Pound for Pound Prospect Rankings 2023

Want to create a list of the POUND for POUND prospects. Ranking system of the best fighters in the world but not the best prospects in the world.

Create a ranking of the TOP 15 PROSPECTS around the world. Excluding Bellator, One Championship, PFL fighters from the list.

1. Salahdine Parnasse Featherweight

King of KSW, Featherweight & Lightweight Champion at KSW. Listed as my #1 Pound for Pound prospect because of the incredible accomplishments fighting under the KSW promotion.

WINS- Ivan Buchinger, Morgan Charriere, Daniel Rutkowski all impressive wins any prospect would love to have on their resume.

France’s next MMA superstar after Ciryl Gane sells out Poland arenas can sell out arenas under UFC, Bellator & One Championship.. One of the most recognizable names under the European circuit.

All-Around Featherweight comparing him to Calvin Kattar & Arnold Allen because of the fighting skills and fighting styles. Truly believe Parnasse can give any Top 15 UFC or Bellator Featherweight run for their money.

I hope in 2023 to remove Parnasse off my top 15 prospects list, Write a reaction post about Parnasse signing with UFC in 2023. Looking forward to watching the KSW Featherweight and Lightweight Champion career this year, Continuing to create masterpieces.

  • 17-1 record 25 years old
  • KSW Featherweight Champion KSW Lightweight Champion
  • 100 % Fight Tournament Champion
  • Biggest win against Ivan Buchinger

Comparison- AJ McKee

2. Rustam Kerimov Featherweight

Former ACA Bantamweight Champion, Before moving up to Featherweight in 2022 was arguably #1 Bantamweight prospect in the world because of his impressive wins against former UFC fighters, Former regional champions.

Rustam Kerimov now considered one of the best Featherweight prospects in the world, Climbing up the ACA Featherweight rankings ladder and being the ACA Featherweight Champion will give him the argument of being #1 Featherweight prospect in the world.

List of Wins-Takeya Mizugaki Oleg Borisov,Abdul Rakhman Dudaev

Kerimov vacated the Bantamweight title to test free agency but believe of US Sanctions to Absolute Championship Akhmat his UFC dreams won’t be fulfilled unless he leaves ACA and transfers over Eagle FC, KSW, M-1 Global. Undefeated Bantamweight fighter well deserves to showcase his talents for UFC, Bellator. Guarantee the Dagestan warrior can defeat top 15 Bantamweights or Featherweights right now.

Merab Dvalishvili, Movlid Khaybulaev are the best comparisons for Rustam Kerimov. Similar pressure wrestling fighting style, Controlling the pace for rounds.

  • 30 years old
  • 30 years old
  • ACA Bantamweight Champion
  • Wins- Takeya Mizugaki, Defeated current ACA Bantamweight Champion Oleg Borisov

Comparison- Merab Dvalishvili & Petr Yan

3. Abdoul Abdouraguimov Welterweight

Russian borned fighter, MMA Factory fighter jumped on the scene in 2020 and never looked back. Leaving Brave CF and signing with Ares FC was a great delcision. Defeating former Bellator fighter and France MMA fighter Karl Amoussou, Godofredo Pepey former UFC fighter.

2022 earned himself ARES FC Welterweight title, Continuing to defending his belt in 2023 against Rafal Haratyk and third title defense before expected signing with UFC.

Abdoul Abdouraguimov next BIG TIME fighter out of MMA Factory following teammates Ciryl Gane, Nassourdine Imavov to make straight impact in the UFC. Expect Top 15 Welterweight ranking in 2023 or 2024.

Similar to his Russian brothers is a grappling machine, Overhelems his opponents on the ground ending with submission finishes. Striking is average but can improve with Head Coach Fernand Lopez. Learning simple but effective striking in 2023 can go long way in 2023. Today’s MMA to become World Champion for Major Promotion can’t be one trick pony.

Former IBJFF European Champion, French Jiu-Jitsu Champion for four years from 2015-2019. High accomplished grappler adding solid striking arsenal like Usman, Whittaker, Charles Oliveira will be force to be reckoned with.

27 years old 15-1 record, Ares FC welterweight champion. #1 Welterweight prospect in the world destined to sign with UFC in 2023 and will be removed from the pound for pound prospect list.

