UFC Fighters and Their World Cup 2022 Teams
Figure 1 These are the best fighters in UFC
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is home to the very best mixed martial arts fighters on the planet. There are some brutal pugilists in UFC and the organization keeps a pound-for-pound ranking system to determine who is the best of the best.
We’re not sure if all the UFC fighters here are big soccer fans. But if they are, they will be tuned into the FIFA World Cup right now, supporting their countries as they challenge for the most prestigious prize in international football.
Here are five of the top pound-for-pound fighters and the teams they would represent. Their soccer skills may not be quite so good, but these five regularly feature in the UFC betting markets on the best sportsbooks.
Aljamain Sterling, USA
Currently ninth in the pound-for-pound rankings, this bantamweight champion has an impressive record of 22-3 and has defended his title twice now. His most recent victory was at UFC 280 in October when he beat the challenger, T.J. Dillashaw by way of a TKO thanks to a barrage of punches.
Sterling was born in Uniondale, New York and may be keeping a keen eye on the exploits of the USMNT in Qatar. US head coach Gregg Berhalter would definitely prefer a winning record like Sterling’s – and it is the UFC fighter that will remain champion longer than the soccer team will be in the World Cup.
Charles Oliveira, Brazil
Brazil is regarded as one of the best international soccer teams in the world and has won the World Cup a record five times. Some of the players, such as Neymar, are known the world over for their talent and skill – and that is much the same case for Charles Oliveira.
Oliveira is ranked number one in the lightweight division and number seven in the pound-for-pound rankings. But his record is now 33-9, as he relinquished his crown at the recent UFC 280. It was his first loss in 12 fights and he will, no doubt, be looking for a rematch against new champion Islam Makhachev very soon.
Francis Ngannou, Cameroon
Ngannou is one of the most fearsome heavyweights in the UFC but has not fought since the start of the year because of a knee injury. He is also unhappy with the contract he was offered. So it is questionable whether he will be seen in the octagon again any time soon.
His 17-3 record affords him fifth place in the pound-for-pound rankings – and he is still the heavyweight champion. He may not have fought recently but he is still a little more successful than his country of birth, Cameroon, at the World Cup. But the soccer team does have just as good a nickname as The Predator. They are known as The Indomitable Lions.
Figure 2 The best in MMA may well respect the best players at the World Cup
Leon Edwards, England
The game of soccer was invented in England and the country exported it around the world to the point that World Cups have been held since 1930. The national team has only ever won one, however. The Three Lions were successful on home soil way back in 1966.
But one UFC fighter in the top ten will be cheering on his national side at the World Cup 2022. Leon Edwards claimed the welterweight championship at UFC 278 when he took the belt from Kamaru Usman. His kicking skills could even make some of the soccer team a little jealous.
Alexander Volkanovski, Australia
The number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC at the moment is Australian Alexander Volkanovski. He won the featherweight championship three years ago and has now defended his title on four occasions against some of the best mixed martial artists in the division.
His next fight will be for the lightweight title against current champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 in February of next year. It is unlikely that he will be celebrating an Aussie World Cup triumph at this finals. But the Socceroos did put themselves in a good position for progressing out of the group stage in Qatar.