Pursuing the Bantamweight Championship Belt

In the dynamic realm of the men's UFC Bantamweight rankings, the action never rests, and the rankings continually evolve. This is an exclusive dive into the latest updates of the 135 pound weight class, where we present a detailed guide to the Top 15 fighters of the division.

These are the professional fighters vying to get their shot at the coveted championship title (and the fighter who holds the belt). The men's Bantamweight division is home to lightning-fast paced fighters with technical brilliance and a world class display of skill.

In 2024, the competition is stiff, showcasing the evolution of fighters and the emergence of new talents. Each athlete brings something unique to the Octagon. In this article, we explore the fan favorites, analyze some their recent performances, and look at the implications for the division's current and future state.

Top 15 UFC Bantamweights

*This information will be updated as the rankings shift in 2024.

Current Bantamweight Champion - Sean O'Malley

Sean O'Malley became the UFC Bantamweight Champion after defeating Aljamain Sterling at UFC 292. He was rewarded with the championship belt for his unrelenting perseverance, magnetic charisma, and unmatched octagon dominance.

Nicknamed "Sugar", O'Malley's freewheeling, fancy-footwork-based fight style, paired with his knock-out power, have captivated fans across the globe. On March 9, 2024 O'Malley defended his Championship title against Marlon Chito Vera, winning the fight by unanimous decision.

He worked his way up the ranks using strategic planning, impressive footwork, and striking with great timing and accuracy. O'Malley's mental game and strategic execution have solidified his place at the pinnacle of the division, underlining his evolution from an upcoming talent to a full-fledged champion.

Follow O'Malley on Instagram @sugasean to stay up to date with his journey as the Bantamweight champ.

#1 Bantamweight - Merab Dvalishvili

Merab Dvalishvili, the current #1 contender in the Men's UFC Bantamweight division, has an impressive fighting resume defined by his relentless wrestling and well-rounded skillset. Appropriately nicknamed "The Machine", Dvalishvili's ungodly gas tank in the octagon and ability to maintain overwhelming pressure on opponents, speaks to his mental toughness.

He has adaptable intelligence, an ability to pick up on opponent vulnerabilities, executes perfectly-timed takedowns, and strikes with strategy. Dvalishvili's latest victory came after he defeated Henry Cejudo by decision at UFC 298.

#2 Bantamweight - Cory Sandhagen

Cory Sandhagen has a diverse skill set, but is most well-known for his fluid striking techniques and innovative footwork. Sandhagen thrives in the octagon with what seems like very little effort.

Coupled with an extensive reach and a dynamic, unorthodox arsenal of strikes, Sandhagen's hight fight IQ and determination make him a top contender within the division. Cory Sandhagen won his last fight against Rob Font in 2023 by unanimous decision.

#3 Bantamweight - Petr Yan

Petr Yan has trained at Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand and has the striking skills to prove it. Yan is known for fighting with a high-pressure style, using precise striking, and shocking durability to win fights against fellow world-class fighters.

Yan is able to maintain a relentless pace which creates an overwhelming offense for his opponents. His crisp striking is a lot of fun to watch as a fan and very effective in the octagon.

#4 Bantamweight - Marlon Vera

UFC Bantamweight Marlon "Chito" Vera.
Marlon "Chito" Vera. Image is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

After competing in The Ultimate Fighter: Latin America, Marlon "Chito" Vera worked his way up Bantamweight division rankings. Vera's killer instinct has earned him a reputation for closing fights with brutal precision.

His well-rounded fight game has contributed to his success in the octagon. Vera is scheduled to face off against Sean O'Malley (for the second time) at UFC 299 in March 2024.

#5 Bantamweight - Henry Cejudo

Olympic gold medalist wrestler and former Flyweight champion, Henry Cejudo has been fighting in the UFC since 2014. "Triple C" is most well-known for his world class wrestling and in-fight timing.

Cejudo lost his last fight against Merab Dvalishvili by decision at UFC 298. Cejudo has since stated that he is not planning on retiring anytime soon.

#6 Bantamweight - Deiveson Figueiredo

Deiveson Figueiredo is most well-known for his remarkable performances in the UFC Men's Flyweight division, where he was a two-time Champion. While he has not yet earned a title in the Bantamweight division, the Brazilian fighter's aggressive and powerful style are already having an impact on the 135-pound weight class.

At UFC 300 in April 2024, Figueiredo fought (and defeated) Cody Garbrandt by rear-naked choke submission. Figueiredo's exceptional Muay Thai background adds to his success and his ever-improving grappling has earned him a professional record of 23 wins, 3 losses and 1 draw.

#7 Bantamweight - Song Yadong

Song Yadong aka "The Terminator", has a versatile striking game that implements a combination of seamless transitions between long and short-distance ranges and styles.

His confident approach and successful execution keep his opponents guessing. Although he lost his most recent bout to Petr Yan at UFC 299, Yadong's performances against fellow Top 15 contenders continually reaffirms his status as a contender within the 135-pound division.

#8 Bantamweight - Rob Font

Despite losing to Cory Sandhagen during his last outing, Rob Font still possesses an arsenal of good boxing and effective grappling. Font's ability to dissect his opponents' game plans and unearth their vulnerabilities speak to his level of experience.

Frequently demonstrating his powerful striking while maintaining range, Font expertly blends precision and composure to damage his opponents. He lost his latest bout against Deiveson Figueiredo in December 2023 via unanimous decision, but we're excited to see him perform at his next fight.

#9 Bantamweight - Umar Nurmagomedov

With a professional MMA record of 17 wins and 0 losses, Umar Nurmagomedov is quickly proving that he belongs in the UFC's top rankings for his weight class. Nurmagomedov defeated Bekzat Almakhan at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gaziev in March 2024 by unanimous decision.

His most recent victory elevated his status in the 135-pound division, moving him up into the Top 10. If his future looks anything like his past, you will want to keep your eye on Umar Nurmagomedov.

#10 Bantamweight - Kyler Phillips

At UFC 299 in March 2024, Kyler Phillips faced off against Pedro Munhoz, where Phillips won by unanimous decision at the end of 3 rounds. During his relatively short UFC career, Phillips has wins against fellow contenders, Raoni Barcelos and Song Yadong.

Phillips fights out of Arizona for the MMA Lab team. His career of 12 wins and 2 losses has been eventful and shows no signs of slowing up.

In Pursuit of the Championship Belt - Who Are You Rooting For?

Out of all of the Bantamweight division's current contenders and champions, who are you rooting for? As we watch fighters continue to write their legacies inside the Octagon, the rankings are a reflection of the setbacks and victories of its competitors.

We hope you enjoyed this rundown. Come back and check for updates after the next UFC PPV as we continue to watch the men's UFC Bantamweight rankings evolve!