The updated UFC rankings following last weekend's UFC 261 event have changed the fortunes of a number of fighters. A former champ and a top contender have been removed from the rankings while a returning prospect and a few veterans have found a spot for themselves in the UFC rankings.
The stacked UFC 261 pay-per-view card will go down as a milestone event in combat sports history. When the cameras panned over the sold-out arena on April 24th, the electrifying atmosphere of the pre-COVID era was on full display for the first time since March of 2020.
The event produced some great performances as well as some ill-fated endings. The results at UFC 261 have shaken up the UFC rankings and brought significant changes to Rose Namajunas, Jorge Masvidal, and Khamzat Chimaev's places in their respective divisions.
Rose Namajunas became the first female fighter to reclaim the UFC title with a spectacular head-kick knockout of Zhang Weili at UFC 261. The two-time strawweight champion jumped to the No. 3 spot in the women's pound-for-pound (P4P) rankings.
The only women above 'Thug Rose' in the P4P rankings are Valentina Shevchenko (No. 2) and Amanda Nunes (No.1). Former champion Zhang Weili and Jessica Andrade lost one spot each to occupy the No. 4 and No. 6 spots respectively.
A knockout loss to champion Kamaru Usman in the headliner of UFC 261 slightly hurt Jorge Masvidal's standing in the welterweight division as 'Gamebred' slid one spot down to No. 5. Stephen Thompson - the last fighter to beat Masvidal before Kamaru Usman - now occupies the No. 4 spot in the welterweight division in the latest UFC rankings.
Khamzat Chimaev gains from Tyron Woodley's loss in the UFC rankings
Former welterweight kingpin Tyron Woodley's steep decline from the top following his title loss to Kamaru Usman has come to an end. As reported by MMA Fighting, Woodley is a free agent after his most recent loss to No. 6-ranked Vicente Luque at UFC 260 in March.
Woodley's subsequent removal from the UFC rankings has paved the way for hot prospect Khamzat Chiamev, who has entered the UFC welterweight rankings at No.15. Chimaev recently announced his return to the competition after a prolonged battle with the coronavirus.
Although there is speculation about Chimaev fighting returning veteran Nick Diaz, the possibility of the bout taking place is slim at the moment.
The men's P4P rankings have remained unchanged in the aftermath of the UFC 261. However, a major change took place in the featherweight and lightweight divisions. No.14-ranked lightweight Al Iaquinta and No. 3-ranked featherweight Zabit Magomedsharipov have been removed from the UFC rankings due to inactivity.
Donald Cerrone has re-entered the lightweight rankings at No.15 following Ragin' Al's removal. Giga Chikadze and Cub Swanson have also entered the featherweight rankings in the No.14 and No.15 spots respectively following Magomedsharipov's removal and No.10-ranked Jeremy Stephens' move up to lightweight.
Chikadze and Swanson are scheduled to fight in the co-main event of UFC Vegas 25 on May 1st.