Within the past several years, fight camps have become a bigger focus in MMA. There are the feuds between camps like Nova Uniao and Team Alpha Male, a focus on injury prone camps like AKA and Roufusport, the creation of super-camps like the Blackzillians and Team Jackson-Winkeljohn and the meteoric rise of underdog camps like Kings MMA.
There has also been the creation of the UFC Fighter Rankings, a guide for more casual fans to understand where each fighter stands within their division. The rankings are very controversial and can change on a whim, but are a fairly good estimate as to where each fighter ranks among their peers.
So why not create an Unofficial UFC Fight Camp Ranking system to see where each fight camp stands in comparison to other camps? Well for one reason, there are 160 ranked fighters, and finding which fight camp each fighter represents is a tough task. Some fighters are constantly switching camps while others share time between two camps on two different continents. I gave it the old college try though, and here is what I ended up with.
There are over 80 different fight camps represented by ranked UFC fighters, so now a system must be put into place to rank them. I have created a system to assign each ranking with a numerical value, although it can and will be disputed as to what rankings deserve what type of score.
I have created the Unofficial UFC Fight Camp Rankings on a system where a champion earns their fight camp a score of 25 points. A #1 contender is worth 15 points, a #2 contender is worth 10 points with a decrease in ranking equaling a decrease of 1 point until the ranking reaches #10. From there, rankings 11-15 are each worth 1 point.
Based on this very subjective system that can be changed if need be, here are the Unofficial UFC Fight Camp Rankings.
There are a couple of things that stand out immediately. Nova Uniao holds the #1 spot, well ahead of the pack with a score of 80. With a camp of fighters like Jose Aldo (C), Renan Barao (#1), Claudia Gadelha (#1), Junior dos Santos (#2) and Jussier Formiga (#3), it's no wonder that Nova Uniao can be seen as the most dominant camp in the UFC today.
There is also the very noticeable gap between Team Jackson-Winkeljohn (#2) and Kings MMA (#6) despite the former team not having a single champion while the latter, Kings MMA, has two. Although Kings MMA has two champions in Fabricio Werdum and Rafael dos Anjos, they only have three fighters that are represented in the UFC Rankings.
Team Jackson-Winkeljohn has 13 fighters in the top 15 of their respective divisions. They also have a bunch of fighters on the verge of a title shot in John Dodson (#1), Donald Cerrone (#2) and Carlos Condit (#4). The only division without a ranked fighter from Team Jackson-Winklejohn is Light Heavyweight due to Jon Jones' current suspension.
The American Kickboxing Academy holds the #3 ranking despite only having five ranked fighters. Just like Team Jackson-Winkeljohn, the camp has a bunch of fighters at the top of their division in Luke Rockhold (#1), Cain Velasquez (#1) and Khabib Nurmagomedov (#3), along with having a champion in Daniel Cormier.
As I mentioned before, the rankings are far from perfect as the scoring system is subjective, as are the Official UFC Rankings, but I think they do give a good indicator as to the current success of each fight camp. Let me know your thoughts on the rankings as well if any fighters were given the wrong fight camp representation.