Divisional rankings: Biggest changes come (of course) at heavyweight

Divisional rankings: Biggest changes come (of course) at heavyweight

Mar 9, 2021

  • Brett OkamotoESPN Staff Writer

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    • MMA columnist for ESPN.com
    • Analyst for “MMA Live”
    • Covered MMA for Las Vegas Sun

Where are the biggest changes in the latest ESPN divisional MMA rankings? In the division with the biggest fighters, naturally.

The most significant volatility in the rankings has been in the heavyweight division, where Derrick Lewis and Ciryl Gane scored huge victories seven days apart within the last three weeks. And less than three weeks from now, the top two heavyweights in the rankings, champion Stipe Miocic and Francis Ngannou, meet at UFC 260, bringing the strong possibility of more change.

The other divisions that saw significant change were lightweight and men’s flyweight, where the changes were fueled by big performances at UFC 259 on Saturday night. Islam Makhachev makes his debut in the 155-pound top 10 on the strength of a dominant victory over Drew Dober. And Askar Askarov moves up in the 125-pound hierarchy with a victory over longtime title contender Joseph Benavidez.

Beyond that, there’s a new UFC champion at men’s bantamweight, but that does not necessarily mean there is a new No. 1.

For the ESPN pound-for-pound MMA rankings, click here. For a list of current UFC champions in all weight classes, click here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of March 9.

Heavyweight – Light heavyweight – Middleweight – Welterweight
Lightweight – Men’s featherweight – Men’s bantamweight – Men’s flyweight
Women’s bantamweight – Women’s flyweight – Strawweight

HEAVYWEIGHT (up to 265 pounds)

1. Stipe Miocic  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-4
Last: L (KO2) Francis Ngannou, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


2. Francis Ngannou  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 16-3
Last: W (KO2) Stipe Miocic, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Derrick Lewis  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 5
Record: 25-7, 1 NC
Last: W (KO2) Curtis Blaydes, Feb. 20, 2021
Next: TBD


4. Ciryl Gane  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 8-0
Last: W (UD) Jairzinho Rozenstruik, Feb. 27, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Curtis Blaydes  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 3
Record: 14-3, 1 NC
Last: L (KO2) Derrick Lewis, Feb. 20, 2021
Next: TBD


6. Alexander Volkov  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 33-8
Last: W (TKO2) Alistair Overeem, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: TBD


7. Jairzinho Rozenstruik  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 4
Record: 11-2
Last: L (UD) Ciryl Gane, Feb. 27, 2021
Next: TBD


8. Alistair Overeem  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 47-19, 1 NC
Last: L (TKO2) Alexander Volkov, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Ryan Bader  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: L (TKO2) Vadim Nemkov, Aug. 21, 2020
Next: April 9 vs. Lyoto Machida


10. Shamil Abdurakhimov  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 20-5
Last: L (TKO2) Curtis Blaydes, Sept. 7, 2019
Next: May 1 vs. Augusto Sakai


LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT (up to 205 pounds)

1. Jon Jones  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8, 2020
Next: TBD


2. Jan Blachowicz  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 28-8
Last: W (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Glover Teixeira  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 32-7
Last: W (Sub3) Thiago Santos, Nov. 7, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Dominick Reyes  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-2
Last: L (TKO2) Jan Blachowicz, Sept. 26, 2020
Next: May 1 vs. Jiri Prochazka


5. Aleksandar Rakic  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 14-2
Last: W (UD) Thiago Santos, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


6. Corey Anderson  

Promotion: Bellator
Record: 14-5
Last: W (TKO2) Melvin Manhoef, Nov. 5, 2020
Next: April 9 vs. Dovletdzhan Yagshimuradov


7. Vadim Nemkov  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 12-2
Last: W (TKO2) Ryan Bader, Aug. 21, 2020
Next: April 16 vs. Phil Davis


8. Ryan Bader  

Promotion: Bellator
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: L (TKO2) Vadim Nemkov, Aug. 21, 2020
Next: April 9 vs. Lyoto Machida


9. Thiago Santos  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 5
Record: 21-9
Last: L (UD) Aleksandar Rakic, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


10. Jiri Prochazka  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 27-3-1
Last: W (KO2) Volkan Oezdemir, July 11, 2020
Next: May 1 vs. Dominick Reyes


MIDDLEWEIGHT (up to 185 pounds)

1. Israel Adesanya  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 20-1
Last: L (UD) Jan Blachowicz, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


2. Robert Whittaker  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 23-5
Last: W (UD) Jared Cannonier, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: April 17 vs. Kelvin Gastelum


3. Paulo Costa  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-1
Last: L (TKO2) Israel Adesanya, Sept. 26, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Yoel Romero  

Promotion: Bellator
Record: 13-5
Last: L (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 7, 2020
Next: April 16 vs. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson


5. Jared Cannonier  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-5
Last: L (UD) Robert Whittaker, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: TBD


6. Darren Till  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-3-1
Last: L (UD) Robert Whittaker, July 25, 2020
Next: April 10 vs. Marvin Vettori


