USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 9: Two fighters rise to No. 1

//USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 9: Two fighters rise to No. 1
USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 9: Two fighters rise to No. 1

Pound For Pound Rankings

UFC president Dana White has one more meeting set up with Nurmagomedov in Las Vegas, but it seems the reigning lightweight champ is content to stick to his retirement.

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

Adesanya rolled the dice in a move to light heavyweight but came up short against Jan Blachowicz and says he’ll now return to 185 pounds and prove his dominance as UFC champion.

Rocked early against Gilbert Burns, Usman came back to secure a dominant victory and appears headed toward a rematch with Jorge Masvidal.

A point dediction for a low blow forced Figueiredo to settle for a draw against Brandon Moreno, and the two are expected to meet again in June.

Poirier continues to be one of the most exciting fighters in the game, and his grit is immeasurable – qualities he hopes will net him another UFC title shot in the near future.

Holloway delivered a record-breaking destruction of Calvin Kattar and now looks like he’ll get a chance to regain the UFC featherweight title later this year.

Khabib Nurmagomedov proved to be too much for Gaethje at UFC 254, but ‘The Highlight’ could very well get another title shot in the very near future.

Blachowicz realizes there are some that doubt his legitimacy as UFC champion, but his win over a previously undefeated Israel Adesanya went a long way toward silencing those critics.

Costa was frustrated after suffering the first loss of his career and will now face another monster in Robert Whittaker in his trail back to a title shot.

Honorable Mentions

USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 9: Two fighters rise to No. 1

This past weekend’s UFC 259 proved to be a rather memorable affair, and for a pair of fighters, it marked the moment they rose to No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings.

In the night’s main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) defended his title by earning a decision win over a previously undefeated Israel Adesanya, the reigning UFC middleweight titleholder. While he was already the UFC kingpin, he was still at No. 2 on our list prior to the result. But with Jon Jones on the sidelines for more than a year and the champion a perfect 3-0 during that time, Blachowicz and his “legendary Polish power” ascend to the top spot in our list.

Meanwhile, Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) became UFC bantamweight champion in a rather bizarre fashion, with Petr Yan disqualified for landing an illegal knee. Still, the result is official, and Sterling has now won six in a row and ascends to our top spot ahead of what’s expected to he a hotly contested rematch.

Check out the new look of those two divisions, as well as the changes across the lists that came as a result of UFC 259 in the latest edition of the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings.

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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.

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