Pound for Pound MMA Royalty
There are a lot of great fighters out there in the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Whether they are fighting in the UFC, PFL, ONE Championship, or at Bellator, we here at BoxingBlitz review our top five fighters across all divisions and genders right now in the sport, as of early October 2023.
The poster boy for the UFC right now is unmissable Sean O’Malley. The UFC bantamweight champion has earned the respect of the promotion, the fans, and seemingly everyone. Going from the freak with outlandish hair to the freak with the title belt after defeating Aljamain Sterling – he’s now earned the position to speak his mind freely, taking his career into his own hands. He’s also leveraging his power and authority to pick his own opponent for his first title defense.
O’Malley has attracted a cult following for numerous reasons. His sense of humor is a breath of fresh air in combat sports, where many participants can be terribly toxic and boring. Sean likes to keep his aggression for the fights. Unlike a lot of fighters who want to take the fight to the ground, O’Malley tries to stand and trade blows. His striking accuracy, coupled with his athleticism and stamina, makes him one of the hardest fighters to exchange with. He’ll simply keep working and hitting you with either his powerful punches or clinical kicks.
Despite not being very active in Bellator, Cris Cyborg makes our P4P list as a certified legend of the sport. She’s kept busy with her boxing endeavors (she made some Boxing News Latest Headlines when she won both of her fights) but has agreed to come back to Bellator for the massive Bellator 300 card, where she will defend her strap against Cat Zingano. The reason why Cyborg has been afforded such time off is her dominance in the division since joining Bellator after leaving the UFC back in 2020. MMA News Websites and other publications will wait in great anticipation for her next move in combat sports.
It’s worth noting just how talented Cyborg is as an overall fighter. While she’s famed for her career in MMA, she has dabbled in amateur wrestling, kickboxing, grappling, submission grappling, and Muay Thai and that’s not even mentioning her recent boxing endeavors. She uses her diverse skill set to defeat her opponents in MMA, with her awe-inspiring 26-1 record. While fans might want her to return to the UFC, she has apparently declined multiple contract attempts and remains happier with Bellator.
UFC ranks Jon Jones as its current number-one fighter in its own P4P rankings. The former two-time winner won the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship and never lost it in the octagon, as he was stripped of it twice. While he could have gone back for it a third time, he decided to pursue the heavyweight division. In March 2023, he rocked the MMA News Sites by taking the belt from Ciryl Gane after a submission victory in the first round. This was his heavyweight debut bout! Already considered the best fighter in the world from his light heavyweight days, he’s only gone from strength to strength.
Jones could elevate his stature even further in November this year should he defeat Stipe Miocic in the main event of UFC 295. But is there a level higher than the GOAT status that Jones already has? If he loses, it’ll be MMA breaking news for sure.
The welterweight division in the Professional Fighters League could be one of the most competitive leagues throughout the entirety of the promotion. The Russian has gone 3-0 this season, amassing 12 points in the table as he’s been one of the best fighters throughout the PFL this year. However, that could be selling him short. The 33-year-old has been prolific since joining the PFL in 2018. Given that he’s got a 34-6 record across his entire career, he’s shown a level of consistency at the top level. He’s only lost one fight since joining the PFL.
His most recent match saw him earn passage to the PFL Welterweight Championship final, where he will face off against Sadibou Sy. Magomedkerimov goes in as the favorite, especially given that when the two met in the semi-final phase in 2021, he won by unanimous decision.
Most recently seen punching NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal and then lifting him, Zhang Weili has become a viral superstar. However, in the MMA world, she’s been a superstar for a long time already. Zhang Weili is arguably the biggest Chinese combat sports participant to date, having secured glory in the UFC as the strawweight champion. She secured her spot at the top the hard way, as two failed attempts at Rose Namajunas made Weili speculate whether she was top-tier quality. Her eventual title win came against Carla Esparza in November 2022. She backed it up against Amanda Lemos, defending the belt in her first fight and entering as the champion. ESPN named her the Female Fighter of 2022.
Namajunas remains the only asterisk next to Weili’s championship reign. She had to wait for someone else to defeat her to get the belt. A trilogy-making fight would be something the fans want, but maybe not what Rose wants. She’s since transitioned to flyweight and remained silent after losing her debut in the division.
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