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MMA pound-for-pound rankings: Just one small move in men's top 10, but voters add new names

Aljamain Sterling got a boost in the ESPN pound-for-pound rankings ahead of his Oct. 22 title defense. James Gilbert/Getty Images

The ESPN pound-for-pound MMA rankings you see below are only slightly different from the men's and women's top 10s we published Aug. 24, the last time our voting panel weighed in.

That should come as no shock. There have been only two UFC fight cards and few other major events across the sport in the three weeks since our last update. No fighter in either of our P4P rankings was in action.

That is not to suggest, however, that our voters are not making moves.

UFC men's bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling rises a spot in the men's rankings, largely because the fighter who was ahead of him, men's flyweight titlist Deiveson Figueiredo, was replaced on one voter's ballot. Sterling will have to protect his top-10 position at the next major UFC event, UFC 280 on Oct. 22, when he defends his belt against former champ TJ Dillashaw.

Beyond the Sterling boost, three ESPN voters made moves in their top 10s, with two of them inserting fighters who were not there in our last update. Marc Raimondi added Ciryl Gane on the strength of the heavyweight's knockout of Tai Tuivasa at UFC Paris on Sept. 3. Jeff Wagenheim reinserted the onetime highly ranked Demetrious Johnson, who captured the One Championship flyweight title with a KO of Adriano Moraes on Aug. 27.

Gaining added support was former UFC middleweight champ Robert Whittaker, who moved up on Brett Okamoto's ballot after defeating Marvin Vettori on the Gane-Tuivasa undercard.

But none of these fighters garnered enough votes to crack the men's top 10. And the women's rankings remain the same.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Sept. 13.


Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 25-1
Last: W (UD) Max Holloway, July 2
Next: TBD


2. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight
Record: 33-8, 1 NC
Last: W (Sub1) Justin Gaethje, May 7
Next: Oct. 22 vs. Islam Makhachev


3. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 23-1
Last: W (UD) Jared Cannonier, July 2
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Alex Pereira


4. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight
Record: 20-2
Last: L (KO5) Leon Edwards, Aug. 20
Next: TBD


5. Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 17-3
Last: W (UD) Ciryl Gane, Jan. 22
Next: TBD


6. Leon Edwards

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 20-3, 1 NC
Last: W (KO5) Kamaru Usman, Aug. 20
Next: TBD


7. Jiri Prochazka

UFC light heavyweight champion
Record: 29-3-1
Last: W (Sub5) Glover Teixeira, June 11
Next: TBD


8. Aljamain Sterling

UFC bantamweight champion
Previous ranking: T-9
Record: 21-3
Last: W (SD) Petr Yan, April 9
Next: Oct. 22 vs. TJ Dillashaw


T-9. Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC flyweight champion
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 21-2-1
Last: W (UD) Brandon Moreno, Jan. 22
Next: TBD


T-9. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Record: 28-7, 1 NC
Last: L (Sub3) Charles Oliveira, Dec. 11, 2021
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Michael Chandler


Other fighters receiving votes: Robert Whittaker, Max Holloway, Ciryl Gane, Brandon Moreno and Demetrious Johnson.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Alexander Volkanovski; 2. Israel Adesanya; 3. Charles Oliveira; 4. Kamaru Usman; 5. Robert Whittaker; 6. Francis Ngannou; 7. Deiveson Figueiredo; 8. Dustin Poirier; 9. Aljamain Sterling; 10. Brandon Moreno.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Adesanya; 3. Oliveira; 4. Usman; 5. Ngannou; 6. Edwards; 7. Sterling; 8. Jiri Prochazka; 9. Ciryl Gane; 10. Poirier.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Oliveira; 3. Usman; 4. Adesanya; 5. Ngannou; 6. Edwards; 7. Prochazka; 8. Figueiredo; 9. Sterling; 10. Moreno.

Megan Anderson: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Oliveira; 3. Adesanya; 4. Usman; 5. Ngannou; 6. Edwards; 7. Prochazka; 8. Max Holloway; 9. Whittaker; 10. Figueiredo.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Oliveira; 2. Adesanya; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Usman; 5. Ngannou; 6. Poirier; 7. Figueiredo; 8. Sterling; 9. Prochazka; 10. Edwards.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Ngannou; 3. Oliveira; 4. Adesanya; 5. Usman; 6. Edwards; 7. Prochazka; 8. Poirier; 9. Sterling; 10. Demetrious Johnson.


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion
Record: 22-5
Last: W (UD) Julianna Peña, July 30
Next: TBD


2. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 22-3
Last: W (SD) Taila Santos, June 11
Next: TBD


3. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 26-2, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Arlene Blencowe, April 23
Next: TBD


T-4. Julianna Peña

UFC bantamweight
Record: 11-5
Last: L (UD) Amanda Nunes, July 30
Next: TBD


T-4. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight
Record: 22-3
Last: W (KO2) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, June 11
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Carla Esparza


6. Carla Esparza

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 19-6
Last: W (SD) Rose Namajunas, May 7
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Zhang Weili


7. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight
Record: 11-5
Last: L (SD) Carla Esparza, May 7
Next: TBD


8. Kayla Harrison

PFL lightweight champion
Record: 15-0
Last: W (Sub1) Martina Jindrova, Aug. 20
Next: Nov. 25 vs. Larissa Pacheco


9. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Record: 23-9
Last: W (Sub1) Amanda Lemos, April 23
Next: TBD


10. Marina Rodriguez

UFC strawweight
Record: 16-1-2
Last: W (SD) Yan Xiaonan, March 5
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Katlyn Chookagian, Holly Holm and Seika Izawa.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Amanda Nunes; 2. Valentina Shevchenko; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Rose Namajunas; 5. Zhang Weili; 6. Julianna Peña; 7. Kayla Harrison; 8. Carla Esparza; 9. Jessica Andrade; 10. Katlyn Chookagian.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Peña; 5. Esparza; 6. Harrison; 7. Namajunas; 8. Weili; 9. Andrade; 10. Seika Izawa.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Peña; 4. Harrison; 5. Cyborg; 6. Esparza; 7. Weili; 8. Namajunas; 9. Andrade; 10. Holly Holm.

Megan Anderson: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Weili; 5. Namajunas; 6. Esparza; 7. Andrade; 8. Marina Rodriguez; 9. Harrison; 10. Peña.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Peña; 4. Weili; 5. Cyborg; 6. Esparza; 7. Andrade; 8. Namajunas; 9. Harrison; 10. Rodriguez.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Weili; 5. Andrade; 6. Peña; 7. Esparza; 8. Namajunas; 9. Harrison; 10. Chookagian.