Imagine that each fighter holding the No. 1 position is the Sherdog.com champion: our ranking is intended to outline who would be next in line to challenge the man holding the belt ... and what the line extended to 10 fighters (except at flyweight where we limit it to five) would look like.
Criterion for the ranking mandates that a fighter must have competed during the past 12 months in the division in which they are ranked. Fighters currently under suspension for banned substances will not be considered for the ranking until their suspension has run its course. If a fighter appeals, they will be ranked until the appeal is heard.
Placement in the poll is based largely on results in competition and the strength of opposition.
With the addition of short explanations following each ranked fighter, we've attempted to provide insight as to why guys are ranked where they are. Though the sport still features fractured weight divisions, we've tried our best to address that in the placement of fighters.
In this poll there is one notable omission. Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (Pictures), one of the most talented fighters in the sport, is not ranked, as he has not fought at 145 pounds in nearly four years and his 155-pound resume isn't good enough to be considered a ranked lightweight.
Results will be updated as fights happen.