There has never been more talent in the UFC than there is now, which is great for all of us MMA fans. All weight divisions in the UFC have some excellent fighters, however, not all divisions are as stacked as others. Today we’ll be ranking the top divisions in the UFC as of now. What makes certain divisions stand out above the rest? Is it the amount of talent, the excitement of throwing dolly’s into bus windows, or possibly the emergence of the new UFC belt?
Speaking of the belt, the days of interim belts are upon us. After all, what would be a UFC PPV event without that shiny gold belt on the line? I predict in 2019 we’ll see more interim belts given out than ever before, hell we’ll even see a PPV event highlighting two interim title bouts.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for interim belts, usually when a champion is injured or suspended (cough Khabib) for an extended period of time it makes sense. However, it seems that we’re at a point in time when the UFC feels obligated to have a title fight for every PPV event. It’s no secret that this type of business model devalues UFC gold.
10. (Tie) Men’s and Women’s Flyweight
In the beginning of 2019, there were rumors swirling around that Tj Dillashaw was sent down to face Henry Cejudo to destroy the flyweight division. We all know what happened in that fight (32 second knockout victory for Cejudo) and Dana White’s plans blew up in his face. Although the flyweight division has struggled for some time, I’m not sure eliminating it was ever the right answer. Although Cejudo’s performance was inspiring nonetheless, it didn’t make the empty flyweight division anymore exciting.
Both the Men’s and Women’s flyweight are terribly boring right now. If things stay the same on the Women’s end, I predict Shevchenko has the ability to hold the title for years to come. If only we could do a trade to send some excitement to these empty flyweight divisions.. if only.
9. Women’s Bantamweight
After Amanda Nunes stopped Cyborg in the first round, many hailed her as the Women’s GOAT of MMA (shoutout to Ronda Rousey, we miss you). Although Nunes is certainly the best in Women’s MMA right now, it doesn’t really bring much excitement when she doesn’t have many worthy challengers in the bantamweight division.
I mean when you have someone like Germaine De Randamie as a number one contender, there really isn’t much to be excited about. I will say that the bright side to this division is definitely future superstar Ketlen Viera, look for her to make waves this year and possibly challenge Nunes for that historic Women’s bantamweight belt.
8. Light Heavyweight
With Jon Jones absolutely dominating his last few fights Light Heavyweight is missing Daniel Cormier now more than ever. The only thing that could revamp this division is if a future superstar like Johnny Walker continues winning. The reason why this division may seem boring is because of Jon Jones is just leaps above everyone when it comes to talent.
Who will be the one to stop Jones? Will it be the young challenger in Walker, or will it be Thiago Santos who has looked great after moving up from Middleweight? Will the trilogy with DC move up to the heavyweight division? Only time will tell.. One thing is for certain, Jon Jones is the current GOAT, steroids or not.
7. Women’s Strawweight
The Women’s strawweight division has never been more exciting than it is now, with a new champion in Rose Namajunas. There are many rising stars in this division that will make a year of exciting fights.
When Rose shocked the world finishing long reigning champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk in the first round, many believed it was a fluke. Rose silenced all doubters when she dominated Joanna again in a 5 round-war. Joanna then went on to move up to the emerging flyweight division, only to lose to current title holder Shevchenko.
Number one contender Jessica Andrade will look to challenge Rose for the belt sometime this year. While other rising superstars such as Tatiana Suarez and Weili Zhang will have to wait their turn to challenge the current strawweight champ. As I said, there has never been more formidable challengers in Women’s strawweight than there are right now.
Heavyweight is filled with excitement again now that Francis Ngannou got his swagger back, finishing below sea level Cain in the first round. I think I speak for everyone when I say we would love to see Francis work on his wrestling and challenge current champ Daniel Cormier to a title fight. Although there is a slim to none chance of that happening, as Cormier has said again and again he plans to take one more fight before retiring (namely the Brock Lesner fight).
The only thing that could make this division more exciting is if Jon Jones moved up in weight to finally finish the trilogy with a heavyweight title fight against Cormier. Does anyone have a good Pico de gallo recipe by any chance? In all seriousness, I’d personally love to see the trilogy fight in the heavyweight division, although I know not everyone agrees with this.
