UFC Pound for Pound Power Rankings: Jones, McGregor, Cyborg all looking up
Forget their popularity, Jon Jones, Conor McGregor and Cyborg are not on top of these rankings
Fresh off his UFC record-tying 10th title defense, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson has made it difficult to refer to him as anything other than the best mixed martial artist in the world.
Johnson, 30, has continued to evolve with age, mastering all aspects of his game, which were on full display in his submission victory over Wilson Reis. Whether Johnson can equally be regarded as the best fighter in the history of the sport depends upon your perspective.
To some, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has already reached that plateau despite still residing south of age 30. The past two years, however, have certainly affected Jones' pound-for-pound status in a negative manner.
Jones has fought just once (a cautious decision win over Ovince Saint Preux) since defeating Daniel Cormier in January 2015 and has been embroiled in legal problems and a one-year suspension for failed drug tests. Still, it's hard to penalize Jones too much considering his incredible track record and he'll have a shot at possibly taking back his No. 1 spot should he convincingly beat Cormier a second time later this year.
The division offering the biggest shot at potentially making a leap within our top 10 is bantamweight, where three fighters reside. The winner of a title fight later this year between unbeaten Cody Garbrandt and former champion T.J. Dillashaw could elevate the winner considerably.
Let's take a look at the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in UFC:
|1. Demetrious Johnson||26-2-1||Flyweight (c)|
|2. Jon Jones||22-1||Light heavyweight|
|3. Conor McGregor||21-3||Lightweight (c)||--|
|4. Jose Aldo||26-2||Featherweight (c)||--|
|5. T.J. Dillashaw||14-3||Bantamweight||--|
|6. Daniel Cormier||19-1||Light heavyweight (c)|
|7. Cody Garbrandt||11-0||Bantamweight (c)|
|8. Tyron Woodley||17-3-1||Welterweight (c)||--|
|9. Dominick Cruz||22-2||Bantamweight|
|10. Khabib Nurmagomedov||24-0||Lightweight|
Honorable mentions: Stipe Miocic, Tony Ferguson, Yoel Romero, Max Holloway, Luke Rockhold
UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk's case as the best women's fighter in all of MMA is a strong one when you look at the totality of her four title defenses and the quality of opposition she has faced.
Jedrzejczyk, 29, has become the face of a 115-pound division that is constantly churning out strong competitors, a small handful of which have pushed Joanna "Champion" the distance. But the thing that continues to separate Jedrzejczyk from the pack is her incredible cardio and fighting spirit.
The Polish champion gets the nod for the top spot ahead of long-time stalwart Cris "Cyborg" Justino of Brazil, whose only problem in recent years has been locking down top opponents. After a brief run in catchweight fights at 140 pounds in the UFC, the former Strikeforce and Invicta FC champ should see a UFC featherweight title opportunity in her future.
Justino, 31, just might be the hardest hitter on a pound-for-pound basis among all UFC fighters, male or female, and has shown an increased level of poise in recent bouts.
With the UFC still employing just two full-time divisions (with featherweight still growing), our P4P list will remain a top five due to a lack of depth. But bantamweight Valentina Shevchenko continues to be the fastest riser thanks to a pair of quality victories (Holly Holm, Julianna Pena) in the aftermath of her close decision loss to Amanda Nunes in March 2016.
The one name on the outside looking in is strawweight Rose Namajunas who, at 24, continues to evolve. Her dominant victory over Michelle Waterson has her in line for a title shot opposite Jedrzeczyk.
|1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk||13-0||Strawweight (c)||--|
|2. Cris "Cyborg" Justino||17-1||Featherweight||--|
|3. Amanda Nunes||14-4||Bantamweight (c)|
|4. Valentina Shevchenko||14-2||Bantamweight|
|5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz||10-0||Strawweight||--|
Honorable mentions: Rose Namajunas, Claudia Gadelha, Jessica Andrade, Germaine de Randamie, Raquel Pennington
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