As MMA continues to grow its presence with the UFC, Bellator MMA, WSOF and ONE FC, fighters are constantly jockeying for position in the eyes (and rankings) of the media.

Every week, Combat Press will rank each weight class from heavyweight to flyweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings (including both genders).

Note: the numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from last week.

Heavyweight
  1. Fabricio Werdum (1)
  2. Cain Velasquez (2)
  3. Stipe Miocic (3)
  4. Alistair Overeem (4)
  5. Junior dos Santos (5)
  6. Ben Rothwell (6)
  7. Andrei Arlovski (7)
  8. Travis Browne (8)
  9. Josh Barnett (9)
  10. Mark Hunt (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action this week, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Daniel Cormier (2)
  3. Anthony “Rumble” Johnson (3)
  4. Alexander Gustafsson (4)
  5. Phil Davis (5)
  6. Glover Teixeira (6)
  7. Ryan Bader (7)
  8. Ovince Saint Preux (8)
  9. Liam McGeary (9)
  10. Jimi Manuwa (10)

The light heavyweight king, err, sort of king, is back. Former champion Jon Jones returned from his legal issues at UFC 197 to capture the interim title against eighth-ranked Ovince Saint Preux. It was anything but a vintage performance from Jones, who clearly had ring rust and struggled to consistently mount offense against his short-notice opponent. Nevertheless, after five rounds, Jones walked away victorious and quickly set his sights on the man holding the actual title, second-ranked Daniel Cormier.

Middleweight
  1. Luke Rockhold (1)
  2. Chris Weidman (2)
  3. Yoel Romero (3)
  4. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (4)
  5. Vitor Belfort (5)
  6. Lyoto Machida (6)
  7. Michael Bisping (7)
  8. Anderson Silva (8)
  9. Derek Brunson (9)/Robert Whittaker (9)
  10. David Branch (10)

The Ultimate Fighter: Smashes winner Robert Whittaker continued his march up the middleweight ranks at UFC 197, besting Brazilian Rafael Natal on the scorecards. The Kiwi has now won five straight and will be in line for a much bigger name in his next Octagon appearance.

Welterweight
  1. Robbie Lawler (1)
  2. Carlos Condit (2)
  3. Ben Askren (3)
  4. Rory MacDonald (4)
  5. Matt Brown (5)
  6. Stephen Thompson (6)
  7. Johny Hendricks (7)
  8. Tyron Woodley (8)
  9. Demian Maia (9)
  10. Neil Magny (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action this week, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Lightweight
  1. Rafael dos Anjos (1)
  2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (2)
  3. Donald Cerrone (3)
  4. Eddie Alvarez (4)
  5. Will Brooks (7)
  6. Tony Ferguson (8)
  7. Edson Barboza (-)
  8. Nate Diaz (9)
  9. Anthony Pettis (5)
  10. Gilbert Melendez (6)

Dropped from the rankings: Justin Gaethje (10)

Just when it looked like the lightweight division was starting to sort itself out, Brazilian Edson Barboza went and threw a huge wrench into things. At UFC 197, Barboza put on a technical striking clinic, cruising past former champion Anthony Pettis. The win catapults Barboza into the No. 7 spot in rankings, while Pettis tumbles all the way to ninth. This caused a major shuffling, as former Strikeforce titleholder Gilbert Melendez follows Pettis toward the bottom of the top 10, while current World Series of Fighting champion Justin Gaethje finds himself on the outside looking in through no fault of his own.

Featherweight
  1. Conor McGregor (1)
  2. José Aldo (2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (3)
  4. Chad Mendes (4)
  5. Max Holloway (5)
  6. Ricardo Lamas (6)
  7. Cub Swanson (7)
  8. Charles Oliveira (8)
  9. Daniel Straus (9)
  10. Patricio Freire (10)/Dennis Bermudez (10)

Former Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire was in action at Bellator 153, where he earned a second-round submission over Henry Corrales. The victory keeps the Brazilian in the top 10.

Bantamweight
  1. Dominick Cruz (1)
  2. T.J. Dillashaw (2)
  3. Renan Barão (3)
  4. Urijah Faber (4)
  5. Bibiano Fernandes (5)
  6. Raphael Assuncao (6)
  7. Marlon Moraes (7)
  8. Marcos Galvao (8)
  9. Thomas Almeida (9)
  10. Aljamain Sterling (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action this week, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Flyweight
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  3. Ian McCall (3)
  4. Henry Cejudo (4)
  5. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (5)
  6. Zach Makovsky (6)
  7. Kyoji Horiguchi (7)
  8. John Moraga (8)
  9. Wilson Reis (9)
  10. Dustin Ortiz (10)

If there was any doubt about the skill set of UFC champion Demetrious Johnson before UFC 197, his performance against Olympic gold medalist Henry Cejudo should have put that to bed for good. Johnson took Cejudo to school in the clinch, landing knees and elbows, including a nasty liver shot to set up the finish. With wins over every fighter near contention, it’ll be interesting to see what is next for “Mighty Mouse.”

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. Jon Jones (2)
  3. Robbie Lawler (3)
  4. Daniel Cormier (4)
  5. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (5)
  6. Fabricio Werdum (6)
  7. Luke Rockhold (7)
  8. Dominick Cruz (8)
  9. Rafael dos Anjos (9)
  10. Conor McGregor (10)

It’s a rare occurrence that both the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked pound-for-pound fighters are on the same card, but MMA fans were treated to that very event at UFC 197. The results, however, put a large gap between those two fighters. Top-ranked Demetrious Johnson was dominant, stopping Henry Cejudo inside of a round with strikes, whereas second-ranked Jon Jones labored through five rounds against Ovince Saint Preux. Certainly you can’t deny the fact that Jones was victorious, but the manner in which the fighters left the Octagon with belts on Saturday painted a clear picture of who is the most complete fighter in the world.


Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 18 months. Any fighter that chooses to switch weight classes will be ranked in their previous weight class until they have competed in their new division.

About The Author

Rob Tatum
Assistant Editor

Rob Tatum has been covering combat sports since 2009. His work has appeared on Bleacher Report, MMA DieHards, MMAinterviews and The MMA Corner. Prior to covering combat sports, Rob ran his own music website from 2002-2009. Beyond his writing, Rob has trained in both Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai. He is a Colorado native that works as a mechanical engineer during the day. In his free time, Rob enjoys watching sports, playing music and working on cars.

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