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Jon Jones reclaims top spot as UFC updates pound-for-pound rankings, middleweight star climbs two places

UFC 232 Jones v Gustafsson 2
UFC 232 Jones v Gustafsson 2
Modified 24 Mar 2021

Jon Jones is once again the top pound-for-pound mixed martial artist in the UFC. 'Bones' reclaimed the spot following Khabib Nurmagomedov's definitive retirement.

Even though the 'Eagle' had made the retirement announcement in October 2020 right after his fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, the promotion kept his name on the rankings hoping to convince him of a comeback.

Now, with Khabib finally removed from the UFC pound-for-pound rankings and no longer lightweight champion, Jones and almost all of the other 15 fighters on the list have been moved up a position.

Former UFC middleweight champion and current No. 1 contender Robert Whittaker benefitted the most from the change. He has advanced two positions, jumping from No. 13 to 11.

Dustin Poirier is the best-ranked fighter who doesn't currently hold a title, claiming the sixth position for himself. Aljamain Sterling is the worst-ranked champion, sitting at No. 14.

In addition to Poirier and Whittaker, other non-champion fighters to compose the UFC pound-for-pound rankings are Max Holloway, Justin Gaethje, Petr Yan, Francis Ngannou, and Conor McGregor.

The bantamweight division offers a unique case as the current champion, Sterling, is behind the former titleholder and No. 1 contender, Yan.

Behind Jones is the welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, who is unbeaten in the UFC so far. 'The Nigerian Nightmare' will defend his belt against Jorge Masvidal at UFC 261 on April 24.


Closing out the top five are UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic and featherweight and middleweight champions Alexander Volkanovski and Israel Adesanya, respectively.

How is the UFC pound-for-pound ranking calculated?

Currently, there are 14 UFC rankings; two pound-for-pound (men's and women's) rankings and one ranking for each weight class (eight for men and four for women).

Besides the champion of each division, there are 15 other contenders who are ranked from best to worst. This indicates who is the closest to obtaining a title shot at the division's best.

According to the description on the official UFC website, the rankings are calculated "by a voting panel made up of media members."

"The media members were asked to vote for who they feel are the top fighters in the UFC by weight-class and pound-for-pound. A fighter is only eligible to be voted on if they are in active status in the UFC."
"A fighter can appear in more than one weight division at a time. The champion and interim champion are considered to be in the top positions of their respective divisions and therefore are not eligible for voting by weight-class. However, the champions can be voted on for the pound-for-pound rankings."
Published 24 Mar 2021, 01:59 IST
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