Stock Up, Stock Down: Making Sense of the Rankings After UFC 247

Tom TaylorContributor IFebruary 11, 2020

Stock Up, Stock Down: Making Sense of the Rankings After UFC 247

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    UFC 247 featured plenty of meaningful action in multiple divisions, most notably a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and challenger Dominick Reyes, and a flyweight title fight between champ Valentina Shevchenko and challenger Katlyn Chookagian. 

    In the end, neither title changed hands at UFC 247, as Shevchenko kept her belt with a destructive TKO win, and Jones earned a hard-fought decision to retain his hardware. That being said, Jones’ win over Reyes was quite controversial—controversial enough that it caused changes to both the UFC men’s pound-for-pound and light heavyweight rankings.

    Given the prevalence of impactful matchups on the UFC 247 bill, it should come as no surprise that the rankings for many other divisions experienced shake-ups too.

    Without further ado, let’s take a look at how the the UFC rankings have changed after UFC 247.

    Note: The men's flyweight, lightweight, middleweight, strawweight and women’s bantamweight divisions did not experience any changes in the new UFC rankings. Weight classes are organized based on the significance of the changes to the rankings.

Men’s Pound for Pound

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    No. 1 Men’s Pound-for-Pound: Jon Jones

    2. Khabib Nurmagomedov

    3. Henry Cejudo

    4. Stipe Miocic

    5. Daniel Cormier

    6. Israel Adesanya

    7. Kamaru Usman

    8. Alexander Volkanovski

    9. Conor McGregor

    10. Tony Ferguson

    11. Max Holloway

    12. Dustin Poirier

    13. Tyron Woodley

    14. Robert Whittaker

    15. Dominick Reyes (not previously ranked)

    UFC 247 only caused one change to the UFC’s men’s pound-for-pound rankings, but it’s definitely an interesting change.

    While Reyes failed to swipe the light heavyweight title from Jones in the card’s main event—at least as far as the judges were concerned—his performance was impressive enough to earn him a spot on the promotion’s hallowed pound-for-pound list.

    Reyes now holds the No. 15 spot on that list, while the champion Jones is still sitting pretty at No. 1.

Women’s Pound-for-Pound

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    No. 1 Women’s Pound-for-Pound: Amanda Nunes

    2. Valentina Shevchenko

    3. Weili Zhang

    4. Jessica Andrade

    5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (up one spot)

    6. Rose Namajunas (down one spot)

    7. Holly Holm

    8. Tatiana Suarez (up one spot)

    9. Germaine De Randamie (down one spot)

    10. Aspen Ladd (up one spot)

    11. Katlyn Chookagian (down one spot)

    12. Jessica Eye

    12. Julianna Peña (up one spot)

    14. Claudia Gadelha

    15. Nina Ansaroff

    The UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound list, which was introduced mere weeks ago, is looking very different after UFC 247. Most of the changes to this list can probably be attributed to growing pains—it’s brand new and panelists are probably still undecided on where everyone stands—but there is one change that is seemingly a result of the card.  

    Chookagian dropped one spot to No. 11 after being walloped by Shevchenko—who is still glued to No. 2—in the main event.

    Elsewhere in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings, the most notable change is an upward move from former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who climbed to No. 5, displacing Rose Namajunas—a woman she has lost to twice. This switcheroo can probably be attributed to Namajunas’ prolonged absence from competition, but it could also have something to do with the fact that Jedrzejczyk is weeks out from a title fight with reigning champ Weili Zhang (No. 3). Perhaps the UFC encouraged panelists to give the former champ a nudge to help push this matchup.

Light Heavyweight

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Champion: Jon Jones

    1. Dominick Reyes (up three spots)

    2. Thiago Santos (down one spot)

    3. Anthony Smith

    4. Daniel Cormier (down two spots)

    5. Corey Anderson

    6. Jan Blachowicz

    7. Volkan Oezdemir

    8. Alexander Gustafsson

    9. Glover Teixeira

    10. Aleksandar Rakic

    11. Johnny Walker

    12. Misha Cirkunov (up one spot)

    13. Nikita Krylov (up one spot)

    14. Ronaldo Souza (up one spot)

    15. Mauricio Rua (not previously ranked)

    The UFC light heavyweight rankings look very different in the wake of UFC 247 and most of the changes are, well, questionable.

    Let’s start with the stuff that makes sense.

    After putting forth an extremely impressive performance against Jones, Dominick Reyes rocketed up to No. 2, surpassing the likes of Thiago Santos and Anthony Smith. That’s fair. He looked amazing against Jones. Many people even thought he won the fight. The least the UFC can do is bump him up to No. 2 in the rankings.

    Unfortunately, that’s where the sensible changes end.

    On the UFC 247 main card, long-time light heavyweight contender Ilir Latifi made his debut in the heavyweight division, coming up short in a very competitive fight with Derrick Lewis. Having moved to heavyweight—whether that move is permanent or not—Latifi was promptly excised from the light heavyweight rankings, clearing the way for several light heavyweight contenders to move up the list and former champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua to re-enter the top-15. 

    Here’s the problem with that.

    Daniel Cormier still holds the No. 4 spot in the light heavyweight rankings. He hasn’t fought in the division since January of 2018—more than two years ago. Moreover, Cormier is dead-set on ending his career with a trilogy fight against heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic, which means he has no intention to return to light heavyweight.

    Then there’s Ronaldo Souza. He’s ranked No. 14 at light heavyweight, despite the fact that, after losing to Jan Blachowicz in his debut in the division, he decided to return to middleweight for a fight with Uriah Hall.

