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Divisional rankings: Biggest changes come (of course) at heavyweight

Mar 31, 2021

  • Brett OkamotoESPN Staff Writer

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    • MMA columnist for ESPN.com
    • Analyst for “MMA Live”
    • Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun

There are three new faces at No. 1. One got there with a bang, one in a delayed reaction and the other in just about the most anticlimactic way possible.

Francis Ngannou has taken over the top spot at heavyweight in the latest ESPN divisional MMA rankings after knocking out UFC champion Stipe Miocic last Saturday. He made his point emphatically, leaving no questions unanswered except one: Who’ll be his first challenger?

UFC president Dana White had said prior to UFC 260 that the Miocic-Ngannou winner would next face Jon Jones, the longtime light heavyweight champ who is moving to heavyweight. But after the fight, Jones and White began squabbling over money, and the UFC boss mentioned Derrick Lewis, coming off a huge KO of Curtis Blaydes, as a possible alternate title challenger.

Dustin Poirier takes over in the lightweight top 10 five months after Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement. The Russian had remained atop the rankings during that time because he still held the UFC title and White was continuing to try to persuade him to keep fighting.

Further complicating Poirier’s rise to No. 1: The UFC has booked a May 15 title fight to determine Nurmagomedov’s successor, and the matchup is Charles Oliveira vs. Michael Chandler. Poirier instead is expected to take a high-profile, big-money fight against Conor McGregor.

And at men’s bantamweight, the new No. 1 is Aljamain Sterling, who moved ahead of Petr Yan after winning the UFC championship on March 6 by disqualification when an illegal knee by Yan rendered Sterling unable to continue. It’s hard to imagine the UFC not running that one back.

For the ESPN pound-for-pound MMA rankings, click here. For a list of current UFC champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of March 31.

HeavyweightLight heavyweightMiddleweightWelterweight

LightweightMen’s featherweightMen’s bantamweightMen’s flyweight

Women’s bantamweightWomen’s flyweightStrawweight

HEAVYWEIGHT (up to 265 pounds)

1. Francis Ngannou

Promotion: UFC champion

Previous ranking: 2

Record: 16-3

Last: W (KO2) Stipe Miocic, March 27, 2021

Next: TBD


2. Stipe Miocic

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 1

Record: 12-4

Last: L (KO2) Francis Ngannou, March 27, 2021

Next: TBD


3. Derrick Lewis

Promotion: UFC

Record: 25-7, 1 NC

Last: W (KO2) Curtis Blaydes, Feb. 20, 2021

Next: TBD


4. Ciryl Gane

Promotion: UFC

Record: 8-0

Last: W (UD) Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Feb. 27, 2021

Next: June 26 vs. Alexander Volkov


5. Curtis Blaydes

Promotion: UFC

Record: 14-3, 1 NC

Last: L (KO2) Derrick Lewis, Feb. 20, 2021

Next: TBD


6. Alexander Volkov

Promotion: UFC

Record: 33-8

Last: W (TKO2) Alistair Overeem, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: June 26 vs. Ciryl Gane


7. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Promotion: UFC

Record: 11-2

Last: L (UD) Ciryl Gane, Feb. 27, 2021

Next: TBD


8. Alistair Overeem

Promotion: UFC

Record: 47-19, 1 NC

Last: L (TKO2) Alexander Volkov, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: TBD


9. Ryan Bader

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 27-6, 1 NC

Last: L (TKO2) Vadim Nemkov, Aug. 21, 2020

Next: April 9 vs. Lyoto Machida


10. Shamil Abdurakhimov

Promotion: UFC

Record: 20-5

Last: L (TKO2) Curtis Blaydes, Sept. 7, 2019

Next: May 1 vs. Augusto Sakai


LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (up to 205 pounds)

1. Jon Jones

Promotion: UFC

Record: 26-1, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8, 2020

Next: TBD


2. Jan Blachowicz

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 28-8

Last: W (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


3. Glover Teixeira

Promotion: UFC

Record: 32-7

Last: W (Sub3) Thiago Santos, Nov. 7, 2020

Next: TBD


4. Dominick Reyes

Promotion: UFC

Record: 12-2

Last: L (TKO2) Jan Blachowicz, Sept. 26, 2020

Next: May 1 vs. Jiri Prochazka


5. Aleksandar Rakic

Promotion: UFC

Record: 14-2

Last: W (UD) Thiago Santos, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


6. Corey Anderson

Promotion: Bellator

Record: 14-5

Last: W (TKO2) Melvin Manhoef, Nov. 5, 2020

Next: April 9 vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov


7. Vadim Nemkov

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 12-2

Last: W (TKO2) Ryan Bader, Aug. 21, 2020

Next: April 16 vs. Phil Davis


8. Ryan Bader

Promotion: Bellator

Record: 27-6, 1 NC

Last: L (TKO2) Vadim Nemkov, Aug. 21, 2020

Next: April 9 vs. Lyoto Machida


9. Thiago Santos

Promotion: UFC

Record: 21-9

Last: L (UD) Aleksandar Rakic, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


