The world finalists from 2015 will be placed in separate brackets for the wrestling tournament at this summer's Rio Olympics.
United World Wrestling announced Thursday that world champions from last year's meet in Las Vegas will be seeded in the upper bracket of their weight class.
Silver medalists will be placed in the lower bracket. Neither athlete will be forced into a qualification round bout.
Seeds and rankings aren't used in international wrestling. So the change is designed to help avoid having some of the world's top wrestlers meet in early rounds.
The new rule only extends to individual finalists and not the nations they represent.