I've realized that it would be good for me to use my knowledge of- and interest in this sport for something productive instead of what I usually do, and since my taste in combat sports pretty much lines up with it anyways and I've realized I'm the only one who knows what the fuck he's talking about, I'm gonna take it until I get sick of it upon myself to see to it that, for once, the strawweights are occasionally ranked appropriately and given the respect they deserve. Besides, all the other strawweight rankings are shit, so it won't be that hard. Spoiler Tatsuya So has no business being ranked 6th by Fight Matrix, and Global-MMA has guys that haven't fought in years ranked way higher than they should ever logically deserve to be (which is also just a general problem with Global-MMA, but I like the rest of their rankings), and I think that Google website that ranks the strawweights is drowned in its own strict rules about the importance of linear-ness. And the men's strawweight division is way deeper and better than women's strawweight but women's strawweight gets way more legitimate attention from ranking and media bodies because of fucking feminism's homoerotic brainwashing of men, and even though this will probably go nowhere, I've decided to stand up against that malarkey. At least somebody is going to give the most underrated division in the sport today the respect it deserves until it finally catches on. This's the biggest month in men's strawweight history with Nobita-Pacio II and Sunabe-Ochi happening within a week of each other, and I saw the ranking-order in a vision, so this'd be a good time to start. I'll do at least one more after the month is over, then whenever I feel like it. The Sherdog one has always been my favorite ranking format. Strawweight rankings: #!- Yoshitaka "Nobita" Naito Spoiler The top strawweight in the world and one of the top-3 pound-for-pound Japanese fighters in the world currently, Nobita has quietly spent the years since winning the 2012 Shooto rookie tournament building up one of the most legit strawweight resumes in the history of the sport. After knocking off onetime strawweight contenders "ATCH Anarchy", "Heat Takeshi" and "Onibozu" (who was ranked in the top-5 at the time) in 2013, "Nobita", nicknamed after the famous Japanese comic book and cartoon series and a reference to Naito's otaku roots (he was a comic-book nerd with no athletic background before he started training MMA at 25), he solidified himself by defeating longtime top-5 flyweight contender and then-top-5 strawweight Yuki Shojo, then-#1-strawweight and Shooto champion Shinya Murofushi, ranked prospect Ryuto Sawada, and longtime strawweight contender and knockout artist Junji "Sarumaru" Ito to end his Shooto career. He's since joined ONE and competed in the most high-profile strawweight matches to date against former Lumpinee stadium champion and inaugural ONE (hydrated-)strawweight champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, aggressive Filipino finisher Joshua Pacio, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion Alex "Little Rock" Silva. He's set to face a surging Joshua Pacio in a rematch in what may be the toughest fight of his career. If he can win and continue his winning ways in ONE, it may soon be undeniable to say he holds the spot as the top pound-for-pound Japanese fighter in the world and as the greatest strawweight of all time. #2- Mitsuhisa Sunabe Spoiler The three-divisional King of Pancrase and former king of the strawweight division, Sunabe's inactivity in 2017 combined with the activity of the division surrounding him has left him back a spot, but the physically-imposing counter-striking wrestler is still one of the top 3 pound-for-pound Japanese fighters in the world (he was top-20 in the world overall after he finished Kitakata). Although he lost a kickboxing match in his sole professional fight of 2017, in MMA he's coming off the two best victories of his career in Daichi Kitakata and Shinya Murofushi, both 2nd-round finishes, looking far younger than his 38 (now 39) years of age would suggest in the smallest division in men's MMA. A contender for the best strawweight ever, his divisional resume-- anchored by, outside of Kitakata and Murofushi, a combined 5 wins over Hiroyuki Abe (2), Noboru Tahara (2) and Rambaa Somdet (current all-time strawweight king)-- has been murked by having competed so long in the bloated 120-lb Pancrase "light flyweight" [or was it "flyweight" and 125 was "super-flyweight"? In either case, the size difference in those 5 pounds offers a legitimate argument for adding an intermediary division between strawweight and flyweight] division and by his wins over Tahara (the first one) and Rambaa happening at flyweight and bantamweight, respectively. If you were