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Independent World MMA Rankings – June 19, 2009

By Zach Arnold | June 18, 2009

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From the office of the Independent World MMA Rankings

June 19, 2009: We are proud to announce the launch of the Independent World MMA Rankings. Some of the best and most knowledgeable MMA writers from across the MMA media landscape have come together to form one independent voting panel.

These voting panel members are, in alphabetical order: Zach Arnold (FightOpinion); Nicholas Bailey (MMA Ratings); Jared Barnes (Houston Chronicle); Jordan Breen (Sherdog); Jim Genia (Full Contact Fighter, MMA Memories, and MMA Journalist Blog); Jesse Holland (MMA Mania); Robert Joyner (MMA Payout); Todd Martin (CBS Sportsline); Zac Robinson (Sports by the Numbers MMA; Michael David Smith (AOL Fanhouse); Jonathan Snowden (Author of “Total MMA: Inside Ultimate Fighting”); Joshua Stein (MMA Opinion), Ivan Trembow (Freelance); and Dave Walsh (Total MMA).

These rankings are independent of any single MMA media outlet or sanctioning body, and are published on multiple web sites.

The rankings are tabulated on a monthly basis in each of the top seven weight classes of MMA, from heavyweight to bantamweight, with fighters receiving ten points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second-place vote, and so on.

The rankings are based purely on the votes of the members of the voting panel, with nobody’s vote counting more than anybody else’s vote, and no computerized voting.

The voters are instructed to vote primarily based on fighters’ actual accomplishments in the cage/ring (the quality of opposition that they’ve actually beaten), not based on a broad, subjective perception of which fighters would theoretically win fantasy match-ups.

Special thanks to Eric Kamander, Zach Arnold, and Joshua Stein for their invaluable help with this project, and special thanks to Garrett Bailey for designing our logo.

Inactivity: Fighters who have not fought in the past 12 months are not eligible to be ranked, and will regain their eligibility the next time they fight.

Disciplinary Suspensions: Fighters who are currently serving disciplinary suspensions are not eligible to be ranked.

Changing Weight Classes: When a fighter announces that he is leaving one weight class in order to fight in another weight class, the fighter is not eligible to be ranked in the new weight class until he has his first fight in the new weight class.

Catch Weight Fights: When fights are contested at weights that are in between the limits of the various weight classes, they are considered to be in the higher weight class. The weight limits for each weight class are listed at the top of the rankings for each weight class.

June 2009 Independent World MMA Rankings

Heavyweight Rankings (206 to 265 lbs.)

  1. Fedor Emelianenko (30-1, 1 No Contest)
  2. Frank Mir (12-3)
  3. Josh Barnett (24-5)
  4. Brock Lesnar (3-1)
  5. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (31-5-1, 1 No Contest)
  6. Randy Couture (16-9)
  7. Alistair Overeem (29-11, 1 No Contest)
  8. Shane Carwin (11-0)
  9. Brett Rogers (10-0)
  10. Andrei Arlovski (15-7)

Light Heavyweight Rankings (186 to 205 lbs.)

  1. Lyoto Machida (15-0)
  2. Rashad Evans (13-1-1)
  3. Quinton Jackson (30-7)
  4. Forrest Griffin (16-5)
  5. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (18-3)
  6. Rich Franklin (25-4, 1 No Contest)
  7. Keith Jardine (14-5-1)
  8. Dan Henderson (24-7)
  9. Renato “Babalu” Sobral (32-8)
  10. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (17-3)

Middleweight Rankings (171 to 185 lbs.)

  1. Anderson Silva (24-4)
  2. Yushin Okami 23-4)
  3. Nathan Marquardt (28-8-2)
  4. Demian Maia (10-0)
  5. Dan Henderson (24-7)
  6. Jorge Santiago (21-7)
  7. Gegard Mousasi (25-2-1)
  8. Robbie Lawler (16-5, 1 No Contest)
  9. Vitor Belfort (18-8)
  10. Thales Leites (14-2)

Welterweight Rankings (156 to 170 lbs.)