Comparison- Gilbert Burns

4. Islam Omarov Featherweight

Future ACA Featherweight Champion, One of the best prospects out of Russia is a killer. Anticipating for the undefeated 12-0 prospect to breakout in 2023. Canceled fights in 2022 against former ACA Featherweight Champion Felipe Froes, Alikhan Suleymanov current ACA Featherweight Champion would take Omarov’s name to the next level.

Main Goal for Islam Omarov is to win ACA Featherweight title putting his name in discussion as one of the best Featherweights outside of UFC. Dagestani fighter can defeat UFC, Bellator, Featherweights right now because of his All-Around skills that he showcased in his wins gainst Bibert Tumenov .

Training out of Dagfighter with Magomed Magomedov, Said Nurmagomedov, Timur Valiev will make Islam special fighter. Fighting with these great Bantamweights will only improve Omarov’s craft even further.

Islam and his team after “Winning” ACA Featherweight title can defend his title once than request release from ACA. Testing free agency and I hope signs with UFC in 2023. Deserves to fight the best of the best UFC Featherweights.

  • 12-0 record 25 years old
  • Trains out of Dagfighter
  • ACA Featherweight contender

Comparison- Chad Mendes

5. Paul Hughes Featherweight

Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion, United Kingdom best prospect and Northern Ireland’s finest is one of the best Featherweights in the world.

Caught my eye in 2020 in his Cage Warriors 119 fight against https://www.tapology.com/fightcenter/fighters/106035-jordan-vucenic than successfully winning against Cage Warriors star Morgan Charriere.

Wins against some of the best Featherweight prospects for Cage Warriors earned my respect as one of the best prospects. Secondly winning the Cage Warriors Featherweight Title is a high achievement for a prospect.

“Cage Warriors, completed it. I’ve taken out all the best guys out in Europe, I’m selling my venues in other countries on Friday nights. That’s what I’m doing here.


Selling out arenas, Northern Ireland’s next big star bringing all the fans from Belfast to a Paul Hughes fight! No question for this young lad to sign with UFC in 2023. Definitely need to make a deal this year.

“I have literally a whole nation behind me. As you’ve seen, I’m not even signed to the UFC yet, I’m selling out venues in London. I’ve got people, hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds traveling over to support [me]. Could you just imagine what that’s gonna be like in Vegas, [and] New York? As I said in my post-fight interview, there’s a new superstar in town and his name is Paul Hughes.” Paul Hughes


Comparison- Movsar Evloev

6. Yusuf Raisov ACA Lightweight

Chechen Wolf my opinion is the best Lightweight prospect in the world. Lost his fight against Eduard Vartanyan at ACA 147 which was a nice step up in completion but every fighter loses at some point.

Previous impressive wins include Luis Palomino , Hacran Dias where Raisov got tested on the ground with nonstop Jiu-Jitsu and Sambo from the fighters. Former UFC fighter Andre Winner. Defeating high caliber Russians like Marat Balaev.

The resume speaks for itself, The All-Around skills speaks for themselves he isn’t the best striker in the world more like Robert Whittaker in Lightweight body. However the man can crack & continue to fight hard round after round.

Raisov in 2017 was the ACB Featherweight Champion considered one of the best Featherweights in the world before moving up to Lightweight. Talked about giving the top five UFC & Bellator Featherweights problems. Now Raisov can be discussed fighting some of the best Lightweights in the world but the biggest problem is fighting for ACA.

Khabib replied to questions from reporters about Yusuf Raisov trying to sign him to Eagles FC. I hope Khabib, Shamil Zavurov try to sign this man allowing the #1 Lightweight to come over to UFC or Bellator.

There are some fighters we are interested in, like Vartanyan, Yusuf (Raisov), Shlemenko. We are really interested in signing Shlemenko.” Khabib Nurmagomedov essentiallysports.com

Raisov possibly winning the ACB Lightweight title, Headlining ACA/ACB. Doing his duty as a contracted fighter to the promotion and Ramzan Kadyrov he can release him.

Comparison- Rafael Dos Anjos

7. Muslim Magomedov Light Heavyweight

Scarce times for the Light Heavyweight divisions as a whole, Trouble fighting high quality Light Heavyweight prospects. However ACA Light Heavyweight Champion fits the bill as top five 205 LB fighter.

Muslim Magomedov undefeated fighter wtih record of 12-0 against talented fighters like Oleg Olenichev, UFC veteran Chris Camozzi, Leonardo Silva. Well tested Light Heavyweight fighter dominating opponents with Sambo. Overwhelming with pressure and gradual ground & pound. Magomedov doesn’t wow with you physical appearance but seems to be physically strong.

