Welcome to the latest update to the MMA Fighting Pound-for-Pound rankings, where every month our esteemed panel sort through the noise to answer one question: Who are the best overall male and female MMA fighters in the world?
Noche UFC had the potential to create a major shift at the top of the list, but another gutsy performance from Alexa Grasso — and one confusing fifth-round score — kept the flyweight title around her waist and left former champ Valentina Shevchenko fuming. One could argue that Shevchenko did enough to win, so did that move her back up our rankings?
Without a winner on Saturday, our panel saw fit to keep Grasso at No. 2, one spot ahead of Shevchenko at No. 3.
Shevchenko would have been celebrating the start of her second reign as UFC flyweight champion had judge Mike Bell not awarded Grasso with a bizarre 10-8 score following a competitive Round 5. Up to that point, Shevchenko was up 39-37 on two of the judges’ scorecards and it’s only Bell’s dissenting fifth-round call that prevented a Shevchenko split decision win.
That was enough to convince one voter to move Shevchenko above Grasso on their ballot, but otherwise the top 5 held steady for the most part. Perhaps this is in anticipation of a trilogy bout between the two, which seems inevitable if there’s to be any hope of their score being settled.
The big move of the month comes courtesy of flyweight contender Manon Fiorot, who soars from No. 17 to No. 8 with her win over former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas. That also means a five-spot fall for Namajunas to No. 12, signaling her first drop outside of our top 10 since we started these rankings in July 2021. It may seem like an unfair hit, but “Thug Rose” has now lost two straight and hasn’t won a fight in almost two years.
Life on the Pound-for-Pound list comes at you fast.
Recent results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 2 Alexa Grasso def. No. 3 Valentina Shevchenko, No. 5 Erin Blanchfield def. No. 16 Taila Santos, No. 17 Manon Fiorot def. No. 7 Rose Namajunas
Fighters also receiving votes (number of ballot appearances shown): Amanda Lemos (4), Ketlen Vieira (3), Maycee Barber (2), Katlyn Chookagian (2), Lauren Murphy (2), Irene Aldana (1), Virna Jandiroba (1), Marina Rodriguez (1)
Lastly, a refresher on some ground rules:
- The eight-person voting panel consists of MMA Fighting staffers Shaun Al-Shatti, Alexander K. Lee, Guilherme Cruz, Mike Heck, E. Casey Leydon, Steven Marrocco, Damon Martin and Jed Meshew.
- Updates to the rankings will be completed following every UFC pay-per-view. Fighters will be removed from the rankings if they do not compete within 18 months of their most recent bout.
- Should a fighter announce their retirement, our panel will decide whether that fighter should immediately be removed from the rankings or maintain their position until further notice (let’s put it this way: we’d have taken Khabib Nurmagomedov out of our rankings a lot quicker than the UFC did).
As a reminder, the notion of pound-for-pound supremacy is always going to inherently be subjective. When you’re debating whether someone like Kamaru Usman should be ranked above someone like Max Holloway, there is no true right answer. In other words: It’s not serious business, folks.
Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Make your voice heard in the comments below.