Without a doubt, the pound-for-pound "division" is always the hardest to rank. Everyone has different rules for how they stack the fighters up, and there's no tangible way to compare them across weight classes. Nonetheless, it's a popular thing in combat sports so the SB Nation panel will continue to plug away and do the best they can. And here's our latest version.
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites - Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Alex Giardini from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow. Here's the fancy chart:
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues.)
We can all agree on one thing - Jon Jones is the best fighter on the planet. After that, things get murky. Nova Uniao teammates Jose Aldo and Renan Barao have cemented themselves in the two and three spots, slightly ahead of heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez and flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
Perhaps the hardest people to rank were the cream of the middleweight division, current champ Chris Weidman and the legend he toppled, Anderson Silva. Weidman was ranked as high as two and as low as seven, but settled into the six spot overall. Silva was everywhere from five to ten, but took the seven spot in the end. Lightweight champ Anthony Pettis finished just behind Silva in eighth, while Johny Hendricks and Vitor Belfort rounded out the top ten. Four other fighters received votes - Junior dos Santos, Ronda Rousey, Gilbert Melendez, and Glover Teixeira.
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
Jon Jones (1) vs. Glover Teixeira (NR) - UFC 172, April 26th
Chris Weidman (6) vs. Vitor Belfort (10) - UFC 173, May 24th
Johny Hendricks (9) vs. Robbie Lawler (NR), UFC 171, March 15th