USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, Dec. 28: Who ends 2021 atop our pound-for-pound lists?

Pound For Pound Rankings

Already considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time, Jones says he wants to turn his attention to heavyweight and has no intention of returning to 205 pounds.

Usman has five consecutive defenses of the UFC welterweight title and is now in the discussion as the greatest welterweight of all time.

After suffering the first knockout loss of his career, Johnson openly contemplated the idea of potentially competing in kickboxing next and ultimately booked himself an intriguing mixed rules matchup.

Upcoming Fight: vs Ciryl Gane | Jan 22, 2022 – UFC 270: Ngannou vs. Gane

Ngannou claimed the UFC heavyweight title with a brilliant win over Stipe Miocic and will now look to unify the belt in an upcoming matchup with interim titleholder – and former training partner – Ciryl Gane.

Volkanovski has certainly been tested in his time as UFC champion, but he continues to gut out impressive performance and now owns an incomprehensible 20-fight win streak.

Miocic apologized for deviating from the gameplan against the dangerous Francis Ngannou, a mistake that cost him the UFC heavyweight title.

The undefeated Bellator champion looked absolutely incredible in his run through the promotion’s featherweight grand prix and is willing to take on anyone in defense of his new title.

Oliveira’s rise to UFC champion may have been unexpected, but he now looks like perhaps the most dangerous matchup in the lightweight division and boasts a 10-fight winning streak.

Poirier was incredibly disappointed after failing to win the UFC lightweight title but would still seem to have big fights ahead should he choose.

Holloway has hinted at some big things on the horizon that don’t necessarily revolve around getting another crack at Alexander Volkanovski.

Honorable Mentions

USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, Dec. 28: Who ends 2021 atop our pound-for-pound lists?

The final USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings update of 2021 is in, and though he didn’t fight this year, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will close the year in the No. 1 spot on our pound-for-pound list.

But Jones fast is approaching two years since his most recent fight – and if he’s not active before then, he’ll drop off our list until he fights again. If that happens, UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, sitting at No. 2, could make his ascension to the top spot.

Rounding out the men’s top five are UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou.

On the women’s side, Amanda Nunes remains in the top spot even though she lost her UFC bantamweight title to Julianna Peña earlier this month. After her, it’s UFC women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, Bellator featherweight titleholder Cris Cyborg, UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas and former UFC 115-pound champ Zhang Weili.

The major promotions are hiatus for a few weeks during the holiday season, but there could be lots of shake-ups coming in 2022. As 2021 comes to a close, check out the final rankings update of the calendar year across all divisions.

Ranking Criteria

The rankings take into account a fighter’s wins/losses, quality of competition, finishing rate/dominance and frequency of fights.

Fighters are no longer eligible to be ranked after they’ve been inactive for 24 months, either due to injuries, drug/conduct suspensions, contract disputes or self-imposed hiatuses.

Fighters serving drug/conduct suspensions are eligible to be ranked, so long as they’re not inactive for more than 24 months.

To the best of our ability, fighters will be ranked in their primary weight class. Catchweight fights and bouts outside the fighter’s primary weight class can have a positive or negative impact on the ranking. However, non-titleholders can be ranked in only one weight class at a given time, and in most cases, they won’t be ranked in a new weight class until they’ve had their first fight at that weight.

Original article: https://mmajunkie.usatoday.com/2021/12/mma-rankings-december-28-pound-for-pound-ufc-bellator-jon-jones-amanda-nunes

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