UFC Rankings: 9 Ranked Fighters Who Don't Belong on the Current Board
The official UFC rankings are always hotly debated. Members of the media vote after each event, and the UFC updates the ranks the following Monday.
Rankings are a good thing. It lets both the fighters and the fans know where they sit in the division. It does not always directly correspond with getting a title shot, but once a fighter cracks the top five, it is clear he is in contention.
When deciding who should be dropped from the rankings, it is not always clear. The flyweight and women's bantamweight divisions are so desperately thin with talent you cannot truly argue that any need to be dropped. Yet in the more established divisions, there are some clear choices.
Highlighted are nine fighters across six different divisions who just do not belong.
It is important to note that just because a fighter doesn't belong in the rankings does not mean they should be an underdog to someone who is ranked. Rankings are about the current state of the division using recent wins, losses and performances.
Let's have a look at the nine UFC fighters who need to be dropped from the rankings.
No. 14: Mike Easton
This should be pretty clear, right? Easton has lost four straight fights.
And, quite frankly, he hasn't even looked that great in those bouts. Easton can be an exciting fighter at times, but recently, that has gone by the wayside. He has lost to quality competition, but at some point you need a win to stay ranked.
After going 0-4, the rankings should be an afterthought.
No. 12: Dominick Cruz
No one will deny Cruz is immensely talented, but he has not stepped inside the Octagon since 2011.
There needs to be a time limit set. Personal preference says if you don't fight in 12 months, you should not be eligible to be ranked, but I am not rigid in that belief depending on circumstances. Cruz has battled injuries and hasn't been active in nearly three years.
Former champion or not, that's far too much time to deserve to be ranked.
Cruz returns at UFC 178 in September, and if he defeats Takeya Mizugaki, then, and only then, should he return to the UFC rankings.
No. 7: Dennis Siver
Siver was ranked at No. 7 entering and exiting UFC 168 in December. He was coming off a loss to Cub Swanson and proceeded to win a gritty battle with Manny Gamburyan at the December card.
It didn't move him in the rankings, and then in April that fight was overturned to a no-contest thanks to a failed drug test.
Why, exactly, should Siver be rewarded for his failed test and no-contest? The media ranking him did not penalize him. They kept him at No. 7, the same as if he had won the fight. The MMA media often bemoans those who test positive on social media but stick with Siver in the official rankings?
The biggest factor as to why Siver should be dropped all the way out of the rankings is due to how talent-rich featherweight is. Siver, winless since 2012, would be right to be jumped by some of the current winning talent struggling to break through.
No. 15: Joe Lauzon
Unlike most on this list of fighters who deserve to drop out of the rankings, Lauzon did win his last fight.
So, why does he not deserve to be ranked?
The lightweight division is deep with talent, and that means it should be harder to stay ranked. Has Lauzon truly done enough to remain a ranked fighter, or is his name value helping? I suspect the latter is one reason he remains on the rankings.
Since 2012, Lauzon is 2-3. His three losses are to ranked fighters, but he does not have a top-15 win to his credit recently. Within the past 24 months, there have been several lightweights posting better records than Lauzon who should probably be ranked ahead of him.
No. 12: Gray Maynard
Speaking of being ranked due to one's past history and name value, we come next to Lauzon's The Ultimate Fighter 5 castmate Maynard.
Since 2011, Maynard is 1-3-1, with his last win coming over Clay Guida in 2012.
How, exactly, is he still ranked in the deep lightweight division? It makes no logical sense. Maynard is a quality fighter, but he has not done much in his recent performances to earn a ranking. It is a puzzling question asking why he is ranked during the summer of 2014.
Maynard returns in a couple weeks at UFC Fight Night 47. Perhaps he will state his case for why he does deserve a spot in the top 15 against Fabricio Camoes.
No. 13: Mark Munoz (13-5)
Munoz is a talented wrestler and at one point was one fight away from a title shot. Why does he not belong?
Since 2012, Munoz is 1-3 inside the Octagon.
Notably, all three of his losses are to top-tier competition. The problem is that he was not even remotely competitive in any of those fights. Chris Weidman, Lyoto Machida and Gegard Mousasi all dominated him in quick and vicious order.
His lone win in that time span was against Tim Boetsch. The reason Munoz should not be ranked is not only his recent record, but also because talented fighters like Brad Tavares are on the outside looking in despite quality performances.
Since 2012, Tavares is 5-1, with his lone loss coming in April to Yoel Romero, a top-tier opponent. And while he lost, he was at least competitive.
The rankings are about the here and now, and Munoz has not done enough while others sit outside the ranks.
No. 15: Fabio Maldonado
Of all the fighters on this list, Maldonado may have the best case to remain at his position.
He is 3-1 since 2013 began, and his lone loss was in the heavyweight division. He stepped up on short notice to fight the No. 5-ranked Stipe Miocic.
He was decimated quickly, but that was expected and it wasn't in his division. He's on a three-fight win streak at 205 pounds. However, perhaps I am simply not a believer. I look at other fighters in the division who are not ranked that have shown much more.
Think of Patrick Cummins. Sure, he was taken out quickly by Daniel Cormier, but he has recently won back-to-back fights in dominant fashion showcasing more skills than Maldonado ever has. I am not advocating for Cummins to be ranked, but he surely should be ranked higher than Maldonado.
Maldonado is a fun fighter to watch, but is he the 15th-best fighter in the division? No.
No. 13: Stefan Struve
Struve has not won a fight since the fall of 2012, but that is thanks in large part to being inactive. And the inactivity is why he should not be ranked.
Much like Cruz, Struve has simply been out of action too long to be worthy of a spot in the rankings. He was set to come back earlier this year, but he fainted backstage and the fight was canceled. Until he steps back inside the cage, and wins, he should not be in the top 15.
I will be the first to put him back in, but not until he competes again.
No. 12: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Unlike Struve, Nogueira has been active. But maybe that's a bad thing.
Nogueira has not won back-to-back fights since 2007-08, is 2-4 since 2010 and has been stopped in each of his last two fights. Most recently, Roy Nelson starched him in Abu Dhabi.
What is keeping Nogueira ranked? Nostalgia?
He is clearly a shell of his former self. He was never a supremely athletic fighter, but now he looks like an extra off of The Walking Dead. Slow, plodding and predictable. If he can take you down, then there is still a chance, but that is increasingly unlikely with how he moves inside the cage.
I am a big Nogueira fan, but absolutely nothing in his recent outings gives me reason to put him in the top 15.