under the impression that Sunabe dropped down because he was a small flyweight or that Rambaa and Tahara moved up because they were big strawweights, you're dead wrong. He also holds solid victories at flyweight over then-top-15 opponents Takuya Eizumi and Isao Hirose to win- and defend the inaugural flyweight King of Pancrase, and an early win over later-top-5 flyweight and later-King-of-Pancrase Kiyotaka Shimizu. But he'll get a chance to solidify his strawweight legacy when he faces the toughest opponent of his career, DEEP champion Haruo Ochi at RIZIN.13 in September in what will-- assuming nobody gets injured-- be the biggest strawweight fight in history. Sunabe vs. Nobita is the only thing that could usurp it. #3- Alex Silva Spoiler The athletic former Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion showcased a world-class skillset in 2017 by outwrestling the scrappy Roy Doliguez before finishing him (getting some cage-time while he was at it), easily submitting Japanese collegiate wrestling champion Hayato Suzuki, and a month later utilizing an extremely crisp Muay Thai game reared by the series of champions training out of EVOLVE to outstrike Nobita Naito for 5 rounds and momentarily become the top strawweight in the world, along with the ONE (hydrated-)strawweight world champion. Unfortunately for him, Nobita took the fight to the mat in the rematch and outgrappled the Brazilian over another 5 rounds to regain his championship. However, "Little Rock" is still a hyper-elite force in the strawweight division and based on the competitive nature of the fights, a rubber match may be around the corner for him soon. With AACC protege Ryuto Sawada having competed in- and won in the ONE Warrior Series (it's like their version of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series, except better because there's like 20 fights and they MAKE SURE there's only like a 90-second gap between them-- there's little warm-up time, but it makes the cards Way better), he may have a future opponent ready. #4- Haruo Ochi Spoiler A former top-10 flyweight, known for his finishing ability in the lower divisions, physical strength, squat frame, and well-rounded skills, Ochi, the current DEEP strawweight champion, has found his home since dropping down to strawweight. Although he went 1-1 at first, with a win over an overmatched Korean to get his strawweight career off to a good start being followed by a competitive split-decision loss to Kanta Sato in the DEEP strawweight championship tournament semi-finals, he's since won 5 in a row, including an avenged victory over Sato by guillotine choke (a favorite move of Ochi) and wins over former Shooto flyweight rookie champions Yuya Shibata and Kosuke "Rambo" Suzuki. He faces Mitsuhisa Sunabe in a bout that may secure Ochi a spot as the #1 strawweight in the world if he wins. #5- Yosuke Saruta Spoiler The top strawweight out of Shooto currently-- the organization that was, not too long ago, second-to-none as far as strawweight-quality goes-- Saruta's hyper-exagerrated monkey frame (long arms and torso, short legs), his well-rounded kickboxing-wrestler style and his power have taken him to the next level at strawweight, earning him what he couldn't get with two chances at flyweight: a Shooto world title. Although he lost his last fight-- a flyweight match against Shooto prospect Takumi Tamaru-- Saruta remains one of the best strawweight fighters in the world and for good reason, as he's currently undefeated in the division and beaten ranked talents Ryuto Sawada and Itchaku Murata, and Shooto Rookie champion Hiroba Minowa. He also recently defeated former top-5 flyweight Kiyotaka Shimizu, who was riding a solid 3-fight winning streak, in a flyweight match between Sawada and Murata. The lack of opportunities in the division is likely going to keep Saruta's business at strawweight intermittent-- I think he's hoping to follow in Jarred Brooks' footsteps and parlay his strawweight resume into a UFC flyweight contract, since he's pretty much maxed out his profitability growth in Shooto-- but, being as high-profile as he is in the division and with the amount the strawweight division is growing, some profitable strawweight matches could present themselves in the future for "Tobizaru no. 2". #6- Hayato Suzuki Spoiler The athletic Japanese collegiate wrestling champion reared in GRACHAN started his MMA career off in the way that few Japanese fighters in the lower divisions can wish of today, going 16-0 with 11 finishes and a win over the man ranked above him, Yosuke Saruta in 2015. After signing with ONE last year, he dropped down to strawweight and became an immediate contender with a one-sided first-round submission win over the Team Lakay product and top-10 strawweight Joshua Pacio. Although he