Top 10 Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 259

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IMarch 9, 2021

Top 10 Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 259

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    Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

    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 259 card in Las Vegas.

Men: Nos. 10-6

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    Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

    10. Petr Yan

    9. Deiveson Figueiredo

    8. Jan Blachowicz

    7. Max Holloway

    6. Dustin Poirier

    Before UFC 259, UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz was nowhere to be found on our men's pound-for-pound list. In the wake of the card, that's no longer the case.

    By defeating UFC middleweight champion and pound-for-pound staple Israel Adesanya by decision in the UFC 259 main event, Blachowicz catapulted himself into our No. 8 spot, displacing lightweight contender Justin Gaethje. Some fans may argue that by beating Adesanya, Blachowicz deserved to usurp the middleweight champion's position in our top 5. However, Blachowicz hasn't done much to warrant pound-for-pound consideration beyond his defeat of Adesanya, so the No. 8 spot is where he stays for the moment.

    Other than Blachowicz's debut, the bottom half of the men's pound-for-pound list is unchanged. While Petr Yan lost to Aljamain Sterling via disqualification at UFC 259—surrendering the UFC bantamweight championship in the process—that loss to did nothing to diminish his standing as one of the sport's best fighters or prove that he's inferior to Sterling. As such, we elected not to move him from his No. 10 perch—though the outcome of the pair's expected rematch could shake things up.

Men: Nos. 5-1

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    Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

    5. Alexander Volkanovski

    4. Israel Adesanya

    3. Stipe Miocic

    2. Kamaru Usman

    1. Jon Jones

    Allow us to start by once again explaining Khabib Nurmagomedov's conspicuous 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 covered, there's only one change to report in our men's pound-for-pound top five.

    Having lost to UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz in the UFC 259 main event, middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has dropped from No. 3 to No. 4. Some fans will likely argue that Adesanya should now be ranked behind Blachowicz on this list. However, as we covered in the previous slide, Adesanya still has a more impressive record than Blachowicz overall, hence his position ahead of the light heavyweight champion on this list. If Blachowicz picks up a few more marquee victories—victories that rival Adesanya’s wins over fighters like Robert Whittaker, Yoel Romero and Paulo Costa—that could change.

    While there aren't any other changes, heavyweight champ Miocic is slated to defend his title against Francis Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will also be in action on that card, as he looks to defend his belt against Brian Ortega. If either champ loses, expect some big changes to our rankings.

Women: Nos. 10-6

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    John Locher/Associated Press

    10. Katlyn Chookagian

    9. Holly Holm 

    8. Tatiana Suarez

    7. Germaine de Randamie 

    6. Jessica Andrade 

    The bottom half of our women's pound-for-pound rankings is unchanged after UFC 259.

    Katlyn Chookagian recent dull win win over Cynthia Calvillo wasn't enough to move her past former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm.   

    The fact that Tatians Suarez 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. If that summer comeback doesn't materialize, she's out. 

    Former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie almost made it to No. 6 after beating Julianna Pena, but Jessica Andrade's first-round demolition of Chookagian in October kept her in that spot.

    Andrade is scheduled to challenge UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 261 on April 24, and if she wins that fight, she'll surge into our top five.

Women: Nos. 5-1

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    Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

    5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

    4. Rose Namajunas

    3. Weili Zhang

    2. Valentina Shevchenko

    1. Amanda Nunes

    Our women's top five 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.

    While Jedrzejczyk has made it clear she's not retired, COVID-19 travel restrictions delayed her return to training at American Top Team. With that issue seemingly now resolved and a fight potentially on the horizon, her status at No. 5 is secure.

    No. 4 Rose Namajunas 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, the pandemic has made it difficult for her to leave her native China. For the moment, her inactivity is no cause for concern with respect to her position on this list.

    No. 2 spot holder Valentina Shevchenko retains her place after beating Jennifer Maia at UFC 255 late last year, and she was mentioned on Saturday's broadcast as possibly the only woman who can even present a challenge to the next woman on this list.

    Amanda Nunes, 32, holds the UFC featherweight and bantamweight titles and has defeated every other woman to hold UFC titles in either division. Her pair of decision wins over Shevchenko make her status as MMA's pound-for-pound queen irrefutable.

    Nunes returned to action at UFC 259, where she defended her featherweight title with a first-round submission win over Megan Anderson. However, all that win did was reaffirm her position atop this list. As impressive as it was, it's not like we can move her any higher.

    We would if we could.