Demetrious Johnson has overtaken Jon Jones for the lead spot in’s MMA pound-for-pound rankings.

By Jeff Wagenheim
May 02, 2016

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Results matter.

It was a frightening stampede through a murderers’ row of mixed martial arts elite that propelled Jon Jones to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings. “Bones” took over the uppermost rung of the ladder over three years ago shortly after finishing Vitor Belfort, his fifth straight conquest who’d been a former UFC champion. Jones’s reign as both light heavyweight champion and pound-for-pound alpha dog was interrupted by his suspension and felony conviction last year, but as soon as he was reinstated to the UFC’s active roster last November, he was back at No. 1.

But now he’s No. 2.

Jones’s win vs. Saint Preux sets up possible Cormier rematch at UFC 200

The top spot is newly occupied by Demetrious Johnson, fresh off a rousing decimation of 2008 Olympic gold medalist wrestler Henry Cejudo at last month’s UFC 197. It is a rise of just one spot for “Mighty Mouse,” but it’s the longest trip imaginable, because “Bones” seemed immovable. However, Johnson’s domineering first-round TKO came mere minutes before Jones posted a stale decision victory over Ovince Saint Preux, an opponent far below him. Stacking those performances back to back begged for a game of leap-frog.

Results matter.

This is not a putdown of Jones. He’s still the greatest MMA fighter of all time. And he could very well spring back to the tippy-top of the mountain within months, as he is scheduled to challenge Daniel Cormier for the 205-pound belt—Jones’s old strap—in the marquee fight of July’s UFC 200. But if ever there is a time to recognize the sublime 125-pound champion, this is it.

Johnson’s victory was his 10th in a row, and represented his eighth straight defense of the belt he won back in September 2012—when, as with two weeks ago, he was in the co-main event of a fight card headlined by Jon Jones. “Mighty Mouse” is now just two title defenses away from Anderson Silva’s UFC record, and Johnson has made it known that he’s targeting that golden ring. The challenge for the UFC will be to find two more flyweights who pose a legitimate threat to the champ.

WERTHEIM: Exclusive interview: Jon Jones talks arrest, UFC

Both Jones and Johnson have wrecked the competition in their respective weight classes. The “Bones” resume actually shines a bit more brightly, in toto, because of the deeper pool of scary foes he’s faced over the years at 205. However, the monthly pound-for-pound rankings aren’t a history survey. They’re about now. And right now, with the longtime No. 2, “Mighty Mouse,” coming off an elevating performance and “Bones” stuck in the mud—albeit temporarily, one would assume—it is Demetrious Johnson’s moment in the sun.

UFC flyweight champion Record: 24–2–1 Last fight: W (R1 TKO) Henry Cejudo, April 23, 2016
Light heavyweight Record: 22–1–0 Last fight: W (R5 UD) Ovince Saint Preux, April 23, 2016
UFC heavyweight champion Record: 20–5–1 Last fight: W (R3 Sub) Cain Velasquez, June 13, 2015
UFC middleweight champion Record: 15–2–0 Last fight: W (R4 TKO) Chris Weidman, Dec. 12, 2015
UFC lightweight champion Record: 24–7–0 Last fight: W (R1 TKO) Donald Cerrone, Dec. 19, 2015
UFC welterweight champion Record: 26–10–0 Last fight: W (R5 SD) Carlos Condit, Jan. 2, 2016
UFC bantamweight champion Record: 21–2–0 Last fight: W (R5 SD) T.J. Dillashaw, Jan. 17, 2016
UFC featherweight champion Record: 19–3–0 Last fight: L (R2 Sub) Nate Diaz, March 5, 2016
Light heavyweight Record: 17–1 Last fight: W (R5 SD) Alexander Gustafsson, Oct. 23, 2015
Featherweight Record: 20–4–1 Last fight: W (R1 KO) Chad Mendes, Dec.11, 2015

On to the rest of the rankings …


1. Fabricio Werdum (20-5-1)
2. Cain Velasquez (13–2)
3. Stipe Miocic (14–2)
4. Alistair Overeem (40–14)
5. Junior dos Santos (18–4)
6. Ben Rothwell (36–10)
7. Andrei Arlovski (25–11, 1 NC)
8. Mark Hunt (12-10-1)
9. Travis Browne (18-3-1)
10. Vitaly Minakov (17–0)

Finally, Werdum’s first defense of the belt he won nearly a year ago is here. Finally, Miocic gets a title shot. (Their meeting is May 14 in Brazil.) Finally, this weight division is springing back into action—with dos Santos having beaten Rothwell last month, with Overeem and Arlovski scheduled to clash this weekend, with Velasquez and Browne booked for a UFC 200 dance.

MORE MMA: McGregor demands Nate Diaz rematch in Instagram post

Light heavyweight

1. Jon Jones (22–1)
2. Daniel Cormier (17–1)
3. Anthony Johnson (21–5)
4. Alexander Gustafsson (16–4)
5. Ryan Bader (20–5)
6. Phil Davis (13–3, 1 NC)
7. Glover Teixeira (25–4)
8. Liam McGeary (11–0)
9. Ovince Saint Preux (19–8)
10. Corey Anderson (8–1)

How rusty was Jones in the unanimous-decision win over Saint Preux, his first fight in 15 months? We’ll see July 9 when “Bones” rematches Cormier. That’s a pretty good Plan B the UFC came up with in the wake of the Conor McGregor chaos.


