New & Improved P4P

After taking in some great criticism about the last set of rankings and thinking it over, I have completely reworked the system. I have thrown out the old "keep it simple" mantra and decided that simplicity should not outweigh a logical and functional methodology.  Although I didn't take every suggestion, I considered all the comments aside from those that suggested rankings in general have little value.  I also realized that I forgot a bunch of fighters.  Here are the changes…

1. Fighters can accumulate points by beating anyone in the BE top 25. This gave several fighters a bump up. Using the new scale, they earn 25 points for beating a #1 ranked opponent, 24 for #2, 23 for #3 and on down to 1 point for beating a #25 ranked opponent.

2. Another issue that was illuminated was that weak divisions were treated equally to strong ones. Originally I thought it was unfair to penalize the smaller guys for the state of their division. It’s not their fault they weren’t born heavier. However, it is true that fighters get ranked quicker in a inexperienced division and therefore can take a shorter path to P4P status. This made me look at the cumulative experience of each division. I tallied the total fights of the top 25 in each weight class:
Experience 634 561 656 578 550 494 462

As expected the lighter divisions had less experience. Since MW had the most, it was used as the measure for all other divisions. Dividing each cumulative fight total by the MW total, we get the following "Division Experience Factors":

Experience Factor 0.966 0.855 1.000 0.881 0.838 0.753 0.704


Once the lighter divisions get more experience, this adjustment will become less drastic.

3. The old saying, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall." rings true in MMA.  BWs manage to keep it out of the judges hands 50% of the time while HWs finish their fights a whopping 71.9% of the time.  That makes it very dangerous and difficult to compete in the heavier divisions.  There is such disparity that it must be accounted for.  Here is how the percentages break down:

Finish % 71.91 64.34 69.18 59.89 54.90 55.74 50.00


This time, we use HW as the measure for all other divisions.  Dividing each finishing percentage by 71.91 we get the following "Division Finish Factors":

Finish Factor 1.000 0.895 0.962 0.833 0.763 0.775 0.695

Similar to the experience factor listed previously, this finish factor will have to be reevaluated after a while; annually or perhaps more often.  This factor also partially addresses the suggestion of awarding win streaks.  HW is the most difficult division to put a streak together in, which is one reason why Fedor is so special. This data was compiled using,, and and is comprised of UFC events from June '06 to March '10 for HW through LW and WEC events over the past four years for FW and BW.  This data was the most easily accessible and sortable and happens to be most relevant to the fighters on the P4P list.  It can be viewed here.

To get the total adjustment for each division we simply multiply the two factors together.  In general this factor is multiplied by a fighter’s total score in order to get their adjusted score. 

Adjustment 0.966 0.765 0.962 0.734 0.640 0.584 0.490

4. Another suggestion was that fighting up in weight should earn you more when you win and cost you less when you lose.  I couldn’t agree more.  After all, it is very difficult to do.  So, if a fighter wins in a weight class above theirs, then their score for that fight is multiplied by the sum of the divisional adjustments ranging from the lighter to heavier division.  For example, when Anderson Silva defeated #4 Forrest Griffin at LHW he earned 22 x (0.962+0.765) = 38 points.  For HWs this concept works in reverse.

The calculation is slightly different for a loss.  When Aoki lost to #12 ranked WW Hayato Sakurai he would have lost 10 points under the old system.  Now his loss looks like this -12 x 0.734 x 0.640 = -5.64.  This is Sakurai’s rank multiplied by the divisional adjustments for the LW and WW divisions. 

These adjustments have made for a more sensible and fair set of rankings.  Some people disagree with fighters like Mike Brown and Brian Bowles being ranked over the men that just defeated them.  Please remember that these rankings are not about who was better than who on a given night.  Instead, they represent a fighter’s body of work.  The fact remains that Brown and Bowles defeated a higher ranked set of opponents to get their P4P status.  Try to think of it this way; when Serra knocked out GSP was he the better P4P fighter or just better that night?  Also remember that this compilation is not based on retrospection.  Just give it time, and the cream will rise to the top.  So without further ado, here are the new rankings:

Rank Name Class Score
1 Georges St-Pierre  WW  100.54
2 Anderson Silva  MW 94.76
3 Lyoto Machida  LHW 63.51
4 Quinton Jackson LHW 63.51
5 Fedor Emelianenko  HW  61.85
6 Chael Sonnen MW 55.80
7 Mike Brown  FW 54.28
8 Shinya Aoki  LW 49.41
9 Thiago Alves  WW 47.70
10 Rashad Evans LHW 46.68
11 Junior dos Santos  HW 46.39
12 BJ Penn  LW  44.98
13 Cain Velasquez  HW 41.56
14 Jake Sheilds MW 40.70
15 Shane Carwin  HW 35.76
16 Gegard Mousasi LHW 30.70
17 Brian Bowles BW 30.36
18 John Fitch  WW 28.62
19 Paulo Thiago WW 27.15
20 Antonio Rog. Nogueira  LHW 24.49
21 Randy Couture LHW 23.88
22 Miguel Torres BW 23.02
23 Urijah Faber FW 22.76
24 Dominick Cruz  BW  22.53
25 Paul Daley WW 22.02
26 Dan Hardy WW 22.02
27 Jose Aldo  FW 21.60
28 Frank Mir HW 21.26
29 Brett Rogers HW 20.30
30 Forrest Griffin LHW 17.60
31 Gray Maynard LW 17.28
32 Joseph Benavidez BW 16.16
33 Bibiano Fernandes FW 12.84
34 Frankie Edgar LW 12.80
35 Kenny Florian LW 12.80
36 Antonio Rod. Nogueira HW 11.60
37 Eddie Alvarez LW 9.60
38 Dan Henderson MW 9.11
39 Nick Diaz WW 8.81
40 Andrei Arlovski HW 7.73
41 Tatsuya Kawajiri LW 6.40
42 Rich Franklin LHW 6.32
43 Nate Marquardt MW 5.77
44 Yoshihiro Akiyama
MW 3.85
45 Scott Jorgensen BW 1.96

