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The UFC light heavyweight rankings are a showcase of some of the very best fighters 205-pound fighters in the world. The division has often been a home of pound-for-pound talent and is that perfect middle ground between near-heavyweight level power and well-rounded skills.
With that in mind, here is the official Sportsnaut top-10 for the organization’s light heavyweight class.
UFC light heavyweight rankings
10. Azamat Murzakanvo (13-0)
Russian Azamat Murzakanov is one of the top rising stars in the UFC light heavyweight division. He is unbeaten after three fights and has been impressive over his first four bouts inside the Octagon. The best yet may have been a hard-fought win over an always-touch challenge in veteran Dustin Jacoby this past April. “The Professional” is deserving of and should get a top-10 foe in his next bout.
9. Johnny Walker (21-8)
It wasn’t long ago when it seemed like Johnny Walker had peaked and was close to getting his walking papers (pun intended) from the UFC after losing four of five. However, he has caught fire recently and put himself in a position to be discussed as a title contender.
In a main event slot that could have landed him a title fight in 2024, the Brazilian unfortunately came up short and was destructively defeated by Russian Magomed Ankalaev. Now, he will likely need to put together a new win streak to get back into the talk at the top of the division.
8. Khalil Rountree (13-5)
It wasn’t long ago that Khalil Rountree had lost three of four and his career seemed to be sputtering into mediocrity. However, since his last defeat in January of 2021, he has won five straight, with four of those wins coming by knockout.
His most recent — and most important — victory came in December at UFC Vegas 83 when he handed top-10 stalwart Anthony Smith a second-round knockout loss. At 33, “The War Horse” is hitting a new peak and is a very dangerous fighter in the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
7. Nikita Krylov (30-9)
After losing two straight, Ukrainian Nikita Krylov has racked up three straight wins. The most recent was a definitive first-round submission of uber-talented light heavyweight Ryan Spann. For much of his career, “The Miner” has always seemed like a nice but never very good fighter. However, he may be evolving into his best version and could move into title contention later in the year with the right booking.
6. Aleksandar Rakic (14-3)
Aleksandar Rakic has been the victim of some tough luck during his run in the UFC. Over the past six years, he has been one of the best fighters at 205. However, injuries and frustrating judge’s decisions have held him back from getting a title opportunity. He was on the brink of a title fight last year but a leg injury in his main event clash with former division king Jan Blachowicz derailed that momentum.
It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his recent injury — and against whom — when he makes his return to the Octagon at some point in 2023.
5. Jan Blachowicz (29-10-1)
Even at an advanced age, Jan Blachowicz remains an elite-level talent in the light heavyweight division. Over the last three years, he has lost just twice in nine fights and that came to former title challenger Thiago Santos and recent champion Glover Teixeira. The one-time champion’s draw with Magomed Anakalaev in 2022 was a major setback for both as it threw them into a bit of limbo.
He tried to free himself from that tough spot at UFC 291 and possibly set up another title fight, however, by split decision in a highly competitive bout with former middleweight champ Alex Pereira. Where the one-time division king goes next is anyone’s guess.
3. Jiri Prochazka (29-4-1)
While “Denisa” may not be the current champion, he is still viewed by many as one of the best fighters in the division. A serious shoulder injury derailed what could have been a memorable title run during 2023. After months of recovering, the Czech star returned at UFC 295 in an attempt to regain his belt, however, former middleweight king Alex Pereira blocked his return to the top.
After a definitive loss, Prochazka will likely have to reclimb the ladder to a title bout in 2024.
3. Magomed Ankalaev (19-1-1)
Magomed Anakalaev has been outstanding during his run in the promotion. After taking an L to Paul Craig in his UFC debut, he has gone unbeaten in his next 12 bouts. What has hurt the Russian is having bad luck in his most recent fights that ended in a draw and no contest.
In January he faced Johnny Walker in a rematch of their fight that ended in that unfortunate no-contest but that did not happen this time around. Ankalaev dispatched the Brazilian in less than two rounds with a definitive victory. Likely putting him in line for a title fight next.
2. Jamahal Hill (12-1)
Outside of a shocking submission loss to Paul Craig in 2021, Jamahal Hill has been nearly perfect during his run in the UFC. He has won six of eight inside the Octagon with many of those victories being highlight reel finishes, including his January title fight win over former champion Glover Teixeira that pushed him to near the top of the UFC light heavyweight rankings.
Things seemed lined up for him to face former champion Jiri Prochazka later this year, but he too was forced to vacate the title due to a major injury and his return to the Octagon this year is in doubt.
1. Alex Pereira (9-2)
In a short amount of time, Alex Pereira stamped his place as one of the best middleweight MMA fighters on the planet. His knockout win over former champion Israel Adesanya forever stamped his spot in division lore and he likely would have been first in line to get a chance to again beat new champion Sean Strickland. However, he switched divisions and rapidly rose to the top at light heavyweight.
At UFC 295, he proved any doubters left wrong when he scored a destructive second-round finish over former champion Jiri Prochazka. Not only is he the ninth fighter in UFC history to win titles in two divisions, but he is by far the fastest to ever achieve the legendary feat as he did it in just seven fights.