  1. Georges St. Pierre (18-2)
  2. Thiago Alves (16-3)
  3. Jon Fitch (18-3, 1 No Contest)
  4. Jake Shields (23-4-1)
  5. Matt Hughes (43-7)
  6. Josh Koscheck (12-4)
  7. Martin Kampmann (15-2)
  8. Mike Swick (14-2)
  9. Carlos Condit (22-5)
  10. Paulo Thiago (11-0)

Lightweight Rankings (146 to 155 lbs.)

  1. B.J. Penn (13-5-1)
  2. Kenny Florian (11-3)
  3. Shinya Aoki (20-4, 1 No Contest)
  4. Eddie Alvarez (17-2)
  5. Joachim Hansen (19-7-1)
  6. Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2)
  7. Frankie Edgar (10-1)
  8. Josh Thomson (16-2)
  9. Satoru Kitaoka (25-8-9)
  10. Gray Maynard (7-0, 1 No Contest)

Featherweight Rankings (136 to 145 lbs.)

  1. Mike Brown (22-4)
  2. Urijah Faber (22-3)
  3. Wagnney Fabiano (12-1)
  4. Jose Aldo (15-1)
  5. Hatsu Hioki (19-3-2)
  6. Leonard Garcia (12-4)
  7. “Lion” Takeshi Inoue (16-3)
  8. Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto (17-2)
  9. Dokonjonosuke Mishima (19-6-2)
  10. Raphael Assuncao (13-1)

Bantamweight Rankings (126 to 135 lbs.)

  1. Miguel Torres (37-1)
  2. Brian Bowles (7-0)
  3. Takeya Mizugaki (11-3-2)
  4. Masakatsu Ueda (9-0-2)
  5. Joseph Benavidez (10-0)
  6. Akitoshi Tamura (14-7-2)
  7. Will Ribeiro (10-2)
  8. Rani Yahya (14-4)
  9. Damacio Page (11-4)
  10. Manny Tapia (10-2-1)

Topics: Media, MMA, Zach Arnold | 41 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

41 Responses to “Independent World MMA Rankings – June 19, 2009”

  1. IceMuncher says:

    “The voters are instructed to vote primarily based on fighters’ actual accomplishments in the cage/ring (the quality of opposition that they’ve actually beaten), not based on a broad, subjective perception of which fighters would theoretically win fantasy match-ups.”

    Overeem at #7 is proof that the voters aren’t following this guideline. His MMA record leaves a lot to be desired.

  2. robthom says:

    Looks good, congrats.

  3. Dave says:

    On the Overeem point, who that is behind him deserves to be in front of him? Carwin? Still largely unproven. Rogers has one somewhat impressive win but still we don’t know how he handles outside of coming out fast and hard. Andrei, well, two losses in a row and the Sylvia losses…

  4. Wolverine says:

    You should do something about Henderson not to be ranked in two divisions, Mousasi, who said he would not fight in MW anymore and Will Ribeiro, who will be lucky if he walks again not to mention fighting.

    I don’t agree with some places, but these are subjective rankings just for fun, so who cares. Good job 🙂

  5. Zach Arnold says:

    I should make my ballot public, although I don’t know if that goes against the rules of the voting panel.

    I didn’t include Ribeiro, to my knowledge, on the list. I didn’t include Mousasi anywhere, either.

    I’m not one who votes fighters in two different classes — my preference is to pick one class for one guy (i.e. Shields at 170, not at 170 and 185).

    And, no, I’m not the office for the rankings, either.

  6. EJ says:

    I have to say for the first time in a long time I didn’t hate this ranking list except for the LW rankings which sucked. The rest of it was pretty on point save a few fighters here and there, hopefully they will fix the LW rankings for next time and keep up the good work on the rest.

