Jon Jones? Khabib Nurmagomedov? The true pound-for-pound No. 1 is …

Khabib Nurmagomedov was as dominant as common in defeating Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on Sept. 7. The light-weight champion ran his report to 28-Zero general, 12-Zero within the UFC. Nobody has accomplished it higher. That should make him the clear pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in MMA, proper?

Not so quick. There’s this man named Jon Jones who has been residing on the high of the mountain seemingly perpetually. The UFC’s gentle heavyweight champ is 25-1 with a no contest, the loss on his report a extremely questionable disqualification from a decade in the past. He does not seem able to budge anytime quickly.


So who’s the most effective within the sport, no matter weight division or combat promotion?

Saturday’s UFC Battle Evening primary occasion should not be quick on motion. Justin Gaethje will tackle Donald Cerrone in Vancouver, with a stoppage very seemingly. Gaethje hasn’t had a combat determined by the judges in 5 years, whereas 12 of Cerrone’s final 15 fights did not go the space.

UFC Battle Evening: Cowboy vs. Gaethje
• Saturday, Vancouver, British Columbia
• Prelims: ESPN+, 5 p.m. ET
• Fundamental card: ESPN+, Eight p.m. ET


Subscribe to ESPN+ to get unique dwell UFC occasions, weigh-ins and extra; Ariel and the Unhealthy Man; Dana White’s Contender Sequence; and extra unique MMA content material.

This was the query ESPN’s panel of voters wrestled with, and ultimately you would possibly say it got here right down to a break up choice. Brett Okamoto and Jeff Wagenheim voted to raise Nurmagomedov, beforehand ranked second, to the highest spot. Ariel Helwani and Marc Raimondi opted to stay with Jones. So “Bones” and Khabib are tied for No. 1.

Right here is the considering of ESPN’s panelists:

Okamoto: Pound-for-pound rankings are about splitting hairs. You can also make a powerful case for Nurmagomedov or Jones as No. 1. Each are undefeated — Nurmagomedov formally, Jones unofficially. Nurmagomedov is clearly dominant in a single particular space; Jones is the entire bundle, and truly appears to get pleasure from beating his opponents of their areas of power. I’ve Nurmagomedov at No. 1 as a result of he has a ability set that nobody appears to have any concept what to do with, not to mention defeat. Jones is coming off a razor-thin choice in opposition to Thiago Santos. Each are nice, however I really feel Nurmagomedov has a slight edge in consistency proper now. I do know precisely what I am getting with Nurmagomedov and I do know that one thing has proved, up to now, inconceivable to beat and even decelerate.

Raimondi: Jones is the pound-for-pound finest fighter on the earth for me till he loses. In 21 UFC fights, Jones has by no means been crushed. The one loss on his report is that ridiculous disqualification in opposition to Matt Hamill in 2009. Nurmagomedov is completely superb. However he has two title defenses. Jones has 10.

Helwani: Truthfully, I haven’t got a fantastic purpose why I went with Jones, apart from he was No. 1 final month and did not lose, so I do not assume it is proper to bump him. There isn’t any mistaken reply right here. Nurmagomedov is most definitely deserving, however Jones has been on the high longer, so he will get the nod.

Wagenheim: For me, pound-for-pound rankings come right down to who’s most dominant inside his or her area. That is the one approach I can fathom stacking up, say, 125-pound Henry Cejudo alongside Stipe Miocic, a heavyweight champ practically twice his dimension. And by that measure, I see Nurmagomedov completely in command each day trip, whereas Jones squeaked by in his final combat and did not precisely blow the doorways off his earlier opponent, both. “Jonny Bones” is an all-time nice, however proper now my No. 1 is Khabib.

On the ladies’s facet, there additionally is a few motion within the pound-for-pound high 10. In successful the UFC strawweight championship on Aug.31, Zhang Weili knocked off beforehand No. Four Jessica Andrade and takes her spot, bumping the Brazilian down the rankings.

(You could find Okamoto’s division-by-division rankings right here.)

Observe: Rankings have been up to date Sept. 11.

Males’s pound-for-pound rankings

T-1. Jon Jones  

File: 25-1, 1 NC
Weight class: Gentle heavyweight
Final: W (SD) Thiago Santos, July 6
Subsequent: TBD

T-1. Khabib Nurmagomedov  

File: 28-Zero
Weight class: Light-weight
Final: W (SUB3) Dustin Poirier, Sept. 7
Subsequent: TBD

Three. Henry Cejudo  

File: 15-2
Weight class: Flyweight/bantamweight
Final: W (TKO3) Marlon Moraes, June Eight
Subsequent: TBD

Four. Stipe Miocic  

File: 19-Three
Weight class: Heavyweight
Final: W (TKO4) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 17
Subsequent: TBD

