With Jon Jones suspended, Rousey No. 1 in pound for pound rankings

The only person who can beat Jon Jones is Jon Jones, and now he's gone and done it, leaving Ronda Rousey at No. 1 in our pound for pound rankings.
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We’ve been hearing it for years, with the chorus of voices growing louder with each dominant victory: The only person who can beat Jon Jones is Jon Jones.

And now he’s gone and done it.

Last week, Jones was arrested on a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury, after an alleged hit-and-run auto accident in Albuquerque, N.M. Witnesses told police he ran a red light, hit a car driven by a pregnant woman—who suffered a broken arm—and fled on foot, then returned to the scene not to check on the injured but to retrieve a wad of cash before sprinting off. Jones did not surrender to authorities for 30 hours. By then it was too late to perform drug or alcohol test, which likely would have been called for at the scene because according to police, inside Jones’s rented SUV was a pipe containing marijuana.

UFC showed unprecedented gumption in stripping Jon Jones of his title

The day after the Jones was freed on bail, and immediately after he appeared in court to answer to the charges, he met with the UFC’s three top executives, who had flown in from Las Vegas to hear from their light heavyweight champ. And to tell him he was no longer their light heavyweight champ.

The sport’s alpha promotion suspended Jones indefinitely and stripped him of the belt based not simply on a single allegation, as horrifying as it is, but on a track record that includes a 2012 DUI and January’s drug test that revealed cocaine metabolites in his system. Recent incidents involving the world’s top fighter had to be what most concerned the UFC. Popping for coke less than a month before one fight, then allegedly having a pipe packed with pot in your car a month out from another bout, are signs of irresponsibility, at the very least. The UFC looked at the police reports, did a little reading between the lines and said enough is enough.

What none of Jones’s eight challengers could do, Jones (21-1) did to himself. And now that the 27-year-old is suspended, he is ineligible for the SI.com rankings. So with the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and perhaps the greatest mixed martial artist ever out of the running, the top spot belongs to the next man up.

Or woman.

Ronda Rousey, who last month ascended to No. 2 on our pound-for-pound list on the strength of her second straight sub-20-second victory, now is No. 1.

Some find it incomprehensible for a woman to be on this list, much less at the top of it. But ranking Rousey is not akin to saying she could beat up the toughest men on the planet, any more than slotting Demetrious Johnson ahead of Cain Velasquez is a claim that the 125-pound title belt holder could handle the heavyweight champ.

Pound-for-pound rankings, at least as interpreted here, involve the weighing of parallel track records. And by that measurement, no one but Jones is close to Rousey. She is 11-0 with five defenses of her UFC women’s bantamweight championship. She’s won all but one of her fights in the first round, seven in the first minute—including her two most recent, a 16-second knockout of Alexis Davis last July, and February’s 14-second submission of Cat Zingano. Rousey is not merely the most dominant fighter in MMA, she’s the most dominant athlete in all of sports.

On to the rankings …


1. Cain Velasquez (13-1)

2. Junior dos Santos (17-3)

3. Fabricio Werdum (19-5-1)

4. Stipe Miocic (12-2)

5. Travis Browne (17-2-1)

7. Andrei Arlovski (23-10, 1 NC)

8. Ben Rothwell (34-9)

9. Alistair Overeem (39-14)

10. Matt Mitrione (9-3)

We’re a month and a half away from the return of Velasquez, who’ll put his belt on the line June 13 against faux/interim champ Werdum. The winner might have a challenger waiting: the more impressive winner of this month’s big-boy battles, between Miocic and Hunt this weekend, Browne and Arlovski on May 23.

Light heavyweight

1. Anthony Johnson (19-4)

2. Daniel Cormier (15-1)

3. Alexander Gustafsson (16-3)

4. Ryan Bader (19-4)

5. Phil Davis (13-3, 1 NC)

6. Glover Teixeira (22-4)

7. Ovince Saint Preux (18-6)

8. Liam McGeary (10-0)

9. Jimi Manuwa (14-1)

10. Emanuel Newton (25-8-1)

Admittedly, a Top 10 without Jon Jones looks odd. But he’s gone indefinitely, so the 205-pound division will crown a new king when Johnson meets Cormier at UFC 187 on May 23. Not much jockeying among the other contenders, though. Gustafsson is injured. Davis has jumped to Bellator. Bader and Teixeira have been lost in the shuffle, with no opponents looming.


1. Chris Weidman (12-0)

2. Vitor Belfort (24-10)

3. Luke Rockhold (14-2)

4. Ronaldo Souza (22-3, 1 NC)

5. Lyoto Machida (22-6)

6. Tim Kennedy (18-5)

7. Yoel Romero (9-1)

8. Michael Bisping (25-7)

9. Gegard Mousasi (36-5-2)

10. Thales Leites (25-4)

The UFC hasn’t made an announcement, but Rockhold earned a title shot with his second-round destruction of Machida. Maybe the matchmakers are waiting until after Weidman’s May 23 defense against Belfort. Weidman vs. Rockhold at Madison Square Garden in December? If the planets line up.


