Georges St-Pierre (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: December 2017

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.


  1. Stipe Miocic (1)
  2. Cain Velasquez (2)
  3. Alistair Overeem (3)
  4. Fabricio Werdum (4)
  5. Junior dos Santos (5)
  6. Josh Barnett (6)
  7. Mark Hunt (7)
  8. Francis Ngannou (8)
  9. Alexander Volkov (9)
  10. Derrick Lewis (10)

Fabricio Werdum picked up his second win in as many months at UFC Fight Night 121, where he outlasted Poland’s Marcin Tybura over the course of five rounds. The Brazilian stays at No. 4 as he works back toward the title.

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. Jimi Manuwa (8)
  9. Ovince Saint Preux (9)
  10. Ilir Latifi (10)

November was a busy month for the 205-pound top 10. Third-ranked Ryan Bader successfully defended his Bellator title at Bellator 186, where he stopped Linton Vassell by strikes. At the same event, former titleholder Phil Davis topped Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace Leonardo Leite on the scorecards. Both Bader and Davis remain inside the top five with the victories. Former UFC interim title challenger Ovince Saint Preux continued to work back toward contention with his third-straight stoppage win. OSP took out Corey Anderson at UFC 217 with a third-round head kick to hold onto the No. 9 spot in the rankings.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Anderson Silva (8), Mamed Khalidov (9), Derek Brunson (10)

The month of November sent the middleweight division into chaos. Former welterweight king Georges St-Pierre returned from four years away from the cage at UFC 217 and promptly dethroned Michael Bisping as the 185-pound champ. If that weren’t enough, former champion Anderson Silva was flagged by the USADA and removed from his UFC Fight Night 122 headliner against Kelvin Gastelum. Unexpectedly, it was Bisping who stepped up to replace Silva on less than a month’s notice, but the Brit was completed destroyed by Gastelum inside the first round in Shanghai. GSP’s new title reign has vaulted him to the top of the rankings. Gastelum’s knockout victory puts him back inside the top 10 at No. 8. The aforementioned Silva falls from the top 10 with a very cloudy future and Derek Brunson also lands outside the top 10 due to the addition of GSP and Gastelum. Then, there’s Bisping. The longtime veteran slides all the way down to No. 9 after the back-to-back losses. Finally, ONE Championship’s Ben Askren re-enters the rankings after presumably competing in the final fight of his career. The American destroyed Shinya Aoki to finish his career undefeated while competing as a welterweight in Bellator MMA and more recently as a middleweight under ONE’s divisional structure.

  1. Tyron Woodley (1)
  2. Stephen Thompson (2)
  3. Robbie Lawler (3)
  4. Colby Covington (4)
  5. Demian Maia (5)
  6. Carlos Condit (6)
  7. Rory MacDonald (7)
  8. Jorge Masvidal (8)
  9. Rafael dos Anjos (9)
  10. Douglas Lima (10)/Kamaru Usman (10)

UFC 217 featured a match-up between second-ranked Stephen Thompson and eighth-ranked Jorge Masvidal. Thompson largely stayed at range and frustrated Masvidal with his kicking arsenal to claim the decision victory. Thompson stays at No. 2 with the win, and Masvidal remains planted at No. 8, even in defeat.

  1. Conor McGregor (1)
  2. Tony Ferguson (2)
  3. Khabib Nurmagomedov (3)
  4. Eddie Alvarez (4)
  5. Justin Gaethje (5)
  6. Edson Barboza (6)
  7. Nate Diaz (7)
  8. Michael Johnson (8)
  9. Dustin Poirier (10 – tie)
  10. Kevin Lee (10 – tie)

Dropped from the rankings: Anthony Pettis (9)

The lone action in the lightweight rankings took place at UFC Fight Night 120 in Virginia. Tenth-ranked Dustin Poirier sliced up former champion Anthony Pettis before earning a third-round TKO stoppage due to injury. Poirier scoots up to No. 9 with the win, whereas Pettis, who suffered his fifth loss in his past seven bouts, falls from the top 10 altogether.

  1. Max Holloway (1)
  2. José Aldo (2)
  3. Frankie Edgar (3)
  4. Ricardo Lamas (4)
  5. Cub Swanson (5)
  6. Bibiano Fernandes (6)
  7. Charles Oliveira (7)
  8. Chan Sung Jung (8)
  9. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (9)
  10. Yair Rodriguez (10)

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

  1. T.J. Dillashaw (3)
  2. Cody Garbrandt (1)
  3. Dominick Cruz (2)
  4. Raphael Assunção (5)
  5. John Lineker (4)
  6. Jimmie Rivera (6)
  7. Marlon Moraes (7)
  8. John Dodson (8)
  9. Bryan Caraway (9)
  10. Darrion Caldwell (10)/Aljamain Sterling (10)

Without question, the bantamweight top 10 was the month’s busiest. UFC 217 pitted former training partners Cody Garbrandt and T.J. Dillashaw in a battle for the title. Dillashaw reclaimed the belt with a second-round knockout. As a result, Dillashaw once again sits atop the rankings, while Garbrandt slides to No. 2. Brazilian Raphael Assunção stated his case for the first crack at Dillashaw by stopping Matthew Lopez at UFC Fight Night 120. The victory, Assunção’s 10th in his last 11 Octagon appearances, helps him climb to No. 4 in the rankings. Also in action at the event was seventh-ranked Marlon Moraes, who tangled with eighth-ranked John Dodson. The back-and-forth fight resulted in a decision win for Moraes, but both fighters stay put in the pecking order.

  1. Demetrious Johnson (1)
  2. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  3. Henry Cejudo (3)
  4. Kyoji Horiguchi (4)
  5. Ray Borg (5)
  6. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (6)
  7. Sergio Pettis (7)
  8. Wilson Reis (8)
  9. Brandon Moreno (9)
  10. Dustin Ortiz (10)

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

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

Dropped from the rankings: Joanna Jędrzejczyk (5), Cody Garbrandt (8), Michael Bisping (10)

As if there weren’t enough changes during the month, another belt changed hands at UFC 217. Strawweight Rose Namajunas knocked out Joanna Jędrzejczyk in the first round to unseat the champion. As such, Jędrzejczyk tumbles from the top 10, along with Garbrandt and Bisping. St-Pierre re-enters the top 10, one spot behind Demetrious Johnson. The two-time champion Dillashaw lands at No. 8, with welterweight champion Tyron Woodley rounding out 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.