Training out Universal Fighters Gym with Muslim Salikhov, Roman Kopylov, Shamil Musaev and bunch of Russian prospects from all different weight classes. Training with all these great fighters only helps Muslim Magomedo fighting skills to the next level.

Time to show his talents to the world and work out a deal with top three “Major” Promotion.

Comparison- Jan Blachowicz

9. Imran Bukuev Flyweight

#1 Flyeight prospect in the world is a world class talent.from Russian. Current ACA Flyweight Champion since 2022 defeating Aren Akopyan for the vacated ACA Flyweight title. Two round battle was a great fight testing Imran’s adversity but Bukuev came out on top showing his greatness.

Lost fights in the past to Azam Gaforov in 2018 but Bukuev is All-Around talented flyweight. Considered top 40 Flyweight right now can give defeat top 20 UFC Flyweights or One Championship Flyweights.

Standout wins- Felipe Bunes Maycon Silvan, Artem Kyrychenko

Comparison-Kyoji Horiguchi & Askar Askarov

  • 14-2 record 26 years old
  • Trains out of Akhmat Fight Club
  • ACA Flyweight Champio
  • Top 40 Flyweight Tapology
  • Top 20 Flyweight Fightmatrix

10. George Hardwick Featherweight

England’s #1 prospect, Current Cage Warriors Lightweight Champion outside of the UFC is one of the best Lightweights in the world. Fought on two Bellator shows in 2020 but jumped on the scene with Cage Warriors in 2021.

Defeating American Kickboxing Academy prospect Kyle Driscoll for the Cage Warriors Lightweight title in four round battle, Showing his conditioning, Mental toughness besides technical abilities.

Fight against Driscoll put Hardwick on the map, Easily earning the respect from Sean Shelby and Mick Maynard because of his great performance. Winning Cage Warriors title is your UFC guarantee. Expect Hardwick make his UFC debut on the Edwards vs Usman 3 England card.

Hardwick no rush in signing with UFC, Ready to fight in March/April Cage Warriors event or UFC england event.

“In terms of competitive schedule, I’m thinking about March. I’m thinking about March, April, seeing what’s gonna come up then.” George Hardwick Lowkick MMA interview

Comparison- Emmanuel Sanchez

11. Ibragim Chuzhigaev Light Heavyweight

Second best Light Heavyweight prospect became world recognized by dethroning Tomasz Narkun. Becoming new KSW Light Heavyweight Champion. Incredible accomplishment to defeat one of the best Light Heavyweights in the world.

Background in Pankration winning the Pankration European Silver Medal, Pankration World Champion is shown in his beautiful fights against Narkun, Erslan and ACA fights. Destryoing opponents with range fighting, Strikes inside the pocket, Fighting backward. Ibragim Chuzhigaev can wrestle against the cage, Deal with being the nail and KO any fighter with one punch.

Only Six Feet tall might have to skip a meal and cut down to Middleweight if he wants to sign with UFC, Bellator, Professional Fighters League or One Championship.

UFC or Bellator Middleweights/Light Heavyweights definitely lucky to not face Ibragim because he’ll give them serious problems. Ranked #36 Tapology Light Heavyweights rankings & #26 Fight Matrix Light Heavyweight rankings.

2023 or 2024 I hope signs with “Major” promotion. However remains with KSW will fight the best European Light Heavyweights, Successful title defenses and sell out arenas.

Comparison- Jan Błachowicz & Jiri Prochazka

12. Jordan Vucenic Featherweight

Former Cage Warriors Featherweight Champion, Considered one of the best Featherweights in the world is part of the next generation of United Kingdom fighters.

2020 was his best MMA year defeating French star Morgan Charriere and Paul Hughes in two of the best Cage Warriors fights ever. Can defeat those two fighters under the lights of Cage Warriors can defeat top Featherweights any given day.

Vucenic in 2023 I hope will return better than ever, Winning a Cage Warriors fight before signing with UFC to fight on the Edwards vs Usman ppv card.

“Vucenic will definitely be back and in the UFC in about 3 more fights I’m sure of it.” Paul Hughes talks about Jordan Vucenic https://www.the-sun.com/sport/6609257/cage-warriors-145-jordan-vucenic-blood-paul-hughes/

Last fight got defeated by Paul Hughes but fighting Cage Warriors best like Agy Sardari, Tobias Harila, or Samuel Bark, Coming out the other end a winner definitely be a boost of confidence. Another notable win to attract Shelby to sign Vucenic.

