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Who is the pound-for-pound best striker in the UFC amid talk of crossover boxing fights?

UFC stars have thrown themselves forward for potential boxing bouts at such a rate that it is often difficult for fans and analysts to keep up. 

The apparent one-off mega-fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor has seemingly onset a wave of names talking up their chances should they ever set foot in the square circle.

Most call outs tend to reek of a desperation to rake in the mind-boggling cash that their Irish counterpart swiftly deposited in his bank account. Other call outs stir a genuine curiosity among fans as to how they’d fare in the ring.  

Sportsmail has compiled its very own Top Five Pound-for-Pound ranking of the best boxers in the UFC based on each fighter’s record and style.  

1. Israel Adesanya 

Record: 19-0. 14 wins by way of KO/TKO (74%) 

Top of our rankings sits Middleweight champion Israel Adesanya. 

The New Zealand striker has the combination of flawless technique and knockout power that is rarely seen among the plethora of UFC stars he calls rivals.  

The Last Stylebender’s 6ft 4in frame is a stark contrast to the builds of the majority of stars at 185lbs, but his power carries through those long, raking limbs and more often than not finds its target. 

At the top of Sportsmail's pound-for-pound list is middleweight champion Israel Adesanya

At the top of Sportsmail's pound-for-pound list is middleweight champion Israel Adesanya

At the top of Sportsmail’s pound-for-pound list is middleweight champion Israel Adesanya

The Kiwi has the lethal combination of flawless technique as well as devastating power

The Kiwi has the lethal combination of flawless technique as well as devastating power

The Kiwi has the lethal combination of flawless technique as well as devastating power

Adesanya has the poise that is seen in many great boxers, too. 

The opening four minutes of his title triumph over Robert Whittaker saw very little activity on the part of the Kiwi, but the 30-year-old was simply waiting for chinks in the Australian’s armour to present themselves before destructively flooring his rival before finishing the contest altogether in the second.

It’s that flexibility to carefully get a read on an opponent before launching a devastating finish that would stand Adesanya in good stead in the ring.  

2. Stipe Miocic

Record: 19-3. 15 wins by way of KO/TKO (79%) 

Next up we’ve got heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic, whose 79 per cent knockout rate is the second-highest in our top five. 

In a division stacked with explosively dangerous stars such as Francis Ngannou and Alistair Overeem, Miocic has emerged at the summit of the heavyweights.

UFC's heavyweight champion and firefighter Stipe Miocic of Ohio would suit as a boxer

UFC's heavyweight champion and firefighter Stipe Miocic of Ohio would suit as a boxer

UFC’s heavyweight champion and firefighter Stipe Miocic of Ohio would suit as a boxer

The 6ft 4in fighter has sound boxing fundamentals as well as good head and foot movement

The 6ft 4in fighter has sound boxing fundamentals as well as good head and foot movement

The 6ft 4in fighter has sound boxing fundamentals as well as good head and foot movement

And that’s thanks in no small part to his boxing IQ. The firefighter from Ohio has extraordinary head movement, which was best showcased in his title defence against Ngannou in 2018. 

The Cameroonian giant was the overwhelming favourite, having left a trail of demolition behind him. In truth, Ngannou couldn’t land a glove on Miocic, owing to the American’s superior foot and head movement. 

Miocic has a well-established knockout record and can impose his power on the front or back foot. A bout against a heavyweight outside of the ‘top three’ would make for interesting viewing.  

3. Max Holloway 

Record: 21-5. 10 wins by way of KO/TKO (48%)

Recent defeats to Alexander Volkanovski and Dustin Poirier have seen Max Holloway’s stock dip slightly but make no mistake, the Hawaiian striker is one of the most gifted boxers in the UFC. 

The best way to describe Holloway’s style is ‘relentless’. The 28-year-old’s volume and work rate leaves opponents feeling smothered and over the course of 25 minutes in the octagon, there is very little chance for respite when you have Blessed across from you. 

In third spot is former featherweight champion Max Holloway, who has a 48% knockout record

In third spot is former featherweight champion Max Holloway, who has a 48% knockout record

In third spot is former featherweight champion Max Holloway, who has a 48% knockout record

That volume and ferocity was seen in full flow when Holloway handed Brian Ortega his first career defeat in Toronto. 

The 28-year-old put on a 20-minute onslaught that left fans in awe of his array of punches, managing to find Ortega from all sorts of angles. 

Ortega was put out of his misery by the cageside doctor who said ‘no more’ just before the start of the fifth. 

His knockout rate of 48 per cent doesn’t make for the most appealing reading, and that’s why Holloway doesn’t find himself higher in the rankings. 

He doesn’t pose a huge knockout threat and the way he advances forward would appeal to a boxer comfortable fighting off the back foot. 

Blessed's volume and ferocity would pose plenty of questions with a sound boxing opponent

Blessed's volume and ferocity would pose plenty of questions with a sound boxing opponent

Blessed’s volume and ferocity would pose plenty of questions with a sound boxing opponent

4. Conor McGregor

Record: 22-4. 19 wins by way of KO/TKO (86%) 

A pound-for-pound list of the UFC’s best boxers would not be complete without the inclusion of one Conor McGregor. 

Given what has transpired since his bout with Floyd Mayweather, it seems bizarre to recall large sections of the UFC masses were bowing down to McGregor’s all-conquering power prior to their Las Vegas showdown. 

For many fans, that fight has put to rest the notion of a UFC fighter ever being able to come close to succeeding in the square circle, but it’s easy to forget that McGregor was competing against one of the sport’s all-time greats.

In fourth place is former lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor (left)

In fourth place is former lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor (left)

In fourth place is former lightweight and featherweight champion Conor McGregor (left)

McGregor has tasted defeat in the ring but would fancy his chances against a lesser opponent

McGregor has tasted defeat in the ring but would fancy his chances against a lesser opponent

McGregor has tasted defeat in the ring but would fancy his chances against a lesser opponent

The Irishman’s 86 per cent knockout rate is nothing short of remarkable in a division where technique tends to carry more sway than power. 

His 40-second destruction of Donald Cerrone in January further pointed to the fact that his left hand can fell heavier opponents. 

McGregor is said to have competed strongly against Paulie Malignaggi in the build up to the Mayweather bout and it certainly wouldn’t come as a surprise should the Notorious have a second bite at the boxing game in the near future.  

5. Jorge Masvidal

Record: 35-13. 16 wins by way of KO/TKO (46%)

In fifth place is the Baddest Motherf***er on the Planet, Jorge Masvidal, who just sneaks into our top five ahead of incredibly gifted strikers such as Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Amanda Nunes and Zabit Magomedsharipov.

After something of a stop-start career, Masvidal has burst into life and truly shaken up the welterweight division, with many calling for the 34-year-old to challenge Kamaru Usman for his title. 

In fifth place is Jorge Masvidal, a fighter who is making waves in the welterweight division

In fifth place is Jorge Masvidal, a fighter who is making waves in the welterweight division

In fifth place is Jorge Masvidal, a fighter who is making waves in the welterweight division

Masvidal's rise has been down in no small part to his boxing technique and movement

Masvidal's rise has been down in no small part to his boxing technique and movement

 Masvidal’s rise has been down in no small part to his boxing technique and movement 

And it’s Masvidal’s striking that has left the division quaking, having silenced the O2 Arena when he emphatically knocked out Darren Till before laying siege to Nate Diaz, a talented striker in his own right. 

Much like Miocic, Masvidal has exceptional head movement, and has revealed he carefully watches and looks to replicate the style of Pernell Whittaker with the power of Roberto Duran. He would certainly be an awkward customer in the boxing ring. 

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