As you can see, GSP still reigns supreme, but Anderson Silva is close behind.  Those of you who saw the first version of these rankings should notice that Silva has moved up drastically.  The new division factors and reward for fighting up in weight have given him a more deserving rank.  Hopefully his antics in his fight against Maia haven't spoiled a potentially great fight between the #1 and #2 P4P fighters in the world.  Penn's loss has bumped him out of the top ten, while the man who defeated him makes his first appearance on this list at #34.  In recent fights Frankie has lost to an un-ranked (at the time) fighter then beaten numbers 6 and 1.  His score breaks down like this (-25+20+25)*(0.640)=12.80.  It remains to be seen if he can put together a string of title defenses against top competition as Penn did.  Up next is Strikeforce Nashville which should be fantastic because it features the #8, 14, 16, and 38 ranked P4P fighters.

As before, I am open to constructive criticism.  Obviously I don't care to hear from people that don't value rankings.  I would like to hear if anyone has a good argument in favor of awarding more points for a TKO, KO, or Sub versus a decision.  My general stance is that all methods of winning are equally valid and that to award one over another is playing favorites.

Rules (updated):
1. Factors based on divisional experience and finishing rates will be applied to all divisions to account for the difficulty of competing in a particular division.
1a. The experience factor is calculated by dividing the sum of all fights in a particular division by the sum of all fights in the division with the most total fights.
1b. The finishing factor is calculated by dividing the percentage of finishes in a particular division by the percentage of finishes in the division with the most finishes per fight.
1c. These two factors multiplied together equal the division adjustment (DA).

2. Beating a fighter ranked in the BE top 25 earns (26 – r)(DA) points, where r equals the losing fighters rank in the division the match was.  Beating a fighter outside the top 25 earns you nothing.

3. A fighter’s optimal weight class is defined as the division they have the highest BE rank in or the division they have the most wins in over the past two years.  This can change.

4. Beating a fighter outside your optimal weight earns (26 - r)(DA1+…+DAn) where DA1 equals your division adjustment and DAn equals your opponents division adjustment.

5. When losing to a fighter ranked in the top 25 in your division you lose r*DA.

6. When losing to a fighter outside your optimal weight you lose r*DA1*DAn

7. When losing to a fighter outside the top 25 you lose 25*DA.

8. Fighters do not carry their divisional rank from one weight class to another.  They have separate ranks in each division.

9. Between two fighters with the same score, the fighter with the more recent win is ranked ahead.

10. All methods of winning have equal worth.

11. Inactivity has no bearing on this list.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here are the rankings without the "Experience Factor" which has been debated in the comments below.

Rank Name Class Score
1 Georges St-Pierre  WW  114.11
2 Anderson Silva  MW 97.61
3 Lyoto Machida  LHW 74.26
4 Quinton Jackson LHW 74.26
5 Mike Brown  FW 72.08
6 Fedor Emelianenko  HW  64.00
7 Shinya Aoki  LW 58.03
8 Chael Sonnen MW 55.80
9 Rashad Evans LHW 54.58
10 Thiago Alves  WW 54.14
11 BJ Penn  LW  53.57
12 Junior dos Santos  HW 48.00
13 Brian Bowles BW 43.11
14 Jake Sheilds MW 43.08
15 Cain Velasquez  HW 43.00
16 Shane Carwin  HW 37.00
17 Gegard Mousasi LHW 33.29
18 Miguel Torres BW 32.68
19 John Fitch  WW 32.48
20 Dominick Cruz  BW  31.98
21 Paulo Thiago WW 30.82
22 Urijah Faber FW 30.23
23 Jose Aldo  FW 28.68
24 Antonio Rog. Nogueira  LHW 28.63
25 Randy Couture LHW 25.84
26 Paul Daley WW 24.99
27 Dan Hardy WW 24.99
28 Joseph Benavidez BW 22.95
29 Frank Mir HW 22.00
30 Brett Rogers HW 21.00
31 Gray Maynard LW 20.61
32 Forrest Griffin LHW 20.58
33 Bibiano Fernandes FW 17.05
34 Frankie Edgar LW 15.27
35 Kenny Florian LW 15.27
36 Antonio Rod. Nogueira HW 12.00
37 Eddie Alvarez LW 11.45
38 Nick Diaz WW 9.99
39 Dan Henderson MW 8.86
40 Andrei Arlovski HW 8.00
41 Tatsuya Kawajiri LW 7.63
42 Nate Marquardt MW 5.77
43 Rich Franklin LHW 4.29
44 Yoshihiro Akiyama MW 3.85
45 Scott Jorgensen BW 2.78


* Some additional research on the Finish factor:


There are only 5 HWs that have never been (T)KO’d before and all of them are relatively new to the sport.  Of the 20 HWs that have been (T)KO’d, 13 of those have been very recent and 7 of those have suffered multiple (T)KO’s in recent fights.  This is all top tier competition.

Now compare to BWs.  There are 9 top 25 BWs that have never been (T)KO’d 6 of which are in the top 10.  Of the remainder that have been (T)KO’d, 11 have been closer to the start of their career when it happened.

It seems pretty clear that the top tier HWs are able to (T)KO each other with more regularity than the top tier BWs.  As you go up the divisions the trend generally looks like this /

\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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