How would you sum up the FightMatrix rating system?

This software rating system takes an unbiased, objective look at all available professional MMA results from day 1 to the present. The rankings are a hybrid of boxing rankings and traditional MMA rankings in that they represent the “right now” like a boxing system, but fighters don’t “fall” as fast due to a loss.

Furthermore, there are also elements of foreshadowing and prediction-based penalties in an attempt to properly compensate for scenarios such as inactivity, bottom-feeding, and impressive debuting fighters.

Before the site’s creation, it was decided upon that displaying output of a purely statistical (ELO or equivalent) would make no sense for MMA. ELO methods are too basic, and an “accurate” statistical model, would’ve been finalized using past trends as benchmarks, which when used alone, is a poor methodology for the ever changing picture of MMA.  Furthermore, these models can produce wildly anomalous results.

This system needed to be able to factor in special considerations like impressive debuting fighters, “fluke” wins, inactivity, etc, so the decision was made to study respected rankings, and make a software system that properly place the keystone fighters in the divisions, but take bias out of the equation by ignoring overly hyped fighters, giving credit to underrated fighters, and being able to pull the cord on fighters who are well past their prime. In addition, the system also excels by being much more scalable then your typical Top 10s and 15s, by analyzing even the most minor shows.

In summary, FightMatrix is a computerized rating system that attempts to capture un-biased “popular thought” and combine it with prediction-based analysis.  FightMatrix’s system is truly one of a kind.


When do you update?

We usually update every Sunday or Monday.


When a fighter is dropped for being inactive, what happens to his/her rating?

At this point, the inactivity penalty has already kicked in. As time goes on, the penalty will continue to decrease their rating, at a progressively higher rate. When the fighter becomes active again, their new rating will depend on their old rating, time of inactivity, and most recent performance. As of recently, a modification was made that allows these penalized inactivity fighters to regain a large (but not total) portion of their lost points in their first two performances back.


Fighter A is ranked in the Top 10 at Lightweight.. but they only had one fight there!

The rating system is division-adjusted, not division-specific.  In other words, fighters carry their previous achievements with them to their new divisions.  If Joe Smith moves from Welterweight to Lightweight and has the 5th most points at Lightweight, he’s not necessarily the 5th best Lightweight, he is the 5th best fighter currently fighting at Lightweight.  This stands true as long as Joe beat a semi-legitimate opponent with the last 3 years in the division he is currently ranked.  If not, some points are temporarily removed until he does so, or returns to his previous division.


Hey, this guy is rated in the wrong division? How can I let you know?

Fighters are almost always ranked in the division in which they last fought. However, there are rare exceptions. One exception is when we have reason to believe that a fighter stepped outside of his division only for a single bout, and in addition, accomplished nothing. If you feel a fighter is ranked in the wrong division, please leave us a note in our forum.


Is the FightMatrix rating system similar to an ELO rating system?

Sort of.  At its core, the system depends on a formula which is similar to that used in an ELO system. However, unlike ELO, the FightMatrix rating system used here puts more emphasis on the most recent event and contains a massive wrapper of code around the core formulas that are necessary to properly consider different types of bout outcomes, the effects of inactivity, impressive debuting fighters, etc.


Why is Fighter A ranked higher than Fighter B?

Because that is how the ratings ended up. Seriously, these questions are difficult to answer, because so many variables go into the rating of a certain fighter. If there is a ridiculous result (like Eric Esch being ranked above Fedor), then there is likely a database problem, and we invite you to please inform us of this. However, if the fighters in question are only a few points apart, then it is because they are at approximately the same level.


Why isn’t your system perfect?

I always use the weather forecast analogy when our results conflict with some opinions.  How many times has the weather forecast in your area been wrong — the same system that has hundreds, if not thousands of different projection systems, that likely have millions of highly qualified manhours invested into them?  Not to mention, the consistent, well thought-out data points and related delivery systems that stream highly accurate data on a frequent, consistent basis.  Mixed martial arts is an imperfect sport, with imperfect judges and even an more imperfect matchmaking system.  Oh yeah, don’t forget the questionable data reporting to boot.  We do the best we can with what we are given.


Why is this fighter’s W-L-D record different than their record at (other source here)?

The reasons for this are endless.  Missing bouts, incorrect results, faulty reporting, undetermined pro/am status.


How can I help??

There are two major ways that you can help.

1. Take a look at the “Unknown Division” rankings to help us determine which division these fighters should be assigned to.

2. Submit any missing or incorrect results to Sherdog, our main bout source.


What do the Mouse Over statistics refer to?

Last 3 Years – Win-Loss-Draw record for the three years prior to the ranking date.

“Big League″ Record – The Win-Loss-Draw record for the fighter in the organizations considered the “Big Leagues”. This “Big League refers to the top organizations all-time based on a statistical analysis we performed (UFC/PRIDE/WEC, DREAM/K-1, Shooto/Shooto Americas, WVR, Strike Force, BoDog, IFL, EliteXC, Bellator, GCM, TKO, Cage Rage, MFC, DEEP, Pancrase, Cage Warriors (UK), Jungle Fight, KOTC (US), Legacy (Texas), M-1 Mix-FC/Global, WSOF/PFL, KSW, Rizin, TitanFC, RFA).  The analysis implements minimum bouts per time period and average fighter ranks. Some organizations were counted as one, due to mergers, etc.

Last Quality Performance – The date on which the system feels that the fighter registered his or her most recent quality performance.  A quality performance is a fight in which the fighter fought an acceptable opponent and substantiated their current rating (at the time) based on the outcome.

