think is the UFC’s No. 1 ranked fighter in the comments section below.