Comparison- Darren Till, Daniel Weichel

Vucenic is a real good fighter, Potentially top 15 fan favorite like Billy Quarantillo, Darren Elkins.

13. Renat KhavolovBantamweight

Eagle FC Bantamweight Champion, Outside of the UFC,Bellator and One Championship is one of the best Bantamweights in the world. Next generation of Dagestan fighters.

Renat Khavalov part of Khabib’s coachingstable. Khabib claims of him being future world champion. Kabib makes a statement like that definitely true as he has one of the highest knowledges in all of MMA.

“The way I see it at 135lb is Renat Khavalov. He is doing very well and he is also getting married so is great news. Renat is doing well and he is a guy with huge potential.

Representing himself well under Eagle Fighting Championship, Three successful title defenses in dominant fashion. Accomplished everything for Eagle FC, Time for Sean Shelby to offer Renat Khavalov a deal.

Eagle FC Bantamweight Champion calling out all UFC Bantamweights, More than ready for the challenge.

“In conclusion, I’ll say… Dana White, get your guys ready. I’ll come for them soon, Khabib gave a little praise, but I need to make it to America. I need to put in more work. I’ll rest for a week or two, like Khabib said, then right back to the gym. I’m ready to go to America. I’m sure I’ll destroy everyone there.” Renat Khavalov sportskeeda.com

All-Around talent like Renat can defeat any Bantamweight in the world. Sambo background, Pupil of Abdulmunap Nurmagomedov, Training with Yusup Saadulaev, Magomed Magomedov,Umar Nurmagomedov , Tagir Ulanbekov and some of the best Russian fighters in the world will only sharpen Renat’s skills. Sharing boxing skills from Umar, Sambo from Askarov mixed with great coaching he has the complete package to become world champion.

14. Azat Maksum Flyweight

Kazakhstan’s #1 prospect, One of the best flyweights in the world is one fighter definitely will be watching in 2023. Throughout the year guarantee this man with great wins will become top ten prospect

Worldly All-Around talent jumped on the scene in 2021 fighting for Brave Combat Federation. Call Azat Maksum the Shavkat Rakhmonov of Kazakhstan flyweights. Currently fighting for Octagon promotion but I hope this year signs with UFC well deserves to fight the best flyweights in the world.

Undefeated record of 15-0, World class fighter shows time and time again that he can defeat UFC, One Championship or regional flyweight champions.

Comparison- Askar Askarov, Shavkat Rakhmonov

15. Levi Mowles Bantamweight

United States #1 prospect in 2023 is one of the best Bantamweights in the world, Competing in large talent pool of 135 LB pound fighters. Red hot since 2019, Six fight winning streak against former Bellator & UFC fighters.

Winning Cage Fury Fighting Championship Bantamweight title against James Gonzalez, than signed with rising regional promotion Fury FC. Fury FC wins against former UFC fighter Teruto Ishihara & regional veteran Johnny Campbell in his last fight at Fury FC 52.

Levi Mowles compared to top 15 prospects has some of the best experience fighting Bellator Bantamweight Champion Raufeon Stots, Adrian Yanez , Miles Johns, Damon Jackson, Jimmy Flick, Johnny Campbell, Jose Johnson, Teruto Ishihara. Fighting all these talented Bantamweights fight after fight and now defeating these guys under UFC Fight Pass promotion will only attract UFC & Bellator to sign Levi Mowles in 2023.

“All those guys are tough guys, and the majority of them were pretty close in terms of decision wins over me,” Johns said. “None of them were ever finishes. It was all fights that I thought I had great success through the fight, and I thought if I had just done some things a little different, I would have a win over them. So yeah, it definitely gives me a sense of pride knowing I’m doing the right things and really pushing myself to be where I want to be at.” Levi Mowles CFFC article

Injured Bantamweight on UFC, Bellator card the matchmakers can make a quick call to Mowles manager and offer him a deal. Mowles more than ready for a challenge.

2023 expect #1 United States prospect to sign with UFC or Bellator, Removing him from the pound for pound rankings and watching Levi excite fans like his favorite fighter Donald Cerrone.

Comparison- Patchy Mix, Jack Shore