Times’ MMA rankings: Yoel Romero shows why he is a dangerous competitor


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


1. Stipe Miocic

2. Francis Ngannou

3. Alistair Overeem

4. Fabricio Werdum

5. Cain Velasquez

6. Junior Dos Santos

7. Vitaly Minakov

8. Matt Mitrione

9. Derrick Lewis

10. Alexander Volkov

Matt Mitrione advanced in Bellator’s Grand Prix tournament with a close majority decision over Roy Nelson. Mitrione remains one of the favorites in the tournament. Derrick Lewis looked like he might drop his fight with Marcin Tybura thanks to Tybura’s ground game but Lewis caught Tybura with punches late and picked up the TKO. Mark Hunt drops from the rankings after falling via unanimous decision to Curtis Blaydes.

Light Heavyweight


1. Daniel Cormier

2. Alexander Gustafsson

3. Ryan Bader

4. Phil Davis

5. Glover Teixeira

6. Volkan Oezdemir

7. Jimi Manuwa

8. Misha Cirkunov

9. King Mo Lawal

10. Nikita Krylov

There isn’t a lot of light-heavyweight depth in MMA these days, meaning Tyson Pedro has the opportunity to make waves quickly and potentially crack the top ten. The young Australian prospect picked up a beautiful submission win via kimura over Saparbek Safarov and is now 3-1 in the UFC.


1. Robert Whittaker

2. Yoel Romero

3. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

4. Gegard Mousasi

5. Luke Rockhold

6. Chris Weidman

7. Kelvin Gastelum

8. Michael Bisping

9. David Branch

10. Derek Brunson

Yoel Romero is one of the most dangerous competitors in the sport thanks to his omnipresent power and athleticism. He showcased that danger again versus Luke Rockhold, catching Rockhold in the third with a heavy punch and then finishing the fight in rapid order. Romero is in line for another opportunity to take on Robert Whittaker. In other action, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza knocked out Derek Brunson for the second time and merits a title shot of his own.


1. Tyron Woodley

2. Stephen Thompson

3. Rafael Dos Anjos

4. Robbie Lawler

5. Rory MacDonald

6. Douglas Lima

7. Colby Covington

8. Demian Maia

9. Darren Till

10. Santiago Ponzinibbio

There aren’t many significant fights scheduled in the welterweight division. Tyron Woodley will likely defend the UFC welterweight title against Rafael Dos Anjos next with a host of rising fighters looking to break into title contention.



1. Conor McGregor

2. Tony Ferguson

3. Khabib Nurmagomedov

4. Eddie Alvarez

5. Justin Gaethje

6. Edson Barboza

7. Kevin Lee

8. Dustin Poirier

9. Michael Chiesa

10. Beneil Dariush

James Vick is now 9-1 in the UFC after a unanimous decision win over Francisco Trinaldo but he just hasn’t been able to get the right opponents to catapult into the top mix. It’s about time he receives that opportunity.


1. Max Holloway

2. Jose Aldo

3. Frankie Edgar

4. Brian Ortega

5. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire

6. Ricardo Lamas

7. Cub Swanson

8. Chan Sung Jung

9. Josh Emmett

10. Darren Elkins

If Alex Volkanovski can continue to win as impressively as he did against formerly undefeated Jeremy Kennedy, it shouldn’t take him too long to crack the top ten. He looks like a real factor in his weight class.


1. T.J. Dillashaw

2. Cody Garbrandt

3. Dominick Cruz

4. Raphael Assuncao

5. Marlon Moraes

6. Jimmie Rivera

7. Bibiano Fernandes

8. John Lineker

9. Darrion Caldwell

10. Aljamain Sterling

When the main event for UFC 222 fell through, the promotion attempted to book T. J. Dillashaw vs. Cody Garbrandt in a rematch as the new main event. Garbrandt was keen on the idea but unfortunately Dillashaw didn’t want to take the fight on short notice for a number of reasons. It’s understandable on Dillashaw’s part and the fight will be bigger by the time it arrives.

Women’s Bantamweight


1. Amanda Nunes

2. Julianna Pena

3. Cat Zingano

4. Raquel Pennington

5. Ketlen Vieira

6. Sarah Kaufman

7. Sara McMann

8. Marion Reneau

9. Katlyn Chookagian

10. Aspen Ladd

Bantamweight was once far and away the marquee women’s division but as one fighter after another departs to fight at featherweight or flyweight, it’s in a sad state. It’s going to take time to replenish the division with fighters spread thin across a number of other divisions.


1. Demetrious Johnson

2. Joseph Benavidez

3. Henry Cejudo

4. Kyoji Horiguchi

5. Jussier Formiga

6. Sergio Pettis

7. Ray Borg

8. Wilson Reis

9. Brandon Moreno

10. John Moraga

With an impressive spinning backfist followed by a rear naked choke submission over Ben Nguyen, Jussier Formiga is as close to a title shot as he has ever been. If Demetrious Johnson avoids fighting T.J. Dillashaw again, Formiga is likely next in line for a shot against the sport’s most dominant champion.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Rose Namajunas

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

3. Jessica Andrade

4. Claudia Gadelha

5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

6. Tecia Torres

7. Carla Esparza

8. Maryna Moroz

9. Jessica Aguilar

10. Livia Renata Souza

Polyana Viana dominated Maia Stevenson with her jiu jitsu in her UFC debut and could present some serious problems for the division as she advances in her career.