FanPost

Rankings and the Matt Brown Fallacy

The UFC rankings and other major MMA news website rankings have come under scrutiny since they’ve been in operation. An obvious reason for this is that, unlike other sports where a certain amount of points towards a team / player’s ranking is acquired through placement in a tournament, MMA has no such points system. Rankings are sometimes determined by fighter performance, win streaks, level of competition beaten or even a simple average of media member’s opinions as is the case with SBNation. As we all know, these inconsistencies lead to misconceptions about a fighter’s worth. Not a more obvious example exists than the recent resurgence of Matt Brown.

I will preface this by saying I am a huge fan of Matt Brown’s style. He is easily one of the most entertaining fighters a viewer can sit down to watch in the welterweight division. His recent beat down of hot prospect Erick Silva seems to have opened eyes as to Brown’s potential. Unfortunately, that potential as usual, has been blown way out of proportion. MMA is an emotional sport, not just for the fighters but for us as fans and it’s easy to get caught up on the loose, trailing ropes of the bandwagon and dragged along so let us look at Brown’s achievements as of the last 3 years with a little more depth and try to compare them with that of the other top 10 (SBNation rankings) fighters he has now jumped the queue ahead of in the UFC rankings. Considering he, himself is now requesting an immediate title shot, coupled with the fact that many people believe his recent position above Hector Lombard as 6th in the welterweight division is justified, I think that’s only fair.

Fighter Name

Beaten Top 10 opponent

Number of title challengers fought

Number of Champs fought

Current Win Streak

Record

Highest Rank of opponent beaten (SBNation)

Matt Brown

No

1

1

7

8-1

12

Hector Lombard

Yes

4

3

2

6-2

6

Demian Maia

Yes

2

2

-2

4-4

4

Dong Hyun Kim

No

2

1

4

5-2

12

Tarec Safediene

Yes

2

2

5

5-0

9

As is shown, the level of opposition greatly determines the win streak and records for the last 3 years which has a direct effect on ranking. Considering this, Matt Brown’s placement seems to be based solely on record/win streak with complete disregard for the level of opposition. I don’t believe a win streak to be the only criteria necessary for ranking. If it were, Nurmagomedov would surely be considered the pound for pound best fighter on the planet. If anything, Dong Hyun Kim has to be considered as the fighter closest on the list to one Matt Brown should be ranked higher than. Unfortunately for Brown, we have already seen that fight (his only fight against a current top 10 fighter) and we know he lost it, pretty easily actually, despite the disagreements from the uneducated crowd.

Perhaps a rematch with Kim, someone who Brown has lost to yet, is still ranked above on the majority of rankings including SBNation’s, should be considered before we start making impossible cases for Brown to be ranked higher than Hector Lombard or indeed before title shots are discussed. It would give us at least some indication of whether Brown is indeed deserving of the praise he's received or whether he has simply been fed a lesser level of competition than the fighters the ranking specialists seem fit to place him above. After all, the big likelihood here is that Kim is the only person in the top 10 Brown is going to be somewhat competitive against…

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