The countdown is on to the UFC 255 fight card on Saturday, November 14. The event features some of the octagon’s very best, both all-time and perhaps down the line.
Ahead of the anticipated card, we wanted to rank the top-5 competing fighters at the event. We have to preface that this list is based on all-time ranking — past, present, and even a guess at their future, too. So without further ado, here’s the “best of the best” at UFC 255:
- Brandon Moreno
More than anything, Moreno finds himself on this list because of upside. At 26, he’s barely entering the prime of his career and he’s already shown flashes of brilliance.
Moreno remains unbeaten in three UFC fights. Those showings have inched him into the number-two spot in UFC’s flyweight rankings.
Come UFC 255, Moreno will headline the preliminary card against Brandon Royval. A win against Royval and Moreno all but guarantees himself a shot at the champion, Figueiredo (more on him shortly).
- Tim Means
It’s hard enough to make a living in mixed martial arts, little less do so for the better part of two decades. But that’s a distinction the 36-year-old Means can certainly claim.
He’s very much a journeyman in the sport. He first burst on the scene in 2004 when MMA was still in the shadows. However, it was in King of The Cage where Means made himself known to the world. At one point, Means not only reeled off six straight wins, but each came via first-round stoppage.
At UFC 255, Means has a lightweight match against Mike Perry. It’s a chance for Means to add to his 30-12 mark over his career.
- Deiveson Figueiredo
We got to give love to the headlining fighter of the entire card — the reigning and defending champion, Figueiredo. It’ll be his first defense since claiming the belt back in July, but he’s primed for a run atop the flyweight class.
Simply put, Figueiredo can do it all inside the ring. He’s 19-1 all-time and those victories have come in a variety of ways — nine knockouts, seven submissions, and three decisions. It’s that bell-to-bell dominance why he’s number 14 on UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings at the moment.
When you’re the top dog like Figueiredo, you have a lot of fighters on your heels. First for him is his UFC 255 challenger Alex Perez. Not far behind, however, is Cody Garbrandt and the aforementioned Moreno.
- Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
The man most refer to as “Shogun” is on the verge of turning 39 years old and a possible retirement around the corner. Win or lose against Craig at UFC 255, there’s no denying Rua is one of the best to ever put on fighting gloves.
The fighters he’s defeated throughout his career reads like a who’s-who list of MMA greats — Alistair Overeem, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Lyoto Machida, and Antônio Rogério Nogueira (four times). Those wins have come not only in the UFC, but in the defunct Pride promotion, too.
Plus, you have to give Shogun brownie points for his must-see knockout style. Twenty-one of 27 career wins have come from knockout. So not only has he racked up wins, he’s done so while entertaining fans far and wide.
- Valentina Shevchenko
Picking Shevchenko over Shogun might be a controversial choice, but for us, it’s the obvious one. Where Shevchenko separates herself from Rua is she hardly has any blemishes on her career.
She holds a resounding 19-3 mark in mixed martial arts — 8-2 of it being in the UFC. The only pair of losses came against the GOAT herself, Amanda Nunes. But here’s the thing: unlike every other fighter Nunes has run through, Shevchenko actually tested her. Both fights went to the judges scorecard, with the second one being a split-decision (the only kind in Nunes career).
Furthermore, Shevchenko has held on to the flyweight title for 700-plus days and counting. At UFC 255, she squares off against Jennifer Maia, which should be another convincing win in her resume.
Welp, that’s our top-5 rankings. Though, depending on what happens at UFC 255, the list could very well change.