Jon Jones (L) faces off with Ciryl Gane (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: April 2023

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. Jon Jones (-)
  2. Francis Ngannou (1)
  3. Ciryl Gane (2)
  4. Sergei Pavlovich (3)
  5. Curtis Blaydes (4)
  6. Tom Aspinall (5)
  7. Alexander Volkov (6)
  8. Tai Tuivasa (7)
  9. Ryan Bader (8)
  10. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Serghei Spivac (10)


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March saw a changing of the guard in the heavyweight rankings after Jon Jones made his long-awaited heavyweight debut when he submitted Ciryl Gane at UFC 285. The former lightweight champ put on a fantastic performance that shot him straight to the top of the rankings. Unfortunately for Serghei Spivac, the shift sent him out or the top 10.

Light Heavyweight
  1. JiŇô√≠ Proch√°zka (1)
  2. Jamahal Hill (2)
  3. Glover Teixeira (3)
  4. Magomed Ankalaev (4)
  5. Jan BŇāachowicz (5)
  6. Vadim Nemkov (6)
  7. Aleksandar Rakińá (7)
  8. Corey Anderson (8)
  9. Anthony Smith (9)
  10. Thiago Santos (10)

No fighters were in action this month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Middleweight
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Israel Adesanya (2)
  3. Robert Whittaker (3)
  4. Marvin Vettori (4)
  5. Dricus du Plessis (-)
  6. Jared Cannonier (5)
  7. Paulo Costa (6)
  8. Johnny Eblen (7)
  9. Sean Strickland (9)
  10. Derek Brunson (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Roman Dolidze (10)

March saw a shake-up in the middleweight rankings when Dricus du Plessis put away Derek Brunson after two full rounds at UFC 285. After a TKO by corner stoppage at the end of Round 2, du Plessis asserted that he is one of the top 185-pound fighters in the division, and he enter the rankings at the No. 5 spot. Marvin Vettori picked up a decision win over Roman Dolidze two weeks later, sealing the deal on his removal from the top ten.

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

Leon Edwards faced Kamaru Usman in their trilogy fight at UFC 286. After a hard-fought five rounds, Edwards picked up the majority decision to retain the welterweight title, as well as his top spot in the rankings.

Lightweight
  1. Islam Makhachev (1)
  2. Charles Oliveira (2)
  3. Dustin Poirier (3)
  4. Justin Gaethje (4)
  5. Beneil Dariush (5)
  6. Michael Chandler (6)
  7. Rafael Fiziev (7)
  8. Mateusz Gamrot (8)
  9. Usman Nurmagomedov (-)
  10. Arman Tsarukyan (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Rafael dos Anjos (9)

The lightweight division saw some fantastic performances in March. At UFC 285, Mateusz Gamrot picked up a split decision win over Jalin Turner to keep his No. 7 spot. The following week, Usman Nurmagomedov defended his Bellator lightweight belt against Benson Henderson, who subsequently retired. This vaulted Nurmagomedov into the No. 9 spot, dropping Rafael dos Anjos out of the rankings.

Arguably the best performance for lightweights in March goes to Justin Gaethje. At UFC 286, fans saw the hype train of Rafael Fiziev hit a major speed bump, when Gaethje bloodied his opponent over three rounds to score a majority decision victory. Both fighters keep their respective spots in the rankings.

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

No fighters were in action this month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Bantamweight
  1. Aljamain Sterling (1)
  2. Demetrious Johnson (2)
  3. Merab Dvalishvili (7)
  4. Sean O’Malley (3)
  5. Cory Sandhagen (5)
  6. Petr Yan (4)
  7. T.J. Dillashaw (6)
  8. Marlon Vera (8)
  9. Adriano Moraes (9)
  10. José Aldo (10)

Two bantamweights put on masterful performances in March. In the first half of the month, Merab Dvalishvili dominated former champ Petr Yan in their headline affair, which shot him up to the No. 7 spot. In the latter half of the month, Cory Sandhagen put the brakes on the Marlon “Chito” Vera hype train when he, too, dominated his opponent for five rounds in their headline affair. While Dvalishvili earned a unanimous decision, and Sandhagen was awarded a spilt decision, the Sandhagen decision was very questionable. There was actually speculation that a prior incident with the one judge who scored the fight for Vera might have swayed his decision. Regardless, Yan falls to No. 6, while Sandhagen holds at No. 5.

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

No fighters were in action this month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Pound-For-Pound
  1. Islam Makhachev (1)
  2. Alexander Volkanovski (2)
  3. Jon Jones (-)
  4. Francis Ngannou (4)
  5. Leon Edwards (-)
  6. Charles Oliveira (5)
  7. Amanda Nunes (-)
  8. Dustin Poirier (7)
  9. Patricio ‚ÄúPitbull‚ÄĚ Freire (9)
  10. Aljamain Sterling (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Valentina Shevchenko (3); Kamaru Usman (6); Alex Pereira (8)

Some big waves happened in the pound-for-pound rankings after a wild March. Probably the biggest surprise was the long-reigning flyweight queen Valentina Shevchenko getting submitted by Alexa Grasso in the co-main event of UFC 285. This was a huge upset that dropped Shevchenko from the rankings, which made way for Amanda Nunes to enter back in as No. 7.

Kamaru Usman also lost his No. 6 spot after again losing to Leon Edwards, who entered the rankings at No. 5. While Alex Pereira did not fight in March, he lost his eighth spot, because Jon Jones entered back in the rankings as the No. 3 pound-for-pound fighter in the world with his submission of Ciryl Gane.


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.


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