Questions have been asked as to the current state of the official UFC rankings after eagle-eyed fans noticed that Conor McGregor has replaced Khabib Nurmagomedov as the top ranked fighter in the UFC.
Khabib cemented his spot at the summit of the rankings following his defeat of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 last month after he submitted the American challenger in the second round of their world title bout on ‘Fight Island’.
Immediately afterwards, a tearful Nurmagomedov announced his retirement from the sport – but not before asking the UFC to consolidate his spot at the top of the promotion’s open-weight rankings.
“It was my last fight here. I know only one thing I want from UFC,” Khabib said to UFC commentator Jon Anik in the cage. “You guys have to put me number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world because I deserve this.”
The UFC duly obliged, elevating Khabib above Jon Jones in to the top spot where it was presumed he would remain for some time.
However, as of Saturday there had been a change. As has been pointed out on Twitter by an array of fight fans, Khabib had lost his top spot – and had been replaced by his arch-rival Conor McGregor, the Irishman he defeated in Las Vegas in 2018.
What’s happening with the UFC rankings? McGregor now P4P #1 Hall not in top #10 and is below Silva pic.twitter.com/Nrpw6YtLS8
And yes, the same listing of McGregor as number one appeared on the Russian version of the UFC homepage. Khabib, meanwhile, had fallen to third position.
Questions will now be asked as to exactly how, or why, the change was made. McGregor has competed just once since his defeat to Khabib at UFC 229, defeating Donald Cerrone in a 40-second shellacking in January – but even the Dubliner’s most ardent of supporters would struggle to make a case suggesting that McGregor’s recent body of work is enough to place him in the top spot.
So if not an administrative error, what else? Could one of McGregor’s army of supporters have ‘hacked’ the UFC website to alter their hero’s ranking – or have the UFC demoted Khabib in their official rankings following his retirement, and filled the gap with his most heated rival?
Time will tell on that front but as of the time of writing, on computer screens at least, McGregor can lay claim to being the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter. The internet says so.
UPDATE: The UFC has reinstated Khabib Nurmagomedov in the top pound-for-pound spot as on Sunday morning. Conor McGregor has returned to number 11. No reason was given for the change.