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Thursday, June 6, 2024

UFC Pound-for-Pound Fighter Rankings: Islam Makhachev stays the very best within the sport after one other dominant win

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Regardless of the consenting opinion of UFC CEO Dana White, the very best MMA fighter on the planet stays the promotion’s light-weight champion of the world. 

Ever since he suffered a shocking first-round knockout in simply his second UFC battle again in 2015, all Islam Makhachev has carried out is win, it doesn’t matter what. And despite the fact that his UFC 302 title protection towards Dustin Poirier final weekend in Newark, New Jersey, was a shocking thriller, all of the outcome did is add to the spectacular resume of every thing Makhachev continues to perform. 

The 32-year-old Makhachev (26-1) made positive there was no debate relating to the result towards Poirier when he put the beloved motion star to sleep in Spherical 5 with a brabo choke. The victory was Makhachev’s 14th in a row, putting him two shy of Anderson Silva’s UFC document, because the native Dagestan, Russia, equaled the promotion’s document for light-weight title defenses at three.

White stated on the UFC 302 postfight press convention that he most popular the general dominance of two-division champion and present heavyweight king, Jon Jones. However exercise issues in elite MMA and Jones, who’s at the moment driving a 16-month streak of inactivity on account of harm, has competed for simply 128 seconds of Octagon time since 2020.

Followers and critics alike would not be fallacious to name Jones the best fighter in MMA historical past however that does not imply he is at the moment the very best in present amongst prime lively fighters. Makhachev has fought eight occasions over the four-year span by which Jones has fought simply as soon as. 

Jones additionally sat out for 3 years and waited till former heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou left the promotion to return. And this 12 months, Jones stays below hearth by critics for a way open he’s to outright keep away from interim titleholder Tom Aspinall whereas threatening retirement later this 12 months. 

There was a time some three years in the past when critics tried to downplay Makhachev’s win streak by mentioning the shortage of elite expertise he has defeated. Fortunately for Makhachev, that narrative has been destroyed following consecutive wins over Dan Hooker, Bobby Inexperienced, Charles Oliveira, Alexander Volkanovksi (twice) and now Poirier, with stoppages over each single opponent. 

After his win in Newark, Makhachev said his hope that White and UFC brass would honor his plan to maneuver up in weight and problem for the welterweight title. White appeared largely disinterested, noting {that a} rematch towards red-hot Arman Tsarukyan, whom Makhachev defeated by aggressive resolution in 2019, would want to come back first. 

However ought to Makhachev prolong his win streak to fifteen, it will be laborious to disclaim him the prospect to double down on his greatness, particularly after years of laborious weight cuts right down to 155 kilos. 

For CBS Sports activities’ up to date divisional rankings, click on right here.

Males’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Islam Makhachev — Light-weight champion

Document: 26-1 | Earlier rating: No. 1

A more in-depth-than-expected victory over future Corridor of Famer Dustin Poirier at UFC 302 in June did nothing to maneuver Makhachev off of the highest spot within the rankings. Regardless of struggling a minimize over his left eye from an elbow, Makhachev held off a late rally and put Poirier to sleep in Spherical 5. Makhachev’s win, which extends his streak to 14 (two shy of Anderson Silva’s UFC document), additionally strikes him right into a tie for many title defenses (3) in light-weight historical past.

2. Jon Jones — Heavyweight champion

Document: 27-1, 1 NC | Earlier rating: 2

Jones’ first title protection at heavyweight, scheduled for final November towards former champion Stipe Miocic, was canceled after Jones suffered a pectoral tear in coaching. Jones, who turns 37 this summer season, is predicted to return towards Miocic this November regardless of cries from critics that Jones, who has threatened retirement, is purposely avoiding interim titleholder Tom Aspinall. 

3. Alex Pereira — Mild heavyweight champion

Document: 10-2 | Earlier rating: 3

The 36-year-old Brazilian slugger not solely headlined the promotion’s greatest occasion in historical past at UFC 300 in April, he completed former champion Jamahal Hill with the primary important punch he landed. In simply eight UFC bouts, “Poatan” has already etched a novel place in historical past. A rematch towards former champion Jiri Prochazka is predicted subsequent.

4. Leon Edwards — Welterweight champion

Document: 21-3, 1 NC | Earlier rating: 4

Edwards packed his UFC 286 trilogy win over Kamaru Usman with a second title protection in December towards long-time contender Colby Covington. Lastly, longtime contender Belal Muhammed will get his likelihood at UFC gold when he challenges Edwards at late July’s UFC 304 card in Manchester, England.

5. Ilia Topuria — Featherweight champion

Document: 15-0 | Earlier rating: 5

A altering of the guard atop the 145-pound division at UFC 298 in February may need produced the subsequent breakout star of the game. Topuria did every thing he stated he would towards Alexander Volkanovski, together with ending him within the first two rounds. His precision was solely trumped by his one-punch energy as Topuria patiently dismantled among the finest fighters in historical past.

