TODAY'S PAPER
31° Good Morning
31° Good Morning
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. 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.

9. 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.

8. 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.

7. 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.

6. 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.

5. Tony Ferguson (UFC, 25-3)

He's on a 12-fight win streak over the past seven years and in next in line for a lightweight title shot. That win streak for Ferguson, the former interim champion, includes nine finishes, most recently against Donald Cerrone at UFC 238 and Anthony Pettis at UFC 229. Other notables wins during this streak for Ferguson include Edson Barboza, Rafael Dos Anjos and Kevin Lee.

Next fight: UFC 249 vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 18.

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. as Nunes knocked out who many had considered the best female fighter in MMA history at UFC 232. She knocked out 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.

3. Henry Cejudo (UFC, 15-2)

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 and Marlon Moraes. He has been out for a while now after having shoulder surgery and will be relinquishing the 125-pound belt.

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 finally, hopefully, just maybe, will face Tony Ferguson in Brooklyn next April.

Next fight: UFC 249 vs. Tony Ferguson on April 18.

1. Jon Jones (UFC, 25-1, 1 NC)

The only reason Jones hasn't sat atop this list every day for the past seven years or so has been his own out-of-cage antics 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 three 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.

Next fight: UFC 247 vs. Dominick Reyes on Feb. 8.

On the outside looking in

Valentina Shevchenko, UFC women's flyweight champion

Alexander Volkanowski, UFC featherweight champion

Ryan Bader, Bellator light heavyweight and heavyweight champion

Max Holloway, UFC featherweight

Robert Whittaker, UFC middleweight

Tyron Woodley, UFC welterweight

Paolo Costa, UFC middleweight

Cris Cyborg, Bellator featherweight

Comments

We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports