Demetrious Johnson Headlines ONE Championship's 1st Official Ranking

Haris KruskicContributor IApril 27, 2020

ONE Championship

ONE Championship announced its first official athlete rankings for select weight classes across mixed martial arts, kickboxing and muay thai divisions on Monday.

"The rankings will bring more clarity and transparency for our athletes as they chase their dreams for a world championship title," said Chatri Sityodtong, chairman and CEO of ONE Championship. "Fans can also follow their favorite athletes and their journeys more closely as they climb or fall in the rankings."

Fans who are familiar with UFC's rankings system will recognize the benefits of being able to track each division's title picture as matches are booked. For the ranked competitors, this added element makes their bouts even more important as they continue their quest for a championship opportunity. 

The official athlete rankings will be updated by an independent panel of media members and former mixed martial artists who will consider the participants based on wins and losses, their most recent performances and the quality of competition. The panel includes former UFC champions and current ONE executives Rich Franklin and Miesha Tate. Ranking updates will be published after each event.

The initial rankings include the atomweight, strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, featherweight and lightweight divisions. Rankings for the welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight divisions will be announced at a later date as ONE continues to fill out the talent in those classes.

Here is ONE's first crack at ranking their athletes.


Women's Division

Angela Lee
Angela LeeONE Championship

Atomweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Angela Lee 
1. Denice Zamboanga 
2. Meng Bo 
3. Lin Heqin 
4. Mei Yamaguchi 
5. Gina Iniong 

Lee already confirmed to James Goyder of Asian MMA that the undefeated Zamboanga will be the next challenger to her 115-pound title. 


Atomweight Kickboxing 

World champion: Janet Todd 
1. Stamp Fairtex 
2. Alma Juniku 
3. Chuang Kai Ting
4. Anne Line Hogstad
5. Ekaterina Vandaryeva 

Todd defeated Stamp in February to become just the second American ONE champion. Stamp remains the No. 1 contender at 115 as a trilogy bout with Todd may be on the horizon.


Atomweight Muay Thai 

World champion: Stamp Fairtex 
1. Janet Todd
2. Anne Line Hogstad 
3. Alma Juniku 
4. Ekaterina Vandaryeva 
5. Rudzma Abubakar

Stamp and Todd switch spots in the muay thai 115 rankings. The question is if their impending trilogy match will take place under muay thai or kickboxing rules. 


Xiong Jing Nan
Xiong Jing NanONE Championship

Strawweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Xiong Jing Nan 
1. Tiffany Teo 
2. Michelle Nicolini 
3. Angela Lee 
4. Ayaka Miura 
5. Maira Mazar

After defeating Miura last February, Teo has earned her spot as the No. 1 contender to Xiong's championship. The Panda hasn't defended her 125-pound belt since March of last year when she defeated Angela Lee.


Men's Division

Strawweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Joshua Pacio 
1. Yosuke Saruta
2. Yoshitaka Naito
3. Rene Catalan
4. Alex Silva
5. Lito Adiwang

Pacio and Saruta exchanged the strawweight championship in 2019, with the latter defeating the current champion earlier in the year before the Filipino regained his 125 title just three months later.


Strawweight Kickboxing 

World champion: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao
1. Astemir Borsov 
2. Wang Junguang 
3. Rocky Ogden 
4. Josh Tonna 
5. Daren Rolland 

Sam-A will have particularly heavy interest in the 125 rankings as a two-division champion. Having already defeated three of the five ranked kickboxing athletes in Wang, Ogden and Rolland, it seems like the next obvious opponent would be Borsov. Funny enough, the Russian has yet to compete for ONE.


Strawweight Muay Thai

World champion: Sam-A Gaiyanghadao
1. Josh Tonna 
2. Rocky Ogden 
3. Daren Rolland 
4. Andy Howson 
5. Rui Botelho 

With Sam-A busy with Borsov in the kickboxing realm, Tonna should get a 125 title shot against the legendary Thai in the muay thai category.


Demetrious Johnson
Demetrious JohnsonONE Championship

Flyweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Adriano Moraes
1. Demetrious Johnson
2. Danny Kingad
3. Kairat Akhmetov
4. Yuya Wakamatsu
5. Reece McLaren

Demetrious Johnson's match against champion Adriano Moraes has been delayed twice now due to the COVID-19 outbreak. When their match finally does happen, it'll be a battle between two of the better 135-pounders in the world. The winner will have a host of young challengers awaiting them. 


Flyweight Kickboxing

World champion: Ilias Ennahachi
1. Rodtang Jitmuangnon
2. Superlek Kiatmoo9
3. Walter Goncalves
4. Panpayak Jitmuangnon
5. Elias Mahmoudi 

Perhaps one thing we can expect from ONE's rankings is the occasional surprise inclusion.

Rodtang, the ONE flyweight muay thai champion, has never competed in a kickboxing match before. However, ONE has shown that many athletes tend to have a seamless transition from muay thai to kickboxing and vice versa. A meeting between Rodtang and 135-pound kickboxing champion Ilias Ennahachi would be a dream match of sorts as both are notorious for their ability to give out and absorb the harshest of strikes.


