MMA divisional rankings – Among three new No. 1s, Francis Ngannou takes most explosive route to top

March 31, 2021 6:51 pm by Web Desk

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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: TBD


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: TBD


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: April 16 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: April 10 vs. Marvin Vettori


8. Marvin Vettori

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 16-4-1
Last: W (UD) Jack Hermansson, Dec. 5, 2020
Next: April 10 vs. Darren Till


9. Jack Hermansson

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 21-5
Last: L (UD) Marvin Vettori, Dec. 5, 2020
Next: TBD


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: TBD


6. Stephen Thompson

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-4-1
Last: W (UD) Geoff Neal, Dec. 19, 2020
Next: TBD


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: TBD


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: TBD


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: TBD


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


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


4. Patricio Freire

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 31-4
Last: W (TKO1) Pedro Carvalho, Nov. 12, 2020
Next: April 2 vs. Emmanuel Sanchez


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: TBD


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: 30-3-1
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12, 2019
Next: April 7 vs. Adriano Moraes


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 Pena, 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: TBD


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: TBD


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 Ansaroff

Promotion: UFC
Record: 10-6
Last: L (UD) Tatiana Suarez, June 8, 2019
Next: April 10 vs. Mackenzie Dern

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