Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 258

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IFebruary 16, 2021

Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 258

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    The official UFC rankings are a farce. That sounds harsh, but it's the truth.

    The entire system seems to be predicated on the whims and fancies of the voting panelists, many of whom don't even appear to closely follow mixed martial arts. There is no consistency in terms of what happens when a ranked fighter changes weight classes or retires. There is legitimate evidence that suggests the UFC nudges its panelists in the directions it deems most suitable.

    The list of problems goes on and on. 

    We here at Bleacher Report are tired of it and have decided to take a stand by creating our own UFC pound-for-pound lists: one list for men and another for women.

    We will update our pound-for-pound rankings after each UFC pay-per-view and, with a little luck, bring some order to the chaotic world of mixed martial arts. 

    Without further ado, here are the new B/R Pound-for-Pound UFC Rankings after Saturday's entertaining UFC 258 card in Las Vegas.

Men: Nos. 10-6

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    10. Petr Yan

    9. Deiveson Figueiredo

    8. Justin Gaethje

    7. Max Holloway

    6. Dustin Poirier

    There have been no changes to the bottom half of our men's pound-for-pound rankings in the wake of UFC 258.

    UFC bantamweight champion Petr Yan is still clinging to the No. 10 spot, flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo remains perched at No. 9, and lightweight contender Justin Gaethje is our No. 8 fighter.

    Our No. 7 spot is still the property of former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, who surged up two spots in our last rankings update thanks to a dazzling victory over Calvin Kattar in January.

    Our No. 6 spot is held by lightweight contender Dustin Poirier, who looked better than ever when he knocked out Conor McGregor at UFC 257 last month.

    While there haven't been any changes to the back end of our men's pound-for-pound list, that could change soon, as Yan is set to defend his title against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 259 on March 6.

    UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz is also slated to defend his title on that card, and he will surge into our pound-for-pound top-10 if he defeats UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya.

Men: Nos. 5-1

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    5. Alexander Volkanovski

    4. Stipe Miocic

    3. Israel Adesanya

    2. Kamaru Usman

    1. Jon Jones

    Allow us to start by once again explaining Khabib Nurmagomedov's absence from our top 5—something we'll continue to do until the UFC accepts his retirement and removes him from its rankings.

    Because Nurmagomedov retired after he defeated Justin Gaethje in October, he's no longer eligible for our rankings. If he officially withdraws his retirement announcement or signs a contract to fight, he'll regain his position, but as long as he's retired, he's out. This is a hard-and-fast rule here at B/R. 

    With that said, there's nothing new to report in terms of changes to our men's pound-for-pound Top 5 after UFC 258, despite the fact that our No. 2 fighter, UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman, picked up an impressive win over Gilbert Burns in the main event.

    Usman was already our No. 2-ranked fighter—much to the chagrin of many commenters. He helped justify that lofty position with his impressive win over Burns, but it still wasn't enough to push him ahead of our No. 1 fighter, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.

    While our Top 5 has looked the same for quite some time, that could change in a big way over the next few months, as Alexander Volkanovski, Stipe Miocic, and Israel Adesanya all have fights scheduled before April.

    Adesanya will move up to light heavyweight to challenge divisional king Jan Blachowicz for a second title at UFC 259. Then, at UFC 260 on March 27, the heavyweight champion Miocic and featherweight champion Volkanovski are set to defend their titles against Francis Ngannou and Brian Ortega, respectively.

    Depending on the outcomes of those fights, we could see some huge changes to our rankings in the near future.

    We also know Jones is planning a move up to heavyweight, which could also cause some major shake-ups on this list. 

Women: Nos. 10-6

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    10. Katlyn Chookagian

    9. Holly Holm 

    8. Tatiana Suarez

    7. Germaine de Randamie 

    6. Jessica Andrade 

    The bottom end of our women's pound-for-pound rankings is unchanged after UFC 258.

