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We haven’t really, either. But for all the sports junkies who love a good pound-for-pound argument, Sports Illustrated has put out lists of the world’s top 50 fittest athletes.
The list is dominated by NFL, NBA and MLB stars. But five current MMA stars – Conor McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Cris Cyborg, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Holly Holm, as well as future MMA fighter Kayla Harrison – managed to make the cut. You just have to wonder what the rankings committee was thinking when they ordered them.
SI said the list was created based on “many factors, including physical benchmarks such as strength, speed, endurance, agility, flexibility and power, and performances in the last 12 months.”
So, did they steal Cyborg’s training journal? Did they look at the numbers on the plates in Johnson’s gym session, or time his charges across the cage? MMA doesn’t exactly lend itself to the measurements that make such a big difference in other sports. The most important ones keep track of how many times you’ve punched, kicked, or choked your opponent.
When you look at where Conor McGregor ended up, it’s even more of a head-scratcher. If athletes were judged on their performances over the past 12 months, how can you give the UFC lightweight champ the No. 9 slot for running out of gas against Floyd Mayweather, while you give Johnson the No. 15 spot for a five-round triumph over the tough Tim Elliott and a blowout of Wilson Reis?
If popularity is a measure, then it’s no wonder McGregor sits atop the MMA heap. Then again, this is just the type of engagement SI is looking for when it puts out these lists. So kudos – you got us again.
Take a look for yourself, and feel free to vent in the comments section. Here are the MMA fighters who made the cut, along with the overall top five women and men on their respective lists:
- 30. Kayla Harrison, Olympic judoka expected to make 2018 MMA debut
- 26. Cris Cyborg, UFC women’s featherweight champion
- 22. Karolina Kowalkiewicz, onetime UFC women’s strawweight title challenger
- 12. Holly Holm, former UFC women’s bantamweight champion
- 5. Tia-Clair Toomey, crossfit
- 4. Maggie Steffens, water polo
- 3. Katie Ledecky, swimming
- 2. Allyson Felix, track and field
- 1. Simone Biles, gymnastics
- 15. Demetrious Johnson, UFC flyweight champion
- 9. Conor McGregor, UFC lightweight champion
- 5. James Harrison, football
- 4. Matt Fraser, crossfit
- 3. Roger Federer, tennis
- 2. LeBron James, basketball
- 1. Cristiano Ronaldo, soccer
For more on the upcoming MMA schedule, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.