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 (4)
  4. Ismael Londt (3)
  5. Jahfarr Wilnis (5)
  6. Zabit Samedov (6)
  7. Andrey Gerasimchuk (7)
  8. Roman Kryklia (8)
  9. Errol Zimmerman (9)
  10. Jamal Ben Saddik (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Guto Inocente (10)

The heavyweight division was very chaotic in the month of December. GLORY champion Rico Verhoeven battled veteran Badr Hari in the GLORY: Collision main event, earning a second-round TKO win after Hari’s arm was injured. Former GLORY title challenger Mladen Brestovac moved up to third in the rankings with a decision win over Daniel Lentie at FFC 27 in Croatia. Dutchman Ismael Londt saw his string of luck in the GLORY ring come to an end, as he dropped a decision to Moroccan Jamal Ben Saddik. Londt only fell to No. 4 based on his body of work, but the victory allowed Ben Saddik to re-enter the rankings in 10th. Seventh-ranked Andrey Gerasimchuk survived a knockdown at Kunlun Fight 56 against Felipe Micheletti, but largely dominated the fight to earn another victory and maintain his spot in the rankings. Finally, ninth-ranked Errol Zimmerman got back in the win column with a knockout victory over Viktor Bogutzki at Mix Fight Gala 20 in Germany.

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 (7)
  7. Michael Duut (10)
  8. Danyo Ilunga (8)
  9. Igor Bugaenko (9)
  10. Zinedine Hameur-Lain (6)

Although the top of the light heavyweight division was dormant in December, there was plenty of action in the bottom half of the top 10. GLORY’s trip to Germany included one of the best fights of the year between Michael Duut and Danyo Ilunga. The back-and-forth affair included five knockdowns and an extension round, but it was Duut who left the ring victorious. Duut climbed to No. 7 in the rankings with the win, while Ilunga remains planted at No. 8. Also in action, ninth-ranked Igor Bugaenko picked up a decision win over Maxim Bolotov at KOK World GP in Moldova.

  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)

Three members of the middleweight top 10 were victorious in December. Second-ranked Simon Marcus defeated Wang Zhao Hua at Wu Fight after Hua suffered a shoulder injury. Sixth-ranked Joe Schilling earned a first-round stoppage win over Victorio Lermano at Bellator Kickboxing: Florence. China’s Fang Bian maintained his lengthy winning streak with a decision win over Iran’s Hamid Reza at Faith Fighting World Championships. Ninth-ranked Hicham El Gaoui was also in action in the 80-kilogram tournament at Kunlun Fight 55, but fell short in the semifinals.

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

There’s a new man atop the welterweight division as Cédric Doumbé dethroned long-reigning GLORY champion Nieky Holzken at GLORY: Collision. Doumbé was methodical in his performance, preventing Holzken from getting his offense going. Also in action, sixth-ranked Karim Ghajji bested Luca Novello at Bellator Kickboxing: Florence.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Robin van Roosmalen (2), Josh Jauncey (9)

The battle for lightweight supremacy became even more interesting this past month as Superbon Banchamek wrapped up the 2016 Kunlun Fight 64-man tournament with a decision win over Cedric Manhoef and a knockout win over Jomthong Chuwattana at Kunlun Fight 56. The pair of wins capped off an impressive year for the Thai fighter, moving him to second in the rankings behind his countryman Sittichai Sitsongpeenong, whom he split a pair of bouts with over the last 12 months. Speaking of Sittichai, the No. 1-ranked fighter on the planet retained his GLORY lightweight title with a decision win over fifth-ranked Marat Grigorian in Germany. Third-ranked  Giorgio Petrosyan stopped the U.K.’s Jordan Watson in the third round at Bellator Kickboxing: Florence to maintain his place in the rankings. Muay Thai legend Buakaw Banchamek defeated Andrei Kulebin by unanimous decision at Phoenix Fight Championships and also topped Tian Xin by unanimous decision at Kunlun Fight 56 to move closer to the top five. Frenchman Dylan Salvador vaulted into the top 10 this month by winning the GLORY contender tournament with wins over eighth-ranked Anatoly Moiseev and Hysni Beqiri. Moiseev remained in the rankings despite the loss. Also jumping into the rankings is Jomthong Chuwattana, who defeated No. 10-ranked Davit Kiria in the semifinals of the Kunlun tournament. With former GLORY titleholder Robin van Roosmalen focusing on the featherweight division, he has been dropped from the lightweight ranks.

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

It was a quiet month for the featherweight division. Fourth-ranked Ilias Bulaid defeated Xie Lie at WLF vs. Krush to remain inside the top five.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Artem Levin (9)

The loss by Nieky Holzken and the tournament win by Superbon Banchamek have shuffled the pound-for-pound rankings. Holzken slid all the way to seventh with the loss, and the man who defeated him, Cédric Doumbé landed at sixth. Superbon moved from 10th to fourth with his pair of wins. The inclusion of Doumbé pushed former GLORY titleholder Artem Levin outside the top 10.

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 (8)
  7. Iman Barlow (6)
  8. E. Meidie (7)
  9. Antonina Shevchenko (9)
  10. Rena Kubota (10)

The world’s best female kickboxers had plenty of action over the last month as both GLORY and Bellator Kickboxing crowned their first champions. American Tiffany van Soest took home decision wins over Amel Dehby and Jessica Gladstone to capture the GLORY Super Bantamweight Grand Prix and the belt. Van Soest climbed to No. 6 in the rankings with the victories. Meanwhile, Denise Kielholtz got revenge against Gloria Peritore at Bellator Kickboxing: Florence and earned the promotion’s flyweight title in the process. Finally, 10th-ranked Rena Kubota was in action at Rizin’s end-of-year event, but it was under MMA rules.

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.