Khamzat Chimaev (

Combat Press MMA Rankings: May 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. Ciryl Gane (2)
  3. Stipe Miocic (3)
  4. Tai Tuivasa (4)
  5. Curtis Blaydes (5)
  6. Derrick Lewis (6)
  7. Tom Aspinall (7)
  8. Alexander Volkov (8)
  9. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (9)
  10. Ryan Bader (10)

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


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. Magomed Ankalaev (7)
  8. Thiago Santos (8)
  9. Anthony Smith (9)
  10. Dominick Reyes (10)

There were no fighters in action during the month, 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. Sean Strickland (7)
  8. Gegard Mousasi (8)
  9. Jack Hermansson (9)
  10. Darren Till (10)

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

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

Dropped from the rankings: Michael Chiesa (10)

One of the month’s biggest rankings splashes comes courtesy of rising star Khamzat Chimaev. He remains undefeated through 11 fights, but it was his unanimous-decision victory over Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 that served to prove he’s a legitimate contender in the UFC’s welterweight division. Chimaev vaults from unranked to No. 3 in our poll, which had a ripple effect on the lower half of the top 10 and bumped Michael Chiesa from the rankings once again. In the titular fight of UFC Fight Night: Luque vs. Muhammad 2, Belal Muhammad avenged a 2016 loss to Vicente Luque with a unanimous nod over the Brazilian. Muhammad passes Luque in the rankings, but remains in sixth due to Chimaev’s rise.

  1. Charles Oliveira (1)
  2. Dustin Poirier (2)
  3. Justin Gaethje (3)
  4. Islam Makhachev (4)
  5. Michael Chandler (5)
  6. Beneil Dariush (6)
  7. Rafael dos Anjos (7)
  8. Conor McGregor (9)
  9. Rafael Fiziev (-)
  10. Arman Tsarukyan (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (8)

The only change to the lightweight poll is a result of a small piece of housekeeping. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire has been competing solely in the featherweight division recently, which leads to his removal from the lightweight rankings. This opens the door for Rafael Fiziev to enter at ninth. The Kyrgyzstan native is in the midst of a five-fight winning streak, but he’s seen two recent dates with Rafael dos Anjos scrapped.

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

While Freire departs the lightweight rankings, he rises in the featherweight poll. Pitbull avenged a 2021 loss to A.J. McKee with a unanimous-decision win over McKee at Bellator 277. With the victory, Freire also regained the Bellator featherweight strap that he lost to McKee. Pitbull jumps to third in the rankings, while McKee slides to fourth. Meanwhile, top-ranked featherweight Alexander Volkanovski made a successful defense of his UFC crown with a fourth-round standing TKO finish of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. Volkanovski cements his spot atop our featherweight poll, while Jung also holds steady in eighth.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Rob Font (9)

It was a busy April for the bantamweight division. The controversy between Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan continued with the result of their UFC 273 contest. Sterling only eked out a split verdict, which leaves some debate as to which of these men is truly the best 135-pounder in the world. For now, our panel swings in favor of Sterling, the champ. Elsewhere, Marlon Vera finally cracks the top 10 as a result of his unanimous-decision victory over Rob Font in the headlining fight of UFC Fight Night: Font vs. Vera. Vera takes over the ninth spot, while Font drops out of the top 10.

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

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

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

Top-ranked strawweight Daichi Kitakata was in action in April, but it came in an exhibition contest against the retiring Yoshiro Maeda. The fight resulted in a draw. The outcome has no impact on Kitakata’s standing in our poll. Meanwhile, Billy Pasulatan added a successful One Pride MMA title defense in March with a split verdict over Parli Tunena. Pasulatan holds firm at eighth in the rankings.

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

Volkanovski’s win over Jung is not enough to convince our panel to push him ahead of Valentina Shevchenko or Kamaru Usman. The Aussie instead hangs tight at No. 3 in our pound-for-pound poll. The same holds true for Pitbull, who regained Bellator gold with the win over McKee. Despite the win, Freire remains in seventh.

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.