    Why was Latifi chopped from the light heavyweight rankings the moment he moved to another division, while Cormier and Souza have stayed put? This is the latest example of a complete lack of consistency when it comes to these rankings. They’re absolutely lawless.

Women’s Flyweight

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    Champion: Valentina Shevchenko

    1. Jessica Eye (up one spot)

    2. Katlyn Chookagian (down one spot)

    3. Joanne Calderwood

    4. Jennifer Maia

    5. Roxanne Modafferi

    6. Lauren Murphy (up one spot)

    7. Viviane Araujo (down one spot)

    8. Andrea Lee

    9. Maycee Barber

    10. Alexis Davis

    11. Antonina Shevchenko

    12. Montana De La Rosa

    13. Mara Romero Borella

    14. Ji Yeon Kim

    15. Poliana Botelho

    Valentina Shevchenko is still the queen of the flyweights, but the rankings for her division have transformed quite a bit after her latest win. 

    Shevchenko’s latest victim, Chookagian, dropped one spot to No. 2. Chookagian’s fall cleared a path for Jessica Eye—who was decapitated by Shevchenko last year—to grab the No. 1 spot.

    Elsewhere in the rankings, Lauren Murphy made a one-spot climb to No. 6 on the strength of her hotly debated UFC 247 undercard win over Andrea Lee, who stayed put at No 8.

    While it’s clear that the flyweight division’s top contenders are still elbowing for position, it’s going to be hard to sell any of them as a legitimate challenger for the champ. She’s that good.

Heavyweight

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    Michael Wyke/Associated Press

    Champion: Stipe Miocic

    1. Daniel Cormier

    2. Francis Ngannou

    3. Curtis Blaydes

    4. Junior Dos Santos

    5. Derrick Lewis (up one spot)

    6. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (down one spot)

    7. Alexander Volkov

    8. Alistair Overeem

    9. Walt Harris

    10. Shamil Abdurakhimov

    11. Blagoy Ivanov

    12. Aleksei Oleinik

    13. Augusto Sakai

    14. Sergei Pavlovich

    15. Ciryl Gane 

    UFC 247 only caused one change to the heavyweight rankings.

    Derrick Lewis, who defeated Ilir Latifi on the main card, climbed up one spot to No. 5, supplanting Jairzinho Rozenstruik, who is now ranked sixth. Latifi, who put up a good fight against Lewis, did not debut in the heavyweight rankings, despite being instantly cut from the light heavyweight rankings. That's a tough break! 

    While the heavyweight rankings went nearly unchanged after UFC 247, we could see some big changes very soon, as Francis Ngannou (No. 2), and Rozenstruik (No. 6) are set to square off on March 28.

Welterweight

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    Champion: Kamaru Usman

    1. Tyron Woodley

    2. Colby Covington

    3. Jorge Masvidal

    4. Leon Edwards

    5. Demian Maia

    6. Stephen Thompson

    7. Michael Chiesa

    8. Rafael Dos Anjos

    9. Nate Diaz

    10. Robbie Lawler

    11. Geoff Neal

    12. Gilbert Burns

    13. Vicente Luque (up one spot)

    14. Anthony Pettis (down one spot)

    15. Conor McGregor

    The only change to the welterweight rankings is seemingly arbitrary. Vicente Luque made a one-spot jump to No. 13, forcing Anthony Pettis down to No. 14. 

    Pettis, of course, last fought at lightweight, losing to Diego Ferreira, which once again highlights the inconsistency in these rankings. Why is this active lightweight still ranked at welterweight when Latifi, a career light heavyweight, was cut from that division after a lone UFC fight at heavyweight? It’s impossible to say. 

    Other than that, the welterweight rankings are looking pretty interesting. Conor McGregor is hanging tight at No. 15, an indication that he intends to stay in the division. Jorge Masvidal is still at No. 3, though that could certainly change if he’s matched up with the reigning champ Kamaru Usman this July as company president Dana White recently suggested.

Men’s Featherweight

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    Champion: Alexander Volkanovski

    1. Max Holloway

    2. Brian Ortega

    3. Zabit Magomedsharipov

    4. Chan Sung Jung

    5. Yair Rodriguez

    6. Frankie Edgar

    7. Renato Moicano

    8. Jeremy Stephens

    9. Josh Emmett

    10. Calvin Kattar

    11. Jose Aldo

    12. Shane Burgos

    13. Ryan Hall

    14. Arnold Allen (up one spot)

    15. Sodiq Yusuff (down one spot)

    The only change to the men’s featherweight rankings is unrelated to the UFC 247 card. Arnold Allen climbed one spot to No. 14, passing Sodiq Yusuff, who recently debuted in the rankings with a hard-fought win over Andre Fili. 

    It’s not clear why these two featherweight contenders swapped spots, but here’s an idea: let them fight to see who belongs where.

Men’s Bantamweight

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    Champion: Henry Cejudo

    1. Marlon Moraes

    2. Aljamain Sterling

    3. Petr Yan

    4. Cory Sandhagen

    5. Raphael Assuncao

    6. Jose Aldo (up one spot)

    7. Pedro Munhoz (down one spot)

    8. Jimmie Rivera

    9. Cody Garbrandt

    10. Rob Font

    11. Cody Stamann

    12. Song Yadong

    13. John Dodson

    14. Marlon Vera

    15. Casey Kenney 

    Former UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo lost his bantamweight debut, dropping a razor-close decision to Marlon Moraes at UFC 245. All the same, Aldo made a one-spot hike in the new bantamweight rankings, settling at No. 6.

    It’s not clear why this happened, but the timing is difficult to ignore, as Aldo is rumored to be getting the next shot at the champ Henry Cejudo, despite his recent loss to Moraes. Perhaps he’s being given a little push so he’s viewed as a more deserving challenger.