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:
- 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
|2||Fabricio Werdum||–||vs Velasquez (#3) Dec 30th|
|3||Cain Velasquez||–||vs Werdum (#2) Dec 30th|
|4||Junior Dos Santos||–||Unscheduled|
|8||Fedor Emelianenko||–||vs Mitrione (NR) Feb 18th|
|9||Derrick Lewis||∧ 3||Unscheduled|
|11||Muhammad Lawal||–||vs Ishii (NR) Dec 16th|
|14||Antonio Rogerio Nogueira||–||Unscheduled|
|15||Ovince St. Preux||NR||Unscheduled|
|Notes: Removed Shogun Rua due to inactivity|
|7||David Branch||–||vs Taylor (NR) Dec 31st|
|8||Jake Shields||–||vs Fitch (#11) Dec 31st|
|10||Dong Kyun Kim||–||vs Saffiedine (NR) Dec 30th|
|11||Jon Fitch||–||vs Shields (#7) Dec 31st|
|14||Neil Magny||–||vs Hendricks (NR) Dec 30th|
|5||Rafael Dos Anjos||–||Unscheduled|
|6||Justin Gaethje||–||vs Zeferino (NR) Dec 31st|
|1||Jose Aldo||–||vs Holloway (#3) Feb 11th|
|3||Max Holloway||–||vs Aldo (#1) Feb 11th|
|5||Cub Swanson||∧ 4||Unscheduled|
|7||Daniel Weichel||–||vs Redmond (NR) Dec 16th|
|10||Anthony Pettis||∨ 3||Unscheduled|
|15||Dennis Bermudez||NR||vs Jung (NR) Feb 4th|
|1||Dominick Cruz||–||vs Garbrandt (#12)Dec 30th|
|2||Jimmie Rivera||–||vs Caraway (#15) Jan 15th|
|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|
|9||Raphael Assuncao||–||vs Sterling (NR) Jan 28th|
|12||Cody Garbrandt||–||vs Cruz (#1) Dec 30th|
|15||Bryan Caraway||–||vs Rivera (#2) Jan 15th|
|5||Jussier Formiga||–||vs Pettis (#9) Jan 15th|
|10||Sergio Pettis||–||vs Formiga (#4) Jan 15th|
|12||Louis Smolka||–||vs Borg (NR) Dec 30th|