UFC pound-for-pound rankings: Demetrious Johnson cements status on top of the game
Amid Jon Jones' downward spiral, 'Mighty Mouse' continues to improve and set his legendary status
Demetrious Johnson's incredible reign as the UFC's first and only flyweight champion has been so thoroughly dominant, we are running out of words to adequately describe his greatness.
But how about we offer a new one: virtuoso. Like a free-styling jazz soloist, Johnson has been able to adapt to the style of any opponent on the fly and essentially defeat them at their own strength.
"Mighty Mouse" did just that at UFC 216for four-plus rounds before submitting him in outright spectacular fashion.
Johnson turned a suplex attempt in Round 5 into an armbar, eventually forcing the aggressive submission artist Borg to tap. The champion's technique and poise were incredible, in the perfect example of his greatness on such a historic night.
With the victory, Johnson eclipsed Anderson Silva's UFC record with 11 title defenses and at age 31, only seems to improve with each performance.
Considering Jon Jones' current issues with failed drug tests, there is no longer any doubt who the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world currently is. The only debate continues to be whether Johnson has done enough to deserve accolades as the best ever.
Taking a look at the totality of his winning streak and the variety in which he has solved opponents while continuing to evolve along with the sport, Johnson has accomplished one important thing regarding his place in history: You can no longer argue against him.
Best in flyweight history? Best fighter today? Best to ever enter the Octagon? Whichever crown you want to place on Johnson based upon your preferences, "Mighty Mouse" has earned it.
Men's pound for pound rankings
|1. Demetrious Johnson (c)||Flyweight||27-2-1|
With a UFC record in hand for title defenses, the only thing left for Johnson to do in terms of improving his legacy is taking on a super fight at his former stomping grounds of 135 pounds.
|2. Conor McGregor (c)||Lightweight||21-3|
|The only thing disturbing about McGregor's placement among the sport's elite has been his failure to defend even once the pair of UFC titles he has won. Fresh off his pro boxing escapade and with lightweight now a crowded and dangerous division in UFC, "The Notorious" needs to remind everyone just how incredible he is against the next best in line.|
|3. Jon Jones (c)||Light heavyweight||22-1, 1 NC|
|With his feel-good comeback story and UFC 214 knockout of Daniel Cormier wiped from the record books due to yet another failed drug test, Jones' P4P standing remains a slippery one. How long Jones will be suspended yet again is dependent upon how strong his argument is for having taken a tainted supplement during the appeal process. Either way, his legacy has been stained.|
|4. T.J. Dillashaw||Bantamweight||14-3||--|
|There's still a good argument to make that Dillashaw deserved the nod in his 2016 title loss to Dominick Cruz. Among the most talented in the world, Dillashaw will get a second crack at his former title when he faces Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217.|
|5. Tyron Woodley (c)||Welterweight||18-3-1||--|
Call his much-maligned title defense against Demian Maia from UFC 214 as boring as you'd like, but Woodley's execution was effective. He's operating at the peak of his powers and deserves a big-money fight after three straight defenses against tricky opponents.
|6. Cody Garbrandt (c)||Bantamweight||11-0|
|While a back injury delayed his first title defense, "No Love" will leap right back to the deep end of the pool against Dillashaw in November to remove any doubt about his P4P standing. The kid has all the makings to be a star and acted the part in outpointing Cruz for the belt last December.|
|7. Daniel Cormier (c)||Light heavyweight||19-2, 1 NC|
|The fallout of Jones' multiple failed drug tests has just as much of a messy effect on Cormier's legacy as it does Jones. With his loss in their rematch changed to a No Contest, Cormier has his title back. At age 38, the only thing left for him in terms of making a further dent in the history books would be a return to heavyweight and the pursuit of a world title in a second division.|
|8. Max Holloway (c)||Featherweight||18-3|
|The best-kept secret in MMA has been found. Holloway's 11th straight victory was an impressive destruction of Jose Aldo in enemy territory to claim the 145-pound title. Up next is a difficult title defense against Frankie Edgar in December that promises nothing but action.|
|9. Stipe Miocic (c)||Heavyweight||17-2||--|
|Currently undergoing a contract dispute with UFC, Miocic hasn't appeared in the Octagon since knocking out Junior dos Santos in their May rematch and doesn't have a return date set. The division beneath him currently remains thin unless the oft-injured Cain Velasquez and/or Cormier can splash the party and create a big fight.|
|10. Tony Ferguson (interim c)||Lightweight||23-3|
|Welcome to the status of MMA elite. "El Cucuy" may have been UFC's most deserving of a title shot before he recorded his 10th straight victory against Kevin Lee at UFC 216. With the interim 155-pound title in hand, Ferguson has boldly called out McGregor for a unification fight and has proven he just might be the champion's toughest challenge available.|
Honorable mentions: Luke Rockhold, Dominick Cruz, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Robert Whittaker, Stephen Thompson
Dropped Out: Dominick Cruz
Women's pound for pound rankings
|1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (c)||Strawweight||14-0||--|
|"Joanna Champion" will look to equal Ronda Rousey's UFC female record of six title defenses when she faces Rose Namajunas at UFC 217 in November. Jedrzejczyk is on her way toward consideration as the greatest women's fighter in history and hopes to add the UFC's new 125-pound title to her resume in the future.|
|2. Cris "Cyborg" Justino (c)||Featherweight||18-1||--|
|Finally allowed to compete at her preferred weight of 145 pounds, Justino captured the promotion's new featherweight title in July. Now she wants nothing but big fights and has campaigned publicly for a December title defense against former bantamweight champ Holly Holm.|
|3. Amanda Nunes (c)||Bantamweight||15-4||--|
"The Lioness" added to her impressive title reign with a razor-thin decision over Valentina Shevchenko in their September rematch. While the split decision could've gone either way, Nunes showed much improved stamina and patient striking against such a difficult opponent.
|4. Valentina Shevchenko||Bantamweight||14-3||--|
|Shevchenko's tough-luck run in close fights against Nunes continued in their UFC 215 rematch. "Bullet" remains among the truly elite in women's MMA despite the disputed loss and has expressed interest in competing within UFC's new flyweight division, where she could become an instant title contender.|
|5. Jessica Andrade||Strawweight||17-6|
|Talk about an impressive comeback fight. Just four months after showcasing her toughness and will to compete in a wide decision loss to Jedrzejczyk for the strawweight title, Andrade was equally relentless against former tittle contender Claudia Gadelha. Andrade's decision win in their all-action bout teased at how fluid her adjustment to having come down from bantamweight continues to be.|
Honorable mentions: Rose Namajunas, Raquel Pennington, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Cynthia Calvillo, Germaine de Randamie
Dropped out: Claudia Gadelha
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