Islam Makhachev may have defeated Alexander Volkanovski on the scorecards at UFC 284 this past weekend (Sat., Feb. 11, 2023) in Perth, Australia (watch highlights). But, he still hasn’t beaten Volkanovski in the hearts of those who voted in UFC’s latest rankings update.
Makhachev vs. Volkanovski wasn’t just a battle for Makhachev’s Lightweight title. It was also understood as a battle for Volkanovski’s No. 1 position in the much-hyped official UFC pound-for-pound-rankings. Someone must not have told the media members who submit their picks for the rankings on a weekly basis, though. Because the new rankings are out and surprise, surprise: Volkanovski remains above Makhachev in the pound-for-pound list.
Indeed, there may be some logic to the result. Pound-for-pound is supposed to argue who would be the best if everyone was hypothetically the same size. Volkanovski is empirically smaller than Makhachev, yet still took the Dagestani to the brink of defeat “Down Under.” Ergo, one could argue if they were pound-for-pound the same size, Alexander “The Great” probably would have been able to win.
Then again, some people are also arguing that Volkanovski also should have won the fourth round when he was trapped in a body triangle with Makhachev on his back. You can argue anything, really.
That doesn’t stop it from being, “No. 1 bulls—t” in the face of actual fight results.
This isn’t the first time the official rankings have defied logic to spit out strange responses to the weekend’s events. Volkanovski and his team may have put their fingers on the scale as well. Not only have they questioned Makhachev’s pound-for-pound worthiness in multiple interviews. They straight-up called him out for (allegedly) cheating using an I.V. drip to recover after weigh-ins.
“If he was just a Featherweight in my division, I’d squash him — I squash him,” Volkanovski said during an interview on Monday’s The MMA Hour. “And it’s a walk in the park. And no offense to him, that’s legit. I could make this a walk in the park right now. We fight again and we do this rematch, which we talked about, I talked about, Islam talked about, UFC’s talking about it, everyone else is talking about it. I think we can make that happen.
“I don’t need him to be a Featherweight,” Volkanovski continued. “He can be a Welterweight. He can go fight, wherever he fights, he can get as big as he wants with I.V.s or whatever he does, it doesn’t matter. Watch what happens next time.”
It was a quiet day as far as ranking changes went other than that. Jiri Prochazka slipped down the pound-for-pound rankings to No. 11, with Jon Jones moving up to No. 10. Interim champion Yair Rodriguez moved up one spot in the Featherweight rankings to No. 1, pushing Max Holloway down to No. 2. Derrick Lewis dropped down one spot to No. 11 in the Heavyweight rankings, while Serghei Spivac moved up one spot to No. 7.
What do you think of this surprise result in the pound-for-pound rankings, Maniacs?
For complete UFC 284 results and coverage click here.