Rankings Focus: Lauren Murphy shouldn’t have been snubbed despite loss

Lauren Murphy went toe-to-toe with the No. 3-ranked women's bantamweight in the world, Sara McMann, yet doesn't have a rankings spot to show for it.

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I believe Sara McMann beat Lauren Murphy on Saturday night in Bangor. I cannot believe Murphy, despite the loss, is not included in the UFC women’s bantamweight contender rankings this week.

Murphy did far better than most believed she would against McMann, the former No. 1 contender and Olympic wrestling silver medalist. The UFC newcomer was more than a 3-to-1 underdog, yet she outstruck McMann by a wide margin and won the fight on one of the judges’ cards. Many fans and media members also believed Murphy won.

So what’s her reward for nearly beating one of the best women’s bantamweights in the world? Getting snubbed by rankings voters. McMann is ranked No. 3 and only barely beat Murphy, in the eyes of the judges and most people watching. That has to at least put Murphy somewhere in the top 15, right? Not according the media members making their selections.

Jessica Rakoczy is ranked No. 15 and she has one UFC fight, a knockout loss to Julianna Pena, and it came last December. Raquel Pennington’s lone UFC win came against Roxanne Modafferi, who was promptly cut. Are we saying that Murphy should not be ranked higher than those two?

I put Murphy at No. 10 this week. The Alaska native is ranked eighth in the MMA Rising women’s unified rankings and those are some of the most recognized rankings in women’s MMA. 

To not include Murphy at all speaks to the ignorance most voters have about her pre-UFC career. Coming into the McMann fight, Murphy was 8-0 with six career knockouts. She was the Invicta FC women’s bantamweight champion with wins over Miriam Nakamoto, Kaitlin Young and Sarah D’Alelio. You can make an argument that she had a better résumé coming into Saturday than McMann, minus the title shot against Ronda Rousey.

It looks like Murphy is going to need a victory in her next fight to make it into the rankings. Nearly beating one of the best fighters in the division after being a champion in another solid organization obviously isn’t enough.

Inexplicable move of the week: Josh Barnett

Josh Barnett is so awesome that he moves up in the rankings for doing a podcast on FOX Sports.

Did a few of the voters think Josh Barnett’s Metamoris win over Dean Lister two weeks ago count toward his UFC ranking? Barnett somehow move up a spot this week to No. 5 on the heavyweight list, over Stipe Miocic. Miocic has won three in a row, while Barnett is coming off a loss to Travis Browne and has not fought in nine months.

Barnett’s grappling match win over Lister in Los Angeles was awesome and reminded us all how great of an entertainer and competitor he is. But there’s no reason why Miocic, a more active and dominant heavyweight right now, should get shafted because everyone thought Barnett’s wrestling trunks were hilarious. Barnett rules and all. We know. But Miocic belongs higher than him in the rankings.

Rankings riffs

See? Even Thiago Tavares is wondering why he wasn’t ranked this week.

— No love for Thiago Tavares, eh? Tatsuya Kawajiri remains ranked No. 15 at featherweight. Meanwhile, Tavares dominated Robbie Peralta on Saturday night, looking more impressive than Kawajiri ever has in the Octagon. I had Peralta ranked No. 15 before this weekend and now I have Tavares taking over his spot there.

— Jussier Formiga moved up two spots to No. 4 among flyweights after his impressive unanimous decision win over Zach Makovsky on Saturday. No problem there. Ali Bagautinov slides down two spots to No. 6 because of Formiga’s rise. And Makovsky drops a spot to No. 10 with Brad Pickett hopping over him.

— Ross Pearson makes his lightweight rankings debut this week after his knockout win over Gray Maynard. Pearson is ranked No. 14 and Maynard drops three spots to No. 15. It might be time to oust him from the list altogether — this is three straight KO losses. Rustam Khabilov and Jorge Masvidal both moved up a spot to Nos. 12 and 13, respectively, with Maynard falling.