Israel Adesanya celebrates after defending his middleweight championship against Robert...

 Israel Adesanya celebrates after defending his middleweight championship against Robert Whittaker during UFC 271 at Toyota Center on February 12, 2022 in Houston, Texas. Credit: Getty Images/Carmen Mandato

We are into the third quarter of 2022, which means it's time for an update to our MMA pound-for-pound rankings in both the men's and women's categories.

This list updates quarterly, give or take a week or so depending on the schedule of events, to avoid recency bias and to let the fighters do their thing and give them an even playing field to make their statements in the cage. 

Another reminder: Fighters are removed from consideration if they haven't fought in two years and don't have an upcoming fight officially scheduled.

From left: Kamaru Usman, Alexandar Volkanovski, Aljamain Sterling.

Men's pound-for-pound MMA rankings

1. Kamaru Usman (UFC, 20-1)

After 19 straight wins, most recently a five-round unanimous decision win over Colby Covington at UFC 268 in November, the talk surrounding Kamaru Usman has centered on his place among the all-time welterweight greats. Hint: It's high up on the list, somewhere in the neighborhood of Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes.

Previous rank: 1

Next fight: vs. Leon Edwards at UFC 278 on Aug. 20.

2. Alexander Volkanovski (UFC, 25-1)

If Volkanovski looks unbeatable, that's because he is. The UFC featherweight champion has won 22 straight fights, including four title defenses. He most recently won a third decision over Max Holloway at UFC 276. He's out for a while with a hand injury suffered in the Holloway fight.

Previous rank: 3

Next fight: TBD

3. Israel Adesanya (UFC, 23-1)

He's the second longest reigning middleweight champion in UFC history with five consecutive title defenses, trailing only Anderson Silva. He also has reached Silva status in that he has started to draw some criticism for not finishing his opponents. His last three wins all went the distance. Should he concern himself with such a critique? Not so much. 

Previous rank: 2

Next fight: TBD

4. Charles Oliveira (UFC, 33-8, 1 no contest)

Perhaps the best non-champion champion in UFC history, Oliveira is still looked upon as the 155-pound king despite missing weight by a half-pound last May and being stripped of his title. What did he do the next night in the cage? He submitted Justin Gaethje in the first round for 11th straight win and 19th stoppage in the UFC. 

Previous rank: 5

Next fight: vs. Islam Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280 on Oct. 22.

5. Francis Ngannou (UFC, 17-3)

Advised to pull out of his first title defense because of a knee injury, Francis Ngannou instead showed off improved wrestling to beat Ciryl Gane at UFC 270 last January. Now we wait for the  heavyweight champion to recover from knee surgery.

Previous rank: 4

Next fight: TBD

6. Jiri Prochazka (UFC, 29-3-1)

He's only had three UFC fights. He's finished all three opponents and is the reigning light heavyweight champion. Heck of a start in what's recognized as the top promotion in the sport. Prochazka has 13 straight wins and a remarkable 97% finish rate in his 20 wins. He has said he wants his first title defense to be a rematch against Glover Teixeira. 

Previous rank: NR

Next fight: TBA

7. Deiveson Figueiredo (UFC, 21-2-1)

The Deiveson Figueiredo-Brandon Moreno trilogy sits at 1-1-1, with Figueiredo winning the most recent fight -- and the flyweight title -- at UFC 270 in January.

Previous rank: 8

Next fight: TBD

8. Aljamain Sterling (UFC, 21-3)

Petr Yan, in the top 10 on quite a few P4P lists, was a 1-5 favorite heading into UFC 273. And then Aljamain Sterling, the reigning UFC bantamweight champion, beat Yan by split decision to unify the division's belt and assert himself as the undisputed champion of the 135-pound weight class. 

Previous rank: 9

Next fight: vs. TJ Dillashaw at UFC 280 on Oct. 22.