Flyweight Muay Thai

World champion: Rodtang Jitmuangnon
1. Panpayak Jitmuangnon 
2. Superlek Kiatmoo9 
3. Jonathan Haggerty 
4. Elias Mahmoudi 
5. Petchdam Petchyindee Academy 

It'll be interesting to see if Rodtang would even take a match against Panpayak since it's normal for teammates from Asian gyms to refuse to fight one another. If that ends up being the case, Superlek is a worthy next option having gone 7-1-1 over the past year.


Bantamweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Bibiano Fernandes
1. Kevin Belingon
2. Shoko Sato
3. Yusup Saadulaev
4. Shuya Kamikubo
5. Daichi Takenaka

Fernandes is in desperate need of a new opponent at 145 after facing Belingon the last three matches. Sato and Kamikubo are the most intriguing challengers as they're on six- and seven-match winning streaks, respectively. 


Bantamweight Kickboxing

World champion: Alaverdi Ramazanov 
1. Nong-O Gaiyanghadao 
2. Sangmanee Sathian MuayThai 
3. Zhang Chenglong 
4. Liam Harrison 
5. Rodlek PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym 

Ramazonov was supposed to face ONE bantamweight muay thai champion Nong-O last month, but that was delayed.


Bantamweight Muay Thai

World Champion: Nong-O Gaiyanghadao
1. Sangmanee Sathian MuayThai 
2. Bobo Sacko 
3. Kulabdam Sor. Jor. Piek Uthai 
4. Alaverdi Ramazanov 
5. Muangthai PK.Saenchaimuaythaigym

Bobo Sacko comes in with the highest winning percentage of any contender with a 72-6-1 record. Despite only having one match at ONE so far, he's already made a name for himself around the world to earn the No. 2 contender spot at 145.


Garry Tonon
Garry TononONE Championship

Featherweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Martin Nguyen
1. Christian Lee
2. Koyomi Matsushima
3. Thanh Le
4. Tetsuya Yamada 
5. Garry Tonon

Of all the division rankings, this should be the most interesting to an American fanbase. Champion Martin Nguyen is one of the most exciting athletes in ONE, and the challengers behind him at 155 are just as enticing.

ONE lightweight world champion Christian Lee made his desire very clear to move down a weight class and face Nguyen for a third time in an interview with B/R Live. Despite losing to the Situ-Asian both matches, he feels his game has grown immensely since.

Meanwhile, Americans Thanh Le (11-2) and jiu-jitsu star Garry Tonon (5-0) both feature on the rankings as well. Tonon has been angling for a title shot for months now. Perhaps we see him and Le compete in the near future to determine the next contender after Lee.


Featherweight Kickboxing

World champion: Vacant
1. Giorgio Petrosyan 
2. Superbon Banchamek
3. Tayfun Ozcan 
4. Samy Sana 
5. Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex 

The only vacant title at ONE at the moment, world grand prix champion Giorgio Petrosyan will be the heavy favorite to win the inaugural 155 title. However, Superbon is one of ONE's newest signings and comes into the promotion on a nine-match winning streak and a 110-34 record.


Featherweight Muay Thai

World champion: Petchmorakot Petchyindee Academy
1. Superbon Banchamek
2. Jamal Yusupov 
3. Jo Nattawut
4. Samy Sana 
5. Yodsanklai IWE Fairtex 

Petchmorakot was supposed to face Yusupov in February, but the latter pulled out due to an injury. Will he be rewarded another title shot, or is Superbon going to get his hands on the champion first?


Christian Lee

Lightweight Mixed Martial Arts 

World champion: Christian Lee
1. Iuri Lapicus
2. Saygid Guseyn Arslanaliev
3. Pieter Buist
4. Timofey Nastyukhin
5. Shinya Aoki

It might be a surprise to many not seeing Eddie Alvarez in the 170-pound rankings. After defeating Eduard Folayang in his second match at ONE and rehabbing from an ankle injury, The Underground King wanted a match for Lee's strap. That now seems very unlikely in the near future until Alvarez earns at least a couple of more victories.

Lee was supposed to defend his championship against Lapicus (14-0) on May 29, but that card has been cancelled. Expect that match to be rescheduled, though. Nastyukhin sits at No. 4 despite being inactive for over a year due to injury. Japanese legend Aoki rounds out the lightweight division's Top Five.


Lightweight Kickboxing

World champion: Regian Eersel
1. Nieky Holzken
2. Mustapha Haida
3. Anthony Njokuani
4. Andy Souwer
5. Elliot Compton

Eersel needs new competition after defeating Holzken in his two most recent matches and Njokuani the bout before. It's also unlikely we see Haida or Souwer get title opportunities considering they've lost their most recent ONE matches. 

Perhaps it's time the promotion injects some new blood into their 170-pound kickboxing division.


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