As kickboxing looks to establish itself from both boxing and MMA with promotions like GLORY, K-1, Lion Fight and Kunlun Fighting Championship, fighters are constantly jockeying for position in the eyes (and rankings) of the media.

Every month, Combat Press will rank each weight class from heavyweight to featherweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings for both men and women.

The numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from last month.

  1. Rico Verhoeven (1)
  2. Benjamin Adegbuyi (2)
  3. Mladen Brestovac (3)
  4. Ismael Londt (4)
  5. Jahfarr Wilnis (5)
  6. Zabit Samedov (6)
  7. Andrey Gerasimchuk (7)
  8. Roman Kryklia (8)
  9. Jamal Ben Saddik (9)
  10. Errol Zimmerman (10)/Guto Inocente (-)

January was a relatively quiet month for the heavyweight top 10. The lone fighter in action was Brazilian Guto Inocente, who needed an extension round to get past D’Angelo Marshall at GLORY 37. The victory moved Inocente back into a tie for the 10th spot in the rankings.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Artem Vakhitov (1)
  2. Saulo Cavalari (2)
  3. Zack Mwekassa (3)
  4. Mourad Bouzidi (4)
  5. Pavel Zhuravlev (5)
  6. Fabio Kwasi (6)
  7. Michael Duut (7)
  8. Danyo Ilunga (8)
  9. Igor Bugaenko (9)
  10. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (10)

It was also a quiet month for the light heavyweight division, as none of the top 10 were in action in January.

  1. Jason Wilnis (1)
  2. Simon Marcus (2)
  3. Artem Levin (3)
  4. Israel Adesanya (4)
  5. Alex Pereira (5)
  6. Joe Schilling (6)
  7. Fang Bian (7)
  8. Dustin Jacoby (8)
  9. Hicham El Gaoui (9)
  10. Sahak Parparyan (10)

Jason Wilnis is still the GLORY middleweight champion, but it wasn’t without controversy. The No. 1-ranked fighter went the distance with fourth-ranked Israel Adesanya in the GLORY 37 main event, and many felt that Adesanya did enough to take the title. The judges, however, disagreed and Wilnis maintains his spot in the rankings. Adesanya remains at No. 4, as the top of the division is as competitive as any weight class in the sport. Seventh-ranked Fang Bian earned a questionable decision win over Berat Aliu at Wu Lin Feng 2017. Aliu appeared to score a clear knockdown, but the referee ruled it a slip and Bang went on to claim victory on the scorecards. It marked the second time in the last 12 months that Bang has benefited from a debatable decision under the Wu Lin Feng banner.

  1. Cédric Doumbé (1)
  2. Nieky Holzken (2)
  3. Artur Kyshenko (3)
  4. Murthel Groenhart (4)
  5. Yoann Kongolo (8)
  6. Zoltán Laszák (5)
  7. Karim Ghajji (6)
  8. Alim Nabiev (9)
  9. Raymond Daniels (7)
  10. Yohan Lidon (10)

Only one fighter in the top 10 was in the ring in January, but Switzerland’s Yoann Kongolo made the most of his opportunity at GLORY 37, earning a title shot against champion Cédric Doumbé by capturing the contender tournament. Kongolo outlasted Konstantin Khuzin in the semifinals before knocking out Karim Benmansour in the finals. Kongolo vaulted into the top five as he now looks to defeat Doumbé for a third time.

  1. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Superbon Banchamek (2)
  3. Giorgio Petrosyan (3)
  4. Yodsanklai Fairtex (4)
  5. Marat Grigorian (5)
  6. Buakaw Banchamek (6)
  7. Dylan Salvador (7)
  8. Anatoly Moiseev (8)
  9. Jomthong Chuwattana (9)
  10. Davit Kiria (10)

The lone lightweight in the ring in January was eighth-ranked Anatoly Moiseev, but his knockout loss to Mohamed Diaby came under Sanda rules at the Kung Fu World Championship. The defeat will not impact his ranking.

  1. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (1)
  2. Qiu Jianliang (3)
  3. Masaaki Noiri (2)
  4. Robin van Roosmalen (5)
  5. Ilias Bulaid (4)
  6. Gabriel Varga (6)
  7. Hideaki Yamazaki (7)
  8. Yasuomi Soda (8)
  9. Minoru Kimura (9)
  10. Serhiy Adamchuk (10)

The featherweight division was the busiest weight class this past month as the top three fighters were in the ring. Top-ranked Kaew Weerasakreck was one of the few fighters who didn’t experience controversy at Wu Lin Feng 2017, where he topped Wang Pengfei by decision to remain atop the rankings. China’s Qiu Jianliang was in action at Glory of Heroes 6, where he earned a violent, spinning back kick finish of Kem Sitsongpeenong to climb into the second slot. GLORY 37 was a roller-coaster ride for Holland’s Robin van Roosmalen. The former lightweight titleholder is now a former featherweight titleholder, as he came in heavy for his title defense against Matt Embree. Van Roosmalen took care of business, however, by stopping the Canadian and becoming the promotion’s uncrowned best. The win moved the Dutchman up to No. 4 in the rankings.

  1. Sittichai Sitsongpeenong (1)
  2. Robin van Roosmalen (2)
  3. Kaew Weerasakreck (Fairtex) (3)
  4. Superbon Banchamek (4)
  5. Giorgio Petrosyan (5)
  6. Cédric Doumbé (6)
  7. Nieky Holzken (7)
  8. Rico Verhoeven (8)
  9. Artur Kyshenko (9)
  10. Takeru (10)

Although both van Roosmalen and Kaew were in action in January, there were no changes to the men’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Women’s Pound-For-Pound
  1. Jorina Baars (1)
  2. Jemyma Betrian (2)
  3. Anissa Meksen (3)
  4. Wang Kehan (4)
  5. Denise Kielholtz (5)
  6. Tiffany Van Soest (6)
  7. Iman Barlow (7)
  8. E. Meidie (8)
  9. Antonina Shevchenko (9)
  10. Rena Kubota (10)

The sport’s most accomplished female fighters were dormant in January, so the top 10 is unchanged.

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 twice in their new division.

About The Author

Rob Tatum
Assistant Editor

Rob Tatum has been covering combat sports since 2009. He provides radio content for Between Rounds Radio and his past 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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