Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 261

Tom Taylor@@TomTayMMAContributor IApril 29, 2021

Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 261

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    Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/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. 

    With UFC 261 going down in front of a packed arena in Jacksonville, Florida last Saturday, that means it's time for another update.

    The card featured a whopping three title fights, with Kamaru Usman knocking out Jorge Masvidal to retain the welterweight strap, Rose Namajunas swiping strawweight gold with a knockout of Weili Zhang, and Valentina Shevchenko defending her flyweight throne with a lopsided TKO over Jessica Andrade.

    How did those massive fights affect the prestigious B/R Pound-for-Pound UFC Rankings? Keep scrolling to find out.

Men: Nos. 10-6

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    10. Deiveson Figueiredo 

    9. Jan Blachowicz

    8. Francis Ngannou

    7. Max Holloway

    6. Dustin Poirier

    UFC 261 had no bearing on the bottom half of our men's pound-for-pound list. That being said, allow us to take a minute to explain why UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou is still ranked below the man he just knocked out, Stipe Miocic.

    It comes down to this: Miocic is the most accomplished heavyweight in UFC history, and he also holds a fairly recent win over Ngannou. One knockout loss doesn't erase everything else he's accomplished in his career. 

    If Ngannou keeps punching heads into orbit, though, expect their positions to change.

Men: Nos. 5-1

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    Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    5. Stipe Miocic

    4. Alexander Volkanovski

    3. Israel Adesanya

    2. Kamaru Usman

    1. Jon Jones

    Some readers may find this surprising, but there have been no changes to the top half of our men's pound-for-pound rankings after UFC 261. That's only because we already had UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman ranked at No. 2.

    As impressive as his knockout victory over Jorge Masvidal was, it still wasn't enough to push him past former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who has beaten more world-class fighters than just about anyone else in history.

    Usman is clearly a world-class talent, and that No. 1 spot could certainly be his down the road, but for the moment, Jones' greatness is keeping the welterweight king at No. 2.

Women: Nos. 10-6

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    Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    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 list is unchanged after UFC 261, but that almost wasn't the case.

    After watching our No. 6 fighter Jessica Andrade get handled so effortlessly by UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko on the card, we considered pushing her down to No. 7. However, we feel she has still accomplished more, in terms of pound-for-pound consideration, than our current No. 7 fighter, Germaine de Randamie. So for the moment, she's safe.

Women: Nos. 5-1

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    Alex Menendez/Getty Images

    5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

    4. Weili Zhang (down one spot)

    3. Rose Namajunas (up one spot)

    2. Valentina Shevchenko

    1. Amanda Nunes 

    There's only been one change to our women's pound-for-pound top 5 after UFC 261, and it shouldn't surprise anyone.

    In the UFC 261 co-main event, Rose Namajunas scored a dazzling, first-round knockout victory over Weili Zhang to reclaim the UFC strawweight title. That win didn't just earn a UFC belt, but the No. 3 spot on this hallowed list—which she's surely just as excited about, right?

    Namajunas' climb to No. 3 means Zhang has to drop. Thankfully for the Chinese star and her legions of fans, her 2020 decision win over Joanna Jedrzejczyk keeps her from tumbling any further than No. 4.