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UFC bantamweight rankings: Four top-5 fighters will battle at UFC 292

RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Aljamain Sterling23-3W-W-W
#2Merab Dvalishvili16-4W-W-W
#3Cory Sandhagen15-4W-W-L
#4Marlon Vera20-7-1W-W-W
#5Sean O’Malley16-1-1W-NC-W
#6Rob Font20-6W-L-W
#7Petr Yan16-5L-L-W
#8Henry Cejudo16-3L-W-W
#9Yadong Song20-7W-L-W
#10Umar Nurmagomedov16-0W-W-W

The UFC bantamweight rankings are a showcase of some of the very best fighters in MMA as the division has slowly evolved to become arguably the most talent-rich in the entire sport. Where the lightweight was once considered the deepest weight class in the promotion, 135 pounds has surpassed it with an impressive and wide variety of fighters.

With that in mind, here is the official Sportsnaut top-10 for the organization’s bantamweight class.

Related: UFC tonight: Fight card, betting odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC event

10. Umar Nurmagomedov (16-0)

Umar Nurmagomedov has quickly become a fighter to watch in the UFC bantamweight division. Not just because he shares a last name with one of the best fighters in promotion history, but because he is an elite prospect with world-champion potential.

He has been impressive over his first three bouts in the UFC and continued that impressive start with a filthy KO win at UFC Vegas 67. Not only can he grapple, but he has a sledgehammer opponents must now also be wary of.

Now he will get a high-level boss test when he battles former title challenger Cory Sandhagen in August.

  • Next Fight: vs. Cory Sandhagen on August 5

9. Yadong Song (20-7)

Yadong Song has been one of the better fighters in the division over the last five years. In that time he is 8-3-1 and has beaten some established stars at bantamweight. He stepped up his competition level in a big way recently with mixed results. However, at UFC Vegas 72 he scored one of his best wins yet against fellow ranked 135-er Ricky Simon. Handing the American his first loss in nearly four years, and by TKO no less.

He is expected to return to action in August when battles rankings stalwart Rob Font at UFC 292.

  • Next Fight: vs. Rob Font at UFC 292 on August 19

8. Henry Cejudo (16-3)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After three years away from the sport, former two-division champion Henry Cejudo made his Octagon return in May. Unfortunately, he was unable to extend his UFC win streak to seven when he fell by unanimous decision to champion Aljamain Sterling. In defeat, he showed he still has elite-level talent and is willing to reclimb the ladder to the top. He will begin that climb in August when he takes on top-five fighter Marlon Vera.

  • Next fight: vs. Marlon Vera at UFC 292 on August 19

7. Petr Yan (16-5)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Petr Yan has now lost three straight bouts for the first time in his career. While he was one of the best fighters in the weight class for a couple of years, the division has caught up and he has not been able to stem the tide of the plethora of contenders at bantamweight.

At UFC Vegas 71, he did a good job of thwarting Merab Dvalishvili’s wrestling advances over the first few rounds, however, “The Machine’s” relentless pace had an effect and he was able to take the final two rounds in a highly competitive fight. It will be interesting to see where Yan, a former bantamweight champion, goes next after this latest setback.

  • Next Fight: TBD

6. Rob Font (20-6)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

After winning five straight and becoming a serious title contender for the first time, the Boston native suffered back-to-back losses against top competition in the UFC bantamweight rankings. It led to a big fall in our top 10 and a need to start racking up some wins. He got exactly that at UFC 287.

In a featured matchup at the April PPV event, Font took a high-risk fight against talented rising star Adrian Yanez and he was able to turn away the Texan emphatically with a first-round KO. It was a big bounce-back win for Font and should set him up for a money fight next.

Font will go for two straight when he faces talented 135-pound puzzle Yadong Song in his hometown this August.

  • Next Fight: vs. Yadong Song at UFC 292 on August 19

5. Sean O’Malley (16-1-1)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Aside from an odd setback against fellow ranked fighter Marlon Vera two years ago, O’Malley has been stellar in the majority of his UFC appearances and has been a wrecking machine in many of his wins. Unfortunately, his UFC 276 clash with Pedro Munhoz ended in a weird no-contest after an eye-poke early in the scrap.

However, he got the chance to redeem himself in a fight-of-the-night clash with Petr Yan at UFC 280. While it seemed like he lost the bout, the judges awarded him the biggest win of his career instead. Whether you agree with the decision or not, O’Malley proved once and for all that he really is an elite fighter and not just a hype train waiting to be derailed.

Following the main event of UFC 288, “Sugar” went face-to-face with the reigning champ and revealed he will be next in line for the title when the two face off at UFC 292 in August.

4. Marlon Vera (20-8-1)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

Vera continues to evolve as a fighter and is now legitimately one of the best bantamweights on the planet. And now he has knockout wins over a pair of UFC immortals in two of his last three wins. His victory over Dominick Cruz at UFC San Diego was classic “Chito.” He got off to a sluggish start, seemed down early, then turned the tide destructively. Following Yan and Dillashaw’s recent losses, he had a strong case to face the champ next.

Instead, he faced always dangerous top-five talent Cory Sandhagen at UFC San Antonio and was clearly beaten in a prove-it fight of his contender status. It was a big setback for Vera but he will look for a major bounceback win when he takes on division star and former champ Henry Cejudo in August at UFC 292.

  • Next Fight: TBD

3. Cory Sandhagen (15-4)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Aaron Meullion-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his recent setbacks to TJ Dillashaw and Petr Yan, Cory Sandhagen is still one of the most dangerous fighters in the division. He showed that once again at UFC Vegas 61 when he sliced open rising star Yadong Song with an elbow and eventually got a fourth-round TKO from a doctor stoppage.

At UFC San Antonio he put on another display of his elite talent in a highly anticipated affair with Marlon Vera. He won nearly every round and pushed himself right back toward the front of the contender line.

In his Octagon return, he will compete in a high-risk clash with rising bantamweight talent Umar Nurmagomedov in August.

  • Next Fight: vs. Umar Nurmagomedov on August 5

2. Merab Dvalishvili (16-4)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Merab Dvalishvili is without a doubt the best wrestler in the entire division. Part of his grappling dominance comes from a relentless style and gas tank that really is second to none. However, he also offers up a high striking output that keeps opponents off balance and out of rhythm. He showcased all of the above in a major win against Jose Aldo at UFC 278 and again versus Peter Yan at UFC Vegas 71.

While the former champion put up as strong a resistance as any opponent has to the Georgian, his endless gas tank and heart continue to be one of the most impressive weapons in the division. The only unfortunate part of his win is that it clearly made him the most deserving title contender in the weight class, but he is unwilling to fight his friend, champion Aljamain Sterling.

  • Next Fight: TBD

1. Aljamain Sterling (22-3)

ufc bantamweight rankings
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Love him or hate him, Sterling is the best bantamweight in the world and was able to achieve what few fighters in the UFC have, and legitimately scored a victory over Yan. While his first win over the former champ is disputed, there was no doubt about his victory at UFC 273. However, he earned another questionable win at UFC 280 against TJ Dillashaw. A fighter that apparently entered the bout with a serious shoulder injury that the promotion kept secret on fight week.

At UFC 288 he again had another close win but still went toe-to-toe with one of the best of the generation, Henry Cejudo, in an absolute chess match. Next, he will get another major spotlight opportunity when he faces loudmouth and talented striker Sean O’Malley in the main event of UFC 292.

  • Next Fight: vs. Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 on Aug. 19