MMA

'Pound For Pound' Rankings in Mixed Martial Arts

'Pound For Pound' Rankings in Mixed Martial Arts

Pound for pound is a ranking strategy that has been used in various combat sports . It is the method that allows the contenders from the different weight classes to compete with each other. With it, the fighters are compared among the different weight divisions and categories.


Every fighter has a comparatively different skill set that helps them to acquire a distinguished place in the tournaments. The fighters from the


Mixed martial arts is a combat sport that showcases the most dominant and dynamic fighters on the podium. Fighters from different martial arts showcase striking and grappling methods. The contenders incorporate the techniques of their related sports to help them stand out in the cage.


The new strategy was developed to help provide maximum opportunities for fighters to explore their expertise on the platform, where they square off against contenders who are in different weight classes, come from other martial arts, or might have different expertise.


In the pound-for-pound ranking, the fighters adjust their performances relative to their fighting tactics. The fighters can set a bout across different categories. There is no standard calculation to select the fighters for a bout, in general, it is dependent on the factors of techniques, methods, breakdown record, competency, and dominance.


The size of the fighter might vary among the two contenders in a match; they use striking, grappling, takedowns, and submission methods to knock out the opponent. Pound for pound ranking method has been part of the various combat sports that include:


Let us move into the article and find out the origin and use of the term pound for pound (P4P) .

1. What is Pound For Pound?

Pound for pound is a word you might have heard in combat sports; it is also called P4P ranking. It is a strategy used in various combat sports to allow fighters to compete.


P4P is a ranking method that does not have any specified rules or skill set, but it was developed to provide maximum opportunities for different fighters to square off against each other.


Fighters from different sports, weight divisions, skill sets, and might have major differences in size have availed themselves of this opportunity. This opportunity has been availed by most fighters who want to distinguish themselves from other fighters.


This unique way has unleashed the capabilities of the fighters that belong to the different combat sports. The method defines the capabilities of the top fighters and their combat sport. The winner signifies the dignity of not only related to him but also the techniques of that specific sport.


Pound-for-pound ranking is also part of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. This platform helps to distinguish the particular place of a top-notch fighter. The competitors may be highly skilled or show a lack of competency.


Most fighters consider that their weight class is not dependent on their opponent. In reality, the weight of the contender plays a vital role in providing opportunities for heavy-weight division fighters compared to the lighter-weight category.


However, in some cases, the significant difference in the weight classes results in very different outcomes. That is why this method of pound-for-pound was used to demonstrate capabilities on the podium. 

2. The Origin of Pound for Pound

The Origin of Pound for Pound

Like most people, the sport of MMA is diverse. It has many variations defined by the fighters who show their capabilities on the podium. The concept of pound for pound was part of boxing hundreds of years ago.


The pound-for-pound system originated centuries ago in boxing. This method was developed to provide maximum opportunities for the fighters. The fighters' skills and abilities are compared regardless of weight and size, as are their fight histories and accomplishments.


As the world of boxing evolved, the weight division was also created. In the early 20th century, the pound-for-pound system was introduced to determine the best fighter. Pierce Egan used the term pound for pound to compare the two best figures.


Later, the term pound for pound evolved and was used in boxing in the mid-90s. Over time, the concept of pound-for-pound became more diverse and became part of mixed martial arts, as it is the most influential way of analyzing the fighter's skills. 

3. The Comparison of the Fighters

Pound for pound is the ranking in which the tournaments are organized, comparing the various athletes with different skill sets. The comparison was made to the most skilled and top contender, who had a profound fighting record.


Note that the fighter can compete in different weight classes using this pound-for-pound ranking method. Weight is a significant factor that can increase the fighter's strength, striking power, and reach.


The comparison of the fighters allows the heavyweight fighter to compete with the lightweight division fighter. In this way, the ranking system empowers the fighters and provides a platform for their exceptional skills.


The result and the ranking method are based on an athlete's performance. For example, if the welterweight category fighter shows the ultimate performance of the other weight divisions, then he would be ranked at the top. The pound-for-pound ranking is not dependent on size and lower or higher weight divisions, but it is significantly dependent on the dominant performance. 

4. Pound for Pound in Mixed Martial Arts

Pound for Pound in Mixed Martial Arts

The pound-for-pound ranking system has been part of mixed martial arts. This ranking system evaluates the fighter's skills and the effectiveness of the techniques and methods in mixed martial arts MMA. 

4.1. Methods and Variations

In the pound-for-pound (P4P) system, the athletes focus on executing the methods and techniques. The fighter can adopt effective methods of guard passing, side position, grips, back, or top control. 

4.2. Incorporation

The exceptional fighting capabilities can be achieved by incorporating the strategies and methods of the various combat art. The fighter can adopt the specific techniques of freestyle, grappling techniques, takedowns, and striking art. 

