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MMA pound-for-pound rankings: Khamzat Chimaev enters Top 10 after dominant UFC 279 outing

·Combat columnist
·3 min read
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Khamzat Chimaev missed weight badly on Friday and instead of fighting Nate Diaz in the main event of UFC 279, he wound up facing Kevin Holland in the co-main event. Missing weight by 7.5 pounds, as Chimaev did, would usually be grounds for either dropping a fighter in the rankings or not including him at all.

But Chimaev has been so dominant in going 6-0 in the UFC, including a first-round submission on Saturday of Holland at T-Mobile Arena, that it’s hard to ignore him. Holland not only didn’t land a strike against him at UFC 279, he didn’t even throw one.

It was the fourth time in his six UFC fights he held his opponent without a strike landed. In his UFC debut, John Phillips landed one strike on him. In the other, Gilbert Burns landed 119, but Chimaev won the decision.

So it’s pretty obvious he’s one of the 10 best in the world, so it’s high time I included him on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list. My biggest debate was how high I’d put him.

Khamzat Chimaev's flawless victory over Kevin Holland at UFC 279 proved he belongs among the UFC's elite. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

After much debate, I settled on eight. I originally began thinking of five, where new welterweight champion Leon Edwards had been sitting. But Edwards has a six-year, not a six-fight, winning streak running and he capped it by knocking out then-No. 1 Kamaru Usman.

Eventually, I opted for eight, which I wrestled with a lot. I had Francis Ngannou there previously, and Ngannou has wins over Stipe Miocic, Ciryl Gane, Cain Velasquez, Alistair Overeem, Junior dos Santos and Andrei Arlovski, among others.

But Chimaev has been so dominant, I put him in ahead of Ngannou. I dropped Ngannou to ninth, light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka to 10th and flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo fell out.

My women’s list is unchanged.

Men’s MMA pound-for-pound rankings as of Sept. 13

  1. Alexander Volkanovski (25-1, 12 KOs), UFC featherweight champion. Previous Ranking: 1

  2. Charles Oliveira (33-8, 9 KOs), UFC lightweight contender. PR: 2

  3. Kamaru Usman (20-2, 9 KOs), former UFC welterweight champion. PR: 3

  4. Israel Adesanya (23-1, 15 KOs), UFC middleweight champion. PR: 4

  5. Leon Edwards (20-3, 7 KOs), UFC welterweight champion. PR: 5

  6. Dustin Poirier (28-7, 14 KOs), UFC lightweight contender. PR: 6

  7. Islam Makhachev (22-1, 4 KOs), UFC lightweight contender. PR: 7

  8. Khamzat Chimaev (12-0, 6 KOs, UFC welterweight contender. Previously unranked

  9. Francis Ngannou (17-3, 12 KOs), UFC heavyweight champion. PR: 8

  10. Jiri Prochazka (29-3, 25 KOs), UFC light heavyweight champion. PR: 9

Women’s MMA pound-for-pound rankings as of Sept. 13

  1. Amanda Nunes (22-5, 13 KOs), UFC bantamweight/featherweight champion. PR: 1

  2. Valentina Shevchenko (23-3, 8 KOs), UFC flyweight champion. PR: 2

  3. Julianna Peña (12-5, 3 KOs), UFC bantamweight contender. PR: 3

  4. Kayla Harrison (14-0, 6 KOs), PFL lightweight champion: PR: 4

  5. Zhang Weili (22-3, 11 KOs), UFC strawweight contender. PR: 5

  6. Cris Cyborg (26-2, 20 KOs), Bellator featherweight champion. PR: 6

  7. Carla Esparza (19-6, 4 KOs), UFC strawweight champion. PR: 7

  8. Rose Namajunas (11-5, 2 KOs), UFC strawweight contender. PR: 8

  9. Marina Rodriguez (16-1, 6 KOs), UFC strawweight contender. PR: 9

  10. Jessica Andrade (23-9, 9 KO), UFC strawweight contender. PR: 10

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