UFC pound-for-pound rankings: Dillashaw continues climb, Jedrzejczyk takes fall
UFC 217 turned our pound-for-pound power rankings on its head
It's incredibly rare for a single fight card to offer as much potential to shake up the top 10 of the pound-for-pound rankings as UFC 217 did last weekend. It's equally just as rare to see a trio of titles change hands on a single night. But that was the nature of the beast last Saturday as the UFC's second trip to New York's Madison Square Garden.
The fallout saw the ending of a lengthy title reign (Joanna Jedrzejczyk), the redemption of a former champion (TJ Dillashaw) and the dramatic return of one of the sport's all-time greats (Georges St-Pierre). It also saw created considerable movement within the rankings.
St-Pierre'shelped him join elite company as just the fourth fighter to win UFC titles (while bolstering his status among the all-time P4P greats). But beating the 38-year-old Bisping, who may not be the fifth best fighter in his own division, wasn't quite enough to help GSP crack the current top 10 P4P, which is a separate argument altogether. That right there speaks to how deep the talent pool currently is atop the sport, even if UFC continues to struggle when it comes to creating crossover stars.
Men's pound-for-pound rankings
|1. Demetrious Johnson (c)||Flyweight||27-2-1||--|
With the UFC record for title defenses all his own, the only thing left for Johnson to do in terms of improving his legacy is taking on a super fight. It appears he will get that chance, at 125 pounds, against bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
|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. T.J. Dillashaw (c)||Bantamweight||15-3|
|The UFC's 135-pound king regained his crown with a stunning second-round TKO of hated rival (and former teammate) Cody Garbrandt. With the victory, Dillashaw gained redemption from a disputed 2016 title loss to Dominick Cruz via split decision. He also announced his intention to cut 10 pounds in order to face Demetrious Johnson in a superfight for pound-for-pound supremacy.|
|4. Jon Jones||Light heavyweight||21-1, 1 NC|
|Jones certainly has the talent and resume to top this list, which is where he was after his feel-good comeback story ended with a TKO of Daniel Cormier in their UFC 214 rematch. But another failed drug test wiped out the result and further stained Jones' legacy. Until his appeal and likely suspension is sorted out, Jones' standing on this list remains tenuous.|
|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. Woodley is under promoted and underrated, which was evident by his recent eight-fight streak as the betting underdog.
|6. 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.|
|7. 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.|
|8. 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.|
|9. Tony Ferguson (c - interim)||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.|
|10. Cody Garbrandt||Bantamweight||11-1|
|"No Love" appeared poised for crossover stardom when a second-round combination from TJ Dillashaw cost him his title at UFC 217. Garbrandt looked great coming off of back surgery and seemed on the verge of stopping the former champion the previous round. If the 26-year-old is as good as he has looked, it shouldn't take him long to earn a second shot at the belt.|
Honorable mentions: Luke Rockhold, Stephen Thompson, Khabib Nurmagomedov, Dominick Cruz, Robert Whittaker, Georges St-Pierre
On the women's side,opened the door for Cris "Cyborg" Justino to reclaim the crown of best in the sport. It also allowed room for Rose Namajunas, who appears poised to be a regular for years to come now that her skill set has come full circle, to make her debut.
Women's pound-for-pound rankings
|1. 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.|
|2. 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.|
|3. Joanna Jedrzejczyk||Strawweight||14-1|
One win from cementing her status among the greatest female fighters in MMA history by equaling Ronda Rousey's record for title defenses, Jedrzejczyk saw her reign come crashing down against Rose Namajunas. The result was shocking considering how dominant "Joanna Champion" had been. Although her longterm future is likely at 125 pounds due to how difficult her cut to strawweight has been, Jedrzejczyk is more than deserving of an immediate second chance.
|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, at her natural weight of 125 pounds, where Shevchenko could become an instant title contender.|
|5. Rose Namajunas (c)||Strawweight||7-3|
|Three years after a dominant loss to Carla Esparza in the UFC's inaugural 115-pound title bout, "Thug Rose" has seen her career come full circle. While it was technically her improved boxing which brought a stunning end to Joanna Jedrzejczyk's title reign, Namajunas' ability to fight off the former champion's mental warfare was just as important. Considering Namajunas was known more for her submission game coming in, she appears on the verge of fulfilling her promise as a true mixed martial artist. That's a scary proposition.|
Honorable mentions: Jessica Andrade, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Cynthia Calvillo, Germaine de Randamie, Claudia Gadelha
Dropped out: Jessica Andrade
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