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UFC pound for pound rankings: Charles Oliveira rises after impressive UFC 289 win

RankFighterRecordLast 3 Results
#1Islam Makhachev24-1W-W-W
#2Alexander Volkanovski23-2L-W-W
#3Israel Adesanya24-2W-L-W
#4Jon Jones27-1W-W-W
#5Leon Edwards21-3W-W-W
#6Aljamain Sterling23-3W-W-W
#7Charles Oliveira34-9W-L-W
#8Kamaru Usman20-3L-L-W
#9Brandon Moreno21-6W-W-L
#10Max Holloway24-7W-L-W

The men’s UFC pound for pound rankings is the cream of the crop when it comes to MMA top-10 lists. It is a group of the very best fighters on planet Earth. It features the competitors who best mix power, speed, athleticism, and fight IQ into an absolutely destructive cage fighting force. It’s also a list that is heavily debated and as subjective a topic as there is in the MMA community.

With that said, here are the official Sportsnaut.com men’s UFC pound-for-pound rankings.

Related: UFC tonight – Fight card, betting odds, and watch times for Saturday’s UFC event

10. Max Holloway (24-7)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Max Holloway will go down as one of the greatest featherweights of all time and among the best fighters of his generation. Unfortunately, after coming up short every time in his trilogy against Alexander Volkanovski, he will always be the second-best 145-pounder of his era.

Nevertheless, he is still an elite talent and worthy of a spot on the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, and “Blessed” proved why once again with a definitive win over rising star Arnold Allen at UFC Kansas City.

In August he will make his return and face a competitor he recently pushed for a matchup with, in division star Chan Sung Jung.

9. Brandon Moreno (21-6)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Jason da Silva-USA TODAY Sports

After a short time away, Brandon Moreno is back in our UFC pound for pound rankings and it is well deserved. While Demetrious Johnson is still the greatest flyweight in MMA and UFC history, Moreno solidified his place at No. 2 with his definitive series-ending win over Deiveson Figueiredo at UFC 283.

“The Assassin Baby” will make his return at International Fight Week when he takes on top-ranked challenger Alexandre Pantoja. A man who has two wins over him, including when the duo was contestants on Season 24 of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

7. Kamaru Usman (20-3)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Per Haljestam-USA TODAY Sports

The long-standing king of the UFC has finally been dethroned. While Kamaru Usman dominated most of his UFC 278 title defense against Leon Edwards, his fall from glory is now the new thesis of a fight is never over, until the final bell rings. “The Nigerian Nightmare” is still one of the best fighters on the planet, but with the competition at the top of the UFC pound of round rankings so strong, the former welterweight king had to fall.

At UFC 286, the welterweight legend got a chance to avenge just the second loss of his career but came up just short by a majority decision to Edwards. It will be interesting to see where he goes next. Does he want to reclimb the ladder back to contention at welterweight, or maybe try a change of scenery at middleweight?

  • Next Fight: TBD

8. Charles Oliveira (34-9)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Oliveira was dominantly defeated in October by Islam Makhachev but he still remains one of the best fighters on the planet. It is just the nature of fighting at the top of what has long been the best division in the MMA.

However, a rematch could be next after he soundly defeated a red-hot Beneil Dariush at UFC 289. It proved that he is still one of the best fighters on the planet at any weight class.

  • Next fight: TBD

6. Aljamain Sterling (23-3)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Many doubted the validity of Aljamain Sterling as the bantamweight champion, but at UFC 273 he proved his merit as a titlist and one of the best fighters in the world. It wasn’t a performance for the ages but Sterling won fair and square and beat an elite talent using his world-class wrestling. Then he did it again at UFC 280 against TJ Dillashaw. Although the former champion had a compromised shoulder heading into the bout.

At UFC 288 he had another close win but still went toe-to-toe with one of the best of the generation, Henry Cejudo, in an absolute chess match and walked away with another win and remains the king at 135 pounds. If there was any doubt before of his status as a pound-for-pound superstar, there never, ever, should be again.

  • Next fight: vs. Sean O’Malley at UFC 292 on Aug. 19

5. Leon Edwards (21-3)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

Leon Ewards will go down as having the greatest comeback victory in the entire history of the UFC and the sport of MMA. His last-minute UFC 278 win over a living legend in Kamaru Usman stamped his spot in welterweight history and landed him in the pound-for-pound rankings for the first time. He proved he has a heart just like the fictional “Rocky” and is a dangerous man to the very last seconds of a fight.

At UFC 286 he got a chance to prove his win wasn’t a fluke after being beaten in most of the previous seven rounds the duo had. And he did exactly that with an improved wrestling game, smart strategy, and a well-placed cage grab to outlast Usman for a second straight win over one of the best welterweights ever.

If there were any doubters before, they can quiet the discourse because Edwards is the undisputed top 170-pounder in the world today.

  • Next Fight: TBD

4. Jon Jones (27-1)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Well, after dominating the light heavyweight division for just over a decade, it did not take long for Jon Jones to usurp control at heavyweight. At UFC 285 the MMA GOAT jumped into the division for the first time and needed less than three minutes to beat former interim champion Ciryl Gane and become the new division king.

The submission finish was his first fight-ender since 2018 and put the sport on notice that a motivated Jon Jones is still as terrifying as it’s always been. He may hold on to this title for a very long time and he is back in our UFC pound-for-pound rankings for the first time in nearly two years.

  • Next Fight: TBD

3. Israel Adesanya (24-2)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Israel Adesanya is not only one of the best UFC middleweights ever, but when all is said and done, he will be viewed as one of the greatest fighters to ever compete in the Octagon in general. However, even legends have off nights and opponents that are their kryptonite. Alex Pereira has become that after scoring a third straight fight sports win over the champ at UFC 281, and in come-from-behind fashion.

The loss changed the New Zealander by way of Nigeria’s legacy, but at UFC 287 he was able to reset his legendary timeline with a second-round KO over his boogeyman Pereira. Now, the middleweight king is back and the division should be very worried.

2. Alexander Volkanovski (23-1)

ufc pound for pound
Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski has won 20 straight fights, defeated the best 145-pounder ever, Max Holloway three times, and hasn’t tasted defeat in eight years. With Kamaru Usman’s stunning last-minute defeat at UFC 278, “The Great” jumped up to the top spot of our rankings as the best cage fighter on Earth.

However, in an attempt to be a two-division champion, he rolled the dice at UFC 284 versus lightweight king Islam Makhachev. And while he came very close to upsetting the fast-rising star, he fell short of his goal and suffered his first loss in nearly eight years by unanimous decision.

Next, he will return to defend his featherweight crown against interim champion Yair Rodriguez in July at UFC 290.

  • Next Fight: vs. Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 8

1. Islam Makhachev (23-1)

ufc pound for pound rankings
Credit: Craig Kidwell-USA TODAY Sports

Winning 11 straight fights and dominating one of the best lightweight competitors of all time is grounds to land a spot in our top 10. While Islam Makhachev’s dominance hasn’t been quite as spectacular as Oliveira’s, there is no denying the force he has become in the company. He has rarely been challenged and brings a style that is an elite puzzle.

If there were any doubters of his talent, they were quieted again at UFC 284 when he showed he is far more than a dominant wrestler when he held his own on the feet against pound-for-pound superstar Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. He was able to outpoint and outwork the best in the world, and that is why he moves up to the top spot in our latest UFC pound-for-pound rankings.

  • Next fight: TBD