As MMA continues to grow its presence with the UFC, Bellator MMA, KSW, PFL and ONE 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 flyweight, as well as the pound-for-pound rankings (including all genders).

Note: the numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from the previous rankings.

Heavyweight
  1. Stipe Miocic (1)
  2. Francis Ngannou (2)
  3. Alistair Overeem (3)
  4. Alexander Volkov (4)
  5. Fabricio Werdum (5)
  6. Junior dos Santos (6)
  7. Curtis Blaydes (7)
  8. Mark Hunt (8)
  9. Vitaly Minakov (10)/Alexey Oleinik (-)
  10. Derrick Lewis (9)

Although the heavyweight division was largely quiet during the month of May, there’s a new face in the top 10. Russia’s Alexey Oleinik secured yet another submission victory by Ezekiel choke at UFC 224 when he stopped Junior Albini in the first round. Oleinik has now won three of his last four, and five of his seven Octagon appearances, which moves him into a tie for ninth in the rankings.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Daniel Cormier (1)
  2. Alexander Gustafsson (2)
  3. Ryan Bader (3)
  4. Phil Davis (4)
  5. Glover Teixeira (5)
  6. Volkan Oezdemir (6)
  7. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (7)
  8. Ilir Latifi (9)
  9. Dominick Reyes (-)
  10. Jan Błachowicz (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Jimi Manuwa (10)

In May, third-ranked Ryan Bader was in the cage at Bellator 199, but it was in the promotion’s heavyweight grand prix. So, despite starching former Strikeforce champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal in just 15 seconds, Bader stays put in the rankings. UFC Fight Night 129 gave the light heavyweight rankings a fresh face, as well as previewed what’s to come for undefeated Dominick Reyes. Reyes needed less than three minutes to stop Jared Cannonier, which puts him in the No. 9 spot in the rankings. Former Bellator champion Phil Davis fought at Bellator 200 in London. Davis erased two-time title challenger Linton Vassell by head kick to hold onto the fourth spot in the rankings.

Middleweight
  1. Georges St-Pierre (1)
  2. Robert Whittaker (2)
  3. Yoel Romero (3)
  4. Luke Rockhold (4)
  5. Gegard Mousasi (6)
  6. Chris Weidman (7)
  7. Kelvin Gastelum (8)
  8. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (5)
  9. Michael Bisping (9)
  10. Ben Askren (10)

It’s rare to see the UFC let a top-10 fighter leave the promotion, but that’s exactly what the company did with Gegard Mousasi. At Bellator 200, Mousasi made his second appearance in the circular cage and quickly put away middleweight champion Rafael Carvalho with strikes. The title win for Mousasi moves him into the fifth spot in the rankings. But that wasn’t the only impact on the rankings in May. The Ultimate Fighter 17 winner Kelvin Gastelum went into Brazil at UFC 224 and came out with a split-decision win over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. As such, Gastelum climbs to seventh, while Jacare falls from fifth all the way down to eighth.

Welterweight
  1. Tyron Woodley (1)
  2. Stephen Thompson (2)
  3. Rafael dos Anjos (3)
  4. Colby Covington (4)
  5. Robbie Lawler (6)
  6. Darren Till (-)
  7. Rory MacDonald (7)
  8. Kamaru Usman (9)
  9. Jorge Masvidal (8)
  10. Demian Maia (5)

Dropped from the rankings: Santiago Ponzinibbio (10 – tie), Douglas Lima (10 – tie)