ironically followed that first-round submission win wih a first-round submission loss, he rebounded earlier this year with a first-round submission win over former Shooto Brazil champion Yago Bryan. He's fighting the streaking Rene Catalan next month in what will likely be a title-eliminator to drum up some hype for the inaugural ONE event in Japan next year. #7- Joshua Pacio Spoiler Starting out his career going 9-0 capped off with victory in a four-man, one-night tournament, Pacio joined ONE and challenged for the title after winning two fights. Giving giving Nobita Naito a very challenging fight, winning the first two rounds, Pacio succumbed to Nobita's submission wrestling and lost the fight via rear-choke in the third. Although he rebounded with a win over former ONE champion Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke-- showing improved wrestling-- he lost against Hayato Suzuki a few months after that. It's been since then that Pacio's really shown an improvement curve, though, as he's won three fights in a row, including a highlight-reel spinning backfist knockout over former top-10 talent Roy Doliguez and a submission-of-the-year contender over surging Thai prospect/contender Pongsiri Mitsatit. If the significant improvements to his grappling game despite training out of the Philippines wasn't impressive enough, Pacio's managed to earn 14 finishes in 15 victories, which is extremely high for the strawweight division (which is saying something since it's high in any division). All of these factors combined with the dominance of his performance against then-#10-ranked Pongsiri Mitsatit (who, going by Tapology, was a huge favorite) has let Pacio leapfrog his contemporaries and go from ~15 to #7, and earned him a rematch against Nobita Naito in September in Jakarta. #8- Daichi Kitakata Spoiler Depending on what Sunabe's situation is with RIZIN, Kitakata may end up finding himself billed for a shot at the vacant King of Pancrase title in the next 6 months. A 19-8-1 (1) strawweight known for his physical strength (he kinda reminds me of Kawajiri in his fighting style, namely his wrasslin'), Kitakata rebounded from a 2016 loss to Mitsuhisa Sunabe (a title-shot) with three successive victories, notably with two submissions. He unofficially holds a 10-2 record at strawweight-- one of his submission wins was ruled a no-contest due to Kitakata missing weight-- the losses being against divisional elites Hiroyuki Abe and Mitsuhisa Sunabe. He's also garnered notable wins over Kanta Sato, Shinya Murofushi and Ryo Hatta, and most recently ended Hiroaki Ijima's solid late-career-resurgence 3-0 streak at strawweight. #9- Kanta Sato Spoiler The inaugural DEEP strawweight champion, Sato pulled off two giant upsets in a row against Haruo Ochi and Sota Kojima (who holds a win over Ochi) to win the four-man tournament to decide the inaugural champion and secure a spot as one of the top strawweights in the world. He's also a finisher for the lower divisions with six finishes in his nine victories-- the three decisions have been against very tough-to-finish guys, too. While he hasn't fought in almost a year, there's still plenty of time for him to secure his strawweight ranking and, depending on what happens with Ochi and RIZIN, may end up challenging for the DEEP belt again very soon. #10- Riku Shibuya Spoiler With all the activity in the division lately, people have forgotten about Riku Shibuya's demolition of Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke that took place last December. The former student of Kenji Osawa and current Hawaii resident training out of Angela Lee and Christian Lee's gym, the Outsider veteran with alleged Yakuza ties has been quiet over the last 8 months, including going silent on social media, so there's no guarantee on what his future will be in this sport. However, the extremely-scrappy skill-brawler has developed a very well-rounded submission grappling game over his last few fights, and it was none more apparent than in his fight against Dejdamrong, whom he took down and locked a tight guillotine on in short order. While Riku's flyweight career was marked by his scrappiness and idiosyncratic skillset but his lack of real physical strength, at strawweight that looks to be alleviated, and another win or two could catapult him up these rankings. Contenders: Ryuto Sawada, Pongsiri Mitsatit, Ryo Hatta, Shinya Murofushi, Kritsada Kongsrichai Itchaku Murata, Jeremy Miado, Rene Catalan, Yohei Komaki, and Marcus Amaral were the other top-5 in the discussion for being contenders. I don't wanna go into all the other guys in Shooto who're doing great that could deserve a spot among these guys. Numbers 5 through 9 can be re-arranged however you want and I'd have no problems. A lot of these guys are very close.