Quality Performance % – The percentage of career fights in which the fighter registered a quality performance.

540 Opponent Metric – This is an experimental metric that attempts to reflect a fighter’s recent opposition quality.  The metric goes back 1,080 days, and looks at all the fighter’s opponents’ W-L-D records within a window of 540 days before, and 540 days after their respective bout(s) with the fighter.  All of the records are added up and the cumulative win percentage is presented by this metric in a “strength of schedule” format.

Win Finish % – The percentage of a fighter’s wins that do not reach a decision.

Combat Age – One can equate “combat age” to “dog years” in that it will mirror the basic human lifecycle. With this new computation, we expect fighters to hit their respective “peak” in the years that your typical adult “peaks” in life, somewhere between 25 and 40. We will expect most fighters to start their descent at some point in their 40s and be far removed from their peak by 60.


Other Stats

Rank State – A fighter’s rank (US) state is assigned based on the state that the fighter most frequently fought in professionally, within the past three years. If there is a tie, the most recent state is used.


My question has not been answered in the FAQ. How do I contact you?

First, check out the Current MMA Rankings page and/or All-Time MMA Rankings page to get more specific information on how they work.

If you don’t see your question answered anywhere, please leave us a note in our forum.



  1. Molly Helsel July 19, 2010 at 3:33 pm Reply

    Please consider looking into breaking down the women’s division into weight classes. These rankings are becoming increasingly more important in the women’s scene and also having a visual of the top rated fighters in a particular weight class helps promoters make sensable matchups

  2. WTF Fight Matrix Lightweight rankings!!!! – Page 4 – Sherdog Mixed Martial Arts Forums July 11, 2010 at 12:33 pm Reply

    […] […]

  3. Tennis Fan February 2, 2010 at 12:40 am Reply

    RAY MERCER is ranked but how can one really objectively rank him after one pro fight? If he beats a grappler (e.g. Jeff Monson), then his ranking is justified. Why won’t Fedor fight Mercer? Arlovski lost to Rogers faster than he lost to Fedor; then Fedor fought Rogers. Sylvia lost faster to Mercer than he lost to Fedor. So why won’t Fedor fight Mercer? I think Mercer is right: fighters are ducking him. No offense, Fedor, but You did duck Bob Sapp and Antonio Silva. Also, I don’t like the margin Fedor has over Lesnar. It should be like this Fedor : 5000 points, and then as You have it. Really? Yeah, the only objectable ranking: Fedor and the rest, don’t You think? Why Fedor p2p best? Answer: because he fought all kinds of opponents, midgets, giants, Olympic wrestlers and judokas, pro kickboxers, amateur boxers. Same result: he avoided the loss by KO or sub. He might have lost some decisions or some rounds, but he wasn’t stopped neither during his amateur career nor his pro career. Nog deteriorated. I can’t believe he was trying to sub Randy when he had Randy hurt. Whom does Machida fight other than Mauricio to make an exciting fight? Teammates? Probably not. Move up in weight? He said after five title defenses. Ok, if he wins his next 4 fights, he’ll take on Frank Mir. James Toney wanted to fight. Somebody call him up, please, and offer to fight Fedor. If You read my post, You know Fedor didn’t fight pro-boxers. It should be exciting first round. If Coleman has a good showing against Couture, then it’s safe to assume, Fedor would beat Lesnar if he’s well prayed for. No joke! Arlovski said it himself: Fedor wins because he’s prayed for. Why can’t the public know why Aleksander Emelianenko has trouble getting sanctioned in America, or does he? He says he had problems with other things not pertaining to health. Then why does Barnett talks about Aleksander’s art work. When is Barnett back? He should fight Ray Mercer then! Make it happen!

  4. jcs January 17, 2010 at 10:10 pm Reply

    The fight will be added upon next update.

  5. Fight Legion January 17, 2010 at 10:03 pm Reply

    Jeff Monson had a recent win for 5150 Combat in Tulsa, Oklahoma. If you could add that to his stats and ranking that would be awesome! Keep up the great work

  6. jcs December 8, 2009 at 6:42 pm Reply

    I have updated the FAQ with the info you seek!

  7. Dave December 7, 2009 at 11:19 pm Reply


    just wondering what the top 15 record means for the fighters…I’m assuming orgs? so like UFC, pride, dream, strikeforce but what else?



  8. jcs December 2, 2009 at 7:57 pm Reply

    Sorry about that. Some bouts got incorrectly classified as amateur. It will be fixed on next update.

  9. Ian Harris December 2, 2009 at 3:17 am Reply

    Hey guys. Just wanted to see what happened to Chad George’s record. He is always ranked top 50 Bantamweight, and still is, but all of a sudden his record lost a win. His name still links to Sherdog which has his record at 10-4, but you guys have it as 9-4. Last week or so it was correct at 10-4 and now it has changed. How do we get it back to correct?


    Ian Harris

  10. Fight Matrix » Blog Archive » FAQ page now available. January 13, 2008 at 10:02 am Reply

    […] along with contact information for the site operators.  Please visit the page by clicking here, or by clicking the “FAQ” link in the right […]

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Before asking where a specific fighter is ranked or why they aren't ranked:

- We update the rankings once per week, usually on Sunday or Monday.

- Fighters who have not fought in 450 days or more ARE NOT RANKED UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

- Use the "Fighter Search" option in the upper-right of the page. The fighter may be ranked in a different division.

- Most of the divisions have multiple pages beyond this one. See the clickable ranges above and below the ranking table.

Furthermore, we do not maintain the "next fight" data. This is gathered from Sherdog. Any issues regarding this data should be forwarded to them.