  7. Zach Arnold says:

    I have to say for the first time in a long time I didn’t hate this ranking list except for the LW rankings which sucked. The rest of it was pretty on point save a few fighters here and there, hopefully they will fix the LW rankings for next time and keep up the good work on the rest.

    Give me some ideas on what you think should be different.

  8. Dave says:

    Rich Franklin’s victory over Matt Hamill really shot him up through rankings. His one fight at 205 in years and he is #6? Certainly not independent of BS.

  9. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    I don’t have a particular problem with Franklin or Henderson’s placement. It’s a tossup, you can put them in 205, or you can put them at 2/3 or 3/4 at 185 (probably 2/3, IMHO). 205 is probably better because I don’t think either one wants to continue at 185 unless they can have the title.

    I don’t like Lesnar being in the top 10 with four fights, but that’s a well known problem, and if he wins at 100, then it becomes a much bigger one if he goes from non top-10 to top 5.

    Jardine is a sore thumb.

  10. Dave says:

    Honestly I’m a bit upset that Nick Diaz didn’t sweep every category.

  11. 45 Huddle says:

    From a rankings perspective, the Franklin/Silva fight took place at 195 lbs, which still falls under the Light Heavyweight Division, which means that win would have ranking implications.

    Rankings have shown to be pointless. There should be UFC Rankings and perhaps “everything else” rankings. That’s about it. Mixing the two makes no sense.

    Now, to comment on the rankings themselves…. My issue with these are the same as with most of the other ones. Guys outside the UFC get way too much credit.

    1. Mousasi hasn’t really beaten a Top guy, how is he ranked?

    2. How does Shields get ranked higher then Hughes? Yes, Shields has been undefeated, but his best win is against Condit. On the other hand, Hughes’s only losses are to GSP & Alves. He is being penalized for fighting tougher competition. On a side note, Sherdog just removed him from their rankings. And Sherdog had a decent ranking system when it first came out. It is horrible now too.

    3. Overeem at #7 is comical. He has no Top 10 wins. Carwin beat Gonzaga who was Top 10 at the time. Rogers could be ranked ahead of him. I hate this concept of “Well, who else do you put there?” People have used that thought process ONLY for guys outside of the UFC. And for guys who don’t really deserve it.

    4. Kid Yamamoto shouldn’t be ranked.

    There are smaller issues, but those were the first 4 that came to mind. Like I said before, rankings don’t work when they are across different organizations.

  12. […] Another ranking system, with the hook on this one being that it’s ‘independent’. What exactly that means is not really explained but I suppose it’s a rub against WAMMA. I’m not going to comment on if it seems better or worse than any other ranking system because I think ALL ranking systems are pretty dumb, which is why you’ll never see me participating in any of these. Unless I get offered money, in which case I’ll happily sell out and pronounce Frank Mir as the second best heavyweight in the world. […]

  13. Alan Conceicao says:

    4. Kid Yamamoto shouldn’t be ranked.

    Why not? He took a very long time off when he was on top and lost when he came back to a prospect who only had one win over a legitimate opponent. That’s not a unique story. At least Kid isn’t approaching AARP age…

    As for Mousasi, he’s what, 17-1 in his last 18 or something like that? I mean, he’s on a huge roll against decent opposition. The logic is the same as Lawler. Who else is there to rank above him? Leites’ one win of note didn’t exactly impress too many. He beat Jacare. Then who is there? Dan Miller? Patrick Cote? Pfff. Talk about guys who haven’t beaten anyone good…

    I can see ranking Shields above Hughes too. Matt Hughes only has two wins since 2006 and he’s not gonna get any better given that he refuses to have knee surgery to fix the busted up tendons. Sure, he fought better competition three times, but he got crushed all three times and looked like hell with Serra. If you want to reward him for beating BJ Penn based on BJ as a lightweight since, why not reward Shields for Okami and Condit’s performance since?

  14. David M says:

    How is Frankie Edgar ranked above Maynard? When they fought Maynard absolutely dominated him and he is undefeated.

