MMA Rankings

Using my Computer Engineering degree I coded a program to calculate ELO ratings. The MMA Rankings below are based off the mathematical system called the ELO Rating System. This is a unbiased statistical analysis of a fighters record. This is similar to FightMatrix‘s rating system but this is the pure form.

For those of you unfamiliar with ELO here is a dictionary definition: The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in competitor-versus-competitor games such as chess, football, baseball and combat sports. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-born American physics professor.

The ELO system is not perfect but it is unbiased. That is why I will be updating the rankings after every MMA event that requires the top 15 fighters in the world to be re-organized. I understand some people will argue that elite fighters who go to another organization to avoid equal level of competition should not be ranked, but that would defeat the purpose of an unbiased ranking system.

If the system is implemented and fighters who are sandbagging other organizations ever lose to a low ranked fighter, their ELO ranking would drop drastically. Even though they are taking the easy road, they are playing a very dangerous game by risking such a loss.

Let’s take a recent upset for example, Louis Smolka vs Brandon Moreno. Smolka was a heavy favorite and rightfully so, before the upset Smolka was ranked 5th in the flyweight division. Brandon Moreno was ranked 30th in the world according to the ELO rankings. After the upset, Smolka dropped to 12th and Moreno climbed to 17th. Smolka is still ranked higher than Moreno because of their overall resume. If a rematch were to occur I’d expect Smolka to fall out of the top 15 and Moreno to climb to 13th.

Another interesting behaviour that we can notice with ELO ratings is the “ceiling” of the division. For example in a division with very few fighters like the women’s featherweight division, if you take out Cris Cyborg. The ceiling for this division drops drastically, you can see that graphed HERE. This is because the same 20 girls are constantly fighting each other and losing to each other, no one (besides Cyborg) can compile a record that allows them to achieve a very high ELO rating. This is an effect that can hurt a divisions overall rankings.

A great example of this is the lightweight division. You see Shinya Aoki ranked top 5 and this is because of two reasons. He is fighting low level guys and he is not losing, allowing him to maintain a high ELO rating, but also the division has seen a lot of upsets recently. When there are so many upsets this causes the ceiling for that division to drop, allowing a fighter like Aoki to place very high in the rankings.

Some of the fighters you expect to see in the top 15 will not be here because this is a global view of the top 15 in the world. These are not just UFC rankings.

I did not include the women’s division in my rankings. The reason for this is that the female’s resume usually doesn’t exceed 10 fights. There’s simply not enough data for me to bother updating them every week. Just check out FightMatrix for those rankings.

Tweet me with any questions as always @Izi_Garcia

Fighters not included in rankings:

  • Retired
  • Suspended
  • Layoff exceeding 1 year with no fight scheduled

Previous Update: Updated after TUF Finale 12/5/2016
Current Update:  Updated after UFC 206 12/13/2016

HEAVYWEIGHT

1 Stipe Miocic Unscheduled
2 Fabricio Werdum vs Velasquez (#3) Dec 30th
3 Cain Velasquez vs Werdum (#2) Dec 30th
4 Junior Dos Santos Unscheduled
5 Alistair Overeem Unscheduled
6 Vitaly Minakov Unscheduled
7 Josh Barnett Unscheduled
8 Fedor Emelianenko vs Mitrione (NR) Feb 18th
9 Derrick Lewis ∧ 3 Unscheduled
10 Alexander Volkov Unscheduled
11 Ben Rothwell Unscheduled
12 Cheick Kongo Unscheduled
13 Travis Browne Unscheduled
14 Stefan Stuve Unscheduled
15 Andrei Arlovski Unscheduled
Notes: 

LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT

1 Daniel Cormier Unscheduled
2 Anthony Johnson Unscheduled
3 Phil Davis Unscheduled
4 Ryan Bader Unscheduled
5 David Branch Unscheduled
6 Glover Teixeira Unscheduled
7 Rampage Jackson Unscheduled
8 Alexander Gustafsson Unscheduled
9 Rashad Evans Unscheduled
10 Jimi Manuwa Unscheduled
11 Muhammad Lawal vs Ishii (NR) Dec 16th
12 Linton Vassell Unscheduled
13 Liam McGreary Unscheduled
14 Antonio Rogerio Nogueira Unscheduled
15 Ovince St. Preux NR Unscheduled
Notes: Removed Shogun Rua due to inactivity

MIDDLEWEIGHT

1  Michael Bisping Unscheduled
2  Ronaldo Souza Unscheduled
3  Yoel Romero Unscheduled
4 Gegard Mousasi Unscheduled
5  Luke Rockhold  – Unscheduled
6  Chris Weidman Unscheduled
7  David Branch vs Taylor (NR) Dec 31st
8 Alexander Shlemenko Unscheduled
9 Anderson Silva Unscheduled
10  Nick Diaz Unscheduled
11  Krzysztof Jotko Unscheduled
12  Vitor Belfort Unscheduled
13  Hector Lombard Unscheduled
14  Robert Whittaker Unscheduled
15  Rafael Carvalho Unscheduled
Notes: 

WELTERWEIGHT

1  Donald Cerrone Unscheduled
2  Demian Maia Unscheduled
3  Robbie Lawler Unscheduled
4  Tyron Woodley Unscheduled
5  Douglas Lima Unscheduled
6  Ben Askren Unscheduled
7  Stephen Thompson Unscheduled
8  Jake Shields vs Fitch (#11) Dec 31st
9  Andrey Koreshkov Unscheduled
10  Dong Kyun Kim vs Saffiedine (NR) Dec 30th
11  Jon Fitch vs Shields (#7) Dec 31st
12  Rory MacDonald Unscheduled
13  Kelvin Gastelum NR Unscheduled
14  Neil Magny vs Hendricks (NR) Dec 30th
15 Carlos Condit Unscheduled
Notes: 