5. Men’s Bantamweight
Although Men’s bantamweight was much more exciting when Dominick Cruz was actually taking fights, it’s still definitely one of the most stacked divisions currently in the UFC. The bantamweight division was on fire after Cody Garbrandt dethroned Cruz, although his title reign didn’t last very long, eventually losing twice to current champion Tj Dillashaw.
I believe the divisions number one contender, Marlon Moraes, is a clear favorite to get the next title shot. Although things are a bit in limbo now after the current champion, Tj Dillashaw, moved down in weight only to lose to flyweight champion Henry Cejudo. Will Henry Cejudo now move up to face Dillashaw for the bantamweight strap? Thing’s are certainly interesting in the UFC’s bantamweight division again.
Just a few years ago many people believe the UFC’s middleweight divisions was the deepest division of them all. With fighters like Luke Rockhold, Chris Weidman, and Anderson Silva, it’s hard to disagree with them. The one thing that stands out to me is all three of those fighters seem to be on the downside of their career currently. Silva is of course the GOAT, however, it’s no shocker that him being well into his 40’s is a big reason he continues racking up losses, Weidman has also underperformed in his last 5 or so fights, Rockhold is planning a move to light heavyweight so we’ll see if that increase in weight will help his fragile chin.
Although the three fighters above aren’t really in the mix for title contention, there’s still loads of other’s that look to take down the current champ, Robert Whittaker. Emerging fighters like Israel Adesanya, Kelvin Gastelum, and Paulo Costa, bring new life to an aging division. Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya will fight for the interim belt later this year, while current title holder Robert Whittaker is sidelined with a scary injury that forced him out of UFC 234.
The historic welterweight division hasn’t been this exciting since pre-USADA, shout out to Johny Hendricks. With a new king in Kamaru Usman, I guess we might actually see the people’s champ (or so he calls himself) Colby Covington actually fight for a real belt (after being stripped of his interim belt, surprise surprise).
Welterweight is stacked with fighters such as former champ Tyron Woodley, Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson”, and emerging challengers Ben Askren, and Darren Till. I for one am excited to see how things play out over the remainder of the year, will we have another title holder in the welterweight division? Or will upgraded Kamaru Usman have a long title reign, similar to Tyron Woodley? Only time will tell.
Has there ever been a time in history when the UFC’s featherweight division wasn’t exciting? I think the most amazing thing about the featherweight division is that the current champ, Max Holloway, is on a 13 fight win streak and shows no signs of slowing down. The last person to beat Max in a UFC fight was former two division champ Conor McGregor, maybe you’ve heard of him. Did we also mention Max will be fighting for the lightweight (interim) title against Dustin Poirier later this year? Crazy times we’re living in.
So what’s going to happen to the stacked featherweight division while Max is up at lightweight? Anything is possible when you have the featherweight GOAT Jose Aldo in the mix. Aldo seems to be unstoppable against anyone not named Max Holloway or Conor McGregor, so it’ll be interesting if he continues this domination of defeating emerging superstars. Does Aldo have what it takes to continue his win streak when he faces Alexander Volkanovski later this year? What about Zabit? You didn’t forget about Brian Ortega did you? There is way too much questions about this featherweight division and the answers will only come through time.
The most exciting and toughest division in the UFC is the lightweight division, and it’s not even close. You have a suspended undefeated title holder in Khabib Nurmagomedov. You have Tony Ferguson who is on an 11 fight win streak. You have Conor McGregor who draws in millions of eyeballs and dollars to every fight. You have so much excitement in this division and we’re only talking about the top 3 lightweights in the world. Not to mention that from bottom to top this is easily the most stacked division in all of the UFC. There’s a reason these fighters earn so much money.
The fact that Tony Ferguson isn’t fighting for the next title shot is an absolute crime (“that’s f***ing illegal” – Dana White). You have Al Iaquinta in the top 5, followed by the likes of Kevin Lee, Edson Barbosa, Justin Gaethje. Any one of these fighters has the talent to compete for the belt. Not to mention emerging superstars such as Gregor Gillespie and Alexander Hernandes (although his hype train was derailed after Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone finished him). There is just too much chaos in the current lightweight division, and you know we love chaos.