Jose Aldo (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: January 2022

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.

  1. Francis Ngannou (1)
  2. Stipe Miocic (2)
  3. Ciryl Gane (3)
  4. Derrick Lewis (4)
  5. Curtis Blaydes (5)
  6. Alexander Volkov (6)
  7. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (8)
  8. Tom Aspinall (9)
  9. Chris Daukaus (7)
  10. Valentin Moldavsky (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Junior dos Santos (10)


The rise of Chris Daukaus was brought to a decisive halt in the headlining clash of UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Daukaus. The power of Derrick Lewis proved to be too much for the up-and-comer to handle. A series of right hooks from “The Black Beast” floored Daukaus in the first round. Lewis maintains his spot as our fourth-ranked heavyweight with the victory, while Daukaus drops two spots to ninth in the poll. Meanwhile, Bellator interim heavyweight champion Valentin Moldavsky cracks the top 10 ahead of his title bout with Ryan Bader. That fight, which will certainly have an impact on the rankings, is set to close out the month of January.

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

There were no fighters in action during the month of November, so the rankings remain unchanged.

  1. Israel Adesanya (1)
  2. Robert Whittaker (2)
  3. Marvin Vettori (3)
  4. Jared Cannonier (4)
  5. Paulo Costa (5)
  6. Derek Brunson (6)
  7. Jack Hermansson (7)
  8. Gegard Mousasi (8)
  9. Sean Strickland (9)
  10. Darren Till (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month of November, so the rankings remain unchanged.

  1. Kamaru Usman (1)
  2. Colby Covington (2)
  3. Gilbert Burns (3)
  4. Leon Edwards (4)
  5. Vicente Luque (5)
  6. Belal Muhammad (-)
  7. Sean Brady (8)
  8. Stephen Thompson (6)
  9. Yaroslav Amosov (7)
  10. Jorge Masvidal (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Michael Chiesa (9)

Belal Muhammad’s departure from the welterweight rankings turned out to be a short-lived one. Just one month after getting bumped from the top 10, Muhammad turned in a strong showing against stalwart contender Stephen Thompson at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Daukaus to earn a unanimous nod over the former title challenger. Muhammad shoots up to sixth in the rankings, while Thompson drops to eighth. Muhammad’s return to the poll bumps Michael Chiesa outside of the top 10.

  1. Charles Oliveira (1)
  2. Dustin Poirier (2)
  3. Justin Gaethje (3)
  4. Michael Chandler (4)
  5. Islam Makhachev (5)
  6. Beneil Dariush (6)
  7. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (7)
  8. Rafael dos Anjos (8)
  9. Dan Hooker (9)
  10. Conor McGregor (10)

In the main event of UFC 269, Charles Oliveira erased any doubt about his standing as the top lightweight in the world. “Do Bronx” was able to submit Dustin Poirier in the third round of their championship tilt to successfully defend the lightweight crown. Oliveira and Poirier retain their respective rankings as the top two 155-pounders in our poll.

  1. Alex Volkanovski (1)
  2. Max Holloway (2)
  3. A.J. McKee (3)
  4. Yair Rodriguez (4)
  5. Brian Ortega (5)
  6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (6)
  7. Giga Chikadze (7)
  8. Chan Sung Jung (8)
  9. Calvin Kattar (9)
  10. Josh Emmett (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Dan Ige (10)

The competition remains tight for the final spot in the featherweight top 10. Dan Ige broke into the rankings last month, but his stay was brief. The Hawaiian suffered a decision loss courtesy of Josh Emmett at UFC 269. As a result, Emmett takes Ige’s place in our poll.

  1. Petr Yan (1)
  2. Aljamain Sterling (2)
  3. T.J. Dillashaw (3)
  4. Cory Sandhagen (4)
  5. Adriano Moraes (5)
  6. José Aldo (7)
  7. Demetrious Johnson (8)
  8. Dominick Cruz (-)
  9. Rob Font (6)
  10. Sergio Pettis (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Kyoji Horiguchi (9), Merab Dvalishvili (10)

The bantamweight division had a busy December. The month kicked off with a showdown of top-10 fighters in the titular battle of UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Aldo. The former UFC featherweight kingpin José Aldo took the victory over Rob Font on the scorecards. The Brazilian slides past Font in the rankings to take the No. 6 spot, while Font dips to ninth. Meanwhile, former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz continued his push back to the top of the mountain. At UFC 269, Cruz captured a decision victory over Pedro Munhoz. As a result, he gains entry into the rankings at No. 8. Sergio Pettis also joins the top 10 following a highlight-reel finish of Kyoji Horiguchi at Bellator 272. Pettis, who successfully defended his Bellator title with the win, lands at 10th and pushed Horiguchi out of the rankings. Merab Dvalishvili also departs the top 10 with the entry of Cruz and Pettis.

  1. Brandon Moreno (1)
  2. Deiveson Figueiredo (2)
  3. Askar Askarov (3)
  4. Alexandre Pantoja (4)
  5. Alex Perez (5)
  6. Brandon Royval (6)
  7. Kai Kara-France (7)
  8. Matheus Nicolau (10)
  9. Rogério Bontorin (9)
  10. David Dvořák (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Jussier “Formiga” da Silva (8)

Former UFC bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt thought a move down to flyweight would be the catalyst for a return to glory. Instead, it proved to be a disaster. Garbrandt didn’t even last a round at UFC 269 before suffering a knockout at the hands of Kai Kara-France. Kara-France hangs tight at No. 7 in our poll following the highlight-reel finish. Longtime rankings fixture Jussier “Formiga” da Silva exits the poll as a result of inactivity. The Brazilian’s departure opens the door for David Dvořák to enter as the new No. 10.

  1. Daichi Kitakata (-)
  2. Namiki Kawahara (1)
  3. Keito Yamakita (3)
  4. Gexi Sanlang (2)
  5. Ryosuke Noda (4)
  6. Toshiya Takashima (5)
  7. Yuta Miyazawa (6)
  8. Ryo Hatta (7)
  9. Tatsuki Ozaki (8)
  10. Billy Pasulatan (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Shuto Aki (10)

Following a failed two-fight bid at flyweight, Daichi Kitakata returned to the strawweight division for the first time in over two years and immediately notched a successful defense of the King of Pancrase crown he won from Mitsuhisa Sunabe in 2019. Kitakata scored a third-round knockout of Yuta Miyazawa at Pancrase 325 to retain the title. The win vaults Kitakata into the upper echelon of the strawweight rankings. He lands at No. 1, while Miyazawa slips to seventh. Kitakata’s return also bumps Shuto Aki outside of the top 10.

  1. Kamaru Usman (2)
  2. Valentina Shevchenko (3)
  3. Alexander Volkanovski (4)
  4. Rose Namajunas (6)
  5. Francis Ngannou (5)
  6. Charles Oliveira (9)
  7. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (7)
  8. Brandon Moreno (8)
  9. Israel Adesanya (10)
  10. Glover Teixeira (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Amanda Nunes (1)

It’s not easy to hold on to the title of the best fighter on the planet. Amanda Nunes is the latest to finally tumble from the mountaintop. The Brazilian suffered a major upset at UFC 269, where she was submitted by Julianna Peña in the second round of an attempted bantamweight title defense. “The Lioness” nosedives out of the rankings entirely, making way for the entrance of recently crowned UFC light-heavyweight kingpin Glover Teixiera. Meanwhile, the night’s headliner, Charles Oliveira, cements his place in the pound-for-pound top 10 as a result of his victory over Dustin Poirier. “Do Bronx” jumps three spots into sixth in our poll.

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.