No one was asking for MMA Power Rankings, but that’s exactly what ESPN released yesterday. An ESPN panel ranked fighters based on not just their skills, but also their success, momentum, and star power. Here’s how the list looks:
- Israel Adesanya
- Khabib Nurmagomedov
- Conor McGregor
- Jon Jones
- Amanda Nunes
- Stipe Miocic
- Kamaru Usman
- Valentina Shevchenko
- Khamzat Chimaev
- Deiveson Figueiredo
But what you want to know is whether we agree with this list? Well, if you’ve seen our thumbnail already, you know Patrick Auger and Matthew Wells found some issues with it.
Firstly, Patrick Auger is adamant that Israel Adesanya doesn’t deserve the top spot. Auger has Adesanya in the #3 spot on this list behind Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. Auger questions how Adesanya could be ranked above Nurmagomedov when the Russian star’s most recent fight reached 11 million viewers on Russian television (not PPV buys). He says that Adesanya is, of course, an up-and-coming star with drawpower, but he’s not on the same level as Nurmagomedov right now.
Wells wonders if the Nurmagomedov retirement news has put a damper on the champion’s “momentum” and killed some of the hype? He says that at least we know that Adesanya is going to compete within the next 3-4 months.
Auger also thinks Conor McGregor should be ranked above Adesanya. He says McGregor is still the biggest star in the UFC today and he’s now in a “very winnable fight” against Dustin Poirier. He could even be fighting for a title if Nurmagomedov is set on retiring from the sport. Auger points to how ESPN and other media outlets turn every Conor McGregor tweet into an article on their website. They don’t do this for Adesanya or others on this list.
Wells was convinced by Auger’s argument and they both agree that Jones should be ranked #4.
But where is Weili Zhang on this list? Wells is baffled why Zhang is not mentioned. He finds it “very strange” that she’s not on this list considering her popularity and success. Auger agrees and says he’d rank her somewhere near the middle, as well.
What issues did you find with ESPN’s first MMA Power Rankings? Do you think Adesanya deserves the top spot?
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.