5. Daniel Cormier  

File: 22-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Heavyweight
Final: L (TKO4) Stipe Miocic, Aug. 17
Subsequent: TBD

6. Tony Ferguson  

File: 25-Three
Weight class: Light-weight
Final: W (TKO2) Donald Cerrone, June Eight
Subsequent: TBD

7. Demetrious Johnson  

File: 29-Three-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Final: W (UD) Tatsumitsu Wada, Aug. 2
Subsequent: Oct. 12 vs. Danny Kingad

T-Eight. Max Holloway  

File: 21-Four
Weight class: Featherweight
Final: W (UD) Frankie Edgar, July 27
Subsequent: TBD

T-Eight. Robert Whittaker  

File: 20-Four
Weight class: Middleweight
Final: W (SD) Yoel Romero, June 9, 2018
Subsequent: Oct. 6 vs. Israel Adesanya

10. Kamaru Usman  

File: 15-1
Weight class: Welterweight
Final: W (UD) Tyron Woodley, March 2
Subsequent: TBD

Different fighters receiving votes: Dustin Poirier and Israel Adesanya.

Robert Whittaker defends his UFC middleweight championship for the primary time in 16 months at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne on Oct. 6. Darrian Traynor for Zuffa LLC/Getty Pictures

How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
Three. Henry Cejudo
Four. Tony Ferguson
5. Robert Whittaker
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Daniel Cormier
Eight. Demetrious Johnson
9. Max Holloway
10. Kamaru Usman

Marc Raimondi
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Three. Daniel Cormier
Four. Henry Cejudo
5. Tony Ferguson
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Demetrious Johnson
Eight. Robert Whittaker
9. Kamaru Usman
10. Max Holloway

Ariel Helwani
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
Three. Henry Cejudo
Four. Stipe Miocic
5. Daniel Cormier
6. Tony Ferguson
7. Kamaru Usman
Eight. Dustin Poirier
9. Max Holloway
10. Israel Adesanya

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
Three. Henry Cejudo
Four. Stipe Miocic
5. Demetrious Johnson
6. Daniel Cormier
7. Max Holloway
Eight. Tony Ferguson
9. Dustin Poirier
10. Kamaru Usman

1. Amanda Nunes  

File: 18-Four
Weight class: Bantamweight/featherweight
Final: W (TKO1) Holly Holm, July 6
Subsequent: Dec. 14 vs. Germaine de Randamie

2. Valentina Shevchenko  

File: 18-Three
Weight class: Flyweight
Final: W (UD) Liz Carmouche, Aug. 10
Subsequent: TBD

Three. Cris Cyborg  

File: 21-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Featherweight
Final: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, July 27
Subsequent: TBD

Four. Zhang Weili  

File: 20-1
Weight class: Strawweight
Final: W (TKO1) Jessica Andrade, Aug. 31
Subsequent: TBD

5. Rose Namajunas  

File: 9-Four
Weight class: Strawweight
Final: L (TKO2) Jessica Andrade, Might 11
Subsequent: TBD

6. Jessica Andrade  

File: 20-7
Weight class: Strawweight
Final: L (TKO1) Zhang Weili, Aug. 31
Subsequent: TBD

7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk  

File: 15-Three
Weight class: Flyweight
Final: L (UD) Valentina Shevchenko, Dec. Eight
Subsequent: Oct. 12 vs. Michelle Waterson

T-Eight. Germaine de Randamie  

File: 9-Three
Weight class: Bantamweight
Final: W (TKO1) Aspen Ladd, July 13
Subsequent: Dec. 14 vs. Amanda Nunes

T-Eight. Tatiana Suarez  

File: Eight-Zero
Weight class: Strawweight
Final: W (UD) Nina Ansaroff, June Eight
Subsequent: TBD

10. Holly Holm  

File: 12-5
Weight class: Bantamweight
Final: L (TKO1) Amanda Nunes, July 6
Subsequent: TBD

Different fighter receiving a vote: Ketlen Vieira.

By grabbing the UFC strawweight belt on Aug. 31, Zhang Weili earned a spot within the girls’s high 10. Zhe Ji/Getty Pictures

How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
Three. Cris Cyborg
Four. Zhang Weili
5. Jessica Andrade
6. Rose Namajunas
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Eight. Germaine de Randamie
9. Tatiana Suarez
10. Ketlen Vieira

Marc Raimondi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
Three. Cris Cyborg
Four. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
Eight. Tatiana Suarez
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Holly Holm

Ariel Helwani
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
Three. Cris Cyborg
Four. Zhang Weili
5. Jessica Andrade
6. Rose Namajunas
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Eight. Tatiana Suarez
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Holly Holm

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Cris Cyborg
Three. Valentina Shevchenko
Four. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
Eight. Germaine de Randamie
9. Tatiana Suarez
10. Holly Holm