Feel why you’re not in the UFC’s official rankings

Since the end of 2013, the UFC, the world’s largest mixed martial arts organization, has been officially ranking the 15 fighters who can challenge the champion. In other words, 16 fighters in a weight class, including the champion, are separate from the rest.

The updated rankings, dated Feb. 14, 2024, show Anthony Hernandez (31) dropping one spot to No. 15 in the UFC middleweight division. He faces Roman Kopilov (33-Russia) in the first bout of the UFC298 main card (5 minutes, 3 rounds) on Feb. 18 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California, starting at noon.

As of Feb. 11, there were 64 fighters under contract in the UFC middleweight division. Roman Kopilov, along with South Korean star Joon Yong Park (33), are among the 48 remaining fighters who are not officially ranked.

According to Fight Matrix, Roman Kopilov is ranked 29th in the UFC and Jun Yong Park is ranked 22nd. The middleweight division is ranked 11-15 and the gap between fighters trying to break into the official rankings is close, as Park lost a close 1-2 decision to former top-10 fighter Andre Muniz (34-Brazil) in December 2023.

Anthony Hernandez, however, has seen his UFC298 odds increase from 64.3 percent to 71.4 percent with the oddsmakers. In a pre-fight video interview with MK Sports, Hernandez gave his own analysis of why, pointing out that “despite my striking talent, Roman Kopilov hasn’t fought someone like me yet.”

Anthony Hernandez and Roman Kopilov have something in common: they both joined the UFC in 2019. Their records are similar, with Hernandez at 5-2 and Kopilov at 4-2. If you look at the results, Kopilov’s 4 KO wins are more impressive than Hernandez’s 1 KO and 3 submission wins.

Anthony Hernandez (left) attacks former No. 9-ranked UFC middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan in May 2023. Photo: ESPN+ video thumbnail

Anthony Hernandez (left) attacks former No. 9-ranked UFC middleweight Edmen Shahbazyan in May 2023. Photo: ESPN+ video thumbnail
However, Anthony Hernandez is 2-1 in mixed martial arts against three top-15 ranked opponents, including two in the welterweight (-77 kilograms) division before his UFC debut. Roman Kopilov, on the other hand, has never fought a UFC-ranked opponent before.
Anthony Hernandez says, “I watched all of Roman Kopilov’s fights in preparation for UFC 298, and it was pretty obvious (without reading any written analysis). I’m going to make him realize with my dominance that he hasn’t faced a quality opponent,” he warned.

However, there’s no denying that Roman Kopilov is a powerful striker with two knockout victories in the UFC with his punches and kicks. Anthony 토토 Hernandez agrees, saying, “You have to be careful because he hits really well. I don’t underestimate him at all.”

“It’s going to be a great war,” said Anthony Hernandez, who is determined to “make (UFC298) feel like hell with my wrestling offense. At the end of the day, I’m going to beat Roman Kopilov,” he said, revealing a grappling-based game plan for victory.

A matchup between Anthony Hernandez and Roman Kopilov was also pushed back to September 2023, but Hernandez was sidelined with an injury at the time. “My torn ligaments are healed and I’m healthy, and I’m better prepared for Kopilov than I was last fall because I’ve been training smart and clever (not overdoing it),” he said.

UFC Fight Night 227, which was supposed to feature a fight between the two, was scheduled to coincide with Mexico’s Independence Day last year. Why was Anthony Hernandez, an American, scheduled to fight?

Anthony Hernandez: “My father was born in Mexico. He passed away, so I’m representing the Mexican side of (my family’s) heritage. I would appreciate it if people would call me ‘Hernandez’ in Spanish rather than ‘Hernandez’ in English.”

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