Every time I hear commentary on the UFC the phrase “the division is stacked” always come out. So I thought I’d give it a little context by ranking the divisions in terms on how competitive they are. My criteria was which division has the most threats to the current champion and which divisions are most competitive al the way down the rankings. All of the divisions in the UFC are great, it’s just very evident some are much more stacked than other. Here is my rankings for the UFC men’s divisons.
#8: UFC Men’s Flyweight division
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. For years now, the UFC Flyweight division has seemed shallow compared to others. Outside of Joseph Benevidez and Henry Cejudo, there really isn’t anyone who sticks out. Sergio Pettis and Jusier Formiga have talent, but can’t seem to beat the top of the pack. If Cejudo loses his title to Benevidez, no one has any idea who would even be next in line. This was the case even with Demetrious Johnson as champion. When ranking the UFC men’s divisions, the Flyweight division will almost always be ranked last.
#7: UFC Heavyweight Division
Even with Daniel Cormier and Stipe Miocic about to fight for the title, the Heavyweight division as a whole has seen much better days. Most of the contenders in the division has massive holes in their game or have just gotten old. With the exception of Francis Ngannou, the Heavyweights lack a ton of excitement in a true contender. I was hoping Brock Lesnar would come back and add some spice to the division, but sadly he will not. Jon Jones could move up but that would tank his own division that is next on this list.
#6 UFC Light Heavyweight Division
It may be Jon Jones greatness clearing out a division, but good God is it a shell of itself. At one time, the 205-pound division was the most feared in the sport, but now it’s as weak as we’ve ever seen. Part of it is Jon Jones making everyone outside of Thiago Santos look silly and the other part is all the greats at 205 have moved on. The division has now become reliant on unproven young guns such as Dominick Reyes and Johnny Walker. Chris Weidman moving up should help bring some star power to the division, but it still needs more to be a considered a top-5 division in the organization.
#5 UFC Men’s Featherweight Division
Choosing between the 145 pounds and 135 pounds for the #5 spot was basically splitting hairs. I love both of the divisions but I see more threats to be champion at 135 pounds. With that said, the Featherweight division is good but not as deep as many perceive. Alexander Volkanovski and Zabit are the only real threats to Holloway at the moment. Zabit still has more to prove versus another top contender, which just leaves Volkanovski as an immediate threat. Featherweight is a VERY exciting division but has many fighters that need to grow to become championship threats. The only reason Featherweight ranks in at #5 for me is because of how deep the rest of the UFC is.
#4 UFC Men’s Bantamweight Division
For years now, the Bantamweight division has been one of the scariest in the UFC and nothing has changed. Champion Henry Cejudo has multiple contenders below him that are real threats to his championship reign. For example, Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan are both coming off great wins and have the tools to beat Henry. Looking down the division, we still have Dominick Cruz trying to make a comeback, a young killer Cory Sandhagen, and a tough Rapheal Assuncao; all men who could give Henry trouble at 135lb. Not to mention TJ Dillashaw will be back after his suspension, and Cody No Love still needs to get his head on straight. This division is stacked top to bottom with multiple threats to the current champion who just happens to be a double champion.
#3 UFC Middleweight Division
Although this division may not as full of depth as some other divisions past the #10 rank, the top of this division is packed with absolute monsters. At the top of the division, there is an argument that Robert Whittaker is the most well rounded champion in the UFC. We’ve seen how dangerous he can be in all phases of the sport. Israel Adesanya is clearly a special talent who deserves that interm belt he has around his waist. Whittaker vs. Adesanya may be the most anticipated fight of the year because of how good they both are.
Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Jack Hermansson are all fighters who, on any given night, I believe are good enough to dethrone Whittaker. I know Romero has already lost to Whittaker twice, but they were so close you would have to be a fool to doubt him in a third fight. With Darren Till possibly moving to the division, there is no doubt in my mind this is a top-3 best division in the UFC.
Whittaker vs. Adesanya may be the most anticipated fight of the year because of how good they both are. Kelvin Gastelum, Yoel Romero, Paulo Costa, and Jack Hermansson are all fighters who, on any given night, I believe are good enough to dethrone Whittaker. I know Romero has already lost to Whittaker twice, but they were so close you would have to be a fool to doubt him in a third fight. With Darren Till possibly moving to the division, there is no doubt in my mind this is a top-3 best division in the UFC.
#2 UFC Lightweight Division
Most UFC fans will have the Lightweights as the best division in the sport, and I understand where fans are coming from. The top two or three divisions are all so great that it is really hard to pick between them. In my opinion, it is the second-best division in the sport for many reason including its champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov has never lost and has made easy work of just about everyone he has faced. No other champion has gone through opponents with such ease.
The division has been backed up for so long because of Conor McGregor that we have guys like Dustin Poirier and Tony Ferguson tearing through the division to just now be getting a shot. That is presuming Tony gets the winner of Khabib vs Poirier. The 155lb division is stacked with multiple fighters that are tough and stay in your face such as Justin Gathje, Al Iaquita, and Paul Felder. If Khabib wasn’t such a nightmare matchup, any of the top-10 could be champion on any given night. Not to mention Conor McGregor is still in the division and everyone is sleeping on how good he will in his first fight coming of suspension.
#1 UFC Welterweight Division
To me, the welterweight division is the best division is the UFC. That may be crazy to say because the champion of the division has yet to defend his title, but if you look at the ranks, it isn’t that crazy. Kamaru Usman is a bad matchup for anyone in the division and one of the best overall fights in the UFC. The division is so good that the former dominant champion Tyron Woodley isn’t even close to getting a rematch despite being the #1 ranked contender.
There are no easy fights in this division. Robbie Lawler is the #11 ranked guy in the division and we all know he is still a killer. Colby Covington, Jorge Masvidal, and Leon Edwards are all elite fighters who deserve a title shot. Anthony Pettis has looked good at welterweight and could keep the ball rolling if he defeats Nate Diaz. The division is so good Rafeal Dos Anjos has become a gate keeper despite being a great fighter and former champion. Let’s not forget that Wonderboy Thompson and Ben Askren are still no joke in the division despite coming off of ugly KO losses.
That is my ranking of the UFC men’s divisions. These rankings are difficult, because many of these divisions are neck and neck. The UFC as a whole has never been as deep and I expect it to just keep getting better.