Charles Oliveira (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: January 2021

Rob Tatum Assistant Editor

Every month, Combat Press will provide MMA rankings for 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 month.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Ryan Bader (10 – tie), Augusto Sakai (10 – tie)


Advertisement

UFC 256 was a coming-out party for undefeated heavyweight Ciryl Gane. The Frenchman battered former champion Junior dos Santos en route to a second-round stoppage. The victory vaults Gane into the No. 7 spot in the rankings, while pushing Ryan Bader and Augusto Sakai out of their 10th-place tie.

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

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

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. Marvin Vettori (-)
  8. Jack Hermansson (7)
  9. Kelvin Gastelum (8)
  10. Gegard Mousasi (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Derek Brunson (10)

The main event of UFC on ESPN 19 was a five-round war between Italy’s Marvin Vettori and seventh-ranked Jack Hermansson. When the dust settled, Vettori left the cage with the decision win. The Italian moves into the seventh spot with the win and forces Derek Brunson outside the top 10 once again.

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. Stephen Thompson (10)
  8. Douglas Lima (9)/Nate Diaz (7)
  9. Anthony Pettis (10)
  10. Michael Chiesa (8)

Former title challenger Stephen Thompson put on a master class at UFC on ESPN+ 42, dominating Geoff Neal over five rounds. The lopsided win earns Thompson a big leap in the rankings, as he slides into the No. 7 spot. Also in action at the event, former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis topped Alex Morono on the scorecards to further shuffle the bottom portion of the top 10. Pettis climbs to ninth, while Michael Chiesa slips to 10th.

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

The biggest winner at UFC 256 was Brazilian Charles Oliveira. The formerly ninth-ranked fighter completely destroyed Tony Ferguson in the co-main event. The performance results in Oliveira skyrocketing to No. 4 in the division, while Ferguson drops all the way to eighth with his second-straight defeat.

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

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

Bantamweight
  1. Petr Yan (1)
  2. Demetrious Johnson (2)
  3. Aljamain Sterling (3)
  4. Cory Sandhagen (4)
  5. José Aldo (6)
  6. Frankie Edgar (7)
  7. Kyoji Horiguchi (-)
  8. Pedro Munhoz (8)
  9. Cody Garbrandt (9)
  10. Rob Font (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Marlon Moraes (5), Juan Archuleta (10)

December was a busy month for the bantamweight division. UFC on ESPN+ 42 featured former featherweight king and recent title challenger José Aldo, who took Marlon Vera to school over three rounds. The event also featured Rob Font’s demolition of former No. 1 contender Marlon Moraes in the first round of their encounter. The devastating knockout loss for Moraes sends him crashing out of the top 10 entirely. Aldo moves up one spot to fifth, with Font entering the rankings for the first time in the No. 10 spot. Rizin.26 hosted the long-awaited rematch between Kyoji Horiguchi and Kai Asakura. Horiguchi, returning from a lengthy injury layoff, exacted revenge on Asakura and reclaimed his belt. The Japanese fighter re-enters the rankings in seventh, which pushes Bellator titleholder Juan Archuleta from the top 10.

Flyweight
  1. Deiveson Figueiredo (1)
  2. Brandon Moreno (3)
  3. Joseph Benavidez (2)
  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 256 was headlined by a flyweight title clash between champion Deiveson Figueiredo and challenger Brandon Moreno. The late “Fight of the Year” candidate ended in a draw after five hard-fought rounds, allowing Figueiredo to maintain his spot atop the rankings. Moreno, despite not leaving with the belt, climbs one spot into second.

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 (9)
  10. Ryo Hatta (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Hiroaki Ijima (10)

At Pancrase 320, Ryo Hatta earned a quick submission win over Tatsuki Ozaki. The victory is enough to move Hatta into the 10th spot in the rankings and pushHiroaki Ijima out of the top 10.

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

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


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.