Khabib Nurmagomedov, Demetrious Johnson, Georges St-Pierre–the names of these UFC greats roll off the tongue easily. As glorious as they were, that was in the past.
Have you ever wondered who stepped up in their absence? Speculate no more as this guide examines the current top male UFC combatants in every weight division.
At UFC 260, Francis Ngannou emphatically beat Stipe Miocic to claim UFC’s highest accolade, the heavyweight championship. There were murmurs of the highly anticipated bout against Jon Jones finally taking place, but nothing concrete came up.
That left the door opens for an interim match. Cyril Gane took full advantage to TKO Derrick Lewis on his way to lifting the interim belt at UFC 265.
With the score at 1-1 against Ngannou, Miocic is itching for a rematch against the titleholder. However, Gane is at the front seat on a train ride set on a collision course with the titleholder.
2. Light heavyweight
The last time Jon Jones fought in February 2023, COVID-19 wasn’t even a pandemic. What’s more, Dana White, UFCs owner, revealed he’s ‘not even thinking’ of the fighter until well into 2023.
However, his impact has been so explosive that he’s still UFCs leading pound-for-pound athlete. By extension, that also means he’s the man to beat in the 205-pound weight division.
That doesn’t mean the weight class is dead–there’s a fight between Glover Teixeira and titleholder Jan Blachowicz coming soon. It’s a title bout for the light heavyweight belt, scheduled for 9/26/2021, UFC 266.
He may have failed in his bid to hold two belts in different weight divisions, but Israel Adesanya still rules middleweight. He cemented his top ranking with a dominant display over close rival Marvin Vettori at UFC 263.
The Last Stylebender’s, as Adesanya is otherwise known, next match is against his closest competitor, Robert Whittaker. While there’s no official date, we’re set for a cracker if it’s half the match the first bout was.
The champion has claimed some famous scalps, such as:
- Kelvin Gastelum
- Anderson Silva
- Yoel Romero
- Robert Whittaker
Not only that, Adesanya has blown through the lightweight and featherweight divisions before leaving his mark at the middleweight. He has left a lasting legacy to the sport, acknowledged by the likes of Kate Richardson, the expert UFC writer here at MightyTips.
The 155-pound class is a little thin at the moment, what with Kamaru Usman’s dominant displays. There’s an expected rematch against the closest contender, the outspoken Colby Covington, tentatively set for November at UFC 268.
After knocking out Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261, the only prospect Usman hasn’t fought is no. 5 seed, Stephen Thompson. Then it will be a case of lapping opponents–meeting the same opponents for the second time.
Gilbert Burns should get a title shot sometime shortly after ousting Covington at the recent UFC 264.
Connor McGregor might be the most recognizable UFC fighter, but it’s safe to say that he’s not the best currently. However, who could forget his past exploits and THAT high-stakes fight against Floyd Mayweather? With over 40 million social media followers, he has brought great publicity to the UFC.
On the ring though, this is probably the most competitive weight division. The belt is around Charles Oliveira’s waist, having dismissed Micheal Chandler at UFC 262 in May. He’s set to meet Dustin Poirier after he cleaned out McGregor through KO in Round 2 of UFC 257.
Speaking of “The Diamond” Poirier, he remains one of the most potent forces, registering wins against the following:
- Eddie Alvarez
- Max Holloway
- Justin Gaethje
- Anthony Pettis
Alexander Volkanovski is the featherweight champion and remains unbeaten in the past nine UFC appearances. His next bout is in September against Ultimate Fighter 29 coach Brian Ortega.
The champion could then face off against the fiercest rival, Max Holloway, for the third time. Volkanovski has racked up 19 wins in a row, dating back to 2013. There’s no denying his championship credentials after consecutive wins over Holloway, Chad Mendes, and Jose Aldo.
The titleholder won’t be looking forward to meeting the second seed if Holloway’s recent fight is anything to go by. Against Calvin Katter, Max bludgeoned his opponent in a record-setting barrage of strikes thrown and landed.
So hard was the beating, the UFC owner feared Katter might die backstage.
This is another tight division, with the champion Aljamain Sterling and title contender Petr Yan heading the roost. Sterling went on a scintillating 6-match unbeaten streak before capping it with the championship win.
Yan may have lost the title, but was apparently leading the match before committing the foul that got him disqualified. Expect a title rematch soon, which could go either way.
Strong contenders are jostling for the crown, led by the veterans Jose Aldo, Dominick Cruz, and Frankie Edgar. The new faces on the block include Merab Dvalishvili and Rob Font.
Oh! After cooling his heels for two years, TJ Dillashaw is fresh from his return following a USADA suspension.
Think you can predict the upcoming bouts? Find the best skrill bookies of 2023 at www.mightytips.com.
Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson loomed large for years before Henry Cejudo breathed new life to this division. Cejudo retired, and Johnson joined ONE championship, leading to a flurry of activity at UFCs flyweight class.
Brandon Moreno deservedly holds the belt, beating Deiveson Figueiredo in their rematch at UFC 263 via submission. However, the likes of Askar Askarov and Alexandra Pantoja are hot on his heels.
One can hardly forget the vicious Figueiredo’s exploits against Joseph Benavidez at UFC’s Fight Night on 19 July 2023. He made three knockdowns before finally choking him unconscious at his fourth attempt, a match Dana White called “pure violence.”
UFC fans have every reason to celebrate as a new crop of fighters has successfully replaced the legends. St-Pierre and Nurmagomedov will be missed, but the new crop led by Ngannou and Blachowicz are neutralizing their absence. This guide examines the best combatants in every weight category, including Poirier, Moreno, Adesanya, Yan, and Usman.