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Pound-for-pound rankings: Makhachev claims top spot

Pound-for-pound rankings: Makhachev claims top spot

The pound-for-pound debate is officially over.

Islam Makhachev‘s definitive TKO victory over Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 not only meant retaining the lightweight title, but also identifying who the best in the world is right now at MMA. Coming into last Saturday’s spectacle in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Volkanovski was No. 1 in ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings, just ahead of Makhachev at No. 2.

After UFC 294, Makhachev claimed the top spot in the rankings while Volkanovski fell to No. 3, but both will now look ahead to upcoming title fights in 2024 that were already on the books.

Makhachev’s next opponent is expected to be the one he was supposed to face last week in Charles Oliveira. Oliveira comes in No. 5 in the pound-for-pound rankings. He withdrew from UFC 294 due to injury.

For Volkanovski, Ilia Topuria awaits as the next challenger for the 145-pound title. Topuria is currently ranked No. 6 in ESPN’s men’s featherweight rankings.

For the ESPN divisional MMA rankings, click here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Oct. 23. In order to be eligible for the rankings, a fighter must have competed over the past 12 months or must have an upcoming fight booked. Fighters who have been dropped for inactivity can be reinstated only after they compete.


Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Islam Makhachev

UFC lightweight champion
Record: 25-1
Last: W (KO1) vs. Alexander Volkanovski, Oct. 21, 2023
Next: TBD


2. Jon Jones

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 27-1, 1 NC
Last: W (Sub1) vs. Ciryl Gane, March 4, 2023
Next: Nov. 11 vs. Stipe Miocic


3. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 26-3
Last: L (KO1) vs. Islam Makhachev, Oct. 21, 2023
Next: TBD


4. Leon Edwards

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 21-3, 1 NC
Last: W (MD) vs. Kamaru Usman, March 18, 2023
Next: Dec. 16 vs. Colby Covington


5. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight
Record: 34-9, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO1) vs. Beneil Dariush, June 10, 2023
Next: TBD


6. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight
Record: 24-3
Last: L (UD) vs. Sean Strickland, Sept. 9, 2023
Next: TBD


7. Sean O’Malley

UFC bantamweight champion
Record: 17-1, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) vs. Aljamain Sterling, Aug. 19, 2023
Next: TBD


8. Alexandre Pantoja

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 26-5
Last: W (SD) vs. Brandon Moreno, July 8, 2023
Next: Dec. 16 vs. Brandon Royval


9. Sean Strickland

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 28-5
Last: W (UD) vs. Israel Adesanya, Sept. 9, 2023
Next: TBD


10. Brandon Moreno

UFC flyweight
Record: 21-7-2
Last: L (SD) vs. Alexandre Pantoja, July 8, 2023
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Aljamain Sterling, Kamaru Usman, Khamzat Chimaev, Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje, and Demetrious Johnson.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Makhachev; 2. Volkanovski; 3. Jones; 4. Edwards; 5. Adesanya; 6. Oliveira; 7. Pantoja; 8. Holloway; 9. Moreno; 10. O’Malley.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Oliveira; 6. O’Malley; 7. Pantoja; 8. Strickland; 9. Moreno; 10. Adesanya.

Megan Anderson: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Oliveira; 6. Adesanya; 7. Usman; 8. Gaethje; 9. Sterling; 10. O’Malley

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Adesanya; 6. O’Malley; 7. Strickland; 8. Oliveira; 9. Holloway; 10. Usman.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Makhachev; 2. Volkanovski; 3. Jones; 4. Oliveira; 5. Adesanya; 6. Edwards; 7. Pantoja; 8. Chimaev; 9. Usman; 10. Sterling.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Oliveira; 6. Pantoja; 7. O’Malley; 8. Sterling; 9. Gaethje; 10. Moreno.

Ian Parker: 1. Jones; 2. Makhachev; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Strickland; 6. O’Malley; 7. Pantoja; 8. Chimaev; 9. Johnson; 10. Adesanya.


1. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 24-3
Last: W (UD) vs. Amanda Lemos, Aug. 19, 2023
Next: TBD


2. Alexa Grasso

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 16-3-1
Last: Split draw vs. Valentina Shevchenko, Sept. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


3. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight
Record: 22-4-1
Last: Split draw vs. Alexa Grasso, Sept. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


4. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 27-2, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO1) vs. Cat Zingano, Oct. 7, 2023
Next: TBD


5. Erin Blanchfield

UFC flyweight
Previous ranking: 4
Record: 12-1
Last: W (UD) vs. Taila Santos, Aug. 26, 2023
Next: TBD


6. Yan Xiaonan

UFC strawweight
Record: 17-3
Last: W (KO1) vs. Jessica Andrade, May 6, 2023
Next: TBD


7. Carla Esparza

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 5
Record: 19-7
Last: L (Sub2) vs. Zhang Weili, Nov. 12, 2022
Next: TBD


T-8. Manon Fiorot

UFC flyweight
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 11-1
Last: W (UD) vs. Rose Namajunas, Sept. 2, 2023
Next: TBD


T-8. Tatiana Suarez

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 10-0
Last: W (Sub2) vs. Jessica Andrade, Aug. 5, 2023
Next: TBD


10. Seika Izawa

Rizin super atomweight champion
Record: 11-0
Last: W (Sub1) vs. Claire Lopez, July 30, 2023
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Larissa Pacheco, Kayla Harrison, Liz Carmouche, Amanda Lemos, Raquel Pennington, Rose Namajunas, Taila Santos and Mayra Bueno Silva.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Zhang Weili; 2. Alexa Grasso; 3. Valentina Shevchenko; 4. Cris Cyborg. 5. Erin Blanchfield; 6. Tatiana Suarez; 7. Manon Fiorot; 8. Rose Namajunas; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Carla Esparza.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Zhang; 2. Cyborg; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Grasso; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Esparza; 7. Yan Xiaonan; 8. Seika Izawa; 9. Suarez; 10. Fiorot.

Megan Anderson: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Cyborg; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Yan; 7. Raquel Pennington; 8. Fiorot; 9. Taila Santos; 10. Mayra Bueno Silva.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Blanchfield; 5. Larissa Pacheco; 6. Cyborg; 7. Amanda Lemos; 8. Harrison; 9. Izawa; 10. Carmouche.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Cyborg; 4. Shevchenko; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Esparza; 7. Yan; 8. Carmouche; 9. Izawa; 10. Suarez.

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