6. Max Holloway — Featherweight

Document: 26-7 | Earlier rating: 6

Do not name it a comeback, Holloway has been among the many P4P elite for years. However it has been this explicit three-fight win streak at age 32 that has been so rejuvenating. Two years in the past, following his third defeat to Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway’s future was doubtful. Now, he is the reigning BMF champion after his walk-off knockout of Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 and a title contender in two divisions.

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7. Sean O’Malley — Bantamweight champion

Document: 17-1, 1 NC | Earlier rating: 7

The “Suga Present” turned in fairly probably the very best putting efficiency of his profession over 5 rounds in dominating Marlon Vera at UFC 299 to make his first title protection. O’Malley avenged the one defeat of his professional profession however has an uphill problem subsequent as he is anticipated to defend his title towards Merab Dvalishvili this fall. 

8. Alexandre Pantoja — Flyweight champion

Document: 28-5 | Earlier rating: 7

After relying far more on his iron will than his P4P abilities to take the flyweight title from Brandon Moreno final summer season, the Brazilian submission skilled has stayed busy since with a pair of title defenses towards Brandon Royval (of their rematch) and Steve Erceg. Pantoja’s ardour and dogged dedication has grow to be his calling card of late as his title reign continues to develop

9. Dricus du Plessis — Middleweight champion

Document: 21-2 | Earlier rating: 9

Unbeaten in his seven journeys to the Octagon, the proud native of South Africa can now name himself champion after edging Sean Strickland by way of break up resolution at UFC 297 in January. Du Plessis, who known as out former champion Israel Adesanya within the aftermath, has advanced at an alarming price to combine method and a deep fuel tank to his massive energy and takedown risk. 

10. Merab Dvalishvili — Bantamweight

Document: 17-4 | Earlier rating: 10

By enhancing his win streak to 10 fights, Dvalishvili lastly secured a title shot due to his breakthrough win over Henry Cejudo at UFC 298. The victory now provides Dvalishvili three straight over former UFC champions. Dvalishvili, 33, has a fuel tank like no different and stays an issue for any type of opponent he’ll face as he continues to marketing campaign for the belt.

Dropped out: None
Simply missed: Sean Strickland, Alexander Volkanovski, Israel Adesanya, Aljamain Sterling, Dustin Poirier

Ladies’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Zhang Weili — Strawweight champion

Document: 25-3 | Earlier rating: No. 1

Zhang improved to 9-0 within the UFC towards everybody not named Rose Namajunas when she outlasted Chinese language countrywoman Yan Xiaonan at UFC 300 and did so by counting on her cardio, IQ and improved grappling after practically scoring a pair of early finishes. Her hardest check should still be to come back, nevertheless, within the type of Tatiana Suarez. 

2. Alexa Grasso — Flyweight champion

Document: 16-3-1 | Earlier rating: 2

The native of Mexico teamed up with former champion Valentina Shevchenko to co-author an thrilling and tactical 125-pound title rematch at Noche UFC. A break up draw was the outcome because the defending champion Grasso benefitted from a controversial 10-8 ultimate spherical to curtail defeat. The 2 fighters will coach reverse each other on “The Final Fighter” this spring forward of a September trilogy battle, anticipated to be in Las Vegas at The Sphere.

3. Valentina Shevchenko — Flyweight

Document: 23-4-1 | Earlier rating: No. 3

The long run all-time nice practically regained her flyweight title from Alexa Grasso of their September rematch. A disputed draw was the outcome, with Shevchenko overtly contemplating an attraction within the aftermath. Now, at 36, Shevchenko will coach reverse Grasso on TUF earlier than a probable third assembly in September.

4. Manon Fiorot — Flyweight

Document: 12-1 | Earlier rating: 4

A shutout five-round resolution over red-hot Erin Blanchfield appears to be the ultimate hurdle that the 34-year-old native of France must clear en path to a title shot. Fiorot’s takedown protection and skill to keep away from hazard on the bottom set the proper stage for her pinpoint putting to shine. For now, Fiorot might want to watch for the Grasso-Shevchenko rivalry to play out. 

5. Tatiana Suarez — Strawweight

Document: 10-0 | Earlier rating: NR

Regardless of shedding practically 4 years of her prime on account of persistent accidents, Suarez is again on the scene in a giant method. Her dominant submission of former champion Jessica Andrade in August is likely to be all Suarez wants to instantly return to 115-pound title competition. Few can match her grappling prowess alone and even much less can equal the relentless aggressive streak which fuels her resolve. 

Dropped out: None
Simply missed: Kayla Harrison, Erin Blanchfield, Rose Namajunas, Raquel Pennington, Julianna Pena

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