Khabib Nurmagomedov (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: October 2019

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. Daniel Cormier (2)
  3. Francis Ngannou (3)
  4. Junior dos Santos (4)
  5. Derrick Lewis (5)
  6. Curtis Blaydes (6)
  7. Alistair Overeem (7)
  8. Alexander Volkov (8)
  9. Blagoy Ivanov (9)
  10. Ryan Bader (10)

Curtis Blaydes put on a dominant showing at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi, where he stopped Shamil Abdurakhimov with a barrage of elbows and punches. The win keeps Blaydes firmly in sixth place. Bellator two-division champion Ryan Bader took on veteran Cheick Kongo at Bellator 226. Unfortunately, the bout ended early after an accidental eye poke. Bader remains in the No. 10 spot.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Ryan Bader (2)
  3. Thiago Santos (3)
  4. Anthony Smith (4)
  5. Alexander Gustafsson (5)
  6. Dominick Reyes (6)
  7. Corey Anderson (7)
  8. Glover Teixeira (8)
  9. Johnny Walker (9)/Jan Blachowicz (9)
  10. Aleksandar Rakić (10)/Volkan Oezdemir (10)

UFC on ESPN+ 16 was billed as a passing of the guard in the light heavyweight ranks, but Brazilian veteran Glover Teixeira had other plans. Teixeira outworked Nikita Krylov over three rounds to claim a decision victory and stay at No. 8 in the rankings.

  1. Robert Whittaker (1)
  2. Israel Adesanya (2)
  3. Paulo Costa (3)
  4. Yoel Romero (4)
  5. Kelvin Gastelum (6)
  6. Jared Cannonier (-)
  7. Rafael Lovato Jr. (9)
  8. Jack Hermansson (7)
  9. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (8)
  10. Gegard Mousasi (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Luke Rockhold (5)

There’s a new face in the middleweight top 10 following UFC on ESPN+ 18 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Jared Cannonier put a quick end to the Jack Hermansson hype train, stopping the Swede early in round two. The win vaults Cannonier into sixth, while Hermansson slides to eighth. Former Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi exacted revenge on Lyoto Machida at Bellator 228. Mousasi holds onto his No. 10 spot with the decision win. The addition of Cannonier pushes former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold out of the top 10.

  1. Kamaru Usman (1)
  2. Tyron Woodley (2)
  3. Colby Covington (3)
  4. Jorge Masvidal (4)
  5. Leon Edwards (5)
  6. Rafael dos Anjos (6)
  7. Nate Diaz (7)
  8. Anthony Pettis (8)
  9. Stephen Thompson (9)
  10. Ben Askren (10)

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

  1. Khabib Nurmagomedov (1)
  2. Tony Ferguson (2)
  3. Conor McGregor (3)
  4. Dustin Poirier (4)
  5. Justin Gaethje (5)
  6. Donald Cerrone (6)
  7. Al Iaquinta (7)
  8. Paul Felder (10 – tie)
  9. Edson Barboza (8)
  10. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Michael Chandler (10 – tie)

September was a busy month for the lightweight division. UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov kept his undefeated record intact with a submission win over interim titleholder Dustin Poirier at UFC 242. Nurmagomedov keeps his place atop the rankings, with Poirier hanging onto fourth. Also at the Abu Dhabi event, Paul Felder edged out Edson Barboza via split decision. Felder climbs out of a 10th-place tie to capture the No. 8 slot. Barboza drops to ninth, and Michael Chandler has fallen back outside the top 10. UFC on ESPN+ 16 in Vancouver featured fifth-ranked Justin Gaethje against sixth-ranked Donald Cerrone. Gaethje needed less than a round to dispatch of the veteran and state his case for a title shot.

  1. Max Holloway (1)
  2. Alex Volkanovski (2)
  3. José Aldo (3)
  4. Brian Ortega (4)
  5. Frankie Edgar (5)
  6. Zabit Magomedsharipov (6)
  7. Chan Sung Jung (7)
  8. Renato Moicano (8)
  9. Jeremy Stephens (9)
  10. Josh Emmett (10)/Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (10)

Bellator champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire put his belt on the line in the opening round of the promotion’s grand prix tournament. The Brazilian dominated challenger Juan Archuleta over the course of five rounds and remains in a tie for 10th place with the victory. The UFC’s trip to Mexico for UFC on ESPN+ 17 produced another unfortunate result, as ninth-ranked Jeremy Stephens was poked in the eye by Yair Rodriguez. Their bout was deemed a no-contest just 15 seconds after it started.

  1. Henry Cejudo (1)
  2. Marlon Moraes (2)
  3. Demetrious Johnson (3)
  4. Cory Sandhagen (4)
  5. Raphael Assunção (5)
  6. Aljamain Sterling (6)
  7. Kyoji Horiguchi (7)
  8. Pedro Munhoz (8)
  9. Petr Yan (9)
  10. Cody Garbrandt (10)

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

  1. Henry Cejudo (1)
  2. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  3. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (3)
  4. Sergio Pettis (4)
  5. Deiveson Figueiredo (5)
  6. Alexandre Pantoja (6)
  7. John Moraga (7)
  8. Wilson Reis (8)
  9. Dustin Ortiz (9)
  10. Brandon Moreno (10)

UFC on ESPN+ 17 was a showcase for the resurgent flyweight division. Fourth-ranked Sergio Pettis returned to 125 pounds and defeated longtime veteran Tyson Nam. Pettis, who had temporarily moved up to bantamweight, stays in fourth with the win. Also in action was 10th-ranked Brandon Moreno, who battled Askar Askarov to a draw after three hard-fought rounds. The result was enough for Moreno to stay in the rankings.

  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Amanda Nunes (2)
  3. Henry Cejudo (3)
  4. Khabib Nurmagomedov (6)
  5. Max Holloway (4)
  6. Demetrious Johnson (5)
  7. Valentina Shevchenko (7)
  8. Daniel Cormier (8)
  9. Kamaru Usman (9)
  10. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (10)

September’s biggest mover was UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. The Dagestan native still has not lost, and his dominance of Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 moves him up two spots. Bellator two-division champion Patricio “Pitbull” Freire keeps his 10th-place ranking following his successful featherweight title defense at Bellator 228.

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.