Welcome to the latest update to the MMA Fighting pound-for-pound rankings, where every month our esteemed panel sort through the noise to answer one question: Who are the best overall male and female MMA fighters in the world?
How have the last six weeks affected the world’s pound-for-pound market? Let’s take a look.
It’s Islam Makhachev’s world right now — the rest of us are just living in it.
Remember two months ago when Leon Edwards toppled one of the pound-for-pound kings and rocketed all the way from unranked into a top-5 spot? Makhachev apparently saw and thought “yeah, that looks fun.” Dagestan’s second son shook up the game all over again with a scintillating title win at UFC 280 that launched him straight into the No. 3 ranking formerly held by Charles Oliveira. By fulfilling Father’s Plan and cementing his long-awaited destiny as the heir apparent to Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev proved what his team has been telling us all along — he’s one of the best fighters in the whole damn world.
So what’s next?
Well, a shot at the No. 1 pound-for-pound ranking, apparently. Following their in-cage tete-a-tete at UFC 280, Makhachev is already expected to travel to enemy territory to defend his lightweight belt against Alexander Volkanovski in a massive showdown on Feb. 12 in Perth, Australia. With a win, it’s very possible Makhachev could climb from unranked to the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport in a span of just two fights. Who would’ve thought?
Looking ahead to November, all eyes will turn back to No. 2 ranked Israel Adesanya, who puts his middleweight title on the line again in a much-anticipated grudge match against Alex Pereira on Nov. 12 at UFC 280. Adesanya has already lost twice to Pereira in kickboxing — will Pereira make it 3-0 and dethrone “The Last Stylebender” once more?
Recent results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): Islam Makhechev def. No. 3 Charles Oliveira, No. 7 Aljamain Sterling def. T.J. Dillashaw, No. 11 Patricio Pitbull def. Adam Borics, Sean O’Malley def. No. 17T Petr Yan
Upcoming bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 2 Israel Adesanya vs. Alex Pereira (UFC 281, Nov. 12), No. 14 Dustin Poirier vs. Michael Chandler (UFC 281, Nov. 12)
Fighters also receiving votes (number of ballot appearances shown): Colby Covington (4), Jan Blachowicz (3), Islam Makhachev (2), Ciryl Gane (2), Johnny Eblen (2), Alexandre Pantoja (2), A.J. McKee (2), Raufeon Stots (1), Gegard Mousasi (1), Jose Aldo (1), Reinier de Ridder (1)
It isn’t often that we see an unranked fighter make such a big splash in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings, but Manon Fiorot delivered in the most important fight of her young career.
The surging French flyweight makes her debut at No. 13 spot in this month’s rankings, tied with bantamweight veteran Ketlen Vieira and ahead of contenders Marina Rodriguez, Lauren Murphy, and the woman she defeated at UFC 280, Katlyn Chookagian. Fiorot’s pro career has been remarkable. She made her debut four years ago against Leah McCourt, a controversial split-decision loss. After that she won five consecutive victories on international stage.
Fiorot’s punching power immediately caught the eye, and in her last fight before signing with the UFC in 2020, she needed less than a round to finish Gabriela Campo and become the UAE Warriors 125-pound champion. It was obvious that Fiorot was title contender material, the question was how long would it be until she was knocking on Valentina Shevcheko’s door? Now at 5-0 in the UFC, depending who you ask, she’s either one win away (Alexa Grasso says hello) or already next in line if “Bullet” is ready to fire again anytime soon.
Even Kayla Harrison, a phenom, took some time to climb these ranks. But if Fiorot is able to knock out another flyweight who has a number after their names in her next fight she can continue her swift rise up the rankings.
Recent results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 3 Cris Cyborg def. Simone da Silva (boxing match), Manon Fiorot def. No. 13 Katlyn Chookagian, No. 17 Seika Izawa def. Anastasiya Svetkivska, Yan Xiaonan def. No. 19T Mackenzie Dern
Upcoming bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 4 Carla Esparza vs. No. 8 Zhang Weili (UFC 281, Nov. 12), No. 15 Marina Rodriguez vs. Amanda Lemos (UFC Vegas 64, Nov. 5)
Fighters also receiving votes (number of ballot appearances shown): Larissa Pacheco (4), Seo Hee Ham (3), Julia Budd (2), Irene Aldana (2), Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (1), Raquel Pennington (1), Xiong Jingnan (2), Alexa Grasso (1), Michelle Waterson (1), Angela Lee (1)
Lastly, a refresher on some ground rules:
- The eight-person voting panel consists of MMA Fighting staffers Shaun Al-Shatti, Alexander K. Lee, Guilherme Cruz, Mike Heck, E. Casey Leydon, Steven Marrocco, Damon Martin and Jed Meshew.
- Updates to the rankings will be completed following every UFC pay-per-view. Fighters will be removed from the rankings if they do not compete within 18 months of their most recent bout. (Stipe Miocic Sends his best wishes. )
- Should a fighter announce their retirement, our panel will decide whether that fighter should immediately be removed from the rankings or maintain their position until further notice (let’s put it this way: we’d have taken Khabib Nurmagomedov out of our rankings a lot quicker than the UFC did).
As a reminder, the notion of pound-for-pound supremacy is always going to inherently be subjective. There is no right or wrong answer when you are trying to decide whether Robert Whittaker should be considered above Max Holloway ,. This is a serious matter, people.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Make your voice heard in the comments below.