Where the Top Fighters Fight

MMAWeekly has just posted their latest top ten fighter rankings so I thought I'd use it to rank the various organizations -- who's got…

By: Nate Wilcox | 17 years ago
Where the Top Fighters Fight
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

MMAWeekly has just posted their latest top ten fighter rankings so I thought I’d use it to rank the various organizations — who’s got the best fighters in each division?

Pride clearly dominates the Heavyweight division, with 7 of the top 10 fighters although less dramatically now that UFC has Cro Cop. The Emelianenko brothers’ relationship with Bodog has got to be an ominous development for the troubled Japanese promotion.

PRIDE: #1 Fedor Emelianenko, 3. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, 4. Josh Barnett, 7. Fabricio Werdum, 8. Aleksander Emelianenko, 9. Mark Hunt, 10. Sergei Kharitonov

UFC: 2. Mirko Cro Cop, 5. Tim Sylvia, 6. Andrei Arlovski

Pride is also dominant in the light heavyweight division, although UFC is again moving in the right direction by picking up Rampage Jackson (#7). Honestly, I question Liddell’s ranking. I think it’s more a function of Wanderlei losing to Cro Cop at the GP than Liddell’s wins over Babalu and Tito. Dana White is still talking about setting up the Wanderlei/Liddell match. That’s the one I want to see! Also want to see Sobral fight Tito sometime soon.

PRIDE 2. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, 3. Wanderlei Silva, 4. Ricardo Arona, 5. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, 9. Kazuhiro Nakamura, 10. Alistair Overeem

UFC #1 Chuck Liddell, 6. Renato “Babalu” Sobral, 7. Quinton Jackson, 8. Tito Ortiz

Again PRIDE dominates with 5 of the top 10 middleweights (although Suloev has been fighting with other orgs). UFC’s acquisition of Anderson Silva and their cultivation of Marquardt has dramatically improved their standing in the last year. It’s kind of a misnomer to put Lindland and Horn until IFL as they’re more truly freelancers. I hope to see Lindland fighting Silva soon. I think Marquardt matches up well against Silva and am surprised that the UFC is considering putting him in for a title shot with so little TV exposure.

PRIDE: 3. Paulo Filho, 4. Kazuo Misaki, 6. Dan Henderson, 7. Denis Kang, 10. Amar Suloev

UFC 2. Anderson Silva, 5. Rich Franklin, 8. Nathan Marquardt

IFL: 1 Matt Lindland, 9. Jeremy Horn

Welterweight is the one division where the UFC is unquestionably dominant. 7 out of the top 10 and all of the top 5. PRIDE’s only top 10 welterweight, Nick Diaz has made his rep in the UFC. The two other top 10ers are from smaller promotions. Anybody know where Jake Shields is fighting next? I’m looking forward to the Diego/Kos match. I’m picking Koschek, although I think Diego has a great chance.


1. Georges St. Pierre, 2. Matt Hughes, 3. BJ Penn, 4. Diego Sanchez, 5. Karo Parisyan, 7. Jon Fitch, 10. Josh Koscheck
Independent 6. Jake Shields
PRIDE 8. Nick Diaz
Shooto 9. Akira Kikuchi
Lightweight on the other hand is NOT the UFC’s strong suit. Not surprisingly since they ignored the weight class for the last 4 years. PRIDE is overwhelmingly dominant, although with B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver moving into the UFC lightweight division, Sherk will have some serious competition. I’d love to see the UFC snap up Shaolin and Kid Yamamoto too.

PRIDE 1. Takanori Gomi, 2. Hayato Sakurai, 3. Gilbert Melendez, 4. Tatsuya Kawajiri, 7. Joachim Hansen, 8. Mitsuhiro Ishida
Cage Rage 5. Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro
Shooto 6. Shinya Aoki
K-1 9. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto
UFC 10. Sean Sherk

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About the author
Nate Wilcox
Nate Wilcox

Nate Wilcox is the founding editor of BloodyElbow.com. As such he has hired every editor and writer to work for the site. Wilcox’s writing for BE is known for its emphasis on MMA history, the evolution of fighting techniques and strong opinions. Wilcox developed the SBN MMA consensus rankings which were featured in USA Today from 2009 to 2011. Before founding BE, Wilcox was a political operative working for such figures as Senators John Kerry and Mark Warner and an early political blogger. He is the co-author of Netroots Rising, a history of the political blogosphere from 2003 to 2007. Wilcox also hosts the Let It Roll podcast on music history for the Pantheon Podcast Network.

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