The past month created pure chaos in the welterweight top 10. The headlining match-ups at UFC Fight Nights 129 and 130 featured top-10 fighters, and both contests went the full, five-round distance. When the dust settled, the landscape of the division is not any more clear than it was at the start of May. Wrestling stalwart Kamaru Usman cruised past former title challenger Demian Maia in a lackluster affair. Usman’s win moves him from ninth to eighth, while Maia slides all the way from fifth to 10th. But that was hardly the most frustrating result of the month. Another former title challenger, Stephen Thompson, took on Darren Till in Till’s hometown of Liverpool, England. After five rounds of mostly point-fighting and very little engagement, it appeared that Thompson had earned a decision victory. However, the judges at cageside were apparently into local fare, inexplicably awarding Till the victory by a wide margin. Rarely do our rankings ignore official results, but after 22 out of 25 media members scored the contest in favor of Thompson, we cannot punish “Wonderboy” with a defeat. Instead, Till proved he can spend 25 minutes in the cage with the division’s elite and come out conscious. As such, Till moves into the No. 6 spot with the “victory.”

Lightweight
  1. Tony Ferguson (1)/Khabib Nurmagomedov (1)
  2. Eddie Alvarez (2)
  3. Dustin Poirier (3)
  4. Kevin Lee (4)
  5. Justin Gaethje (5)
  6. Edson Barboza (6)
  7. Brent Primus (7)
  8. Al Iaquinta (8)
  9. James Vick (9)
  10. Michael Chandler (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the last month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Featherweight
  1. Max Holloway (1)
  2. José Aldo (2)
  3. Brian Ortega (3)
  4. Bibiano Fernandes (4)
  5. Frankie Edgar (5)
  6. Jeremy Stephens (6)
  7. Josh Emmett (7)
  8. Cub Swanson (8)
  9. Ricardo Lamas (9)
  10. Renato Moicano (10)/Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the last month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Bantamweight
  1. T.J. Dillashaw (1)
  2. Cody Garbrandt (2)
  3. Dominick Cruz (3)
  4. John Lineker (5)
  5. Raphael Assunção (4)
  6. Marlon Moraes (6)
  7. Jimmie Rivera (7)
  8. John Dodson (8)
  9. Darrion Caldwell (9)
  10. Cody Stamann (10)/Kyoji Horiguchi (-)

The UFC’s pay-per-view event in Brazil featured its fair share of knockouts, but few were more devastating than John Lineker’s crushing finish of Brian Kelleher. Lineker, despite his smaller stature for the division, continues to rack up victories and climbs one spot to No. 4. The division also gains a new fighter in the top 10. Former UFC flyweight title challenger Kyoji Horiguchi debuts in the 135-pound rankings. Horiguchi demolished Ian McCall at Rizin 10 in Japan to move into a tie for 10th place.

Flyweight
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  3. Henry Cejudo (3)
  4. Ray Borg (5)
  5. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (6)
  6. Sergio Pettis (7)
  7. John Moraga (9)
  8. Wilson Reis (10)
  9. Alexandre Pantoja (-)
  10. Brandon Moreno (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Kyoji Horiguchi (4)

Kyoji Horiguchi has been removed from the flyweight rankings this month as he continues to ply his trade in the bantamweight division. That, coupled with the results of UFC Fight Night 129, gives the flyweight rankings new blood. Brazilian Alexandre Pantoja put on the best performance of his UFC tenure by dominating Brandon Moreno for three rounds. Pantoja captures the No. 9 spot, while Moreno falls to 10th in defeat.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. Georges St-Pierre (2)
  3. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (3)
  4. Daniel Cormier (4)
  5. Stipe Miocic (5)
  6. Max Holloway (6)
  7. T.J. Dillashaw (7)
  8. Amanda Nunes (8)
  9. Tyron Woodley (9)
  10. Rose Namajunas (10)

May featured only one member of the pound-for-pound top 10 in the cage. UFC bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes defended her belt at UFC 224 against Raquel Pennington. Nunes put away Pennington in the fifth round to retain her title and keep the eighth place in the top 10.


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. Fighters who announce their retirement will remain ranked for a period of six months following their final bout.

About The Author

Rob Tatum
Assistant Editor

Rob Tatum has been covering combat sports since 2009. His work has appeared on Invicta FC, The MMA Corner, Bleacher Report MMA, MMA DieHards and MMAinterviews. 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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