7. Marvin Vettori  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-4-1
Last: W (UD) Jack Hermansson, Dec. 5, 2020
Next: April 10 vs. Darren Till


8. Jack Hermansson  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 21-5
Last: L (UD) Marvin Vettori, Dec. 5, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Derek Brunson  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 22-7
Last: W (UD) Kevin Holland, March 20, 2021
Next: TBD


10. Gegard Mousasi  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 47-7-2
Last: W (UD) Douglas Lima, Oct. 29, 2020
Next: TBD


WELTERWEIGHT (up to 170 pounds)

1. Kamaru Usman  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 18-1
Last: W (TKO3) Gilbert Burns, Feb. 13, 2021
Next: April 24 vs. Jorge Masvidal


2. Colby Covington  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-2
Last: W (TKO5) Tyron Woodley, Sept. 19, 2020
Next: TBD


3. Douglas Lima  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 32-8
Last: L (UD) Gegard Mousasi, Oct. 29, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Leon Edwards  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-3, 1 NC
Last: NC Belal Muhammad, March 13, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Gilbert Burns  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 19-4
Last: L (TKO3) Kamaru Usman, Feb. 13, 2021
Next: TBD


6. Stephen Thompson  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-4-1
Last: W (UD) Geoff Neal, Dec. 19, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Jorge Masvidal  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 35-14
Last: L (UD) Kamaru Usman, July 11, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Kamaru Usman


8. Michael Chiesa  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-4
Last: W (UD) Neil Magny, Jan. 20, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Rory MacDonald  

Promotion: PFL
Record: 21-6-1
Last: L (UD) Douglas Lima, Oct. 26, 2019
Next: TBD


10. Tyron Woodley  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 19-7-1
Last: L (Sub1) Vicente Luque, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


LIGHTWEIGHT (up to 155 pounds)

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov  

Promotion: UFC (retired)
Record: 29-0
Last: W (Sub2) Justin Gaethje, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: N/A


2. Dustin Poirier  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Conor McGregor, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Justin Gaethje  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 22-3
Last: L (Sub2) Khabib Nurmagomedov, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Charles Oliveira  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 30-8, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Tony Ferguson, Dec.12, 2020
Next: May 15 vs. Michael Chandler


5. Michael Chandler  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 22-5
Last: W (TKO1) Dan Hooker, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: May 15 vs. Charles Oliveira


6. Tony Ferguson  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 25-5
Last: L (UD) Charles Oliveira, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Dan Hooker  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 20-10
Last: L (TKO1) Michael Chandler, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


8. Rafael dos Anjos  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 30-13
Last: W (SD) Paul Felder, Nov. 14, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Beneil Dariush  

Promotion: UFC
Previous rankings: Unranked
Record: 20-4-1
Last: W (SD) Diego Ferreira, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: TBD


10. Islam Makhachev  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 19-1
Last: W (Sub3) Drew Dober, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


MEN’S FEATHERWEIGHT (up to 145 pounds)

1. Alexander Volkanovski  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 22-1
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11, 2020
Next:
TBD vs. Brian Ortega


2. Max Holloway  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 22-6
Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Jan. 16, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Brian Ortega  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 15-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Chan Sung Jung, Oct. 17, 2020
Next: TBD vs. Alexander Volkanovski


4. Patricio Freire  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 31-4
Last: W (TKO1) Pedro Carvalho, Nov. 12, 2020
Next: April 2 vs. Emmanuel Sanchez


5. Zabit Magomedsharipov  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-1
Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Nov. 9, 2019
Next: TBD


6. Calvin Kattar  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 22-5
Last: L (UD) Max Holloway, Jan. 16, 2021
Next: TBD


7. Yair Rodriguez  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-2, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Jeremy Stephens, Oct. 18, 2019
Next: TBD


8. Chan Sung Jung  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-6
Last: L (UD) Brian Ortega, Oct. 17, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Josh Emmett  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-2
Last: W (UD) Shane Burgos, June 20, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Shane Burgos  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-2
Last: L (UD) Josh Emmett, June 20, 2020
Next: May 15 vs. Edson Barboza


MEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT (up to 135 pounds)

1. Petr Yan  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 15-2
Last: L (DQ4) Aljamain Sterling, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


2. Aljamain Sterling  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 20-3
Last: W (DQ4) Petr Yan, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Cory Sandhagen  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 14-2
Last: W (KO1) Frankie Edgar, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: May 8 vs. TJ Dillashaw


4. Cody Garbrandt  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-3
Last: W (KO2) Raphael Assuncao, June 6, 2020
Next: May 22 vs. Rob Font


5. Rob Font  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-4
Last: W (TKO1) Marlon Moraes, Dec. 19, 2020
Next: May 22 vs. Cody Garbrandt


6. Jose Aldo  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 29-7
Last: W (UD) Marlon Vera, Dec. 19, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Frankie Edgar  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 24-9-1
Last: L (KO1) Cory Sandhagen, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: TBD