4.3. Grappling and Takedowns

Pound-for-pound fighters must adopt methods and skill sets that can bring them to the top of the podium. For that purpose, the fighters must work on the variations of the takedowns and submission methods. In this way, the fighter can distinguish himself from the other fighters. 

4.4. Dynamics of MMA

The versatility of the fighter plays a significant role in pound-for-pound competitions. The fighters from the Brazilian arts of jiu-jitsu, wrestling, boxing, and Maui Thai showcase their skill set on the podium, which can make the fighter's performance stand out in the octagon. 

4.5. Ranking Of Pound for Pound

With consistency and proficiency, fighters in any combat sport can reach the top rank. This way, fighters' overall ranking is made, regardless of weight division and size. It is a profound element for the fighter who wants to compete in pound-for-pound MMA. 

5. Explore Top Five P4P Fighters in MMA

5.1. Islam Makhachev

At the top rank of pound-for-pound, Islam Makhachev is considered the most dynamic and versatile fighter who had set the record of fighting after winning a bout with Dustin Poirer. According to the new P4P ranking records, Islam Makhachev is the best pound-for-pound fighter. 

5.2. Leon Edwards

Leon Edwards is a mixed martial artist who started his professional career in 2011. He has appeared on the octagon platform and given magnificent performances, which is why he is regarded as one of the consistent fighters who stayed in the ranking pound for pound.


Rocky is in second place in the men’s pound-for-pound ranking. 

5.3. Alexandre Pantoja Passidomo

Alexandre Pantoja Passidomo is a Brazilian fighter who competes in the flyweight division. Pantoja is a champion in the flyweight division. This year, on February 20, Alexandre Pantoja was among the top ten fighters in the pound-for-pound ranking. He has improved his skill set and got the third rank in the P4P. 

5.4. Alex Pereira

Alex Pereira is a Brazilian fighter. He is the Ultimate Fighting Champion in the Light heavyweight division. A former kickboxer, Pereira has shown a profound skill set and attained fourth place in the pound-for-pound ranking.


He was ranked at the top in 2021 and has won two titles in different weight divisions. 

5.5. Ilia Topuria

Ilia Topura has dual nationalities: Georgian and Spanish. He is the Ultimate Fighting Champion in the featherweight division, maintaining his position and ranking fifth in pounds-for-pounds. 

6. Other Combat Sports and Pound-for-Pound Ranking

Mixed martial arts is a sport that showcases different fighters in the cage and incorporates fighting techniques. This ranking method has been used in various sports, including pound-for-pound wrestling, boxing, and P4P Muay Thai. Let us find out the ranking strategy of these sports. Let us find out how it works:

6.1. Pound for Pound in Wrestling

The pound-for-pound method is also used in wrestling. The wrestlers have shown dynamic performance in the sport.


The top P4P wrestler is Spencer Lee. He has 125 pounds of weight and stood in first place by achieving the NCAA title three times. At the second rank, we got Yianni Diakomihalis, who has shown remarkable performance and won the NCAA title three times. 

6.2. P4P and Boxing

Although there is no official pound-for-pound ranking system, boxers are associated with it. The pound-for-pound method has been used in boxing since 1990. The best boxers are ranked according to their performance; the categories are not made according to the factors of size and weight.


The top-ranked pound-for-pound boxers include Oleksandr Usyk. He is a fighter who has become the heavyweight champion and has won the title of two weight classes.


At the second rank is Naoya Inoue, the junior featherweight champion. Inoue has defeated Luis Nery via knockout.


The third pound-for-pound champion is Terence Crawford, 154 lbs, who has won multiple titles in the welterweight division. 

6.3. P4P Muay Thai

The martial art of Muay Thai is often considered Thai boxing. The kicking machine is the nickname of Superlek Kiatmoo, who has set the record for winning 135 fights. Kiatmoo has given this name for his distracting kicks.


The fighter Prajanchai P.K. Saenchai has acquired the second rank of pound for pound. The 135-lb Saenchai was the top P4P rank fighter in 2021.


The flyweight division fighter Rodtang Jitmuangnon is the third rank. He is regarded as the most aggressive fighter; he has a rageful punching style. “The Iron Man” has won the title of

flyweight champion multiple times. 

7. Final Words

Pound-for-pound ranking represents the efforts of the various fighters on the podium of mixed martial arts. The athletes can incorporate the fighting styles and stand out in the cage.


Pound-for-pound (P4P) criteria work on an athlete's performance regardless of size, weight, and combat art. These ratings are generally based on an athlete's use of techniques, methods, and skill sets. This platform provides maximum opportunities for fighters to showcase their skill sets. 

Related Readings

Reading next

The Submission Technique of Kimura Lock: The Same Side Variation
Marlon Vera - UFC Champion in the Bantamweight Division

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.