10. Jiri Prochazka

Promotion: UFC

Record: 27-3-1

Last: W (KO2) Volkan Oezdemir, July 11, 2020

Next: May 1 vs. Dominick Reyes


MIDDLEWEIGHT (up to 185 pounds)

1. Israel Adesanya

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 20-1

Last: L (UD) Jan Blachowicz, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


2. Robert Whittaker

Promotion: UFC

Record: 23-5

Last: W (UD) Jared Cannonier, Oct. 24, 2020

Next: April 17 vs. Kelvin Gastelum


3. Paulo Costa

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-1

Last: L (TKO2) Israel Adesanya, Sept. 26, 2020

Next: TBD


4. Yoel Romero

Promotion: Bellator

Record: 13-5

Last: L (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 7, 2020

Next: May 7 vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson


5. Jared Cannonier

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-5

Last: L (UD) Robert Whittaker, Oct. 24, 2020

Next: TBD


6. Derek Brunson

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 9

Record: 22-7

Last: W (UD) Kevin Holland, March 20, 2021

Next: TBD


7. Darren Till

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 6

Record: 18-3-1

Last: L (UD) Robert Whittaker, July 25, 2020

Next: TBD


8. Marvin Vettori

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 7

Record: 16-4-1

Last: W (UD) Jack Hermansson, Dec. 5, 2020

Next: April 10 vs. Kevin Holland


9. Jack Hermansson

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 8

Record: 21-5

Last: L (UD) Marvin Vettori, Dec. 5, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Edmen Shahbazyan


10. Gegard Mousasi

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 47-7-2

Last: W (UD) Douglas Lima, Oct. 29, 2020

Next: TBD


WELTERWEIGHT (up to 170 pounds)

1. Kamaru Usman

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 18-1

Last: W (TKO3) Gilbert Burns, Feb. 13, 2021

Next: April 24 vs. Jorge Masvidal


2. Colby Covington

Promotion: UFC

Record: 16-2

Last: W (TKO5) Tyron Woodley, Sept. 19, 2020

Next: TBD


3. Douglas Lima

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 32-8

Last: L (UD) Gegard Mousasi, Oct. 29, 2020

Next: TBD


4. Leon Edwards

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-3, 1 NC

Last: NC Belal Muhammad, March 13, 2021

Next: May 15 vs. Nate Diaz


5. Gilbert Burns

Promotion: UFC

Record: 19-4

Last: L (TKO3) Kamaru Usman, Feb. 13, 2021

Next: July 10 vs. Stephen Thompson


6. Stephen Thompson

Promotion: UFC

Record: 16-4-1

Last: W (UD) Geoff Neal, Dec. 19, 2020

Next: July 10 vs. Gilbert Burns


7. Jorge Masvidal

Promotion: UFC

Record: 35-14

Last: L (UD) Kamaru Usman, July 11, 2020

Next: April 24 vs. Kamaru Usman


8. Michael Chiesa

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-4

Last: W (UD) Neil Magny, Jan. 20, 2021

Next: TBD


9. Rory MacDonald

Promotion: PFL

Record: 21-6-1

Last: L (UD) Douglas Lima, Oct. 26, 2019

Next: April 29 vs. David Michaud


10. Vicente Luque

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: Unranked

Record: 20-7-1

Last: W (Sub1) Tyron Woodley, March 27, 2021

Next: TBD


LIGHTWEIGHT (up to 155 pounds)

1. Dustin Poirier

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 2

Record: 27-6, 1 NC

Last: W (TKO2) Conor McGregor, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: July 10 vs. Conor McGregor


2. Justin Gaethje

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 3

Record: 22-3

Last: L (Sub2) Khabib Nurmagomedov, Oct. 24, 2020

Next: TBD


3. Charles Oliveira

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 4

Record: 30-8, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Tony Ferguson, Dec.12, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Michael Chandler


4. Michael Chandler

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 5

Record: 22-5

Last: W (TKO1) Dan Hooker, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: May 15 vs. Charles Oliveira


5. Tony Ferguson

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 6

Record: 25-5

Last: L (UD) Charles Oliveira, Dec. 12, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Beneil Dariush


6. Dan Hooker

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 7

Record: 20-10

Last: L (TKO1) Michael Chandler, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: TBD


7. Rafael dos Anjos

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 8

Record: 30-13

Last: W (SD) Paul Felder, Nov. 14, 2020

Next: TBD


8. Beneil Dariush

Promotion: UFC

Previous rankings: 9

Record: 20-4-1

Last: W (SD) Diego Ferreira, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: May 15 vs. Tony Ferguson


