The debate about which UFC fighter is the best has raged on since the sport’s creation. Most other sports lend themselves to world rankings relatively easily; it is far more challenging for combat sports like the UFC. Why? Because someone in the heavyweight division will never enter the octagon with a featherweight, yet the more slight athlete may be the better all-round fighter. This is where the pound-for-pound rankings come in.

Pound-for-pound rankings are based on a range of criteria, but they share a common goal: to determine who the best fighter would be if everyone were the same size. The Ultimate Fighting Championship has published its pound-for-pound rankings since February 2013, and they go a long way to settle the argument of who is the best MMA fighter on the planet?

Kamaru Usman – Welterweight

Kamaru Usman is the current number one pound-for-pound athlete in the UFC, and it is easy to see why “The Nigerian Nightmare” is so highly thought of. Usman has ranked first in these rankings since late September 2021 and does not look like relinquishing his grip on the number one spot anytime soon. His 20-1 record, which includes a 19 fight winning streak, means Usman is always a clear favorite with the best sportsbooks online whenever he steps into the famous octagon.

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Usman secured the UFC Welterweight title at UFC 235 in March 2019 when he defeated Tyron Woodley via a unanimous decision. He has since successfully defended his title five times, with three of those defenses considered the Fight of the Night.

The Nigeria native is a superb fighter with a diverse arsenal that keeps his opponents guessing. He has the power to knock out his opponents but is skillful enough to take them the full distance.

Alexander Volkanovski – Featherweight

Alexander Volkanovski

Australia’s Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski climbed one place to second at the latest rankings update courtesy of his impressive TKO victory over Chan Sung Jung at the recent UFC 273 in Jacksonville, Florida, on April 9. The victory was the 24th of Volkanovsky’s professional career and extended his record to 24-1.

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Volkanovski has now won 21 consecutive fights, including a trio of UFC Featherweight Championship defenses. Perhaps more impressive is the fact the Australian has twice beaten Max Holloway, the man currently occupying sixth place in the current UFC pound-for-pound rankings.

Israel Adesanya – Middleweight

Israel Adesanya dropped from second to third place at the latest update, but he is still a phenomenal athlete. Adesanya went 20 professional fights undefeated until he stepped up to Light Middleweight for a title clash with Jan Blachowicz at UFC 259 in March 2021.

Since that defeat, Adesanya has dropped back to middleweight and successfully defended his title twice, including against current number 15 Robert Whittaker.

Francis Ngannou – Heavyweight

Francis “The Predator” Ngannou occupies fourth spot in the rankings right now and is on the back of a six-fight winning streak. Ngannou is officially the hardest puncher globally, which is one of the reasons 12 of his 17 victories have been knockouts.

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The writing was on the wall for Ngannou in 2018 when he lost back-to-back fights, both by unanimous decision, against Stipe Miocic and Derrick Lewis. However, the Cameroon national has won his last six battle, including getting revenge on Miocic by knocking him out to win the UFC Heavyweight Championship.

Charles Oliveira – Lightweight

Brazilian Charles Oliveria is a prolific UFC athlete with 41 fights under his belt. His record stands at 32-8 with one no contest. Oliveria holds several UFC records, including the most finishes (18) and the most submission wins (15). Indeed, 20 of Oliveira’s 32 professional wins have come via submission; you do not want him in a dominant position on the ground.

Oliveria is the reigning UFC Lightweight champion, having won the belt after a TKO victory over Michael Chandler at UFC 262. He defended his title at UFC 269 with a submission win over highly-rated Dustin Poirier.