Alexander Volkanovski (L) faces off with Ilia Topuria (Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Combat Press MMA Rankings: March 2024

Every month, Combat Press will provide MMA rankings for each weight class from heavyweight to flyweight, 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. Jon Jones (2)
  2. Ciryl Gane (3)
  3. Tom Aspinall (4)
  4. Sergei Pavlovich (5)
  5. Curtis Blaydes (6)
  6. Alexander Volkov (7)
  7. Jailton Almeida (8)
  8. Tai Tuivasa (10)
  9. Jairzinho Rozenstruik (-)
  10. Marcin Tybura (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Francis Ngannou (1), Ryan Bader (9)


After over two years of inactivity in MMA, Francis Ngannou has been dropped from the rankings. This move shifts up everyone in the No. 2 through No. 8 spots.

On Feb. 24, the Professional Fighters League hosted their first big event since purchasing Bellator, and the PFL vs. Bellator card featured champions from each organization competing against each other across multiple divisions. It was almost a clean sweep for the Bellator champions until the main event when Bellator heavyweight champ Ryan Bader suffered a TKO loss only 21 seconds into his battle with PFL’s 2023 heavyweight tournament champion Renan Ferreira. With Bader losing his No. 9 spot and Ngannou leaving the rankings, No. 10 Tai Tuivasa moves up to No. 8, Jairzinho Rozenstruik enters at No. 9 and Marcin Tybura enters at No. 10.

Light Heavyweight
  1. Alex Pereira (1)
  2. Jiří Procházka (2)
  3. Jamahal Hill (3)
  4. Glover Teixeira (4)
  5. Magomed Ankalaev (6)
  6. Jan Błachowicz (7)
  7. Aleksandar Rakić (8)
  8. Corey Anderson (9)
  9. Phil Davis (10)
  10. Johnny Walker (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Vadim Nemkov (5)

Former Bellator light heavyweight champion vacated his title in Jan. 2024 to permanently move up to heavyweight, and he won his divisional debut at the PFL vs. Bellator card with a technical submission over Bruno Cappelozza. Nemkov is removed from the 205-pound rankings. Everyone below Nemkov moves up one spot, and Johnny Walker enters at No. 10

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

At UFC 298, on Feb. 17, former UFC middleweight champion, and fourth-ranked, Robert Whittaker got back to his winning ways when he dominated No. 8 Paulo Costa en route to a unanimous decision victory. A week later, Bellator middleweight champion, and ninth-ranked, Johnny Eblen picked up a split decision win over 2023 PFL light heavyweight tournament winner Impa Kasanganay. The rankings remain unchanged.

  1. Leon Edwards (1)
  2. Kamaru Usman (2)
  3. Shavkat Rakhmonov (3)
  4. Colby Covington (4)
  5. Belal Muhammad (5)
  6. Gilbert Burns (6)
  7. Sean Brady (7)
  8. Jason Jackson (10)
  9. Ian Garry (-)
  10. Stephen Thompson (8)

Dropped from the rankings: Geoff Neal (9)

At PFL vs. Bellator, Bellator welterweight champion, and tenth-ranked, Jason Jackson took on two-time PFL welterweight tournament winner Ray Cooper III. At only 23 seconds of Round 2, Jackson scored a TKO victory. One week prior, at UFC 298, Ian Machado Garry fought on No. 9 Geoff Neal. In a back-and-forth, three-round war, Garry won the split decision. Jackson jumps to No. 8, dropping Stephen Thompson to No. 10, and Garry replaces Neal at No. 9.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Usman Nurmagomedov (10)

At PFL vs. Bellator, former Bellator featherweight champ A.J. McKee continued his winning ways in the lightweight division, when he submitted 2023 PFL lightweight tournament runner-up Clay Collard in only 70 seconds. This extends his 155-pound winning streak to four, and with Bellator lightweight titleholder, and tenth-ranked, Usman Nurmagomedov on the bench for accidentally ingesting a banned substance, McKee slides into the No. 10 spot in the lightweight rankings.

  1. Ilia Topuria (6)
  2. Brian Ortega (4)
  3. Alex Volkanovski (1)
  4. Max Holloway (3)
  5. Yair Rodriguez (2)
  6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (5)
  7. Movsar Evloev (8)
  8. Chan Sung Jung (9)
  9. Josh Emmett (10)
  10. Calvin Kattar (-)

Dropped from the rankings: A.J. McKee (7)

February saw some big shake-ups a the top of the featherweight rankings. At UFC 298, on Feb. 17, longtime divisional king Alexander Volkanovski was finally dethroned when No. 6 Ilia Topuria knocked him out in Round 2 of their headliner. A week later, at UFC Mexico City, fourth-ranked Brian Ortega rose from the dead when he avenged the loss from his previous fight a whopping 19 months prior. In Round 3 of their co-main event battle, Ortega submitted second-ranked Yair Rodriguez, after Rodriguez won a TKO due to shoulder injury in their first meeting. Topuria jumps to No. 1, Ortega to No. 2, and Volkanovski drops to No. 3. Between those movements and the move to lightweight by A.J. McKee, the rest of the featherweights saw slight movements, and Calvin Kattar enters the rankings at No. 10

  1. Sean O’Malley (1)
  2. Demetrious Johnson (2)
  3. Aljamain Sterling (3)
  4. Merab Dvalishvili (4)
  5. Cory Sandhagen (5)
  6. T.J. Dillashaw (6)
  7. Petr Yan (7)
  8. Henry Cejudo (-)
  9. Marlon Vera (8)
  10. Patchy Mix (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Adriano Moraes (10)

The only bantamweights in action in February were Merab Dvalishvili and Henry Cejudo, when the two faced off at UFC 298. After three rounds, No, 4 Dvalishvili picked up the unanimous decision over former champ-champ Cejudo to put himself likely next in line for a title shot. Despite Cejudo losing his last two fights since making his return from retirement, he enters the rankings at No. 8, pushing down Marlon Vera and Patchy Mix, which bumps Adriano Moraes out of the top 10.

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

At the headliner of UFC Mexico City, the second “Battle of the Brandons” took place when No. 7 Brandon Royval faced No, 2 Brandon Moreno, after Moreno won their first fight by TKO in Nov. 2020. This time, the fight went the distance, and, much to the chagrin of the Mexican audience, Royval picked up a split decision win to avenge his previous loss. Royval jumps to No. 2, and those previously above him all bump down one spot.

  1. Islam Makhachev (1)
  2. Jon Jones (3)
  3. Charles Oliveira (5)
  4. Justin Gaethje (7)
  5. Demetrious Johnson (6)
  6. Leon Edwards (8)
  7. Dustin Poirier (9)
  8. Ilia Topuria (-)
  9. Amanda Nunes (10)
  10. Alexandre Pantoja (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Alexander Volkanovski (2), Francis Ngannou (4)

After Francis Ngannou’s inactivity and Alexander Volkanovski’s second loss in a row, the pound-for-pound rankings saw some movement and some new faces. Everyone moved up two notches, except No. 10 Amanda Nunes, who only moved up one spot. Jon Jones slides into No. 2, and Charles Oliveira to No. 3. Entering at No. 8 is newly minted UFC featherweight champ Ilia Topuria, and the tenth spot goes to UFC flyweight titleholder Alexandre Pantoja.

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.