    Katlyn Chookagian still holds our No. 10 spot. While her recent win over Cynthia Calvillo was solid, it was an undeniable nap-inducer and not enough to move her past former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm, who still holds our No. 9 spot after a lopsided decision defeat of Irene Aldana last October.   

    Our No. 8 spot remains the territory of strawweight contender Tatiana Suarez. The fact that she hasn't fought since June 2019 is making it increasingly difficult to justify her position on this list, but she recently told MMA Junkie that she hopes to fight again this summer, so we've decided to keep her where she is for now. If that summer comeback doesn't materialize, she's out. 

    At No. 7, we have former UFC featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie. She is riding a submission win over Julianna Pena, who is closing in on a pound-for-pound spot herself after submitting Sara McMann at UFC 257. That victory over Pena was almost enough to push De Randamie into our No. 6 spot.

    Unfortunately for the Dutch fighter, former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade stays at the No. 6 position after a devastating first-round drubbing of Chookagian at flyweight in October.

    The Brazilian also gets bonus points for performing in multiple weight classes, having fought and won in all three of the UFC women's divisions. 

Women: Nos. 5-1

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    5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

    4. Rose Namajunas

    3. Weili Zhang

    2. Valentina Shevchenko

    1. Amanda Nunes

    Our women's Top 5 is unchanged since our last update, but there are a couple of things we should reiterate.

    We'll start with our No. 5 fighter: former UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who has not fought since she lost a split decision to strawweight champ Weili Zhang in March 2020.

    The Polish fighter nearly lost her spot in our Top 5 to Andrade—a woman she holds a win over—on the basis of her recent inactivity. However, we decided to continue holding off on this switch for one reason. 

    While Jedrzejczyk has made it clear she's not retired, she has also emphasized that she won't be taking another fight until she's able to resume training at American Top Team in South Florida—not an easy thing to do thanks to the travel restrictions of the COVID-19 era.

    That gave us the impression that it could be some time before the 33-year-old makes it back to the Octagon, but just when we were about to 86 her from the Top 5, she got back to training at ATT. It's far from an official fight announcement, but it's a step toward it and secures her status at No. 5 for now. 

    Our No. 4 spot is still the property of two-time Jedrzejczyk foil Rose Namajunas, who is riding an impressive decision win over our No. 6 fighter, Andrade. She is expected to get the next crack at UFC strawweight champion Zhang, and she will move up this list with a win in that fight.

    Zhang is our No. 3 fighter. While she hasn't fought since March, when she narrowly escaped the Octagon with her title after a war with Jedrzejczyk, that's not her fault.

    The pandemic has made it difficult for her to leave her native China, but it looks increasingly likely that her long-rumored title defense against Namajunas will happen quite soon—potentially in Singapore. For the moment, her inactivity is no cause for concern with respect to her position on this list.

    Our No. 2 spot is still held by UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. While the official UFC rankings had her ranked behind Zhang for many months, we've always viewed her as the more accomplished and more proven fighter.

    After her lopsided decision win over Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 late last year, the UFC finally followed our lead and moved her ahead of Zhang, and we're glad to see it. Sometimes, logic prevails.

    With our No. 2 fighter covered, let's move on to the No. 1 spot, which to nobody's surprise is still held by Amanda Nunes.

    The Brazilian, 32, owns the UFC featherweight and bantamweight titles and has defeated every other woman to hold UFC titles in either division. For those with short memories, that includes De Randamie, Holm, Cris Cyborg, Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Throw in her two decision wins over Shevchenko, and her status as MMA's pound-for-pound queen is irrefutable.

    Nunes is slated to defend her featherweight title against Megan Anderson at UFC 259 on March 6. While this fight is widely considered a squash match, it doesn't matter. Nunes has already cemented herself as the greatest female fighter of all time.

    The only way that fight has any bearing on this list is if Anderson wins, and that would go down as one of the greatest upsets in MMA history.