Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 269December 14, 2021
Stock Up, Stock Down: Pound-for-Pound Rankings After UFC 269
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.
With the stacked UFC 269 card going down last Saturday in Las Vegas, that means it's time for another update.
The card featured appearances from three of our top pound-for-pound fighters. First up, our No. 1-ranked woman Amanda Nunes returned to action to defend her bantamweight title against the unheralded Julianna Pena. In a truly gargantuan upset, Pena battered and ultimately submitted Nunes in the second round.
Next up, in the main event, UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, our No. 9-ranked male fighter, attempted to defend his belt against our No. 5 fighter Dustin Poirier. The champ was in trouble in Round 1 but ultimately surged back to submit Poirier in Round 3.
It should come as no surprise that these two UFC 269 fights caused some massive changes to our pound-for-pound rankings. Keep scrolling to see who is sitting where now that the dust has settled.
Men: Nos. 10-6
10. Petr Yan
9. Brandon Moreno
8. Francis Ngannou
7. Dustin Poirier (down two spots)
6. Charles Oliveira (up three spots)
Dustin Poirier has been a fixture of our men's pound-for-pound list for some time and, heading into UFC 269, was sitting pretty at No. 5. Charles Oliveira, meanwhile, was ranked ninth.
By beating Poirier, Oliveira caused a massive shakeup to our men's list. He's leaped up three spots to No. 6, while Poirier has dropped two spots to No. 7.
Our No. 10 spot is still occupied by bantamweight champion Petr Yan. Our No. 9 spot is still held by flyweight king Brandon Moreno. No. 8, finally, is still heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou's turf.
Men: Nos. 5-1
5. Max Holloway
4. Stipe Miocic
3. Alexander Volkanovski
2. Israel Adesanya
1. Kamaru Usman
The top half of our men's pound-for-pound list is also looking quite different thanks to Oliveira's win over Poirier.
Poirier's drop from No. 5 to No. 7 cleared the way for former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, who's riding impressive wins over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez, to lunge into the top five.
Our No. 4 spot is still occupied by former heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic who, despite a March 2020 knockout loss to Francis Ngannou, has still done more overall to warrant pound-for-pound consideration than the man who took his title. That being said, we'll have to remove Miocic from our list if he doesn't fight again soon—it's already been almost a year.
Our No. 3 spot is the property of UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski, who's riding a thrilling decision win over Brian Ortega, and our No. 2 spot belongs to middleweight king Israel Adesanya, who is fresh off a decision win over Marvin Vettori.
Our men's pound-for-pound king, finally, is still welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, who last competed at UFC 268, where he defended his strap with a hard-fought decision victory over Colby Covington.
Women: Nos. 10-6
10. Carla Esparza
9. Katlyn Chookagian
8. Holly Holm
7. Germaine de Randamie
6. Jessica Andrade
Amanda Nunes' shocking UFC 269 loss to Julianna Pena reverberated through our entire women's pound-for-pound list.
Heading into UFC 269, Pena wasn't even ranked in our top 10. After beating our No. 1 fighter, she's landed in the top five (you'll see where below). Her entry on to the list, of course, meant that somebody else had to go.
The exiting party was strawweight contender Marina Rodriguez, who recently joined the list after an impressive win over Mackenzie Dern. Former UFC strawweight champion Jessica Andrade also dropped from No. 5 to No. 6, making room for Pena's arrival in the top five.
Beyond that, our No. 10 spot is occupied by former strawweight champion Carla Esparza. Our No. 9 spot goes to flyweight contender Katlyn Chookagian. No. 8 belongs to former bantamweight champ Holly Holm. The No. 7 spot, finally, is the domain of former featherweight champion Germaine de Randamie—who actually holds a recent submission win over Pena.
Women: Nos. 5-1
5. Weili Zhang
4. Julianna Pena
3. Amanda Nunes
2. Rose Namajunas
1. Valentina Shevchenko
As we suggested above, Pena's jaw-dropping submission win over long-reigning pound-for-pound queen Amanda Nunes was enough to earn her a spot in our top five.
She's landed at No. 4, ahead of former UFC strawweight champion Weili Zhang, but still behind Nunes.
The new bantamweight champ Pena remains behind Nunes for the same reason Francis Ngannou is still behind Stipe Miocic on our men's pound-for-pound list: Pound-for-pound consideration is earned over time, with sustained dominance, not in a single fight.
Pena beating Nunes was unbelievably impressive, but the fact is that it was her first-ever win over a truly world-class fighter. Nunes, on the other hand, remains the UFC featherweight champion and has beaten every woman to ever hold the belt at featherweight or bantamweight—with the obvious exception of Pena. If Pena keeps winning, expect her to bypass Nunes, but for the moment, she still hasn't accomplished anywhere near what her rival has.
With that covered, allow us to explain the rest of our top five. Having lost to Pena, Nunes tumbled from the No. 1 spot down to No. 3. Her fall cleared a path for strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, who is fresh off a second consecutive win over Zhang, to climb into No. 2.
UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko, finally, has been coronated at No. 1. All hail the new queen.