    I also think Diego deserves to be ranked at 155 even though he has only had 1 fight at the weight. Otherwise I think it is probably the least-bad ranking list I have ever seen. :thumbs up:

  15. Dr J says:

    Really surprised that Nick Diaz isn’t on the rankings anywhere

  16. Santa says:

    Cool logo…

  17. Dave2 says:

    I admit that guys outside of the UFC are often overrated in internet MMA rankings. I’ve noticed that recently. Shinya Aoki is #3 at 155 because he’s the man at lightweight in Japan. But I’m pretty sure he would get destroyed by at least some of the hulking 155ers in the UFC. They’d really exploit that chin of his on the ground. Especially when he won’t have his pants to help him lock submissions. So yes, I can see how rankings are useless right now given the current situation. Not everyone has fought and beat a top UFC vet like Fedor and Brett Rogers has.

  18. Jeff says:

    While I appreciate the idea behind this, I really do not think that a “voting” ever works on rankings. Unless everyone has an idea of the rules to follow, you end up with Edgar over Maynard or Koscheck over Thiago- which is just plain wrong. I think guidelines need to be in place to establish penalties for inactivity, fights outside the weightclass, competing in multiple weight classes, etc. Otherwise, the panel amounts to nothing more than another BloodyElbow meta-ranking.

  19. Jeff, I believe all the guidelines you mentioned are in place.

    That said, I agree with FightLinker, and I think there’s a lot of reason’s why rankings are dumb, and any attempt to make them “objective” is laughable.

    I can guarantee that even within the guidelines used by the panel, there are differences of opinion as far as how to value accomplishment.

    One thing these rankings do have going for them is the amount of very knowledgeable and independent people on the panel.

  20. Wolverine says:

    I’m just curious how many of these guys actually watch Shooto, so they can rank guys like Ueda or Inoue.

  21. Zack says:

    How is Kenny Florian #2 without a top ten win? Why is Randy Couture still ranked when he hasn’t had a win in 22 months? How is Franklin ranked @ 205 or are you doing the FightMetrix thing where what you do at one weight class carries over to another?

  22. Cory says:

    This is surprisingly one of the better rankings I’ve seen. There are a few arguments to be had here and there, but overall nothing comical like some of the rankings I’ve seen (BJ Penn 3rd best in his division. OK!).

  23. Dave says:

    Trust me, I was absolutely shocked Nick Diaz didn’t make it, either. I’ll say this, I had his name down. I think there was confusion of where to rank him. Of his last 5 fights, 3 of them were at 160, which technically counts at 170 and the last two fights were catchweights of 179 and 180, which technically counts at 185.

    Wolverine — I won’t go into detail on this, but not everybody voted in FW and BW due to comfort levels, etc. I know I can only speak for myself and say yeah, I catch SHOOTO shows as they air.

  24. Wolverine says:


    that’s really cool. It was really funny to think that Franklin McNeil, Mike Straka or Ron Kruck are WAMMA balloters for lighter weight classes. 🙂

    Just another thing. If these are indeed world rankings you should find some voters from places other than USA.

    Japan will be difficult, Brazil is possible, but as a proud European I’d like to see some journalists from the Old Continent. My suggestions: someone from or from CageWarriors.

  25. Jake says:

    You guys need to switch Gray Maynard above Frankie Edgar in your LW rankings.

    Gray Maynard beat Frankie Edgar back in 4/08 and has since beaten Clementi & Jim Miller by decision.

    Frankie lost to Maynard and then beat Franca & Sherk by decision.

  26. 45 Huddle says:

    Why would Nick Diaz be ranked? At Middleweight, he has beaten Frank Shamrock and Scott Smith. Those two wins should not get him into the Top 10. And who has he beaten at Welterweight to deserve a ranking?

    Some people buy into the hype, the fact that he is on TV, and how he looks in his wins. But it’s about the QUALITY of opponents.

