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MMA Rankings: Jon Jones continues his career roller-coaster ride

Jon Jones
Jon Jones

(John Locher / Associated Press)

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

Heavyweight

1. Stipe Miocic
2. Francis Ngannou
3. Daniel Cormier
4. Curtis Blaydes
5. Junior Dos Santos
6. Derrick Lewis
7. Alexander Volkov
8. Ryan Bader
9. Vitaly Minakov
10. Jairzinho Rozenstruik

Daniel Cormier’s career is now in limbo, as the all-time great ponders whether at 41 years old he will enter into the Octagon potentially for the last time in a trilogy fight against Stipe Miocic. With the COVID-19 pandemic raging, time is not on Cormier’s side. Derrick Lewis picked up the most notable win of the month, surging in the third round to pick up a close decision win over Ilir Latifi.

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Light Heavyweight

1. Jon Jones
2. Dominick Reyes
3. Ryan Bader
4. Thiago Santos
5. Jan Blachowicz
6. Corey Anderson
7. Anthony Smith
8. Glover Teixeira
9. Phil Davis
10. Volkan Oezdemir

After a decade of dominance, many thought Jon Jones deserved to lose for the first time in his career when he fought Dominick Reyes to a competitive decision. Reyes controlled the fight early while Jones came on late. The judges gave it to Jones but more of the media scored it for Reyes. Jones’ outside the Octagon problems then continued when he was arrested for a DWI and negligent use of a firearm. Jan Blachowicz moved into the top mix at light heavyweight with a first round knockout of Corey Anderson. He has now won 7 of 8.

Middleweight

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1. Israel Adesanya
2. Robert Whittaker
3. Paulo Costa
4. Gegard Mousasi
5. Jared Cannonier
6. Yoel Romero
7. Jack Hermansson
8. Darren Till
9. Kelvin Gastelum
10. Derek Brunson

Yoel Romero received what could be his last shot at the UFC middleweight title but did not make it count. In a lackluster bout, Romero and champion Israel Adesanya engaged little over five rounds before Adesanya was awarded the decision. Next up for Adesanya at some point is likely Paulo Costa. Rafael Lovato Jr. falls out of the rankings after giving up his Bellator middleweight title due to cerebral cavernoma. Hopefully he will overcome the health threat and eventually be able to fight again if he desires to.

Welterweight

1. Kamaru Usman
2. Tyron Woodley
3. Colby Covington
4. Jorge Masvidal
5. Douglas Lima
6. Stephen Thompson
7. Leon Edwards
8. Rory MacDonald
9. Santiago Ponzinibbio
10. Gilbert Burns

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Gilbert Burns takes Demian Maia’s spot in the rankings, knocking Maia out in the first round. Burns has won five straight and is an emerging threat to anyone in the division. Crucially, he’s emerging into the fan consciousness, which is important in getting big fights given the depth of the welterweight division.

Lightweight

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Tony Ferguson
3. Dustin Poirier
4. Justin Gaethje
5. Conor McGregor
6. Islam Makhachev
7. Charles Oliveira
8. Al Iaquinta
9. Dan Hooker
10. Diego Ferreira

With seven straight wins, Charles Oliveira is back in the rankings as the talented and entertaining Brazilian is finally putting together all his skills. Most recently, he submitted the dangerous Kevin Lee in the third round. Dan Hooker also makes his way into the rankings with a split decision victory in a war against Paul Felder. Renato Moicano entered the division and could be a force after making waves at featherweight.

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Featherweight

1. Alexander Volkanovski
2. Max Holloway
3. Brian Ortega
4. Patricio “Pitbull” Freire
5. Zabit Magomedsharipov
6. Yair Rodriguez
7. Chan Sung Jung
8. Frankie Edgar
9. A.J. McKee
10. Josh Emmett

There has been little movement in the featherweight division as few major fights have taken place recently. Patricio Freire was set to defend his Bellator featherweight title March 13 but that event was canceled the day of.

Bantamweight

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1. Henry Cejudo
2. Marlon Moraes
3. Petr Yan
4. Cory Sandhagen
5. Raphael Assuncao
6. Aljamain Sterling
7. Jose Aldo
8. Jimmie Rivera
9. Pedro Munhoz
10. Cody Stamann

In a division with so many worthy title challengers, it’s a shame the plan is for Henry Cejudo to defend his UFC bantamweight title next against Jose Aldo. Aldo’s an all-time great but he’s lost two straight and four of six.

Women’s Bantamweight

1. Amanda Nunes
2. Aspen Ladd
3. Julianna Pena
4. Germaine de Randamie
5. Irene Aldana
6. Ketlen Vieira
7. Holly Holm
8. Raquel Pennington
9. Yana Kunitskaya
10. Marion Reneau

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Macy Chiasson recovered from her first defeat with a dominant win over Shanna Young. Chiasson is still inexperienced but has the potential to be one of the best in the division.

Women’s Flyweight

1. Valentina Shevchenko
2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane
3. Jessica Eye
4. Katlyn Chookagian
5. Jennifer Maia
6. Joanne Calderwood
7. Roxanne Modafferi
8. Liz Carmouche
9. Vanessa Porto
10. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz

Valentina Shevchenko was dominant again in her successful title defense against Katlyn Chookagian, controlling the entirety of the fight and getting the stoppage in the third round. It seems hard to imagine anyone giving Shevchenko trouble in the near future. Andrea Lee falls out of the rankings after a split-decision loss to veteran Lauren Murphy.

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Women’s Strawweight

1. Zhang Weili
2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
3. Jessica Andrade
4. Rose Namajunas
5. Tatiana Suarez
6. Nina Ansaroff
7. Claudia Gadelha
8. Carla Esparza
9. Michelle Waterson
10. Cynthia Calvillo

In one of the best fights you’re ever going to see, Zhang Weili and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went all out for five rounds before Zhang scored the tight split decision win. Both fighters elevated their stock in the process. Another Chinese fighter could be on the verge of making the rankings as Yan Xiaonan improved to 12-1 with a win over Karolina Kowalkiewicz.


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