8. Pedro Munhoz  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 19-5, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Jimmie Rivera, Feb. 27, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Marlon Moraes  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 23-8-1
Last: L (TKO1) Rob Font, Dec. 19, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Raphael Assuncao  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 27-8
Last: L (KO2) Cody Garbrandt, June 6, 2020
Next: TBD


MEN’S FLYWEIGHT (up to 125 pounds)

1. Deiveson Figueiredo  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 20-1-1
Last: D (MD) Brandon Moreno, Dec.12, 2020
Next: June 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


2. Demetrious Johnson  

Promotion: One Championship
Record: 30-3-1
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12, 2019
Next: April 7 vs. Adriano Moraes


3. Brandon Moreno  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 17-5-2
Last: D (MD) Deiveson Figueiredo, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: June 12 vs. Deiveson Figueiredo


4. Askar Askarov  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 13-0-1
Last: W (UD) Joseph Benavidez, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Alex Perez  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 24-6
Last: L (Sub1) Deiveson Figueiredo, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: May 15 vs. Matt Schnell


6. Alexandre Pantoja  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 23-5
Last: W (UD) Manel Kape, Feb. 6, 2021
Next: TBD


7. Brandon Royval  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 12-5
Last: L (TKO1) Brandon Moreno, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: TBD


8. Kai Kara-France  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 10
Record: 22-9, 1 NC
Last: W (KO1) Rogério Bontorin, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Joseph Benavidez  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 4
Record: 28-8
Last: L (UD) Askar Askarov, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


10. Jussier Formiga  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 23-8
Last: L (TKO1) Alex Perez, June 6, 2020
Next: TBD


WOMEN’S BANTAMWEIGHT (up to 135 pounds)

1. Amanda Nunes  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 21-4
Last: W (Sub1) Megan Anderson,, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


2. Germaine de Randamie  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 10-4
Last: W (TechSub3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


3. Julianna Peña  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 10-4
Last: W (Sub3) Sara McMann, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: May 8 vs. Holly Holm


4. Aspen Ladd  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 9-1
Last: W (TKO3) Yana Kunitskaya, Dec. 7, 2019
Next: TBD


5. Holly Holm  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 14-5
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: May 8 vs. Julianna Peña


6. Irene Aldana  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-6
Last: L (UD) Holly Holm, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Yana Kunitskaya  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 14-5, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Ketlen Vieira, Feb. 20, 2021
Next: TBD


8. Ketlen Vieira  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 11-2
Last: L (UD) Yana Kunitskaya, Feb. 20, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Raquel Pennington  

Promotion: UFC
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 11-8
Last: W (UD) Marion Reneau, June 20, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Marion Reneau  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-7
Last: L (UD) Macy Chiasson, March 20, 2021
Next: TBD


WOMEN’S FLYWEIGHT (up to 125 pounds)

1. Valentina Shevchenko  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 20-3
Last: W (UD) Jennifer Maia, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Jessica Andrade


2. Jessica Andrade  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 21-8
Last: W (TKO1) Katlyn Chookagian, Oct. 17, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Valentina Shevchenko


3. Katlyn Chookagian  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 15-4
Last: W (UD) Cynthia Calvillo, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: May 15 vs. Viviane Araujo


4. Jennifer Maia  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-7-1
Last: L (UD) Valentina Shevchenko, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: TBD


5. Joanne Calderwood  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 15-5
Last: W (UD) Jessica Eye, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


6. Lauren Murphy  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 14-4
Last: W (Sub2) Liliya Shakirova, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Juliana Velasquez  

Promotion: Bellator champion
Record: 11-0
Last: W (UD) Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Dec. 10, 2020
Next: TBD


8. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane  

Promotion: Bellator
Record: 11-1
Last: L (UD) Juliana Velasquez, Dec. 10, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Cynthia Calvillo  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 9-2-1
Last: L (UD) Katlyn Chookagian, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Liz Carmouche  

Promotion: Bellator
Record: 14-7
Last: W (Sub3) DeAnna Bennett, Sept. 12, 2020
Next: TBD


STRAWWEIGHT (up to 115 pounds)

1. Zhang Weili  

Promotion: UFC champion
Record: 21-1
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Rose Namajunas


2. Rose Namajunas  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 9-4
Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Zhang Weili


3. Joanna Jedrzejczyk  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 16-4
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Carla Esparza  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 17-6
Last: W (SD) Marina Rodriguez, July 25, 2020
Next: TBD


5. Yan Xiaonan  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Claudia Gadelha, Nov. 7, 2020
Next: TBD


6. Marina Rodriguez  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 13-1-2
Last: W (TKO2) Amanda Ribas, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


7. Claudia Gadelha  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-5
Last: L (UD) Yan Xiaonan, Nov. 7, 2020
Next: TBD


8. Michelle Waterson  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 18-8
Last: W (SD) Angela Hill, Sept. 12, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Tecia Torres  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 12-5
Last: W (TKO1) Sam Hughes, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Nina Ansaroff  

Promotion: UFC
Record: 10-6
Last: L (UD) Tatiana Suarez, June 8, 2019
Next: April 10 vs. Mackenzie Dern