Kamaru Usman ranks number 2 Pound-for-Pound behind Jon Jones
Supporters of the UFC welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman (MMA:19-1) who expect him to be crowned the Pound-for-Pound best fighter in UFC might not get their wish anytime soon. This is because the latest ranking on the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) website shows the Nigerian Nightmare is still rooted at Number 2 in the P4P rankings behind Number 1 ranked Jon Jones (MMA:28-1-1).
Following his incredible knockout of Jorge ‘Gamebred’ Masvidal (MMA:35-15) on Sunday, Kamaru had declared himself the best fighter on the UFC roster and insisted his eyes will be on the P4P rankings to be released the next day (Monday).
“I want to see it truly, on Monday, Pound-for-Pound, right now I’m the best fighter on the planet. That’s what I want to see on Monday”Kamaru Usman at the UFC 261 post-fight conference.
Several fans of the Nigerian-born champion as well as MMA pundits had also expressed their views, insisting it is undeniable at this time that he is the absolute best in the world. “It’s hard to deny Kamaru Usman his spot as the pound for pound best fighter in the world,” MMA History said.
“For me he’s the pound for pound number 1 in the world and for me well on his way to becoming the greatest of all time. The fact he knocked masvidal out cold makes it even better,” Nate Carnegie an MMA fan said.
Well, it’s Tuesday and the P4P ranking still puts Jon Jones at the top of the pile. The UFC P4P (weekly) ranking is determined by a voting panel of MMA media members. Their verdict is majorly based on overall fighter results. Due to this major criterion, it will be pretty difficult to displace a legend like Jon Jones from the top of that list. The former light heavyweight champion has lost only once in 29 MMA fights.
Currently waiting to debut in the heavyweight division, Jon Jones’ ‘failures’ in the UFC have been a story of what-ifs. For instance, he would probably have the longest active winning streak in the UFC (18) IF he hadn’t failed that drug test after knocking out veteran, Daniel Cormier with a devastating head kick in their light heavyweight title fight at UFC 214. That record is currently now held by Usman (14).
Another what-if occurred a lot earlier in his UFC career when he suffered his only loss through a disqualification. Jon Jones had knocked out Matt Hamill in the first round of the Ultimate Fighter heavyweights Finale in 2009 with 12 to 6 (downward) elbows (Jones has the most vicious elbow in MMA). 12 to 6 elbows (hitting an opponent with an elbow from straight up to straight down) are illegal in MMA. But the argument against that loss was that Matt Hamill was already badly beaten and defeated with a dislocated shoulder and the ref could have ended the fight before Jones resorted to those 12 to 6 elbows.
One constant point in favour of Kamaru Usman is his consistency and activity. The Nightmare, since the day he first stepped foot into an MMA ring back at RFA 5 in 2012, has been consistently taking on fight after fight and maintaining a top-level of activity. His penultimate title defence against Gilbert Burns was in February and immediately after that fight, he undertook to fight Masvidal just 2 short months later. The champ has shown he’s hungry and won’t hesitate to step in the cage with any contender, at any time.
But Jones hasn’t fought in more than a year since he defended his light heavyweight belt against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 back in February 2020. He would vacate the title 6 months later. Before then, he was idle for 7 months, following his title defence against Thiago Santos at UFC 239 in July 2019. Having moved to the heavyweight division, Jones has demanded a big payday for his next fight with the heavyweight king, Francis Ngannou. With the UFC not ready to acquiesce to his demand and making preparations to square Derrick Lewis against Ngannou instead, Jones might have to wait much longer for a fight.
But one thing is sure, Jones is up there in contention for the UFC and MMA GOAT. Also up there is the former lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov who is currently unbeaten in MMA after 29 fights. Following the death of his father, Khabib who is the longest-reigning lightweight champ in UFC history retired from the sport aged just 32 after submitting Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in October of last year. This effectively puts him out of the Pound-for-Pound contendership.
But another savage, Usman, has announced himself, not just as a contender but as the defacto Number 1 best on the planet. UFC legend and one of only 4 fighters to simultaneously hold two titles across two divisions, Daniel Cormier agrees the Nigerian Nightmare should be Number 1.
“With Khabib gone and Jones’ lack of activity, I think Usman is #1 pound-for-pound. I think we should see Kamaru Usman is #1. He’s #2 now but I believe what he is doing is so impressive and now the activity, right? Because July to April, we’ve seen him defend that belt three times.Daniel Cormier, Former UFC lightweight and heavyweight champion
While Kamaru Usman ranks number 2 Pound-for-Pound in the current UFC Pound-for-Pound ranking, other African Champions, Israel Adesanya (middleweight) and Francis Ngannou (heavyweight) made the top 5. Adesanya is ranked Number 4 while Ngannou is ranked Number 5. Adesanya’s City Boxing teammate and UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski completes the Top 5 at Number 3.