9. Dustin Poirier (UFC, 28-7, 1 NC)

In the last six years, Poirier has two losses -- to Charles Oliveira and Khabib Nurmagomedov. Surrounding those losses are wins over Conor McGregor, Eddie Alvarez, Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje and Dan Hooker. Five of those fighters have held UFC gold in some format.

Previous rank: 10

Next fight: talks of facing Michael Chandler at UFC 281 at MSG in November.

10. Stipe Miocic (UFC, 20-4)

Miocic is considered by many to be the greatest heavyweight champion in UFC history, having successfully defended his title a record four times. But he did get stopped by Francis Ngannou in March 2021, Miocic's second KO loss as a heavyweight champion, and hasn't fought since.

Previous rank: 7

Next fight: TBA

Women's pound-for-pound MMA rankings

From left: Valentina Shevchenko, Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena, and Rose Namajunas vs. Zhang Weili.

1. Amanda Nunes (UFC, 22-5)

How did Amanda Nunes respond in the rematch after losing her bantamweight title last December against Julianna Pena? Have a look at the judges' scorecards from UFC 277 in favor of Nunes: 50-45, 50-44, 50-43. She remains one of the best to ever do it in the octagon. Nunes also represents 67% of Shevchenko's career losses. P.S. She also is still the UFC featherweight champion.

Previous rank: 2

Next: TBD.

2. Valentina Shevchenko (UFC, 23-3)

For the first time in about five years, Valentina Shevchenko looked beatable in the cage when she fought Taila Santos at UFC 275 and won a split decision. That fight more than doubled her rounds lost total (she went from 2 to 5) in her last eight fights.

Previous rank: 1

Next fight: TBD.

3. Cris Cyborg Justino (Bellator, 26-2, 1 no contest)

At age 37, she remains at the top of her game. Her featherweight opponents in Bellator have given her little trouble, not unlike most of her other opponents in other promotions for her career.

Previous rank: 4

Next fight: TBD.

4. Zhang Weili (UFC, 22-3)

After twice losing to Rose Namajunas in 2021, Zhang returned in 2022 to knock out former strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 275 to put her right back in title contention.

Previous rank: 6

Next fight: TBD.

5. Kayla Harrison (PFL, 14-0)

The knock on Harrison has been "But who has she been fighting?" The retort is "Whoever they put in front of her, and she's mowing them down with 11 stoppages, including eight in the first round."

Previous rank: 7

Next fight: vs. Martina Jindrova in the PFL semifinals on Aug. 20.

6. Julianna Pena (UFC, 11-5)

Julianna Pena did exactly what she said she would do but nobody but her and her camp believed she could: Beat Amanda Nunes at UFC 269. But in the rematch, Nunes was too much for her. Pena showed tremendous heart and toughness, though, in the dominant loss that included becoming the first woman in a UFC fight to be knocked down three times in a round.

Previous rank: 5

Next: TBD

7. Carla Esparza (UFC, 19-6)

Seven-plus years after submitting Rose Namajunas to become the UFC's first women's strawweight champion, she reclaimed her title with a split decision over Namajunas at UFC 274. 

Previous rank: 10

Next fight: TBD.

8. Rose Namajunas (UFC, 11-5)

After reclaiming her strawweight title and defending it against Zhang in 2021, Namajunas lost it again to Esparza.

Previous rank: 3

Next fight: TBD.

9. Jessica Andrade (UFC, 23-9)

Since losing a title shot against Shevchenko, Andrade has won two straight fights, a first-round submission of Amanda Lemos last April and a first-round TKO of Cynthia Calvillo in September 2021.

Previous rank:  9

Next fight: TBD

10. Marina Rodriguez (UFC, 16-1-2)

Her four-fight win streak includes a stoppage of Amanda Ribas and decision wins over Michelle Waterson-Gomez, Mackenzie Dern and Yan Xiaonan.

Previous rank:  NR

Next fight: vs. Amanda Lemos at UFC 280 on Oct. 22.

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