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UFC light heavyweight rankings: Johnny Walker rises after UFC Charlotte win

RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Jiri Prochazka29-3-1W-W-W
#2Jamahal Hill12-1W-W-W
#3Magomed Ankalaev18-1-1D-W-W
#4Jan Blachowicz29-9-1D-W-L
#5Aleksandar Rakic14-3L-W-W
#6Johnny Walker21-7W-W-W
#7Nikita Krylov30-9W-W-W
#8Anthony Smith36-18L-L-W
#9Volkan Oezdemir18-7L-W-L
#10Azamat Murzakanvo13-0W-W-W

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.

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

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.

  • Next fight: TBD

9. Volkan Oezdemir (18-7)

Credit: Jasmin Frank-USA TODAY Sports

Volkan Oezdemir has been a stalwart of the top 10 for the last half-decade. While he has suffered some notable defeats during his time in the Octagon, “No Time” has scored several major wins against some of the best fighters in the division. However, after losing three of his last four, he is on the brink of losing his spot in the UFC light heavyweight rankings with another defeat.

Next Fight: TBD

8. Anthony Smith (36-18)

ufc light heavyweight rankings
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

While he is well-removed from his prime, Anthony Smith remains the division’s ultimate contender gatekeeper. If you can beat “Lionheart” then you definitely have what it takes to compete for a 205-pound title. Smith’s career has been filled with peaks and valleys, and after winning three straight, he is at another low point after losing two straight. It will be interesting to see who he is matched up with next.

  • Next Fight: TBD

7. Nikita Krylov (30-9)

Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

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.

  • Next Fight: TBD

6. Johnny Walker (21-7)

ufc light heavyweight rankings
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

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 on the heels of winning three straight. The most recent being a unanimous decision over battle-tested veteran Anthony Smith. A matchup with a top-five talent in the UFC light heavyweight rankings seems in the cards next for the Brazilian.

  • Next Fight: TBD

5. Aleksandar Rakic (14-3)

Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

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 who — when he makes his return to the Octagon at some point in 2023.

  • Next Fight: TBD

4. Jan Blachowicz (29-9-1)

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Even at 40, 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 last was a major setback for both as it has thrown them into a bit of a limbo.

“Polish Power” will be back in July, and he will get a fascinating test when he welcomes former middleweight champ Alex Pereira to the division at UFC 291.

  • Next Fight: vs. Alex Pereira at UFC 291 on July 29

3. Magomed Ankalaev (18-1-1)

Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Magomed Anakalaev has been outstanding during his five-year run in the promotion. After taking an L to Paul Craig in his UFC debut, he reeled off nine straight mostly dominant wins. It was no surprise that another easy win didn’t come against former titlist Jan Blachowicz in 2022.

But gaining a draw in their title fight has put him in a place where he is stuck near the top of the division but still waiting in line for a title opportunity that may not come until next year. The question is, will the Russian be willing to sit around for that shot or does he take a risky fight before then?

  • Next Fight: TBD

2. Jamahal Hill (12-1)

Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

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. Now, he will move on to an unofficial unification clash with former champ Jiri Prochazka at some point later this year. It is a bout fight fans are eagerly anticipating.

  • Next Fight: TBD

1. Jiri Prochazka (29-3-1)

ufc light heavyweight rankings
Credit: Paul Miller-USA TODAY Sports

While “Denisa” may not be the current champion, he is still viewed by many as the best fighter in the division. A serious shoulder injury is the only thing that has beaten him in nearly eight years, but he is on a collision course to regain his throw in 2023 when he faces new champion Jamahal Hill.

The matchup is a must-see as it pits the two best strikers in the UFC light heavyweight rankings against each other with gold on the line.

  • Next Fight: TBD