Deiveson Figueiredo (Facebook.com/deivesondaico)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: December 2020

Rob Tatum Assistant Editor

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.


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Heavyweight
  1. Stipe Miocic (1)
  2. Daniel Cormier (2)
  3. Francis Ngannou (3)
  4. Curtis Blaydes (4)
  5. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (5)
  6. Junior dos Santos (6)
  7. Derrick Lewis (7)
  8. Alexander Volkov (8)
  9. Alistair Overeem (9)
  10. Ryan Bader (10)/Augusto Sakai (10)

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

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

A former UFC title challenger may have earned another shot at gold. At UFC on ESPN+ 40, Brazilian Glover Teixeira submitted his fellow countryman Thiago Santos in a dominant performance. The wins vaults Teixeira into the No. 4 spot in the rankings, while Santos drops to fifth. Former UFC fighter Corey Anderson made his Bellator MMA debut at Bellator 251, where he dominated an overmatched Melvin Manhoef. Finally, in the UFC on ESPN 18 main event, former No. 1 contender Anthony Smith got back in the win column against Devin Clark. Smith keeps the ninth spot in the rankings.

Middleweight
  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. Gegard Mousasi (9)
  10. Derek Brunson (10)

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

Welterweight
  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 past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Lightweight
  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. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (8)
  8. Rafael dos Anjos (-)
  9. Charles Oliveira (9)/Michael Chandler (10)
  10. Paul Felder (7)

A familiar face returns to the lightweight top 10 after November’s action. At UFC on ESPN+ 41, former champion Rafael dos Anjos took on late-notice opponent Paul Felder and put on a vintage showing. Dos Anjos re-enters the rankings in eighth, while the loss drops Felder to 10th.

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

Bellator 252 was a showcase for the company’s most dominant fighter, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire, who demolished Pedro Carvalho in just two minutes to retain his title and advance in the promotion’s featherweight tournament. Pitbull climbs to fifth in the rankings with the victory. The organization’s next event, Bellator 253, highlighted another promising featherweight, as undefeated A.J. McKee punched his ticket to the tournament final by submitting former bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell with a devastating neck crank. McKee enters the rankings in a tie for 10th place.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Henry Cejudo (1)

Former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo has now been retired for six months and therefore departs the rankings. As such, current UFC champion Petr Yan claims the top spot and recently crowned Bellator titleholder Juan Archuleta enters the rankings for the first time.

Flyweight
  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. Brandon Royval (8)
  9. Kai Kara-France (9)
  10. Rogério Bontorin (10)

UFC 255 featured plenty of action from the flyweight top 10. Headlining the card, champion Deiveson Figueiredo dispatched of challenger Alex Perez in just two minutes with a guillotine choke. Both fighters keep their places in the rankings. Elsewhere on the card, Mexico’s Brandon Moreno earned a title shot by defeating eighth-ranked Brandon Royval after Royval suffered a shoulder injury.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Hiroshi Minowa (9)

Hiroshi Minowa debuted under the ONE banner in November and defeated Lito Adiwang. However, the bout took place at 125 pounds, which forces Minowa out of the strawweight rankings. Hiroaki Ijima now finds himself in the No. 10 spot.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Henry Cejudo (4)

As in the bantamweight rankings, Henry Cejudo’s retirement causes the former champion to exit the pound-for-pound poll. This opens the door for UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski to enter the pound-for-pound top 10. Also during the past month, UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko outworked former Invicta FC titleholder Jennifer Maia at UFC 255. Shevchenko now owns the eighth spot in the rankings. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire’s demolition of Pedro Carvalho was enough to allow him to advance up one spot to ninth.


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.