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Friday, April 12, 2024

UFC Pound-for-Pound Fighter Rankings: Leon Edwards ascends into high 5 with second win over Kamaru Usman

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For as dramatic and inspirational as Leon Edwards’ head-kick knockout of Kamaru Usman was of their rematch final summer season, there was a working concept adopted by many getting into their UFC 286 trilogy that he must do it a second time for it to actually rely. 

If we discovered something from their five-round chess match in London, it is that Edwards is something however a one-hit surprise. 

Edwards (21-3, 1 NC) scored an spectacular majority resolution over Usman (20-3) within the first protection of his welterweight title and did so by having a solution for each drawback the previous pound-for-pound king introduced to him. 

A local of Jamaica, Edwards had his adopted house of the U.Okay. behind him in London when he scored a second straight win over Usman, who claimed a call of their first assembly in 2015. However Edwards did so by evolving his recreation in very delicate methods to stop the at all times aggressive Usman from ever creating momentum. 

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Undoubtedly, it was Edwards’ takedown protection that performed a key position however so was his means to pop again up shortly the 4 occasions he was taken down. But it surely was additionally how snug he was countering Usman’s jabs with two-punch mixtures and the way a lot his fixed menace of leaping knees and excessive kicks prevented his chief rival from taking aggressive probabilities. 

By extending his unbeaten streak to 12 fights with the win, Edwards additionally garnered the lacking essential respect that many had withheld because of the shocking nature of his title win at UFC 278. 

Nothing about Edwards’ rise to the highest has been straightforward, however the laborious work has actually paid off. Sure, Usman is 2 months shy of 36 and was by no means fairly capable of create any large moments. However that is as a result of Edwards shut the door in nearly each occasion whereas exhibiting simply how a lot of a scholar of the sport he actually is. 

Utilizing a standards that takes under consideration every part from accomplishments to present kind, let’s take a better take a look at the highest fighters contained in the Octagon.

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

Males’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Alexander Volkanovski — Featherweight champion (24-2)

Earlier rating: No. 1

The placing wizard proved his wrestling is simply as world class in a detailed loss to light-weight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284. Volkanovski retained his crown as finest within the sport, for now, however issues will solely get harder from right here as newly topped interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez is probably going subsequent.

2. Islam Makhachev — Light-weight champion (24-1)

Earlier rating: 2

Misplaced in his victory over defending featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, and the next fallout of dispute over the battle’s scoring, was simply how extremely Makhachev has grown as a striker. His pinpoint accuracy and poise was capable of forestall Volkanovski from edging him, at the same time as his most well-liked wrestling recreation was stifled. 

3. Jon Jones — Heavyweight champion (27-1, 1 NC)

Earlier rating: 3

With practically 50 kilos of added weight following a long-awaited transfer as much as heavyweight, Jones eliminated any fears of cage rust after three years away by shortly ending Cyril Gane at UFC 285 to change into a two-division champion. At 35, Jones’ return coincided completely for the promotion with the exit of Francis Ngannou. 

4. Leon Edwards — Welterweight champion (20-3, 1 NC)

Earlier rating: 10

Doubt him no extra. Seven months faraway from his real-life “Rocky” second in opposition to Kamaru Usman through fifth-round knockout to commandeer the 170-pound title, Edwards doubled down of their UFC 286 rematch by taking house a majority resolution. For his second title protection, Edwards is predicted to face former two-time title challenger Colby Covington. 

5. Israel Adesanya — Middleweight champion (23-2)

Earlier rating: No. 5

Regardless of main on all three scorecards in his UFC 281 title protection in opposition to long-time kickboxing rival Alex Pereira, Adesanya succumbed to a fifth-round stoppage for his first loss at middleweight contained in the Octagon. A direct rematch is about for April 8 regardless that Pereira now owns three victories over Adesanya throughout two fight sports activities.

6. Aljamain Sterling — Bantamweight champion (22-3)

Earlier rating: No. 6

One battle after shutting his critics up by outpointing Petr Yan of their title rematch, Sterling’s second title protection produced largely inconclusive outcomes. Whereas historical past will at all times present a second-round TKO win for Sterling in opposition to TJ Dillashaw, the previous champion entered with a badly injured shoulder that was reaggravated seconds in. 

