Kamaru Usman (Mike Sloan/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: March 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. Francis Ngannou (3)
  3. Derrick Lewis (6)
  4. Ciryl Gane (7)
  5. Curtis Blaydes (4)
  6. Alexander Volkov (8)
  7. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (5)
  8. Alistair Overeem (9)
  9. Junior dos Santos (10)
  10. Augusto Sakai (-)/Ryan Bader (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Daniel Cormier (2)


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The month of February was very busy for the heavyweight division, with more than half the top 10 in the cage. At UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov, former Bellator champion Alexander Volkov smashed former Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem to earn a second-round stoppage. Volkov climbs to sixth with the win. The headliner of UFC Fight Night: Blaydes vs. Lewis featured a massive upset, at least from a betting perspective. Derrick Lewis turned out the lights on Curtis Blaydes with a vicious uppercut in round two. Lewis vaults to No. 3 in the rankings after the victory. UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gane featured a dominant performance by Frenchman Ciryl Gane, who cruised past Jairzinho Rozenstruik to claim a decision nod. After maintaining his undefeated record, Gane moves all the way up to fourth in the rankings. Finally, former champion Daniel Cormier has now been retired for more than six months and has been removed from the rankings.

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

The lone action at middleweight in February came at UFC 258: Usman vs. Burns, where Kelvin Gastelum bested Ian Heinisch on the scorecards. Gastelum maintains his No. 9 spot in the rankings.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Leon Edwards (5)

If there was any doubt about the current king of the welterweight division, it was erased at UFC 258. Reigning champion Kamaru Usman survived an early scare from Brazilian challenger Gilbert Burns and ultimately put Burns away in round three to keep his belt. Elsewhere in the division, the layoff for England’s Leon Edwards has extended well past 18 months, so he falls out of the rankings. Former title challenger Demian Maia takes his place.

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

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

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. Bibiano Fernandes (8)
  9. A.J. McKee (9)
  10. Calvin Kattar (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 (5)
  6. Frankie Edgar (6)
  7. Kyoji Horiguchi (7)
  8. Pedro Munhoz (8)
  9. Cody Garbrandt (9)
  10. Rob Font (10)

The most devastating finish of the month may be up for debate, but few would argue if you gave the nod to fourth-ranked bantamweight Cory Sandhagen for his violent, flying-knee knockout of Frankie Edgar at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov. The quick finish keeps Sandhagen firmly planted in the title picture at 135 pounds. Meanwhile, eighth-ranked Pedro Munhoz exacted revenge on Jimmie Rivera with a calf-kick clinic at UFC Fight Night: Rozenstruik vs. Gane. The Brazilian keeps his spot in the rankings after the dominant win.

Flyweight
  1. Deiveson Figueiredo (1)
  2. Brandon Moreno (2)
  3. Joseph Benavidez (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)

The lone flyweight in the top 10 to see action in February was seventh-ranked Alexandre Pantoja, who welcome Manel Kape to the Octagon at UFC Fight Night: Overeem vs. Volkov. The Brazilian proved to be too much for the newcomer and stays in the No. 7 spot with the win.

Strawweight
  1. Jarred Brooks (1)
  2. Namiki Kawahara (2)
  3. Haruo Ochi (3)
  4. Adam Antolin (4)
  5. Tatsuya So (5)
  6. Gexi Sanlang (6)
  7. Akhmednabi Magomedov (7)
  8. Toshiya Takashima (8)
  9. Yuta Miyazawa (9)
  10. Ryo Hatta (10)

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

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)

Kamaru Usman’s win at UFC 258 further cemented his place in the pound-for-pound rankings. With so many dominant fighters in the top 10, he remains in seventh, but a case could certainly be made that he’s as dominant as any UFC champion right now.


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.