MMA pound-for-pound rankings: Jon Jones rises again and Francis Ngannou muscles his way in

MMA

Jon Jones, who reigned as UFC light heavyweight champion for much of the past decade before vacating his belt in August to move up to heavyweight, is back at the top of the ESPN men’s pound-for-pound MMA rankings.

Francis Ngannou, fresh off winning the heavyweight title on Saturday at UFC 260, has surged into the upper half of the top 10.

Hey, maybe those two should fight each other.

Pitting Jones against the champ has been the UFC’s plan, according to what company president Dana White said prior to UFC 260. After Ngannou knocked out Stipe Miocic to earn the crown Saturday, however, comments by Jones on social media and by White at the postfight news conference indicated that there are financial details that could stand in the way of the big fight becoming a reality.

Jones has not competed since successfully defending at 205 pounds against Dominick Reyes in February 2020. He used to be No. 1 in the ESPN rankings, prior to being bumped down a notch by the emergence of Khabib Nurmagomedov. But Nurmagomedov announced his retirement in October after defending his UFC lightweight belt. White persisted in trying to persuade Nurmagomedov to continue fighting, though, so the 29-0 Russian remained in the rankings. But now that the UFC has acknowledged Nurmagomedov’s retirement, it’s time to move on.

The departure of Nurmagomedov and the knockout loss by Miocic — Nos. 1 and 3 in the most recent rankings update — caused a ripple effect in the top 10, with several fighters moving up. And Demetrious Johnson, the former UFC men’s flyweight champ who competes for the One Championship belt on April 7, is back in the top 10.

The women’s rankings remain the same, although changes appear to be on the horizon. On April 24 at UFC 261, flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, ranked No. 2, defends her belt against No. 6 Jessica Andrade, and strawweight titlist Zhang Weili, ranked fourth, faces No. 5 Rose Namajunas.

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

Note: Results are current; rankings as of March 30.

Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Jon Jones

UFC light heavyweight/announced move to heavyweight
Previous ranking: 2
Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8, 2020
Next: TBD


2. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion
Previous ranking: 4
Record: 18-1
Last: W (TKO3) Gilbert Burns, Feb. 13, 2021
Next: April 24 vs. Jorge Masvidal


3. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Previous ranking: 5
Record: 20-1
Last: L (UD) Jan Blachowicz, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


4. Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 16-3
Last: W (KO2) Stipe Miocic, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 22-1
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11, 2020
Next: TBD


T-6. Jan Blachowicz

UFC light heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: T-7
Record: 28-8
Last: W (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


T-6. Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 20-1-1
Last: D (MD) Brandon Moreno, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: June 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


T-6. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Conor McGregor, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


T-9. Max Holloway

UFC featherweight
Previous ranking: 10
Record: 22-6
Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Jan. 16, 2021
Next: TBD


T-9. Demetrious Johnson

One Championship flyweight
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 30-3-1
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 13, 2019
Next: April 7 vs. Adriano Moraes


Other fighters receiving votes: Robert Whittaker and Petr Yan


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Jon Jones
2. Kamaru Usman
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Deiveson Figueiredo
6. Jan Blachowicz
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Max Holloway
9. Petr Yan
10. Francis Ngannou

Marc Raimondi
1. Jon Jones
2. Kamaru Usman
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Francis Ngannou
5. Stipe Miocic
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Jan Blachowicz
9. Deiveson Figueiredo
10. Max Holloway

Ariel Helwani
1. Jon Jones
2. Kamaru Usman
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Francis Ngannou
6. Dustin Poirier
7. Max Holloway
8. Jan Blachowicz
9. Deiveson Figueiredo
10. Robert Whittaker

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Jon Jones
2. Francis Ngannou
3. Demetrious Johnson
4. Kamaru Usman
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Deiveson Figueiredo
8. Jan Blachowicz
9. Alexander Volkanovski
10. Dustin Poirier


1. Amanda Nunes

UFC bantamweight/featherweight champion
Record: 21-4
Last: W (Sub1) Megan Anderson, March 6, 2021
Next: TBD


2. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 20-3
Last: W (UD) Jennifer Maia, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Jessica Andrade


3. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 23-2, 1 NC
Last: W (SUB2) Arlene Blencowe, Oct. 15, 2020
Next: TBD


4. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 21-1
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Rose Namajunas


5. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight
Record: 9-4
Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Zhang Weili


6. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Record: 21-8
Last: W (TKO1) Katlyn Chookagian, Oct. 17, 2020
Next: April 24 vs. Valentina Shevchenko


7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

UFC strawweight
Record: 16-4
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7, 2020
Next: TBD


8. Germaine de Randamie

UFC bantamweight
Record: 10-4
Last: W (TechSUB3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Holly Holm

UFC bantamweight
Record: 14-5
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Katlyn Chookagian

UFC flyweight
Record: 15-4
Last: W (UD) Cynthia Calvillo, Nov. 21, 2020
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Julia Budd and Ayaka Hamasaki


How our writers voted

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

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

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. Jessica Andrade
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Julia Budd

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