9. Islam Makhachev

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 10

Record: 19-1

Last: W (Sub3) Drew Dober, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


10. Paul Felder

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: Unranked

Record: 17-6

Last: L (SD) Rafael dos Anjos, Nov. 14, 2020

Next: TBD


MEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT (up to 145 pounds)

1. Alexander Volkanovski

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 22-1

Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11, 2020

Next:
TBD vs. Brian Ortega


2. Max Holloway

Promotion: UFC

Record: 22-6

Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Jan. 16, 2021

Next: TBD


3. Brian Ortega

Promotion: UFC

Record: 15-1, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Chan Sung Jung, Oct. 17, 2020

Next: TBD vs. Alexander Volkanovski


4. Patricio Freire

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 32-4

Last: W (Sub1) Emmanuel Sanchez, April 2, 2021

Next: TBD vs. A.J. McKee


5. Zabit Magomedsharipov

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-1

Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Nov. 9, 2019

Next: TBD


6. Calvin Kattar

Promotion: UFC

Record: 22-5

Last: L (UD) Max Holloway, Jan. 16, 2021

Next: TBD


7. Yair Rodriguez

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-2, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Jeremy Stephens, Oct. 18, 2019

Next: TBD


8. Chan Sung Jung

Promotion: UFC

Record: 16-6

Last: L (UD) Brian Ortega, Oct. 17, 2020

Next: June 19 vs. Dan Ige


9. Josh Emmett

Promotion: UFC

Record: 16-2

Last: W (UD) Shane Burgos, June 20, 2020

Next: TBD


10. Shane Burgos

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-2

Last: L (UD) Josh Emmett, June 20, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Edson Barboza


MEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT (up to 135 pounds)

1. Aljamain Sterling

Promotion: UFC champion

Previous ranking: 2

Record: 20-3

Last: W (DQ4) Petr Yan, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


2. Petr Yan

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 1

Record: 15-2

Last: L (DQ4) Aljamain Sterling, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


3. Cory Sandhagen

Promotion: UFC

Record: 14-2

Last: W (KO1) Frankie Edgar, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: May 8 vs. TJ Dillashaw


4. Cody Garbrandt

Promotion: UFC

Record: 12-3

Last: W (KO2) Raphael Assuncao, June 6, 2020

Next: May 22 vs. Rob Font


5. Rob Font

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-4

Last: W (TKO1) Marlon Moraes, Dec. 19, 2020

Next: May 22 vs. Cody Garbrandt


6. Jose Aldo

Promotion: UFC

Record: 29-7

Last: W (UD) Marlon Vera, Dec. 19, 2020

Next: TBD


7. Frankie Edgar

Promotion: UFC

Record: 24-9-1

Last: L (KO1) Cory Sandhagen, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: TBD


8. Pedro Munhoz

Promotion: UFC

Record: 19-5, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Jimmie Rivera, Feb. 27, 2021

Next: TBD


9. Marlon Moraes

Promotion: UFC

Record: 23-8-1

Last: L (TKO1) Rob Font, Dec. 19, 2020

Next: TBD


10. Raphael Assuncao

Promotion: UFC

Record: 27-8

Last: L (KO2) Cody Garbrandt, June 6, 2020

Next: TBD


MEN’S FLYWEIGHT (up to 125 pounds)

1. Deiveson Figueiredo

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 20-1-1

Last: D (MD) Brandon Moreno, Dec.12, 2020

Next: June 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


2. Demetrious Johnson

Promotion: One Championship

Record: 30-4-1

Last: L (TKO2) Adriano Moraes, April 7, 2021

Next: TBD


3. Brandon Moreno

Promotion: UFC

Record: 17-5-2

Last: D (MD) Deiveson Figueiredo, Dec. 12, 2020

Next: June 12 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo


4. Askar Askarov

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-0-1

Last: W (UD) Joseph Benavidez, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


5. Alex Perez

Promotion: UFC

Record: 24-6

Last: L (Sub1) Deiveson Figueiredo, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Matt Schnell


6. Alexandre Pantoja

Promotion: UFC

Record: 23-5

Last: W (UD) Manel Kape, Feb. 6, 2021

Next: TBD


7. Kai Kara-France

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 8

Record: 22-9, 1 NC

Last: W (KO1) Rogerio Bontorin, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


8. Brandon Royval

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 7

Record: 12-5

Last: L (TKO1) Brandon Moreno, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: TBD


9. Joseph Benavidez

Promotion: UFC

Record: 28-8

Last: L (UD) Askar Askarov, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


10. Jussier Formiga

Promotion: UFC

Record: 23-8

Last: L (TKO1) Alex Perez, June 6, 2020

Next: TBD


WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT (up to 135 pounds)

