MMA pound-for-pound rankings — Removal of two inactive legends makes room for new faces


The first thing you might notice in the latest ESPN pound-for-pound rankings is the absence of Jon Jones.

The former longtime UFC light heavyweight champion, perhaps the greatest mixed martial artist ever, was No. 2 in the men’s top 10 the last time these rankings were updated. Over the years, he has spent a lot time at the very top of the list. Now he’s nowhere to be seen.

This disappearance has nothing to do with Jones’ latest arrest, which happened over the weekend in Las Vegas. No, Jones is gone from the rankings because he has not fought since February 2020.

Until now, we have left it to the discretion of the individuals on the ESPN voting panel to factor in — or not factor in — a fighter’s inactivity when turning in their top-10 ballots. The idea of instilling eligibility criteria across the board did come up for discussion last year, but then the pandemic hit and it didn’t seem fair to penalize athletes at a time when it was difficult for many to book fights or even train. Now the sport is getting back to normal — or relatively close to it — and it’s time to put into play this standard: A fighter is eligible for the ESPN rankings if he or she has competed in the last year or has an upcoming fight on the books.

So Jones, who as a result of a contractual squabble with the UFC has not fought in nearly 20 months, is gone from the men’s top 10. And Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who in the last update was No. 6 among women, has also dropped out of the rankings. The former UFC strawweight champ last was in the Octagon in March 2020.

Kamaru Usman still resides at the top of the men’s rankings and Amanda Nunes the women’s, and each top 10 now includes a new entry — one of whom does not fight in the UFC or Bellator.

There’s also a new name in the voting panel itself. We now have five voters, which we thought might eliminate the pesky ties we’ve seen in recent polls. But no such luck. Check out the latest men’s and women’s top 10s.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Sept. 28.

Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 19-1
Last: W (KO2) Jorge Masvidal, April 24, 2021
Next: Nov. 6 vs. Colby Covington


2. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Previous ranking: 3
Record: 21-1
Last: W (UD) Marvin Vettori, June 12, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: 4
Record: 16-3
Last: W (KO2) Stipe Miocic, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


4. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 23-1
Last: W (UD) Brian Ortega, Sept. 25, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Jan Blachowicz

UFC light heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 28-8
Last: W (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 6, 2021
Next: Oct. 30 vs. Glover Teixeira


6. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Previous ranking: 5
Record: 28-6, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO1) Conor McGregor, July 10, 2021
Next: TBD vs. Charles Oliveira


7. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight champion
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 31-8, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Michael Chandler, May 15, 2021
Next: TBD vs. Dustin Poirier


8. Stipe Miocic

UFC heavyweight
Record: 20-4
Last: L (KO2) Francis Ngannou, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Brandon Moreno

UFC flyweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 19-5-2
Last: W (Sub3) Deiveson Figueiredo, June 12, 2021
Next: Dec. 11 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo


10. Max Holloway

UFC featherweight
Record: 22-6
Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Jan. 16, 2021
Next: Nov. 13 vs. Yair Rodriguez


Other fighters receiving votes: Robert Whittaker, Petr Yan and A.J. McKee


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Israel Adesanya
3. Alexander Volkanovski
4. Dustin Poirier
5. Jan Blachowicz
6. Max Holloway
7. Francis Ngannou
8. Petr Yan
9. Charles Oliveira
10. Robert Whittaker

Marc Raimondi
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Israel Adesanya
3. Francis Ngannou
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Stipe Miocic
6. Dustin Poirier
7. Jan Blachowicz
8. Charles Oliveira
9. Robert Whittaker
10. Brandon Moreno

Carlos Contreras Legaspi
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Israel Adesanya
3. Alexander Volkanovski
4. Francis Ngannou
5. Jan Blachowicz
6. Charles Oliveira
7. Brandon Moreno
8. Dustin Poirier
9. Max Holloway
10. A.J. McKee

Mike Coppinger
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Israel Adesanya
3. Francis Ngannou
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Dustin Poirier
6. Charles Oliveira
7. Jan Blachowicz
8. Brandon Moreno
9. Max Holloway
10. Robert Whittaker

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Francis Ngannou
2. Kamaru Usman
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Jan Blachowicz
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Charles Oliveira
9. Brandon Moreno
10. A.J. McKee


1. Amanda Nunes

UFC bantamweight/featherweight champion
Record: 21-4
Last: W (Sub1) Megan Anderson, March 6, 2021
Next: Dec. 11 vs. Julianna Peña


2. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 21-3
Last: W (TKO4) Lauren Murphy, Sept. 25, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 10-4
Last: W (KO1) Zhang Weili, April 24, 2021
Next: Nov. 6 vs. Zhang Weili


4. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Previous ranking: T-3
Record: 24-2, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO5) Leslie Smith, May 21, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight
Record: 21-2
Last: L (KO1) Rose Namajunas, April 24, 2021
Next: Nov. 6 vs. Rose Namajunas


6. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 22-9
Last: W (TKO1) Cynthia Calvillo, Sept. 25, 2021
Next: TBD


7. Germaine de Randamie

UFC bantamweight
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 10-4
Last: W (TechSub3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


8. Holly Holm

UFC bantamweight
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 14-5
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


T-9. Carla Esparza

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 10
Record: 18-6
Last: W (TKO2) Yan Xiaonan, May 22, 2021
Next: TBD


T-9. Kayla Harrison

PFL lightweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 11-0
Last: W (TKO1) Genah Fabian, Aug. 19, 2021
Next: Oct. 27 vs. Taylor Guardado


Other fighters receiving votes: Julia Budd, Katlyn Chookagian and Juliana Velasquez


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Rose Namajunas
4. Cris Cyborg
5. Zhang Weili
6. Germaine de Randamie
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Kayla Harrison
9. Carla Esparza
10. Katlyn Chookagian

Marc Raimondi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Rose Namajunas
5. Zhang Weili
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Germaine de Randamie
8. Holly Holm
9. Carla Esparza
10. Kayla Harrison

Carlos Contreras Legaspi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Rose Namajunas
4. Cris Cyborg
5. Holly Holm
6. Kayla Harrison
7. Zhang Weili
8. Jessica Andrade
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Carla Esparza

Mike Coppinger
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Rose Namajunas
4. Cris Cyborg
5. Zhang Weili
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Germaine de Randamie
8. Holly Holm
9. Carla Esparza
10. Juliana Velasquez

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Rose Namajunas
5. Zhang Weili
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Germaine de Randamie
8. Holly Holm
9. Carla Esparza
10. Julia Budd



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