Pound-for-pound MMA ranking: Charles Oliveira rises, women’s ranks crown a new No.1

Welcome to the latest update of the Pound-for-Pound MMA Fighting Rankings, where each month our esteemed panel of experts sorts through the noise to answer a question: Who are the best male and female mixed martial arts fighters in the world?

Since the introduction of these rankings last summer, there hasn’t been a time when the top spots on our men’s and women’s pound-for-pound lists have been. both undisputed.

Until now. The roller coaster ride that ended in 2021 took care of that.

So before the 2022 calendar kicks off, let’s take a look back at how a magnificent December has affected the global mixed martial arts landscape.

Be sure to check out the latest episode of the MMA Fighting Rankings Show, where our ranking panel has sounded the new year by predicting which fighters will rise to the top 5 or come out of the title fight by the end. of 2022, debate the future of some unlucky veterans, and much more.

First of all, a reminder of some basic rules before diving.

  • Our eight-person voting panel is made up of MMA Fighting staff Shaun Al-Shatti, Alexander K. Lee, Guilherme Cruz, Mike Heck, E. Casey Leydon, Steven Marrocco, Damon Martin and Jed Meshew.
  • Fighters will be removed from the leaderboard if they do not compete within 18 months of their most recent fight.
  • Leaderboards updates will be completed at the start of each month.
  • If a fighter announces his retirement, our panel will decide whether that fighter should be immediately removed from the rankings or retain his position until further notice (let’s put it this way: we would have removed Khabib Nurmagomedov from our rankings much faster than the UFC l ‘did).
  • Holding the title of a promotion does not guarantee that the fighter will be considered the best in his promotion.
  • Regarding all of the above rules, all possible exceptions will be discussed internally and noted in the article.

As a reminder, the notion of pound-for-pound supremacy will always be intrinsically subjective. When wondering if someone like Stipe Miocic should be ranked below someone like Max Holloway, there is no real correct answer. So while our Global MMA Fighting Rankings serve a real functional purpose, the following pound-for-pound lists are only around for a good while. In other words: this is no serious business, folks.

In case you missed it, last month’s Pound-for-Pound MMA Rankings can be viewed here.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Make your voice heard in the comments below.

Photo by Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

Welcome to the top 4, Charles Oliveira!

Any lingering doubts about the reigning UFC lightweight champion were lifted in December when “do Bronx” toppled the man many believed to be the world’s best lightweight with his third round submission from Dustin Poirier . After a long streak of declared victories, UFC 269 was the last push Oliveira needed to shed any last remaining hurdles on her bandwagon and establish herself among the sport’s elite.

It’s not often that the UFC champion embarks on a title defense against a challenger who is ranked above him, and it certainly won’t happen again as long as Oliveira holds the gold medal.

For her job, Oliveira essentially swapped places with Poirier on our pound-for-pound list, stealing fourth place from Poirier and dropping “The Diamond” from Oliveira’s old position to No.7. Only the trio of champions Africans from the UFC now sit in front of “do Bronx”.

As for January, all eyes will be on UFC 270 alone and the double title fights at the top of the map, as No.3 Francis Ngannou seeks to reclaim sole ownership of the heavyweight title of the ‘UFC in a long-awaited clash against No.19 Ciryl Gane, and No.12 Brandon Moreno sets his trilogy against former UFC flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo.

December results for ranked fighters (previous ranking displayed): No. 7 Charles Oliveira beat. # 4 Dustin Poirier

January fights featuring ranked fighters: No.3 Francis Ngannou vs. No.19T Ciryl Gane (UFC 270, January 22), No.12 Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo (UFC 270, January 22)

Fighters also receiving votes: Adriano Moraes, Vadim Nemkov, Colby Covington, Jose Aldo, Ryan Bader, Deiveson Figueiredo, Sergio Pettis, Corey Anderson, Gilbert Burns, TJ Dillashaw

UFC 269: Amanda Nunes vs. Julianna Pena

Photo by Carmen Mandato / Getty Images

For the first time in the brief history of these rankings, we find a unanimous No. 1 at the top of the women’s rankings.

That’s right, Valentina Shevchenko is the undisputed new queen of MMA. After steadily gaining ground in our internal vote on Amanda Nunes in recent months, Shevchenko has finally overtaken ‘The Lioness’ with an assist from new UFC bantamweight champion Julianna Pena, whose titanic upheaval at UFC 269 toppled the sport. Shevchenko is now the woman to beat on the pound-for-pound list, and she could hold onto that top spot for a long time at the rate she mows down the 125-pound contenders.

But could a two-division gold race be in Shevchenko’s future?

To do so, she may have to overtake Pena once more, as “The Venezuelan Vixen” soared to fifth on the pound-for-pound list despite entering unranked in December.

Pena’s upset is certainly a change of scenery at 135 pounds, though it should come as no surprise that she is asked to replicate her unlikely feat again in a rematch against Nunes before the Division can fully embrace it. his new UFC champion.

Looking ahead, January looks like a slow month for these rankings, but there is one clash to note: No.13 Katlyn Chookagian defending her place against former UFC title challenger Jennifer Maia in a meaningful clash of weighty contenders. fly.

December results for ranked fighters (previous ranking displayed): Julianna Pena beat. # 1 Amanda Nunes

January fights featuring ranked fighters: # 13 Katlyn Chookagian vs. Jennifer Maia (UFC Vegas 46, Jan.15)

Fighters also receiving votes: Julia Budd, Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, Raquel Pennington, Xiong Jing Nan, Larissa Pacheco, Ketlen Vieira, Taila Santos, Michelle Waterson, Yan Xiaonan, Leslie Smith, Alesha Zappitella, Denise Kielholtz, Amanda Ribas

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