Stipe Miocic (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: September 2020

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 strawweight, 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. Curtis Blaydes (4)
  5. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (8)
  6. Junior dos Santos (5)
  7. Derrick Lewis (6)
  8. Alexander Volkov (7)
  9. Alistair Overeem (9)
  10. Ryan Bader (10)/Augusto Sakai (10)

August was an important month for the heavyweight division, with half the top 10 in the cage. At UFC 252, top-ranked Stipe Miocic cemented his place among the greatest heavyweights of all time with a second-straight victory over Daniel Cormier. With Miocic retaining the title and claiming the trilogy, Cormier announced his retirement. Also in action that night, eighth-ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik faced former champion Junior dos Santos. Rozenstruik knocked out the Brazilian in the fight’s second round and climbs into the No. 5 spot with the impressive win. Dos Santos slides to sixth with the loss. The UFC on ESPN+ 32 main event featured former title challenger Derrick Lewis against submission specialist Aleksei Oleinik. Lewis faced some early adversity, but he eventually put away the Russian in the second round by knockout.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Dominick Reyes (3)
  3. Thiago Santos (4)
  4. Jan Błachowicz (5)
  5. Corey Anderson (6)
  6. Glover Teixeira (7)
  7. Aleksandar Rakić (-)
  8. Jiří Procházka (9)
  9. Anthony Smith (8)
  10. Vadim Nemkov (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Ryan Bader (2), Volkan Oezdemir (10)

Perhaps the biggest news of the month came when divisional king Jon Jones vacated his UFC title. However, since Jones has yet to compete in another division, he remains atop the rankings. Another champion, Bellator MMA’s Ryan Bader, not only lost his belt in August, but his place in the rankings. Bader faced Russia’s Vadim Nemkov at Bellator 244 and was violently knocked out in the second round. Bader’s last victory at 205 came in 2017, so he tumbles outside the top 10, with Nemkov re-entering our poll in 10th. At UFC on ESPN+ 33, Aleksandar Rakić continued his march toward a title shot by dominating former No. 1 contender Anthony Smith to capture the No. 7 spot in the rankings.

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

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

  1. Kamaru Usman (1)
  2. Gilbert Burns (2)
  3. Colby Covington (3)
  4. Jorge Masvidal (4)
  5. Leon Edwards (5)
  6. Tyron Woodley (6)
  7. Nate Diaz (7)
  8. Michael Chiesa (8)
  9. Douglas Lima (9)
  10. Stephen Thompson (10)/Anthony Pettis (10)

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

  1. Khabib Nurmagomedov (1)
  2. Justin Gaethje (2)
  3. Dustin Poirier (3)
  4. Tony Ferguson (4)
  5. Conor McGregor (5)
  6. Dan Hooker (6)
  7. Paul Felder (7)
  8. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (9)
  9. Charles Oliveira (10)
  10. Michael Chandler (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Donald Cerrone (8)

Former Bellator MMA champion Michael Chandler put on a dominant display at Bellator 243, where he punished former UFC titleholder Benson Henderson en route to a first-round knockout. The victory shuffled the bottom portion of the top 10, sending Donald Cerrone outside the top 10 as Chandler grabs 10th place.

  1. Alex Volkanovski (1)
  2. Max Holloway (2)
  3. Brian Ortega (3)
  4. Zabit Magomedsharipov (4)
  5. Chan Sung Jung (5)
  6. Yair Rodriguez (7)
  7. Renato Moicano (8)
  8. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (9)
  9. Bibiano Fernandes (10 – tie)
  10. Calvin Kattar (10 – tie)

Dropped from the rankings: Frankie Edgar (6)

The featherweight rankings undergo a slight change, but not because of action within the division. Former title challenger Frankie Edgar made his 135-pound debut in August and falls out of the featherweight top 10. The move breaks the tie between Bibiano Fernandes and Calvin Kattar.

  1. Henry Cejudo (1)
  2. Petr Yan (2)
  3. Demetrious Johnson (3)
  4. Marlon Moraes (4)
  5. Aljamain Sterling (5)
  6. José Aldo (6)
  7. Cory Sandhagen (7)
  8. Frankie Edgar (-)
  9. Pedro Munhoz (8)
  10. Cody Garbrandt (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Raphael Assunção (10)

The UFC on ESPN 15 main event featured the bantamweight debut of former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. However, it was not without controversy. Edgar narrowly edged Brazilian Pedro Munhoz by split decision to claim the No. 8 spot in the rankings, pushing Munhoz to ninth. Edgar’s inclusion causes veteran Raphael Assunção to fall out of the rankings.

  1. Deiveson Figueiredo (1)
  2. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  3. Brandon Moreno (3)
  4. Alex Perez (4)
  5. Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (5)
  6. Askar Askarov (6)
  7. Alexandre Pantoja (7)
  8. Kai Kara-France (8)
  9. Rogério Bontorin (10)
  10. Joshua Pacio (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Hiromasa Ougikubo (9)

This division also has a change despite no action in August. In the Rizin 23 main event, Kai Asakura knocked out Hiromasa Ougikubo in a bantamweight title clash. The bout marked Ougikubo’s third straight contest outside of the flyweight division and thus erases his eligibility. ONE Championship’s “strawweight” champion Joshua Pacio, who reigns over the promotion’s 125-pound division, benefits from Ougikubo’s removal.

  1. Jarred Brooks (1)
  2. Namiki Kawahara (-)
  3. Haruo Ochi (2)
  4. Mitsuhisa Sunabe (3)
  5. Adam Antolin (4)
  6. Tatsuya So (5)
  7. Gexi Sanlang (6)
  8. Hiroaki Ijima (7)
  9. Akhmednabi Magomedov (8)
  10. Ryo Hatta (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Dôglas Cunha (10)

The month’s biggest upset in ranked competition occurred at Deep 96 Impact, where Namiki Kawahara submitted Haruo Ochi by rear-naked choke in the fight’s second round. Ochi falls to third with the loss, while Kawahara vaults into the second spot in the division.

  1. Jon Jones (1)
  2. Amanda Nunes (2)
  3. Henry Cejudo (3)
  4. Khabib Nurmagomedov (4)
  5. Demetrious Johnson (5)
  6. Stipe Miocic (6)
  7. Kamaru Usman (7)
  8. Valentina Shevchenko (8)
  9. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (10)
  10. Israel Adesanya (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Daniel Cormier (9)

Cormier’s second-straight defeat and subsequent retirement did not push him from the heavyweight rankings, but, in the ultra-competitive pound-for-pound ladder, the former two-division champ finds himself on the outside looking in. UFC middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya enters the rankings in the 10th spot.

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.