LIGHTWEIGHT

1 Conor McGregor Unscheduled
2  Tony Ferguson Unscheduled
3  Eddie Alvarez Unscheduled
4  Khabib Nurmagomedov Unscheduled
5  Rafael Dos Anjos Unscheduled
6  Justin Gaethje vs Zeferino (NR) Dec 31st
7  Francisco Trinaldo Unscheduled
8  Shinya Aoki Unscheduled
9  Michael Chandler Unscheduled
10  Edson Barboza Unscheduled
11  Benson Henderson Unscheduled
12  Jim Miller Unscheduled
13  Will Brooks Unscheduled
14  Beneil Dariush Unscheduled
15  Leonardo Santos Unscheduled
Notes: 

FEATHERWEIGHT

1  Jose Aldo vs Holloway (#3) Feb 11th
2  Frankie Edgar Unscheduled
3  Max Holloway vs Aldo (#1) Feb 11th
4  Daniel Straus Unscheduled
5  Cub Swanson ∧ 4 Unscheduled
6  Patricio Freire Unscheduled
7  Daniel Weichel vs Redmond (NR) Dec 16th
8  Ricardo Lamas Unscheduled
9  Pat Curran Unscheduled
10  Anthony Pettis ∨ 3 Unscheduled
11  Renan Barao Unscheduled
12  Darren Elkins Unscheduled
13  John Teixeira Unscheduled
14  Georgi Karakhanyan Unscheduled
15  Dennis Bermudez NR vs Jung (NR) Feb 4th
Notes: 

BANTAMWEIGHT

1 Dominick Cruz vs Garbrandt (#12)Dec 30th
2 Jimmie Rivera vs Caraway (#15) Jan 15th
3 Bibiano Fernandes Unscheduled
4 John Lineker vs Dillashaw (#5) Dec 30th
5 TJ Dillashaw vs Lineker (#4) Dec 30th
6 Marlon Moraes vs Silva (NR) Dec 31st
7  Urijah Faber vs Pickett (NR) Dec 17th
8  Eduardo Dantas Unscheduled
9  Raphael Assuncao vs Sterling (NR) Jan 28th
10  Rani Yahya Unscheduled
11  Iuri Alcantara Unscheduled
12  Cody Garbrandt vs Cruz (#1) Dec 30th
13 Pedro Munhoz Unscheduled
14 Thomas Almeida Unscheduled
15 Bryan Caraway vs Rivera (#2) Jan 15th
Notes: 

FLYWEIGHT

1  Demetrious Johnson Unscheduled
2  Joseph Benavidez Unscheduled
3  Kyoji Horiguchi Unscheduled
4  Tim Elliot Unscheduled
5  Jussier Formiga vs Pettis (#9) Jan 15th
6  Wilson Reis Unscheduled
7  Hiromasa Ogikubo Unscheduled
8  Henry Cejudo Unscheduled
9  Alexandre Pantoja Unscheduled
10  Sergio Pettis vs Formiga (#4) Jan 15th
11  Ali Bagautinov Unscheduled
12  Louis Smolka vs Borg (NR) Dec 30th
13  Brandon Moreno Unscheduled
14  Pedro Nobre Unscheduled
15  Dustin Ortiz NR Unscheduled
Notes: 

8 thoughts on “MMA Rankings

  1. Ranking Rockhold #5 is not correct. He has wins over Souza and Weidman & Bisping. His KO by Bisping was a fluke.

    Caraway should be ranked much higher than 12th in his division.

    The Mauler also should be ranked higher and Manuwa above Rashad.

    Like

  2. Kelvin Gastelum belongs somewhere within your top fifteen welterweights.

    TJ, #2 lightweight and just behind Cruz.

    Lawler #2, not Cerrone.

    Like

    1. These are not MY rankings, these are ELO rankings. I cannot just simply move a fighter up because their last win was more “impressive” etc. Level of competition is the foundation of ELO. Kelvin is ranked 22nd at Welterweight. Lawler’s loss to a very big underdog in Woodley caused him to drop to #3

      Like

    1. It’s not perfect like I’ve said on twitter. I would like to incorporate method of victory into the equation and find a way to adjust for weight class movement. But the goal here is to have the conversation started to find a better ranking system. One we can dissect and compute. Instead of make up and debate.

      Like

  3. I’ve been thinking about this since I saw this on twitter today and maybe this is a dumb question. Say for simplicity you have two fighters, fighter A and fighter B, who are both ranked the same and they fight each other. Fighter A beats fighter B by submission. ELO will measure fighter A’s win the same as if he won by decision and vice versa for fighter B’s loss. It doesn’t take into account how the win/loss occurred because in everything ELO is implemented it doesn’t matter. However in MMA it does. Would there be a way to add some value to TKO,KO,Subs?

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for the question man. To answer your question, the answer is no. A win is a win, method or performance does not matter in this current model.

      However, this is something that can be added and has been added with other models. My goal here is to let ppl see that there are better ways of ranking fighters instead of the current horrible biased Official Rankings. I want to keep this system purely ELO with no additional factors like method or performance (for now). Once we get the point across to all of the MMA community then we can start to improve it and convert it from an ELO ranking system to a hybrid that is more suitable for MMA.

      Liked by 1 person

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