MMA Rankings: Despite title, dos Anjos can't pass Nurmagomedov

Rafael dos Anjos took the lightweight title from Anthony Pettis in March, but that victory wasn't enough to vault him past Khabib Nurmagomedov in's MMA Rankings for April. Check out the full rankings here.
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Rafael dos Anjos barged into supermarkets all across the country a couple of weeks ago and made a mess in the cereal aisle.

The shelves had been stocked with Wheaties boxes splashed with a big photo of Anthony Pettis, the lightweight belt slung over his shoulder. The caption trumpeted him as “UFC champion.”

The breakfast food inside the boxes may still have been fresh, but the claim in that caption had an expiration date: March 14, the night when dos Anjos beat up Pettis for five brutal rounds to take away the title.

That glorious victory surely would propel the Brazilian to the top of the 155-pound heap and into the pound-for-pound rankings, right? Well, not necessarily.

UFC 185 produces two new champs in dos Anjos and Jedrzejczyk

Dos Anjos actually is nowhere to be found in this month’s pound-for-pound tally. And among lightweights, the new champ is just No. 2. Our top 155-pounder is Khabib Nurmagomedov​, who has no championship belt in his possession but does own a 22-0 record, with his most recent victory—a year ago, prior to being sidelined by a knee injury—being a dominant decision over dos Anjos.

That’s the only loss for dos Anjos among his last 10 bouts, dating to the spring of 2012. But what a loss it was. The Dagestani had six takedowns, nearly doubled dos Anjos’s striking output and won all three rounds on all three judges’ scorecards. It wasn’t even close.

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So now, even prior to next month’s date in the cage with Donald Cerrone, Nurmagomedov is our top dog at lightweight, despite dos Anjos being the pup prancing around with the meaty bone in his mouth. Meanwhile, Pettis is left to fill his bowl with the breakfast of ex-champions.

On to the rankings...


1. Cain Velasquez (13-1)
2. Junior dos Santos (17-3)
3. FabricioWerdum (19-5-1)
4. StipeMiocic (12-2)
5. Travis Browne (17-2-1)
6. Josh Barnett (33-7)
7. Mark Hunt (10-9-1)
8. Andrei Arlovski (23-10, 1 NC)
9. Ben Rothwell (34-9)
10. Alistair Overeem (39-14)

Overeem looked like a new man in his patient beatdown of Roy Nelson. If he keeps this up, he’ll get fast-tracked to the top. Why wait? It’s time for a fight with dos Santos.

Light heavyweight

1. Jon Jones (21-1)
2. Anthony Johnson (19-4)
3. Daniel Cormier (15-1)
4. Alexander Gustafsson (16-3)
5. Glover Teixeira (22-4)
6. Ryan Bader (19-4)
7. Phil Davis (13-3, 1 NC)
8. Ovince Saint Preux (17-6)
9. JimiManuwa (14-1)
10. Liam McGeary (10-0)

Jones and Johnson will rumble next month, and the rest of the Top 6 will pair off in June: Cormier vs. Bader on the 6th and Gustaffson vs. Teixeira on the 20th.


1. Chris Weidman (12-0)
2. VitorBelfort (24-10)
3. Luke Rockhold (13-2)
4. LyotoMachida (22-5)
5. Ronaldo Souza (21-3, 1 NC)
6. Tim Kennedy (18-5)
7. Yoel Romero (9-1)
8. GegardMousasi (36-5-2)
9. Thales Leites (25-4)
10. Michael Bisping (24-7)

On April 18, we get a mini-tournament of sorts, as Rockhold takes on Machida and Souza fights Romero. One of the winners presumably will get a shot at the winner of this summer’s Weidman vs. Belfort title bout.


1. Robbie Lawler (25-10, 1 NC)
2. Johny Hendricks (17-3)
3. Rory MacDonald (18-2)
4. TyronWoodley (15-3)
5. Matt Brown (19-13)
6. Ben Askren (14-0)
7. Carlos Condit (29-8)
8. Nick Diaz (26-10, 1 NC)
9. Kelvin Gastelum (10-1)
10. Jake Shields (30-7-1, 1 NC)

Hendricks beat up the tough-as-nails Brown, and what was his reward? He had to listen to nonsense from Dana White. He apparently wasn’t at the edge of his seat for the fight, so he might not give Johny the title shot he earned.  


1. Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0)
2. Rafael dos Anjos (24-7)
3. Anthony Pettis (18-3)
4. Donald Cerrone (27-6, 1 NC)
5. Benson Henderson (21-5)
6. Gilbert Melendez (22-4)
7. Josh Thomson (20-6, 1 NC)
8. Eddie Alvarez (25-4)
9. Will Brooks (15-1)
10. Miles Jury (15-1)

By beating up Pettis, dos Anjos captured the UFC belt and ascended in the rankings ... to No. 2. The top spot is occupied by the fighter who handed Rafael his only recent loss—and what a thorough thrashing it was.


1. José Aldo (25-1)
2. Frankie Edgar (18-4-1)
3. Chad Mendes (16-2)
4. Ricardo Lamas (15-3)
5. Conor McGregor (17-2)
6. Cub Swanson (21-6)
7. PatricioFreire (22-2)
8. Dennis Bermudez (14-4)
9. Dustin Poirier (16-4)
10. NikLentz (25-6-2, 1 NC)

While we wait for the day when Aldo vs. McGregor is more than just talk, we get Mendes vs. Lamas this weekend, a Swanson fight on the 16th and Edgar vs. Urijah Faber next month. Lots of moving parts.


1. Dominick Cruz (20-1)
2. T.J. Dillashaw (11-2)
3. RenanBarão (33-2, 1 NC)
4. Urijah Faber (31-7)
5. Raphael Assunção (23-4)
6. BibianioFernandes (16-3)
7. TakeyaMizugaki (20-7-2)
8. Joe Warren (12-3)
9. Eduardo Dantas (16-4)
10. Marlon Moraes (14-4-1)

Dillashaw vs. Barão II is a mirage. The rematch originally was set for last August, but the Brazilian was hospitalized on fight day after a difficult weight cut. Then the fight was set for April 25, but this time T.J. pulled out, citing a rib injury.


1. Demetrious Johnson (21-2-1)
2. Joseph Benavidez (21-4)
3. John Dodson (16-6)
4. Ian McCall (13-5-1)
5. Jussierda Silva (17-3)
6. Ali Bagautinov (13-3)
7. John Lineker (25-7)​
8. John Moraga (16-3)
9. Zach Makovsky (19-5)
10. Henry Cejudo (8-0)

Cejudo’s efficient win over recent title challenger Chris Cariaso boosted him into the Top 10, bumping Kyoji Horiguchi. But the Japanese fighter will jump right back in, and way up the list, if he pulls off an improbable upset of “Mighty Mouse” on April 25.

Women’s bantamweight

1. Ronda Rousey (11-0)
2. Miesha Tate (16-5)
3. Cat Zingano (9-1)
4. Sara McMann (8-2)
5. Alexis Davis (16-6)
6. Jessica Eye (11-2, 1 NC)
7. Sarah Kaufman (16-2, 1 NC)
8. Liz Carmouche (9-5)
9. BetheCorreia (9-0)
10. Lauren Murphy (8-1)

Rousey is so far ahead of the curve that the UFC has to stack the deck against her to make its matchmaking seem reasonable. So the champ will be heading to Rio de Janeiro in August to take on Correia, who will have her countrymen behind her but nonetheless will be in way over her head.

Women’s strawweight

1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (9-0)
2. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)
3. Carla Esparza (10-3)
4. Rose Namajunas (2-2)
5. Joanne Calderwood (9-0)
6. Claudia Gadelha (12-1)
7. Jessica Penne (12-2)
8. Tecia Torres (5-0)
9. KarolinaKowalkiewicz (6-0)
10. FeliceHerrig (10-5)

Jedrzejczyk, who was No. 3 last month, leapfrogs Aguilar and Esparza on the strength of her domination of the latter. Aguilar, who competes in the World Series of Fighting, also owns a win over the former UFC champion, but it wasn’t as head-turning as Joanna’s thrashing.

Pound for pound

1. Jon Jones
2. Ronda Rousey
3. José Aldo
4. Cain Velasquez
5. Chris Weidman
6. Demetrious Johnson
7. T.J. Dillashaw
8. Robbie Lawler
9. Frankie Edgar
10. KhabibNurmadomedov

Almost inserted dos Anjos onto this list, reflexively, since he topped former No. 7 Anthony Pettis. But then remembered the thrashing Nurmagomedov dealt to dos Anjos.