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7. Alex Pereira — Middleweight champion (7-1)

Earlier rating: 7

At 35, making a late transition from kickboxing into MMA, it was laborious to venture simply how good the Brazilian slugger is likely to be. However simply 4 fights into his UFC profession, “Poaton” lived as much as his “arms of stone” moniker by stopping middleweight king Israel Adesanya in Spherical 5 to seize the 185-pound crown in November. A rematch is about for UFC 287.

8. Jiri Prochazka — Mild heavyweight champion (29-3-1)

Earlier rating: No. 8

The unpredictable Prochazka achieved his full due of essential respect after extending his win streak to 13 in a dramatic and savage fifth-round submission of Glover Teixeira at UFC 275. However Prochazka, who’s 23-1-1 since 2013, suffered a critical shoulder damage which pulled him from the rematch and led to him vacating the belt. A late 2023 return may very well be within the playing cards relying upon the size of his restoration.

9. Charles Oliveira — Light-weight (33-9)

Earlier rating: 9

Was the Brazilian end machine’s one-sided title loss to Islam Mahkachev the results of a nasty stylistic matchup or did Oliveira’s reckless and dramatic methods lastly catch as much as him? Both means, the 33-year-old can be compelled to regroup after a outstanding 11-fight win streak that will not be forgotten anytime quickly. Up subsequent is Beneil Dariush on Might 6. 

10. Kamaru Usman — Welterweight (20-3)

Earlier rating: No. 4

The previous P4P king stored issues shut in opposition to Leon Edwards of their title trilogy solely to fall by majority resolution at UFC 286. Usman, who turns 36 in Might, mentioned he plans to maintain combating though whispers abound following two straight defeats whether or not age and mileage have slowed him down only a bit. 

Dropped out: None
Simply missed: Brandon Moreno, Robert Whittaker, Jamahal Hill, Dustin Poirier, Cyril Gane, Yair Rodriguez

Girls’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes — Two-division champion (21-4)

Earlier rating: No. 1

Nunes soundly outpointed a cussed Julianna Pena at UFC 277 to regain her 135-pound title and remind everybody of her G.O.A.T. methods. The victory was additionally an enormous one contemplating Nunes, after leaving American Prime Workforce, began her personal gymnasium and adjusted her fashion. A rumored bantamweight title protection in opposition to Irene Aldana is focused for UFC 285. 

2. Rose Namajunas — Strawweight (11-5)

Earlier rating: No. 2

A baffling technique of defensive circling led to Namajunas surrendering her 115-pound title to inaugural champion Carla Esparza of their Might rematch. Namajunas was barely touched in her unanimous resolution loss. An inevitable trilogy looms with new champion Zhang Weili, whom Namajunas has defeated twice. 

3. Zhang Weili — Strawweight (23-3) 

Earlier rating: No. 3

The primary Chinese language-born UFC champion regained her 115-pound crown by dominating Carla Esparza at UFC 281 through second-round submission. The victory showcased Zhang’s continued enchancment in her grappling recreation but she will not actually achieve recognition as one of the best strawweight within the sport till she will be able to avenge a pair of losses to Namajunas. 

4. Alexa Grasso – Flyweight champion (16-3)

Earlier rating: 4

The previous strawweight contender shocked the world by turning into the first flyweight to defeat Valentina Shevchenko in a large upset at UFC 285. In doing so, Grasso turned the primary feminine Mexican-born champion in UFC historical past. Unbeaten in 5 fights at 125 kilos, Grasso was profitable in turning the division the wrong way up. 

5. Valentina Shevchenko – Flyweight (23-4)

Earlier rating: No. 5

Her first defeat in six years introduced an finish to Shevchenko’s dominant title reign at 125 kilos following a UFC feminine file seven title defenses. The fourth-round submission loss to Alexa Grasso at UFC 285 was nothing wanting surprising. It stays to be seen whether or not a direct rematch is in her future. 

Dropped out: None
Simply missed: Jessica Andrade, Julianna Pena, Carla Esparza, Amanda Lemos, Taila Santos, Manon Fiorot

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