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MMA pound-for-pound rankings: Two fighters crack the top 10 while others move up

Stipe Miocic sent Daniel Cormier into retirement with a decision win on Aug. 15, elevating his own stock in the rankings. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC

The recipe for making it to the top of the sport is no secret: Win your fights. But that doesn't always get a fighter where he or she wants to be, because there can be a traffic jam ahead in the rankings. Sometimes you just have to wait for others to fall by the wayside and create space for you to shine.

That is what has happened for several fighters who are rising in the ESPN pound-for-pound rankings and others who have just showed up in the men's and women's top 10s.

The recent retirements of Henry Cejudo and Daniel Cormier, who were ranked Nos. 3 and 6 respectively, left a void in the top 10. So did the inactivity of Tatiana Suarez, formerly No. 8 among women, who drops out after not having competed since June 2019.

With those fighters gone from the rankings, Stipe Miocic leads a procession of fighters moving up a spot or more in the top 10. New to the list are Deiveson Figueiredo and Dustin Poirier, both of whom had votes the last time the rankings were updated, but not enough to be ranked. Now they are.

There are no new entrants in the women's rankings, because previously the top 10 was really a top 11 -- there are two fighters tied for the No. 10 spot. Katlyn Chookagian and Holly Holm are still tied, but now at No. 9.

(For Brett Okamoto's division-by-division rankings, go here.)

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

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Record: 28-0
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (SUB3) Dustin Poirier, Sept. 7
Next: Oct. 24 vs. Justin Gaethje


2. Jon Jones

Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8
Next: TBD


3. Stipe Miocic

Previous ranking: 4
Record: 20-3
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: W (UD) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 15
Next: TBD


T-4. Israel Adesanya

Previous ranking: 7
Record: 20-0
Weight class: Middleweight
Last: W (TKO2) Paulo Costa, Sept. 26
Next: TBD


T-4. Kamaru Usman

Previous ranking: 5
Record: 17-1
Weight class: Welterweight
Last: W (UD) Jorge Masvidal, July 11
Next: Dec. 12 vs. Gilbert Burns


6. Alexander Volkanovski

Previous ranking: 9
Record: 22-1
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11
Next: TBD


7. Demetrious Johnson

Previous ranking: 8
Record: 30-3-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12
Next: TBD vs. Adriano Moraes


8. Justin Gaethje

Previous ranking: 10
Record: 22-2
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (TKO5) Tony Ferguson, May 9
Next: Oct. 24 vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov


9. Deiveson Figueiredo

Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 19-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (TechSub1) Joseph Benavidez, July 19
Next: Nov. 21 vs. Cody Garbrandt


10. Dustin Poirier

Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 25-6, 1 NC
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (UD) Dan Hooker, June 27
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Conor McGregor, Francis Ngannou and Petr Yan.


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Israel Adesanya
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Justin Gaethje
8. Deiveson Figueiredo
9. Demetrious Johnson
10. Dustin Poirier

Marc Raimondi
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Kamaru Usman
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Demetrious Johnson
7. Alexander Volkanovski
8. Deiveson Figueiredo
9. Justin Gaethje
10. Petr Yan

Ariel Helwani
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Israel Adesanya
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Justin Gaethje
7. Alexander Volkanovski
8. Dustin Poirier
9. Demetrious Johnson
10. Conor McGregor

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Demetrious Johnson
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Israel Adesanya
7. Alexander Volkanovski
8. Justin Gaethje
9. Deiveson Figueiredo
10. Francis Ngannou


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

Record: 20-4
Weight class: Bantamweight/featherweight
Last: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, June 6
Next: Dec. 12 vs. Megan Anderson


2. Valentina Shevchenko

Record: 19-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (TKO3) Katlyn Chookagian, Feb. 8
Next: Nov. 21 vs. Jennifer Maia


3. Cris Cyborg

Record: 21-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (UD) Julia Budd, Jan. 25
Next: TBD


4. Zhang Weili

Record: 21-1
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7
Next: TBD


5. Rose Namajunas

Record: 9-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11
Next: TBD


6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Record: 16-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7
Next: TBD


7. Jessica Andrade

Record: 20-8
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (SD) Rose Namajunas, July 11
Next: TBD


8. Germaine de Randamie

Previous ranking: 9
Record: 9-4
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: L (UD) Amanda Nunes, Dec. 14
Next: TBD


T-9. Katlyn Chookagian

Previous ranking: T-10
Record: 14-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Antonina Shevchenko, May 30
Next: TBD


T-9. Holly Holm

Previous ranking: T-10
Record: 13-5
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (UD) Raquel Pennington, Jan. 18
Next: Oct. 3 vs. Irene Aldana


Other fighters receiving votes: Julia Budd and Seo Hee Ham.


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Zhang Weili
4. Rose Namajunas
5. Cris Cyborg
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Katlyn Chookagian
10. Holly Holm

Marc Raimondi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Seo Hee Ham

Ariel Helwani
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Katlyn Chookagian

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Katlyn Chookagian
10. Julia Budd