Alex Volkanovski retains pound-for-pound number one spot despite losing to Islam Makhachev
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Well, this is awkward.
A major part of the reason Islam Makhachev called Alexander Volkanovski out in the first place was for the shot to take his number one pound-for-pound crown.
Heading into UFC 284 we were in a unique situation where the rank one and two in the entire promotion were going up against each other.
It was billed as Makhachev’s lightweight title on the line against Volkanovski’s number-one ranking.
The bout was extremely close and tightly fought with arguments going either way on who truly deserved to come out on top on judges’ decision.
However, the Russian was awarded the win on an unanimous decision and retained his lightweight championship and presumably overtook the Australian in the rankings.
Khabib even called his protege to congratulate him on becoming the ‘pound-for-pound king’ and Makhachev celebrated as such.
But not so fast.
Punters waited eagerly for the rankings to come out to see a crown upon a new head, and well, that wasn’t the case.
The updated pound-for-pound rankings following UFC 284 pic.twitter.com/HMleDPRuGp— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) February 14, 2023
The updated pound-for-pound rankings were released following UFC Perth and who was still sitting pretty on top - Alexander Volkanovski.
Islam Makhachev remained in the second position in the rankings, probably to the ire of the Russian and his fans.
Even the UFC's official Twitter account declared him as ‘Pound-For-Pound #1’ before the rankings were released.
And while the P4P rankings are quite trivial with respect to other rankings in the UFC, there’s seemingly a debate to be had over exactly why Islam didn’t overtake his rival.
Volkanvoski weighed in on the debate in an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, saying: “Pound-for-pound, again... I still think I proved that I'm the better fighter and I'm pound-for-pound number-one, but that's not up to me."
Adding: “I don't wanna be that guy but if he was just a featherweight in my division, I squash him. I squash him and it's a walk in the park...I don't need him to be a featherweight."
Meanwhile, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani seemingly put it perfectly, in his opinion, why Volkanovski remained in the top spot.
He said: “At the end of the day, the pound-for-pound is [about] who is the best fighter, all things equal.”
Adding: “The guy I was more impressed with, walking out of that cage on Saturday was Alex Volkanvoski.”