1. Robbie Lawler (25-10, 1 NC)

2. Johny Hendricks (17-3)

3. Rory MacDonald (18-2)

4. Tyron Woodley (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)

You might not have heard amid all of the hoopla surrounding Conor McGregor’s UFC 189 coronation, but on that same July 11 card, Lawler will defend his belt for the first time, taking on MacDonald.


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. Eddie Alvarez (25-4)

8. Will Brooks (15-1)

9. Miles Jury (15-1)

10. Michael Johnson  (16-8)

When Nurmagomedov had to drop out of his May 23 bout because of injury, Cerrone reflexively texted Dana White to volunteer to replace him … until “Cowboy” remembered that he’s the opponent. Just kidding ... although Donald does like to jump in and fight. He’s (again) got one for UFC 187: vs. John Makdessi.


1. José Aldo (25-1)

2. Frankie Edgar (18-4-1)

3. Chad Mendes (17-2)

4. Ricardo Lamas (15-4)

5. Conor McGregor (17-2)

6. Patricio Freire (22-2)

7. Max Holloway (13-3)

8. Cub Swanson (21-7)

9. Dennis Bermudez (14-4)

10. Nik Lentz (25-6-2, 1 NC)

Mendes solidified his spot with a knockout of Lamas. Swanson slipped, losing to previously unranked Holloway. Faber thinks outside the box by fighting bantamweight Urijah Faber. And McGregor sits and waits, his shot at Aldo still two months away.


1. Dominick Cruz (20-1)

2. T.J. Dillashaw (11-2)

3. Renan Barão (33-2, 1 NC)

4. Urijah Faber (31-7)

5. Raphael Assunção (23-4)

6. Bibianio Fernandes (16-3)

7. Marcos Galvão (17-6-1)

8. Aljamain Sterling (11-0)

9. Joe Warren (12-4)

10. Eduardo Dantas (16-4)

Sterling is a newbie, having earned his spot with a submission of previously No. 7-ranked Takeya Mizugaki. And Galvão moved into the rankings after finishing Warren. As for the twice-canceled Dillashaw-Barão II, it’s now slated for July.


UFC 186: Johnson defeats Horiguchi, struggles to win over fan base

1. Demetrious Johnson (22-2-1)

2. Joseph Benavidez (21-4)

3. John Dodson (16-6)

4. Ian McCall (13-5-1)

5. Jussier da Silva (17-3)

6. John Lineker (25-7)

7. John Moraga (16-3)

8. Zach Makovsky (19-5)

9. Henry Cejudo (8-0)

10. Kyoji Horiguchi (15-2)

You aren’t one of the sad sacks who left while Johnson and Horiguchi were still fighting, are you? If so, you missed the latest submission in UFC history, when “Mighty Mouse” armbarred the challenger at 4:59 of Round 5. Who’s next for this amazing and relentless champion? We might find out on May 23, when Benavidez fights Moraga and Dodson faces Makovski.

Women’s bantamweight

1. Ronda Rousey (11-0)

2. Cat Zingano (9-1)

3. Miesha Tate (16-5)

4. Sara McMann (8-2)

5. Alexis Davis (17-6)

6. Jessica Eye (11-2, 1 NC)

7. Sarah Kaufman (16-3, 1 NC)

8. Liz Carmouche (10-5)

9. Marion Reneau (6-1)

10. Bethe Correia (9-0)

Davis was being beaten to the punch by Kaufman, who’d already defeated her twice, but when the tide turned in their bout last month, she took advantage, submitting the former Strikeforce champion to keep alive her hope of another shot at the belt. After losing in 16 seconds the first time, Alexis still has work to do.

Women’s strawweight

1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (9-0)

2. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)

3. Claudia Gadelha (12-1)

4. Carla Esparza (10-3)

5. Rose Namajunas (2-2)

6. Maryna Moroz (6-0)

7. Joanne Calderwood (9-1)

8. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (7-0)

9. Jessica Penne (12-2)

10. Tecia Torres (5-0)

Jedrzejczyk is a champion and a headliner. Her first title defense, against Jessica Penne, will take place in the main event of a UFC Fight Night card June 20 in Berlin, replacing the scuttled marquee matchup between Glover Teixeira and injured Alexander Gustafsson.

Pound for pound

1. Ronda Rousey

2. José Aldo

3. Chris Weidman

4. Demetrious Johnson

5. Cain Velasquez

6. T.J. Dillashaw

7. Robbie Lawler
8. Frankie Edgar

9. Khabib Nurmagomedov

10. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Rousey has risen … and has been joined by another woman, strawweight champ Jędrzejczyk​, who grabs the open spot after longtime No. 1 Jon Jones was yanked.