Stock Up, Stock Down: Making Sense of the Rankings After UFC 248
UFC 248, which went down last Saturday night in Las Vegas, was topped by a pair of anticipated title fights, as middleweight champ Israel Adesanya took on Yoel Romero and strawweight champ Weili Zhang stepped into the Octagon with Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
These two fights, which were both won by the titleholders, were compelling enough to bring plenty of attention to UFC 248 and distract from one interesting detail: Outside the championship bouts, the card didn’t feature a single ranked fighter.
Some UFC 248 fighters, such as Neil Magny, Li Jingliang and Beneil Dariush, have been ranked previously but not at the time of the card.
Because of this deficit of ranked fighters, Saturday's event ended up having little influence on the official UFC rankings. In fact, one of the biggest changes in the updated rankings is entirely unrelated to the Las Vegas card.
Keep scrolling to see what has changed.
Note: The men's flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight, lightweight and heavyweight divisions and women’s strawweight, flyweight and 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.
No. 1 Men’s Pound-for-Pound: Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Israel Adesanya (up 1 spot)
6. Daniel Cormier (down 1 spot)
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
Israel Adesanya defeated challenger Yoel Romero in the UFC 248 main event, but his unanimous-decision victory didn’t impress many people.
Despite the undeniably slow nature of the champion's win, though, it was enough to improve his station in the men’s pound-for-pound hierarchy.
With his win over Romero, Adesanya climbed to the No. 5 spot on the men’s pound-for-pound list, pushing former light heavyweight and heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier down to No. 6.
Outside of this switch, the men’s pound-for-pound rankings are unchanged. With fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Tony Ferguson, Henry Cejudo and Tyron Woodley all returning to action in the next few months, though, this list could look very different by the time summer arrives.
No. 1 Women’s Pound-for-Pound: Amanda Nunes
2. Weili Zhang (up 1 spot)
3. Valentina Shevchenko (down 1 spot)
4. Jessica Andrade
5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
6. Rose Namajunas
7. Tatiana Suarez
8. Holly Holm (down 1 spot)
9. Germaine De Randamie
10. Aspen Ladd
11. Katlyn Chookagian
12. Jessica Eye
13. Julianna Peña
14. Nina Ansaroff
15. Claudia Gadelha
The UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound rankings, which are still only a few months old, also experienced few changes after UFC 248.
That said, the new list does include one change that’s bound to produce some controversy. After defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk via the narrowest of split decisions in Saturday's co-main event, strawweight champ Weili Zhang has usurped the No. 2 spot in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings, supplanting flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.
Given Shevchenko is looking increasingly like an unbeatable fighter, this shake-up is unlikely to be popular.
Outside of this switch, the only change to the women’s pound-for-pound list concerns former bantamweight champ Holly Holm, who made a one-spot drop to No. 8. Why? Stack it up to the indecisiveness of the panelists responsible for the UFC rankings.
Champion: Jon Jones
1. Dominick Reyes
2. Thiago Santos
3. Anthony Smith
4. Jan Blachowicz
5. Corey Anderson
6. Volkan Oezdemir (up 1 spot)
7. Alexander Gustafsson (up 1 spot)
8. Glover Teixeira (up 1 spot)
9. Aleksandar Rakic (up 1 spot)
10. Johnny Walker (up 1 spot)
11. Misha Cirkunov (up 1 spot)
12. Nikita Krylov (up 1 spot)
13. Magomed Ankalaev (up 2 spots)
14. Ronaldo Souza
15. Mauricio Rua (not previously ranked)
At the top of this article, we mentioned a big change unrelated to the UFC 248 card. Here it is.
At long last, former UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier has been removed from the light heavyweight rankings. Rejoice!
The intention here is not to disparage Cormier or suggest he couldn’t beat anyone in the light heavyweight top 15. He’d probably be favored against almost any light heavyweight opponent outside of Jon Jones.
That being said, Cormier has not fought in the division since he made the final defense of his 205-pound title opposite Volkan Oezdemir over two years ago. Since then, he’s been competing exclusively in the heavyweight division and has repeatedly shared his disinterest in returning to light heavyweight.
Last week, Cormier once again assured he won’t be dropping back down. Evidently, the UFC’s ranking panelists believed him this time. He’s finally been removed from the division’s top 15, which cleared the way for a whopping eight fighters to move up the list.
Champion: Israel Adesanya
1. Robert Whittaker
2. Paulo Costa
3. Jared Cannonier (up 1 spot)
4. Yoel Romero (down 1 spot)
5. Darren Till
6. Jack Hermansson
7. Kelvin Gastelum
8. Derek Brunson
9. Edmen Shahbazyan
10. Uriah Hall
11. Brad Tavares
12. Omari Akhmedov
13. Ian Heinisch
14. Antonio Carlos Junior
15. Anderson Silva
Israel Adesanya is still the king of the middleweight division, having defended his title in a narrow unanimous-decision win over Yoel Romero in the UFC 248 main event. While the champ managed to keep his spot atop the middleweight rankings, however, Romero failed to maintain his station.
The Cuban’s performance was so uninspiring—to the tune of just 40 strikes thrown over 25 minutes of action—that ranking panelists knocked him down a peg.
In the latest rankings update, Romero is sitting at No. 4, having given up the No. 3 position to streaking contender Jared Cannonier. Other than that, no other changes occurred.
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. Geoff Neal
11. Robbie Lawler
12. Gilbert Burns
13. Anthony Pettis (up 1 spot)
14. Vicente Luque (down 1 spot)
15. Conor McGregor
Neil Magny and Li Jingliang, who fought in the second bout of the UFC 248 main card, have both been ranked in the welterweight top 15 previously. Had either man won in emphatic fashion, they might just have re-emerged on this hallowed list.
Evidently, though, ranking panelists weren't impressed enough by Magny’s unanimous-decision victory over Li to put him back in the top 15. If he gets his desired fight with No. 7-ranked Michael Chiesa, he could easily be back in the mix again soon.
The new UFC welterweight rankings do include one interesting change, but it's unrelated to UFC 248. Anthony Pettis and Vicente Luque switched spots, settling at No. 13 and 14, respectively. This switch is very difficult to decipher, especially given Pettis’ last fight was a lightweight loss to Diego Ferreira.
Then again, we are talking about the UFC rankings, where the whim and impulse of the ranking panelists are the true pound-for-pound kings.