    As for Yamamoto…. Since coming back down to “Featherweight”… And actually his tailor made weight division in DREAM is closer to Bantamweight…. He hasn’t beaten a current Top 10 Featherweight. Until he does, he shouldn’t be ranked.

  27. klown says:

    On the subject of where to rank fighters who jump weight classes, here are principles I propose:

    1. A fighter is ranked in all weight classes in which he has competed in the last 3 years.

    Reason: It’s arbitrary to just pick one weight class and rank the person there. It makes no sense for people like Henderson, Franklin, Anderson and Wanderlei Silva, and others.

    2. A win over another ranked fighter counts no matter what weight class their bout took place in.

    In other words, just because Anderson Silva beat Henderson at MW, that doesn’t invalidate his superior ranking when it comes to the LHW division. It makes no sense to rank Henderson above Silva at LHW!

  28. klown says:

    Based on my propose principles above, here is a sensible ranking of LHW:

    1. Machida
    2. Evans
    3. Jackson
    4. Griffin
    5. A. Silva
    6. Henderson
    7. Rua
    8. Liddell
    9. Franklin
    10. W. Silva

  29. klown says:

    To clarify:

    1. A.Silva has fought at LHW in the last 3 years, defeating Irvin, and he is set to face another LHW soon, Griffin. He has also fought 2 ranked fighters who compete at LHW: Henderson and Franklin. It makes no sense whatsoever to skip Anderson over when it comes to LHW rankings.

    2. Just because Anderson fought Henderson and Franklin at MW doesn’t mean you can rank them above him when it comes to the LHW rankings! By that logic, for one fighter to be considered “truly” better than another, they must face each other in multiple weight classes… That’s nonsense. Anderson’s wins over Henderson and Franklin count.

    3. Where to rank Rua and Liddell compared to Franklin is a bit arbitrary. What binds those two branches together is wins over W.Silva. The wins of Liddell and Franklin over Wanderlei are both close decisions, so it’s not obvious who gets the higher spot. I’d have no problem ranking them in this order: Henderson, Franklin, Rua, Liddell, W.Silva.

  30. 45 Huddle says:

    The Ring Magazine has it where if you do not compete in a weight class for a year, you are dropped from the rankings. That makes the most sense.

    I don’t see a problem with ranking a guy in two different weight classes. However, if the fighter has said he will no longer be competing in a specific weight class (like Mousasi at Middleweight), he should be dropped from those rankings.

  31. klown, I can say that, while I am not a panel member, I contributed to the guidelines, and I lobbied (vehemently) not to consider a fighter’s announcement of weight change is their eligibility in a given division. My position is that a fighter should be eligible for ranking in any division in which they have fought in the past 12 months. I do think that each fighter should be ranked based on their accomplishments in the division for which they are being considered. So I would not consider Anderson’s fight with Henderson when determining the LHW rankings. Theoretically the division in which a bout is held has an impact on fight.

  32. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    If two fighters fight at two different weight classes with two different outcomes, then there’s a perfectly legitimate reason to rank them differently in those two weight classes in an editorial ranking.

    My general opinion is that a fighter is as good as he or she is, and a good fighter will want to fight in the weight class where he or she is most competitive.

    The places where you see the most trouble are Bantamweight/Featherweight/Lightweight and Middleweight/Light Heavyweight.

    Bantamweight is a really sparse weight class, and the same is true at Featherweight. Sometimes fighters have to take the gigs that are available instead of the fights that are “right” for their build and capabilities.

  33. Oops! says:

    Kid Yamamoto should not be ranked higher than Joe Warren who beat him and Chase Beebe. Will Riberio should not be ranked so high because he hasn’t fought in a while.

    These ranking’s suck. To many problems. I like Sherdog’s rankings better. Atleast it is up to date.

  34. Zach Arnold says:

    Kid Yamamoto should not be ranked higher than Joe Warren who beat him and Chase Beebe. Will Riberio should not be ranked so high because he hasn’t fought in a while.