1. Luke Rockhold (15–2)
2. Chris Weidman (13–1)
3. Ronaldo Souza (22–4, 1 NC)
4. Vitor Belfort (25–11)
5. Lyoto Machida (22–7)
6. Tim Kennedy (18–5)
7. Michael Bisping (27–7)
8. Anderson Silva (33–6)
9. Gegard Mousasi (38-6-2)
10. Robert Whittaker (15–4)

Rockhold vs. Weidman II is set for June 4. And a month later Romero returns from a six-month ban (after testing positive for a banned substance), just in time to claim the next shot at the belt.

MORE MMA: Brain on Sports Podcast: UFC’s Luke Rockhold


1. Robbie Lawler (27–10, 1 NC)
2. Rory MacDonald (18–3)
3. Stephen Thompson (12–1)
4. Tyron Woodley (15–3)
5. Johny Hendricks (17–4)
6. Matt Brown (20–13)
7. Ben Askren (15–0)
8. Carlos Condit (30–9)
9. Demian Maia (22–6)
10. Dong Hyun Kim (21-3-1, 1 NC)

Can’t wait for next month’s MacDonald vs. Thompson showdown. Last we saw Rory, he was a broken man (or broken face, at least) after a brutal cage encounter with Lawler. Last we saw “Wonderboy,” he was routing a former champ, Hendricks, and pushing his way toward the front of the line.


1. Rafael dos Anjos (25–7)
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov (23–0)
3. Tony Ferguson (20–3)
4. Donald Cerrone (29–7, 1 NC)
5. Eddie Alvarez (27–4)
6. Nate Diaz (19–10)
7. Edson Barboza (17–4)
8. Anthony Pettis (18–5)
9. Will Brooks (16–1)
10. Michael Chiesa (14–2)

Oh, the turbulence at 155. Nurmagomedov is back, although a clash with Ferguson didn’t materialize. Barboza stepped up and knocked Pettis down a few more pegs. Chiesa jumped into the Top 10 by submitting jiu-jitsu virtuoso Beneil Dariush. There’s a lot to work with if you’re Dos Anjos.

MORE MMA: Jones on Conor McGregor: He ‘fights for what’s right’


1. Conor McGregor (19–3)
2. Frankie Edgar (20-4-1)
3. José Aldo (25–2)
4. Chad Mendes (17–4)
5. Max Holloway (15–3)
6. Ricardo Lamas (16–4)
7. Charles Oliveira (21–5, 1 NC)
8. Daniel Straus 25–6)
9. Patricio Freire (25–3)
10. Cub Swanson (21–7)

So now McGregor might defend his belt here, after all. His UFC 200 dance was canceled by the UFC after his power play backfired, but he’s still a big earner, so Dana White & Co. will rebook him for a different fight card in the next few months. “The Notorious” still wants the Nate Diaz rematch, while the UFC wants to give him the winner of July’s Edgar vs. Aldo II fight. Stay tuned.

Men’s bantamweight

1. Dominick Cruz (21–1)
2. T.J. Dillashaw (12–3)
3. Renan Barão (33–3, 1 NC)
4. Urijah Faber (32–8)
5. Raphael Assunção (23–4)
6. Aljamain Sterling (12–0)
7. Thomas Almeida (20–0)
8. John Dodson (17–7)
9. Bibianio Fernandes (16–3)
10. Marcos Galvão (17-6-1)

Let’s see, is it Cruz vs. Faber IX coming up next month? No, it’s actually just their third meeting, but they’ve been jawing back and forth for so long that it just seems like we’ve seen this one many, many times before.

MORE MMA: Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier will headline UFC 200


1. Demetrious Johnson (24-2-1)
2. Joseph Benavidez (23–4)
3. Henry Cejudo (10–1)
4. Ali Bagautinov (13–4)
5. Jussier da Silva (18–4)
6. Zach Makovsky (19–7)
7. John Moraga (16–4)
8. Kyoji Horiguchi (16–2)
9. Wilson Reis (20–6)
10. Justin Scoggins (11–2)

Johnson needed just over two minutes to vanquish Cejudo, and that means “Mighty Mouse” owns victories over Nos. 2, 3 and 4 (and 7 and 8 as well). Our new P4P No. 1 keeps making it look easy. Next?

Women’s bantamweight

1. Miesha Tate (18–5)
2. Holly Holm (10–1)
3. Ronda Rousey (12–1)
4. Cat Zingano (9–1)
5. Alexis Davis (17–6)
6. Amanda Nunes (12–4)
7. Julianna Peña (7–2)
8. Tonya Evinger (17–5)
9. Sara McMann (8–3)
10. Valemtina Shevchenko (12-2)

As Tate and Nunes prepare to go at it on the UFC 200 card in July, Rousey sits quietly on the sideline, licking her chops.

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1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (11–0)
2. Claudia Gadelha (13–1)
3. Jessica Aguilar (19–5)
4. Carla Esparza (10–3)
5. Rose Namajunas (4–2)
6. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (8–0)
7. Valerie Letourneau (8–4)
8. Joanne Calderwood (9–1)
9. Tecia Torres (7–0)
10. Maryna Moroz (6–1)

Last month we began this section by stating, “Jedrzejczyk and Gadelha don’t like each other.” We’ve checked, and that’s still the case. They get to settle their differences July 8.

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