MMA rankings: Ryan Bader becomes a dual champion

Ryan Bader
Ryan Bader
(Gregory Payan / AP)

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


1. Daniel Cormier

2. Stipe Miocic


3. Francis Ngannou

4. Curtis Blaydes

5. Derrick Lewis

6. Alexander Volkov


7. Alistair Overeem

8. Cain Velasquez

9. Junior Dos Santos

10. Ryan Bader


Ryan Bader is now a dual champion in Bellator as he captured the Bellator heavyweight title by winning the Bellator Grand Prix tournament. Bader finished Fedor Emelianenko and King Mo Lawal quickly and won a clear decision over Matt Mitrione. He won’t be defending the title next against Vitaly Minakov, as Minakov’s return to Bellator was an unsuccessful one. He lost via decision in a lackluster bout against Cheick Kongo. Francis Ngannou picked up another prominent first-round knockout as he finished Cain Velasquez with punches in Velasquez’s first fight since 2016. Ngannou’s power is tough to handle even for greats like Velasquez.

Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones

2. Ryan Bader


3. Anthony Smith

4. Alexander Gustafsson

5. Corey Anderson

6. Ilir Latifi


7. Volkan Oezdemir

8. Dominick Reyes

9. Thiago Santos

10. Glover Teixeira


Johnny Walker showed off some star qualities in an impressive win against Justin Ledet. Walker was vibrant coming to the cage, finished Ledet in a hurry with a spinning backfist and then put on a gymnastics display in celebration. If Walker can continue to win against high level opposition he’s going to be in important light-heavyweight bouts for years to come.


1. Robert Whittaker

2. Yoel Romero


3. Gegard Mousasi

4. Israel Adesanya

5. Luke Rockhold

6. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza


7. Kelvin Gastelum

8. Chris Weidman

9. Paulo Costa

10. David Branch


The UFC middleweight division was thrown into chaos when Robert Whittaker was forced to withdraw right before his title defense against Kelvin Gastelum with a hernia. Israel Adesanya beat Anderson Silva in the new main event at UFC 234 and now it remains to be seen what will happen next for Whittaker, Gastelum and Adesanya.


1. Tyron Woodley

2. Colby Covington


3. Kamaru Usman

4. Darren Till

5. Stephen Thompson

6. Rory MacDonald


7. Rafael Dos Anjos

8. Douglas Lima

9. Santiago Ponzinibbio

10. Robbie Lawler


Demian Maia rebounded from losses to the elite of the welterweight division to submit Lyman Good in the first round of their contest. Maia’s jiu jitsu remains a force to be reckoned with. Vicente Luque continued his remarkable UFC run with his eighth finish in nine bouts and he should be getting a contender as an opponent sooner rather than later. Michael “Venom” Page won a decision over countryman Paul Daley but didn’t create many believers in the process as his ground game showed serious vulnerabilities.


1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

2. Tony Ferguson


3. Conor McGregor

4. Dustin Poirier

5. Eddie Alvarez

6. Justin Gaethje


7. Al Iaquinta

8. Kevin Lee

9. Edson Barboza

10. Michael Chandler


Paul Felder picked up an important win over James Vick, his fourth win in five fights, and is on the cusp of the top 10. Another fighter in a similar position is Charles Oliveira, who scored his fourth straight submission win over David Teymur.


1. Max Holloway

2. Brian Ortega


3. Jose Aldo

4. Frankie Edgar

5. Alexander Volkanovski

6. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire


7. Mirsad Bektic

8. Zabit Magomedsharipov

9. Chad Mendes

10. Renato Moicano


Jose Aldo showed he’s still an elite featherweight as he stopped Renato Moicano early in the second round of their bout. Moicano was seen as a potential title challenger and his defeat will likely open up opportunities for other fighters like Alexander Volkanovski. Bellator featherweight champion Patricio Freire has a big fight coming up as he will take on Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler in May.


1. T.J. Dillashaw

2. Marlon Moraes


3. Cody Garbrandt

4. Raphael Assuncao

5. Aljamain Sterling

6. Jimmie Rivera


7. John Lineker

8. Cody Stamann

9. Kyoji Horiguchi

10. Pedro Munhoz


Marlon Moraes avenged his only recent loss when he submitted Raphael Assuncao and now Moraes has firmly established himself as the top contender for T.J. Dillashaw’s UFC bantamweight title. Aljamain Sterling turned in an impressive performance in a wide unanimous decision victory over Jimmie Rivera and he’s right in the top mix as well.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes

2. Ketlen Vieira


3. Aspen Ladd

4. Germaine de Randamie

5. Sarah Kaufman

6. Tonya Evinger


7. Raquel Pennington

8. Marion Reneau

9. Sara McMann

10. Yana Kunitskaya


With Amanda Nunes’ emphatic victory over Cris “Cyborg” Justino, some of the top women’s bantamweight fighters could find themselves returning from featherweight to bantamweight and strengthening the depth of the division here. However, the biggest challenges to Nunes are fighters who have remained at bantamweight, the undefeated Ketlen Vieira and Aspen Ladd.


1. Henry Cejudo

2. Demetrious Johnson


3. Joseph Benavidez

4. Jussier Formiga

5. Ray Borg

6. Deiveson Figueiredo


7. Alexandre Pantoja

8. Wilson Reis

9. Brandon Moreno

10. John Moraga


The UFC flyweight division continues to dissolve as UFC released another group of flyweights in the past month including Brandon Moreno and Dustin Ortiz. The fate of the division will likely hinge on what UFC decides to do next with champion Henry Cejudo.

Women’s Flyweight

1. Valentina Shevchenko

2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane


3. Nicco Montano

4. Jessica Eye

5. Katlyn Chookagian

6. Livia Renata Souza


7. Alexis Davis

8. Joanne Calderwood

9. Andrea Lee

10. Liz Carmouche


The UFC women’s flyweight division is still sorting itself out but it’s clear there is plenty of talent between the fighters moving down from bantamweight, the fighters moving up from strawweight and the fighters coming in from other organizations. Livia Renata Souza and Andrea Lee debut this month, with Souza defeating Sarah Frota and Lee besting Ashlee Evans-Smith.

Women’s Strawweight

1. Rose Namajunas

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk


3. Jessica Andrade

4. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

5. Tatiana Suarez

6. Nina Ansaroff


7. Claudia Gadelha

8. Tecia Torres

9. Carla Esparza

10. Cynthia Calvillo


Cynthia Calvillo won her second straight against Cortney Casey and is looking for prominent fights in the division moving forward. The division is fairly open after Rose Namajunas and Jessica Andrade compete for the title in Brazil in May.