It might be an understatement to say the UFC has some questionable rankings. You would expect rankings to be questionable as they are subjective; however, in this column, I will point out rankings that I think are glaring mistakes. I will also analyze significant movement in the rankings that I agree with.
Editorial Commentary by Peter Parsons
Michel Pereira fought his first ranked opponent on Saturday night in Santiago Ponzinibbio. The Brazilian won a split decision over his Argentine opponent in what was awarded the “Fight of the Night”. Pereira is known for his flashy style; however, “Demolidor” is showing he is a true contender having put together quite the streak against some solid competition.
Michel Pereira ranked No. 14 at welterweight
Often, we see a fighter take their opponent’s ranking with a victory. This was the case when Michel Pereira defeated Santiago Ponzinibbio on Saturday, as Ponzinibbio was ranked No. 14 going into the fight. I feel like sometimes voters automatically give a fighter their opponent’s ranking without looking into enough detail around the other ranked fighters. In this case, I think Pereira should be ranked at least one sport higher.
Pereira has now won five fights in a row and his last four have been notable victories over Khaos Williams, Nico Price, Andre Fialho and Santiago Ponzinibbio, respectively. Pereira is tied for 2nd with Sean Brady and Muslim Salikhov for the longest active winning streaks in the UFC welterweight division behind champion Kamaru Usman.
The current No. 13 ranked fighter, Li Jingliang, also got into the rankings on the back of a victory over Ponzinibbio in January of 2021. Since then, Jingliang has only fought once, a first-round loss to Khamzat Chimaev last October. Pereira, on the other hand, has been very active, having fought twice already in 2022. The Brazilian started his five-fight winning streak less than two years ago in September of 2020.
Yes, Jingliang scored a knockout over Ponzinibbio, however, it was Ponzinibbio’s first fight back after over two years off due to serious injuries and health concerns. Based off their recent results, I feel Pereira should be ranked ahead of current No. 13 Li Jingliang.
Jingliang will have a chance to secure his ranking when he fights Muslim Salikhov on July 16. Salikhov was recently in the rankings himself before falling out when undefeated Kazakh, Shavkat Rakhmonov entered the UFC welterweight top 15 in February.
Upcoming Notable UFC Welterweight Fights
Jun 11 – Andre Fialho vs. Jake Matthews
Jun 18 – Tim Means vs. Kevin Holland
Jun 25 – (15) Shavkat Rakhmonov vs. (10) Neil Magny
Jul 16 – Muslim Salikhov vs. (13) Li Jingliang
Aug 6 – (12) Geoff Neal vs. (6) Vicente Luque
My rankings would look different than any other writer or fan who follows the sport closely. This is to be expected, as rankings are subjective. Rankings should be based primarily on results and not perceived potential or popularity.
Some people think rankings do not matter. Rankings do matter. They matter when it comes to matchmaking. They matter when it comes to contract negotiations.
Let’s keep the rankings conversation going. Do you agree or disagree with the above Ranking Review? Express your thoughts in the comments below.