Friday, December 2, 2022

Trio Of UFC Fighters Dropped From Official Rankings, No Longer Under Contract

It appears a trio of notable UFC fighters have been dropped from the UFC’s official rankings, and the names might surprise you. As first reported by MMAJunkie’s Mike Bohn, UFC notables Lorenz Larkin, Rick Story, and Misha Cirkunov are now nowhere to be found on the UFC’s rankings page. At least Story and Cirkunov come as major surprises. In all three cases, it appears that the promotion and fighter were unable to come to terms on a new contract.

Larkin’s contract situation has been well known for a while. In August, he defeated Neil Magny to improve to 7th in the UFC’s official rankings. He also fought out his contract in the process, and waited out the three month window to become an official free agent. During that period he slipped into 6th in the rankings. However, negotiations between Larkin and Bellator MMA stalled earlier this month. For the time being, he’s a top welterweight without a home.

Story, meanwhile, was ranked 9th at welterweight. He was coming off a loss to Donald Cerrone in August. The longtime UFC vet debuted at UFC 99, and has been a staple of the promotion ever since.

Cirkunov is perhaps the most puzzling. He fought out his initial UFC contract at UFC 206 with a stunning performance against Nikita Krylov. With four finishes in four UFC fights, he looked like a star in the making in the struggling light heavyweight division. None other than title contender Anthony Johnson tabbed him as a possible future opponent on this week’s edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. Despite the raised profile, however, it appears the UFC has been unable to re-sign him. Cikunov sat at 8th in the UFC’s official light heavyweight rankings.

Of course, all of these fighters could yet be signed, but for now, it appears the UFC is considering them far enough from a deal as to remove them from the rankings. Curiously, Ryan Bader, ranked 4th at light heavyweight, remains ranked, despite receiving a contract offer from Bellator MMA this week.