You can’t deny Stipe Miocic’s place atop the MMA rankings

Stipe Miocic
Stipe Miocic
(Gregory Payan / AP)

The Times’ MMA rankings for May, as compiled by Todd Martin:


1. Stipe Miocic

2. Fabricio Werdum

3. Cain Velasquez

4. Alistair Overeem

5. Junior Dos Santos

6. Derrick Lewis

7. Ben Rothwell

8. Vitaly Minakov

9. Francis Ngannou

10. Travis Browne

The ability of Stipe Miocic snuck up on a lot of people. Miocic wasn’t a strongly hyped fighter as he rose up the ranks but now after four straight first-round knockouts, the UFC heavyweight champion cannot be denied. Miocic finished Junior Dos Santos in brutal fashion just like Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Andrei Arlovski and Mark Hunt before. The most dangerous opponent for Miocic could be Cain Velasquez, the former champion who has battled injuries in recent years.

Light Heavyweight


1. Daniel Cormier

2. Phil Davis

3. Alexander Gustafsson

4. Ryan Bader

5. Jimi Manuwa

6. Glover Teixeira

7. Volkan Oezdemir

8. Misha Cirkunov

9. King Mo Lawal

10. Nikita Krylov

Alexander Gustafsson struggled the last time he fought in his native Sweden, losing via knockout to Anthony Johnson. Gustafsson had a much better time in his return. Gustafsson pulverized Glover Teixeira throughout the fight with brutal strikes before scoring a fifth-round knockout. The performance establishes Gustafsson as one of the clear elite fighters in the division. Volkan Oezdemir breaks into the top 10 with a win over Misha Cirkunov. Cirkunov moved in recklessly with punches and got caught with a counter that put him out.


1. Michael Bisping

2. Yoel Romero

3. Luke Rockhold

4. Gegard Mousasi

5. Robert Whittaker

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

7. Chris Weidman

8. Kelvin Gastelum

9. David Branch

10. Krzysztof Jotko

Yoel Romero and Robert Whittaker will fight for an interim UFC middleweight title at UFC 213 as both wait for the opportunity to compete against Michael Bisping. Bisping was originally going to face Georges St. Pierre next but that fight was cancelled and it’s possible the Romero/Whittaker winner could be next for Bisping. David Branch’s return to the UFC was successful as he pulled out a close split decision over fellow contender Krzysztof Jotko.


1. Tyron Woodley

2. Demian Maia

3. Robbie Lawler

4. Stephen Thompson

5. Rory MacDonald

6. Ben Askren

7. Carlos Condit

8. Dong Hyun Kim

9. Neil Magny

10. Jorge Masvidal

Rory MacDonald’s Bellator debut couldn’t have gone much better. MacDonald dominated Paul Daley by utilizing his ground game and laid claim to the mantle of best fighter not in the UFC. Demian Maia had a rough go of it at times but he pulled out a split decision over Jorge Masvidal and now will get his title shot at UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley. Maia got the better of the grappling exchanges while Masvidal did better in the standup and was defensively strong on the ground. Ben Askren improved his perfect record to 16-0 (1 NC) with a win over Agilan Thani in One Championship.


1. Conor McGregor

2. Khabib Nurmagomedov

3. Tony Ferguson

4. Eddie Alvarez

5. Rafael Dos Anjos

6. Edson Barboza

7. Nate Diaz

8. Justin Gaethje

9. Michael Chiesa

10. Beneil Dariush

Eddie Alvarez vs. Dustin Poirier ended in controversy. Alvarez threw a couple of illegal knees and Poirier was unable to continue. Some felt Poirier should have won by disqualification but referee Herb Dean deemed the knees unintentional and thus the fight was ruled a no contest. UFC tends not to like immediate rematches but this could be an exception.


1. Jose Aldo

2. Max Holloway

3. Frankie Edgar

4. Cub Swanson

5. Ricardo Lamas

6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

7. Daniel Straus

8. Anthony Pettis

9. Doo Ho Choi

10. Chan Sung Jung

Jose Aldo and Max Holloway will compete in the main event of UFC 212 Saturday night for the UFC featherweight title. Aldo is the longtime champion of the division while Holloway is the young gun on the big winning streak seeking to produce a changing of the guard in the division. There was no changing of the guard at UFC 211 when Frankie Edgar took on Yair Rodriguez. Edgar beat Rodriguez into the ground, an emphatic statement of where he still stands in the division.


1. Cody Garbrandt

2. Dominick Cruz

3. T.J. Dillashaw

4. Marlon Moraes

5. Raphael Assuncao

6. Bibiano Fernandes

7. John Lineker

8. Eduardo Dantas

9. Jimmie Rivera

10. Thomas Almeida

Cody Garbrandt vs. T.J. Dillashaw, scheduled for UFC 213, unfortunately had to be cancelled due to an injury to Garbrandt. What comes next is unclear. Dillashaw has spoken of moving down to challenge Demetrious Johnson for the flyweight title while Dominick Cruz still lingers as well.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Valentina Shevchenko

3. Julianna Pena

4. Cat Zingano

5. Sara McMann

6. Raquel Pennington

7. Alexis Davis

8. Tonya Evinger

9. Sarah Kaufman

10. Liz Carmouche

Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko will compete in a rematch for the UFC women’s bantamweight title in July. The division has thinned out in the last year, leaving the winner in good shape going forward if they can get by their tough opponent.


1. Demetrious Johnson

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Henry Cejudo

4. Kyoji Horiguchi

5. Ray Borg

6. Jussier Formiga

7. Wilson Reis

8. Brandon Moreno

9. Ian McCall

10. Sergio Pettis

Demetrious Johnson says he doesn’t want to fight T.J. Dillashaw for the flyweight title because Dillashaw is “jumping the line.” Johnson instead would prefer to fight Ray Borg. It’s a preposterous argument from Johnson, who has been beating up on arguably the weakest division in the sport for years and now doesn’t seem to want the opportunity to score what would be a genuine resume building win. Johnson would be better served to seek out the tougher challenge for once.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

2. Claudia Gadelha

3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

4. Rose Namajunas

5. Jessica Andrade

6. Tecia Torres

7. Carla Esparza

8. Maryna Moroz

9. Joanne Calderwood

10. Jessica Aguilar

Joanna Jedrzejczyk turned in an absolute clinic in her unanimous decision win over Jessica Andrade in Dallas. Jedrzejczyk weaved in and out, landing solid shots from all angles and forcing Andrade to swing at air. It was another spectacular victory for Jedrzejczyk, who hopefully will have the chance to headline pay-per-views in the coming months and years.