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MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings: Does Alex Pereira have a case for No. 1?

Welcome to the latest update to the MMA Fighting pound-for-pound rankings, where every month our esteemed panel sort through the noise to answer one question: Who are the best overall male and female MMA fighters in the world?

Let’s take a look at how things stand following a week of chaos at UFC 303.


UFC 303: Pereira v Prochazka 2

Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

MMA Fighting

Alex Pereira continues to carry the UFC on his back.

MMA’s ultimate anomaly once again saved the day at UFC 303, parachuting in on minimal notice and sending Jiri Prochazka to the land of wind and ghosts to defend his UFC light heavyweight title and salvage what could’ve otherwise been a disastrous weekend for the sport’s leader. Pereira has now pulled this feat off twice in the past three months, having ticked a similar box for UFC 300, and his one-of-a-kind résumé is beginning to look quite ridiculous.

With his latest conquest, Pereira even further strengthens his grip on the No. 2 ranking on our pound-for-pound list, even siphoning off one first-place vote from no-longer-unanimous top dog Islam Makhachev. But is there a pathway for the former two-division GLORY king to rise to the very top of the list? That may be tough in his current home at light heavyweight, but if Pereira (and Joe Rogan) can convince UFC CEO Dana White to sign off on a potential heavyweight move, and if “Poatan” somehow makes history by becoming UFC’s first three-division champ, his case for No. 1 may suddenly become unassailable.

As for what’s ahead, all eyes turn toward Manchester in July as No. 3 Leon Edwards and No. 12 Tom Aspinall defend their positions with rematches against extremely tough unranked foes — Belal Muhammad and Curtis Blaydes, respectively — in a celebration of English fisticuffs at UFC 304.

Recent results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 2 Alex Pereira def. Jiri Prochazka

Upcoming bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 3 Leon Edwards vs. Belal Muhammad (UFC 304, July 27), No. 12 Tom Aspinall vs. Curtis Blaydes (UFC 304, July 27)

Fighters also receiving votes (number of ballot appearances shown): Khamzat Chimaev (3), Anatoly Malykhin (2), Belal Muhammad (2), Kamaru Usman (2), Patricio Pitbull (2), A.J. McKee (1), Dustin Poirier (1), Johnny Eblen (1), Justin Gaethje (1), Kyoji Horiguchi (1) Usman Nurmagomedov (1)

Falling out of the rankings (previous ranking shown): No. 19 Khamzat Chimaev


UFC 303: Pereira v Prochazka 2

Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

MMA Fighting

Welcome to the pound-for-pound list, Macy Chiasson!

The TUF 28 queen scored her biggest win to date on Saturday at UFC 303 when she carved a horror movie-esque gash into the forehead of recent title challenger Mayra Bueno Silva. Chiasson had struggled break through in past opportunities against elite competition, but her bloody TKO stoppage of Silva was just what the doctor ordered, propelling her to a No. 19 spot on our pound-for-pound rankings and into the brink of title contention in the wide-open UFC women’s bantamweight division.

Looking ahead, July’s two biggest women’s bouts come in back-to-back UFC headliners as No. 15 Rose Namajunas takes on Tracy Cortez in the main event of UFC Denver, followed by No. 16 Amanda Lemos taking center stage against Virna Jandiroba at UFC Vegas 94.

Recent results for ranked fighters (previous ranking shown): No. 13 Liz Carmouche def. Kana Watanabe, Macy Chiasson def. No. 16 Mayra Bueno Silva, No. 19 Taila Santos def. Jena Bishop

Upcoming bouts featuring ranked fighters: No. 15 Rose Namajunas vs. Tracy Cortez (UFC Denver, July 13), No. 16 Amanda Lemos vs. Virna Jandiroba (UFC Vegas 94, July 20)

Fighters also receiving votes (number of ballot appearances shown): Maycee Barber (6), Virna Jandiroba (2), Natalia Silva (2), Marina Rodriguez (1), Irene Aldana (1), Lauren Murphy (1), Ketlen Vieira (1)

Falling out of the rankings (previous ranking shown): No. 20 Maycee Barber


Lastly, a refresher on some ground rules:

  • The seven-person voting panel consists of MMA Fighting staffers Shaun Al-Shatti, Alexander K. Lee, Guilherme Cruz, Mike Heck, E. Casey Leydon, Damon Martin and Jed Meshew.
  • Updates to the rankings will be completed following every UFC pay-per-view. Fighters will be removed from the rankings if they do not compete within 18 months of their most recent bout.
  • Should a fighter announce their retirement, our panel will decide whether that fighter should immediately be removed from the rankings or maintain their position until further notice (let’s put it this way: we’d have taken Khabib Nurmagomedov out of our rankings a lot quicker than the UFC did).

As a reminder, the notion of pound-for-pound supremacy is always going to inherently be subjective. When you’re debating whether someone like Justin Gaethje should be ranked above someone like Max Holloway, there is no true right answer. In other words: It’s not serious business, folks.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns? Make your voice heard in the comments below.

Poll

Where should Alex Pereira sit on the P4P list?

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