    Agree on Ribeiro, disagree on Kid.

    Warren’s got two big wins, but he’s 2-0. Yamamoto fought a tough battle with Warren and came off knee surgery, plus has a much larger established body of work.

  35. Dave says:

    Warren is a great prospect but he has a win via a cut and a win off of a fighter coming off a long layoff to a major surgery. KID is active again and his body of work is impressive.

  36. Wolverine says:

    his body of work was impressive in 2005. Since then he hasn’t beaten any top featherweights. His last win against Bibiano (1-1 at that time) was almost 2 years ago.

    Oh I forgot about Rani, but from what I remember it was at bantamweight and Yamatoto should have been DQed.

  37. see says:

    I’m just glad nobody included Anderson Silva on the 205lb rankings like most rankings I’ve seen.

  38. Dave says:

    Exactly, beating one guy just about a year ago at LHW doesn’t make him a top light heavyweight.

    If he beats Forrest it is a way different story. Way different.

  39. skwirrl says:

    First off the positives. HW and 170 are SOLID. I like the unique look to the HW landscape and its all justifiable. I feel Mir beat a shell of Nog… But he still beat Nog so can’t argue the ranking. 170 is on locks the only possible argument is against swick or Thiago as he was getting curb stomped prior to the KO.

    MW is pretty good based on accomplishments except for Marquardt and Leitas. Who has Marquardt he beaten worth a shit again? Misaki before he was any good? Everybody forget he got busted for roids too, despite the UFC’s super beatable system. From the looks of Muscle and Fitness this month he’s back on his good supplements again. And Leitas? Really? Top 10? Really? Cote is more deserving. (and he’s not deserving at all)

    LW is good except for Florian as 2, (this is based on accomplishments right?), who has never beaten a 155 lber worth a crap. Lost to Sherk when Sherky still liked to wrestle. BJ is heavily overrated too, (in so much as he’s treated godly instead of barely #1 based on accomplishments), so this will be weird if Florian beats him and still in reality isn’t the best 155 in the world.

    FW and Bantamweight are also solid. The 1 beef I have with FW is Garcia who got massively overrated in a losing effort to Roger Huerta. Garcia will lose to anybody in the top 10 and some outside it.

    Bantam… Ribeiro should never fight again. Don’t even tempt him to come back as it could be a death sentence. The man had his skull caved in on a curb after coming off a motorcycle if what I read was accurate. Manny Tapia… How is he still overrated after Torres crushed him like any one of the other 20 some cans on his record? Curran should be in there at 8-10. His losses have come to 1 and 2 at 145 and a rising star via decision. If excuses are made to forgive Sardine’s losses how does Curran get screwed?!?

    Now to the truly WTF stuff

    What was being smoked to put Rich “I’ve never beaten a top contender in his prime in my life” Franklin, ahead of the man that beat him just a few months ago? AT THAT WEIGHT?!?! Franklin’s win over Wand wasn’t even impressive I scored the damn thing for Wand! (still a win but nowhere near the kind of performance necessary to leapfrog a man that just beat you)

    Also… Rashad is still at 2 after getting dismantled by Machida? Draw with unranked Tito who is his 3rd best opposition. KO Liddell… Absolutely murdered and embarrassed by Machida. I don’t know if he landed a punch the entire fight. Not even top 5. Should be even with Sardine.

    Once again though… HW and 170 are very well justified if different.

  40. Dave says:

    I’m completely with you on Florian. I mean, Eddie Alvarez is RIGHT THERE. The loss to Aoki doesn’t really phase him, especially when since then he has looked like a monster.

    I think its the whole fact that he is in UFC and has risen up to the point of being the clearest contender. I’m sure 45 Huddle agrees with that one.

  41. […] an excellent rankings by some quality folks in the MMA industry.  I really believe this is the best one I’ve […]


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