MMA

MMA pound-for-pound rankings: High-level performance elevates Alexander Volkanovski in ESPN top 10

Alexander Volkanovski has won 22 straight fights, the last 12 of them in the UFC. Last Saturday at UFC 276, the featherweight champion defeated former champ Max Holloway for the third time. It was a shockingly dominant performance by the Australian fighter, one worthy of a boost in the ESPN pound-for-pound MMA rankings.

Volkanovski even put a dent in the supremacy of UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, who for several months has garnered every first-place vote in the men’s top 10. One voter, Brett Okamoto, now gives Volkanovski the nod for the top spot.

“If I had to bet my life on one fighter in the world getting me a win right now, it’s easily Alex,” Okamoto said.

Another voter, Jeff Wagenheim, was so impressed by Volkanovski’s thrashing of Holloway that he moved him from a tie for No. 4 up to No. 2. “What Volk did over the weekend,” Wagenheim said, “no one does to Max.”

The voting panel also welcomes a new member, former UFC featherweight and ex-Invicta FC champ Megan Anderson, now a fight analyst for ESPN.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of July 6.

Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 20-1
Last: W (UD) Colby Covington, Nov. 6, 2021
Next: Aug. 20 vs. Leon Edwards


2. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Previous ranking: Tied for 4
Record: 25-1
Last: W (UD) Max Holloway, July 2, 2022
Next: TBD


T-3. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 23-1
Last: W (UD) Jared Cannonier, July 2, 2022
Next: TBD


T-3. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight
Previous ranking: 2
Record: 33-8, 1 NC
Last: W (Sub1) Justin Gaethje, May 7, 2022
Next: TBD


5. Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: Tied for 4
Record: 17-3
Last: W (UD) Ciryl Gane, Jan. 22, 2022
Next: TBD


6. Jiri Prochazka

UFC light heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: Tied for 7
Record: 29-3-1
Last: W (Sub5) Glover Teixeira, June 11, 2022
Next: TBD


7. Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC flyweight champion
Previous ranking: Tied for 9
Record: 21-2-1
Last: W (UD) Brandon Moreno, Jan. 22, 2022
Next: TBD


8. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Previous ranking: Tied for 7
Record: 28-7, 1 NC
Last: L (Sub3) Charles Oliveira, Dec. 11, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Aljamain Sterling

UFC bantamweight champion
Record: 21-3
Last: W (SD) Petr Yan, April 9, 2022
Next: Sept. 10 vs. TJ Dillashaw


10. Max Holloway

UFC featherweight
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 23-7
Last: L (UD) Alexander Volkanovski, July 2, 2022
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Robert Whittaker, Khamzat Chimaev, Colby Covington and Glover Teixeira.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Alexander Volkanovski; 2. Kamaru Usman; 3. Israel Adesanya; 4. Charles Oliveira; 5. Francis Ngannou; 6. Deiveson Figueiredo; 7. Robert Whittaker; 8. Dustin Poirier; 9. Khamzat Chimaev; 10. Aljamain Sterling.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Kamaru Usman; 2. Israel Adesanya; 3. Alexander Volkanovski; 4. Francis Ngannou; 5. Charles Oliveira; 6. Aljamain Sterling; 7. Jiri Prochazka; 8. Dustin Poirier; 9. Colby Covington; 10. Deiveson Figueiredo.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Kamaru Usman; 2. Alexander Volkanovski; 3. Charles Oliveira; 4. Israel Adesanya; 5. Francis Ngannou; 6. Jiri Prochazka; 7. Max Holloway; 8. Deiveson Figueiredo; 9. Aljamain Sterling; 10. Glover Teixeira.

Megan Anderson: 1. Kamaru Usman; 2. Alexander Volkanovski; 3. Charles Oliveira; 4. Israel Adesanya; 5. Francis Ngannou; 6. Max Holloway; 7. Jiri Prochazka; 8. Robert Whittaker; 9. Deiveson Figueiredo; 10. Glover Teixeira.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Kamaru Usman; 2. Charles Oliveira; 3. Israel Adesanya; 4. Alexander Volkanovski; 5. Francis Ngannou; 6. Dustin Poirier; 7. Deiveson Figueiredo; 8. Aljamain Sterling; 9. Jiri Prochazka; 10. Khamzat Chimaev.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Kamaru Usman; 2. Alexander Volkanovski; 3. Francis Ngannou; 4. Charles Oliveira; 5. Israel Adesanya; 6. Jiri Prochazka; 7. Dustin Poirier; 8. Aljamain Sterling; 9. Deiveson Figueiredo; 10. Robert Whittaker.


1. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 22-3
Last: W (SD) Taila Santos, June 11, 2022
Next: TBD


2. Amanda Nunes

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 21-5
Last: L (Sub2) Julianna Peña, Dec. 11, 2021
Next: July 30 vs. Julianna Peña


3. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 26-2, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Arlene Blencowe, April 23, 2022
Next: TBD


4. Julianna Peña

UFC bantamweight champion
Record: 11-4
Last: W (Sub2) Amanda Nunes, Dec. 11, 2021
Next: July 30 vs. Amanda Nunes


5. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 22-3
Last: W (KO2) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, June 11, 2022
Next: TBD


6. Carla Esparza

UFC strawweight champion
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 19-6
Last: W (SD) Rose Namajunas, May 7, 2022
Next: TBD


7. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 11-5
Last: L (SD) Carla Esparza, May 7, 2022
Next: TBD


8. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Previous ranking: 9
Record: 23-9
Last: W (Sub1) Amanda Lemos, April 23, 2022
Next: TBD


9. Kayla Harrison

PFL lightweight champion
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 14-0
Last: W (TKO1) Kaitlin Young, July 1, 2022
Next: Aug. 20 vs. Martina Jindrova


10. Marina Rodriguez

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 16-1-2
Last: W (SD) Yan Xiaonan, March 5, 2022
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Katlyn Chookagian, Holly Holm and Ketlen Vieira.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Valentina Shevchenko; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Rose Namajunas; 5. Zhang Weili; 6. Julianna Peña; 7. Carla Esparza; 8. Jessica Andrade; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Katlyn Chookagian.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Valentina Shevchenko; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Julianna Peña; 5. Carla Esparza; 6. Kayla Harrison; 7. Rose Namajunas; 8. Zhang Weili; 9. Jessica Andrade; 10. Katlyn Chookagian.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Valentina Shevchenko; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Julianna Peña; 4. Cris Cyborg; 5. Kayla Harrison; 6. Carla Esparza; 7. Zhang Weili; 8. Rose Namajunas; 9. Jessica Andrade; 10. Holly Holm.

Megan Anderson: 1. Valentina Shevchenko; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Zhang Weili; 5. Rose Namajunas; 6. Carla Esparza; 7. Jessica Andrade; 8. Marina Rodriguez; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Ketlen Vieira.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Julianna Peña; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Valentina Shevchenko; 4. Zhang Weili; 5. Cris Cyborg; 6. Carla Esparza; 7. Jessica Andrade; 8. Rose Namajunas; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Marina Rodriguez.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Valentina Shevchenko; 2. Amanda Nunes; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Zhang Weili; 5. Julianna Peña; 6. Jessica Andrade; 7. Carla Esparza; 8. Rose Namajunas; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Katlyn Chookagian.

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