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SportsMixed Martial Arts

Top 10 MMA pound-for-pound fighter rankings

Jon Jones after his light heavyweight title bout

Jon Jones after his light heavyweight title bout with Thiago Santos at UFC 239 at T-Mobile Arena on July 06, 2019 in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images/Sean M. Haffey

There are a dozen or so weight classes in mixed martial arts and dozens of fighters competing in each one across multiple promotions, including the UFC, Bellator, One Championship and the Professional Fighters League.

Here’s a look at the 10 best MMA fighters across the entire landscape of the sport, regardless of division or promotion, presented in reverse order.

10. Valentina Shevchenko (UFC, 19-3)

What a 15-month run Shevchenko has had, from beating Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the flyweight title in December 2018 to her third title defense in February 2020 with a third-round TKO stoppage of Katlyn Chookagian. Along the way, she took off Jessica Eye's head with a highlight-reel headkick knockout and beat Liz Carmouche via unanimous decision. In this four-fight run, Shevchenko has lost just one round, to former strawweight champion Jedrzejczyk in the vacant title fight.

Next fight: TBD

9. Kamaru Usman (UFC, 16-1)

Since May 2018, this is the list of fighters Usman has faced: Demian Maia, Rafael Dos Anjos, Tyron Woodley, Colby Covington. Usman is 4-0 and the reigning UFC welterweight champion. He dominated Woodley to win the title, then stopped Covington late in the fifth round for his first title defense at UFC 245 in December. He is on a 15-fight win streak, including 11-0 in the UFC.

Next fight: TBD

8. Demetrious Johnson (One, 30-3-1)

After his "trade" to One Championship, Demetrious Johnson continued to do what he did in the UFC: Win. In his three fights in One, Johnson is 3-0 with a submission victory and two unanimous decisions. Before losing the UFC flyweight title by split decision to Henry Cejudo in August 2018, Johnson had put together a UFC-record streak of 11 consecutive title defenses.

Next fight: TBA vs. ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes

7. Israel Adesanya (UFC, 18-0)

"The Last Stylebender" is 30 years and entering what figures to be the prime of his career. It also, based on his work so far, figures to be a career we'll remember for a long time. His 2019 looked like this: unanimous decision over the legend and his idol Anderson Silva, a unanimous decision over Kelvin Gastelum for the interim middleweight title and a second-round knockout of then-champion Robert Whittaker to unify the titles. Adesanya became just the 13th fighter in UFC history to win a title with an undefeated record. He made his first title defense against Yoel Romero at UFC 248 in March.

Next fight: TBA

6. Stipe Miocic (UFC, 19-3)

Miocic became the fourth person to win back his UFC heavyweight championship when he finished Daniel Cormier at UFC 241 on Aug. 17. It was his first fight in more than a year, and a rematch against the man who took his title from him. Miocic is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight champion in the UFC, having successfully defended his title a record three consecutive times. The talk centers around Miocic vs. Cormier 3, but it remains unclear when that fight would be booked for just yet.

Next fight: TBA

5. Daniel Cormier (UFC, 22-2, 1 NC)

A year ago at this time, Cormier was the holder of two UFC titles. He since vacated the light heavyweight title and then lost the heavyweight title to Stipe Miocic at UFC 241 on Aug. 17. Cormier, 40, was ahead on all three judges’ cards (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) going into the fourth round before Miocic connected with a few body shots that set up the final knockout strikes.

Next fight: TBA

4. Amanda Nunes (UFC, 19-4)

Seven of Amanda Nunes' eight most recent fights have been against current or former UFC champions. She's 8-0. That resume for the bantamweight and featherweight champion includes these names: Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Valentina Shevchenko (twice) Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm and Germaine de Randamie. Nunes knocked out who many had considered the best female fighter in MMA history at UFC 232, stopping Cyborg in 51 seconds to become the featherweight champion and first female two-weight champion in UFC history. She then defended her bantamweight title with a first-round TKO of Holm in July and a unanimous decision over de Randamie in December.

Next fight: vs. Felicia Spencer for the featherweight title at UFC 250 on June 6.

3. Henry Cejudo (UFC, 16-2)

There was a time when Cejudo found himself staring at back-to-back losses. Now, with a five-fight win streak that has yielded him both the UFC flyweight and bantamweight titles, he factors into the latest rounds of conversation about the pound-for-pound best. His win streak includes opponents Demetrious Johnson, TJ Dillashaw, Marlon Moraes and now Dominick Cruz. He vacated the flyweight title, and after defending the bantamweight belt against Cruz at UFC 249 on May 9, Cejudo said he is retiring. But, he also left the door open to return if it includes a hefty payday.

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (UFC, 28-0)

Nurmagomedov has never lost an MMA fight, and he's had 28 of them as a professional. In this sport, that's borderline impossible, no matter what anyone wants to say about level of opponent. Nurmagomedov finally lost his first round — round! — in the UFC when defending his lightweight title against Conor McGregor in 2018. That was his 11th fight in the UFC, bringing his round record to 35-1. After defeating interim champ Dustin Poirier by third-round submission at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Sept. 7, the reigning UFC lightweight champion was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson. But you know how that goes. He likely next will face interim champion Justin Gaethje, who beat Ferguson at UFC 249.

Next fight: TBA

1. Jon Jones (UFC, 26-1, 1 NC)

The only reason Jones hasn't sat atop this list every day for the past eight years or so has been his out-of-cage transgressions that got him into trouble on multiple occasions with multiple legal and non-legal organizations. When he's fighting, he's the best and it's unquestioned. He's fought four times since December 2018, beginning with a third-round stoppage of Alexander Gustaffson. Jones proved it again at UFC 235 by completely shutting down any attempt at offense by Anthony Smith. He then won a split decision over Thiago Santos at UFC 239 on July 6 and beat Dominick Reyes in February 2020. Jones frequently teases a move up to heavyweight, but will it ever happen?

Next fight: TBA

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