1. Amanda Nunes

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 21-4

Last: W (Sub1) Megan Anderson,, March 6, 2021

Next: TBD


2. Germaine de Randamie

Promotion: UFC

Record: 10-4

Last: W (TechSub3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3, 2020

Next: TBD


3. Julianna Peña

Promotion: UFC

Record: 10-4

Last: W (Sub3) Sara McMann, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: May 8 vs. Holly Holm


4. Aspen Ladd

Promotion: UFC

Record: 9-1

Last: W (TKO3) Yana Kunitskaya, Dec. 7, 2019

Next: July 24 vs. Macy Chiasson


5. Holly Holm

Promotion: UFC

Record: 14-5

Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3, 2020

Next: May 8 vs. Julianna Peña


6. Irene Aldana

Promotion: UFC

Record: 12-6

Last: L (UD) Holly Holm, Oct. 3, 2020

Next: TBD


7. Yana Kunitskaya

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 9

Record: 14-5, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Ketlen Vieira, Feb. 20, 2021

Next: TBD


8. Ketlen Vieira

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 7

Record: 11-2

Last: L (UD) Yana Kunitskaya, Feb. 20, 2021

Next: TBD


9. Raquel Pennington

Promotion: UFC

Previous ranking: 8

Record: 11-8

Last: W (UD) Marion Reneau, June 20, 2020

Next: TBD


10. Macy Chiasson

Promotion: UFC

Record: 7-1

Last: W (UD) Marion Reneau, March 20, 2021

Next: July 24 vs. Aspen Ladd


WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT (up to 125 pounds)

1. Valentina Shevchenko

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 20-3

Last: W (UD) Jennifer Maia, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: April 24 vs. Jessica Andrade


2. Jessica Andrade

Promotion: UFC

Record: 21-8

Last: W (TKO1) Katlyn Chookagian, Oct. 17, 2020

Next: April 24 vs. Valentina Shevchenko


3. Katlyn Chookagian

Promotion: UFC

Record: 15-4

Last: W (UD) Cynthia Calvillo, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: May 15 vs. Viviane Araujo


4. Jennifer Maia

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-7-1

Last: L (UD) Valentina Shevchenko, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: TBD


5. Joanne Calderwood

Promotion: UFC

Record: 15-5

Last: W (UD) Jessica Eye, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: TBD


6. Lauren Murphy

Promotion: UFC

Record: 14-4

Last: W (Sub2) Liliya Shakirova, Oct. 24, 2020

Next: TBD


7. Juliana Velasquez

Promotion: Bellator champion

Record: 11-0

Last: W (UD) Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Dec. 10, 2020

Next: TBD


8. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane

Promotion: Bellator

Record: 11-1

Last: L (UD) Juliana Velasquez, Dec. 10, 2020

Next: TBD


9. Cynthia Calvillo

Promotion: UFC

Record: 9-2-1

Last: L (UD) Katlyn Chookagian, Nov. 21, 2020

Next: TBD


10. Liz Carmouche

Promotion: Bellator

Record: 14-7

Last: W (Sub3) DeAnna Bennett, Sept. 12, 2020

Next: TBD


WOMEN’S STRAWWEIGHT (up to 115 pounds)

1. Zhang Weili

Promotion: UFC champion

Record: 21-1

Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7, 2020

Next: April 24 vs. Rose Namajunas


2. Rose Namajunas

Promotion: UFC

Record: 9-4

Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11, 2020

Next: April 24 vs. Zhang Weili


3. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Promotion: UFC

Record: 16-4

Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7, 2020

Next: TBD


4. Carla Esparza

Promotion: UFC

Record: 17-6

Last: W (SD) Marina Rodriguez, July 25, 2020

Next: TBD


5. Yan Xiaonan

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-1, 1 NC

Last: W (UD) Claudia Gadelha, Nov. 7, 2020

Next: TBD


6. Marina Rodriguez

Promotion: UFC

Record: 13-1-2

Last: W (TKO2) Amanda Ribas, Jan. 23, 2021

Next: TBD


7. Claudia Gadelha

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-5

Last: L (UD) Yan Xiaonan, Nov. 7, 2020

Next: TBD


8. Michelle Waterson

Promotion: UFC

Record: 18-8

Last: W (SD) Angela Hill, Sept. 12, 2020

Next: TBD


9. Tecia Torres

Promotion: UFC

Record: 12-5

Last: W (TKO1) Sam Hughes, Dec. 12, 2020

Next: TBD


10. Nina Nunes

Promotion: UFC

Record: 10-6

Last: L (UD) Tatiana Suarez, June 8, 2019

Next: April 10 vs. Mackenzie Dern

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