UFC Pound for Pound Fighter Rankings: Kamaru Usman, Alexander Volkanovski make huge jumps

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In a 12-month span already overflowing with deserving candidates for fighter of the year in MMA, Kamaru Usman and Alexander Volkanovski only made that conversation even more difficult after their performances at UFC 245 on Saturday. 

The final pay-per-view of 2019 for the UFC produced many memorable performances over a deep card headlined by three title bouts. The most enduring came from Usman, who defended his welterweight title by finishing heated rival Colby Covington via fifth-round TKO in the main event. 

Usman, 32, was making the first defense of the 170-pound title he won in absolutely dominant fashion against Tyron Woodley in March. Although both performances in 2019 saw him utilize very different skill sets -- from straight wrestling against Woodley to boxing against Covington — it produced a snapshot of just how well-rounded and dangerous the native of Nigeria has become. 

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Not only did Usman improve to 11-0 since his UFC debut in 2015, he extended his winning streak to 15. The scary news is he only appears to be getting better with each fight. 

Volkanovski, a 31-year-old native of Australia, took a much more cerebral approach in the game plan he concocted to disarm featherweight champion Max Holloway en route to a unanimous decision. 

A master of feints and footwork, Volkanovski cemented his P4P inclusion by backing up his impressive win over Jose Aldo in June and controlling distance to limit the typically aggressive Holloway's output. Holloway hadn't lost at featherweight since 2013 when he fell to Conor McGregor at just 21-years old, making his supplanting atop the division all the more impressive.

For CBS Sports' updated divisional rankings, click here.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

Dropped out: Jorge Masvidal

Just missed: Masvidal, Robert Whittaker, Colby Covington, Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier, Paulo Costa, Yoel Romero, Tyron Woodley

Women's pound-for-pound rankings

Dropped out: None

Just missed: Rose Namajunas, Tatiana Suarez, Jessica Andrade, Aspen Ladd, Marina Rodriguez

CBS Sports Insider

Brian Campbell covers MMA, boxing and WWE. The Connecticut native joined CBS Sports in 2017 and has covered combat sports since 2010. He has written and hosted various podcasts and digital shows for ESPN... Full Bio

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