Pound for pound: Where do new champs Du Plessis and Pennington fall?

Pound for pound: Where do new champs Du Plessis and Pennington fall?
  • ESPN

Jan 24, 2024, 08:00 AM ET

Over the weekend, UFC 297 saw the crowning of two new champions. Both have now broken into the ESPN pound-for-pound MMA rankings.

Dricus Du Plessis is making his debut in the men’s top 10 on the strength of his split-decision win over Sean Strickland in the Toronto card’s main event, a middleweight title fight. Du Plessis (21-2) has won nine fights in a row.

And Raquel Pennington, who in her second shot at the UFC women’s bantamweight belt finally secured the shiny strap with a victory over Mayra Bueno Silva, has entered the women’s rankings. Pennington (16-8) previously challenged for the title in 2018.

Other than that, both the men’s and women’s rankings remain largely unchanged.

For the ESPN divisional MMA rankings, click here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Jan. 24. In order to be eligible for the rankings, a fighter must have competed over the past 12 months or must have an upcoming fight booked. Fighters who have been dropped for inactivity can be reinstated only after they compete.


Women’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 24-3
Last: W (UD) vs. Amanda Lemos, Aug. 19, 2023
Next: April 13 vs. Yan Xiaonan


2. Alexa Grasso

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 16-3-1
Last: Split draw vs. Valentina Shevchenko, Sept. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


3. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight
Record: 22-4-1
Last: Split draw vs. Alexa Grasso, Sept. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


4. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 27-2, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO1) vs. Cat Zingano, Oct. 7, 2023
Next: TBD


5. Erin Blanchfield

UFC flyweight
Record: 12-1
Last: W (UD) vs. Taila Santos, Aug. 26, 2023
Next: March 30 vs. Manon Fiorot


6. Yan Xiaonan

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 17-3
Last: W (KO1) vs. Jessica Andrade, May 6, 2023
Next: April 13 vs. Zhang Weili


7. Tatiana Suarez

UFC strawweight
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 10-0
Last: W (Sub2) vs. Jessica Andrade, Aug. 5, 2023
Next: TBD


8. Raquel Pennington

UFC bantamweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 16-8
Last: W (UD) vs. Mayra Bueno Silva, Jan. 20, 2024
Next: TBD


T-9. Kayla Harrison

PFL featherweight
Record: 16-1
Last: L (UD) vs. Aspen Ladd, Nov. 24, 2023
Next: TBD


T-9. Larissa Pacheco

PFL featherweight champion
Previous ranking: 8
Record: 23-4
Last: W (UD) vs. Marina Mokhnatkina, Nov. 24, 2023
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Seika Izawa, Manon Fiorot, Liz Carmouche, Amanda Lemos, Rose Namajunas and Julianna Peña.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Zhang Weili; 2. Alexa Grasso; 3. Valentina Shevchenko; 4. Cris Cyborg. 5. Erin Blanchfield; 6. Tatiana Suarez; 7. Manon Fiorot; 8. Rose Namajunas; 9. Kayla Harrison; 10. Yan Xiaonan.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Zhang; 2. Cyborg; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Grasso; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Yan; 7. Seika Izawa; 8. Raquel Pennington; 9. Suarez; 10. Fiorot.

Megan Anderson: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Cyborg; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Yan; 7. Pennington; 8. Fiorot; 9. Suarez; 10. Julianna Peña.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Cyborg; 5. Harrison; 6. Pennington; 7. Blanchfield; 8. Larissa Pacheco; 9. Yan; 10. Suarez.

Ian Parker: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Cyborg; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Suarez; 7. Pacheco; 8. Fiorot; 9. Harrison; 10. Namajunas.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Shevchenko; 4. Blanchfield; 5. Pacheco; 6. Cyborg; 7. Amanda Lemos; 8. Harrison; 9. Izawa; 10. Pennington.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Zhang; 2. Grasso; 3. Cyborg; 4. Shevchenko; 5. Blanchfield; 6. Yan; 7. Izawa; 8. Pennington; 9. Suarez; 10. Fiorot.


Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Islam Makhachev

UFC lightweight champion
Record: 25-1
Last: W (KO1) vs. Alexander Volkanovski, Oct. 21, 2023
Next: TBD


2. Jon Jones

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 27-1, 1 NC
Last: W (Sub1) vs. Ciryl Gane, March 4, 2023
Next: TBD


3. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 26-3
Last: L (KO1) vs. Islam Makhachev, Oct. 21, 2023
Next: Feb. 17 vs. Ilia Topuria


4. Leon Edwards

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 22-3, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) vs Colby Covington, Dec. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


5. Alex Pereira

UFC light heavyweight champion
Record: 9-2
Last: W (TKO2) vs. Jirí Procházka, Nov. 11, 2023
Next: TBD


6. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight
Record: 34-9, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO1) vs. Beneil Dariush, June 10, 2023
Next: April 13 vs. Arman Tsarukyan


7. Alexandre Pantoja

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 27-5
Last: W (UD) vs. Brandon Royval, Dec. 16, 2023
Next: TBD


8. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight
Record: 24-3
Last: L (UD) vs. Sean Strickland, Sept. 9, 2023
Next: TBD


9. Sean O’Malley

UFC bantamweight champion
Record: 17-1, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) vs. Aljamain Sterling, Aug. 19, 2023
Next: March 9 vs. Marlon Vera


10. Dricus Du Plessis

UFC middleweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 21-2
Last: W (SD) vs. Sean Strickland, Jan. 20, 2024
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Kamaru Usman, Khamzat Chimaev, Aljamain Sterling, Max Holloway, Demetrious Johnson, Justin Gaethje and Brandon Moreno.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Islam Makhachev; 2. Alexander Volkanovski; 3. Leon Edwards; 4. Jon Jones; 5. Israel Adesanya; 6. Alex Pereira; 7. Alexandre Pantoja; 8. Charles Oliveira; 9. Max Holloway; 10. Brandon Moreno.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Edwards; 4. Volkanovski; 5. Oliveira; 6. Pereira; 7. Pantoja; 8. Sean O’Malley; 9. Adesanya; 10. Dricus Du Plessis.

Megan Anderson: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Pereira; 6. Oliveira; 7. Adesanya; 8. Kamaru Usman; 9. O’Malley; 10. Du Plessis.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Pereira; 6. Adesanya; 7. O’Malley; 8. Pantoja; 9. Du Plessis; 10. Oliveira.

Ian Parker: 1. Jones; 2. Makhachev; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Pereira; 5. Edwards; 6. O’Malley; 7. Pantoja; 8. Du Plessis; 9. Demetrious Johnson; 10. Khamzat Chimaev.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Makhachev; 2. Volkanovski; 3. Jones; 4. Edwards; 5. Pantoja; 6. Oliveira; 7. Adesanya; 8. Chimaev; 9. Pereira; 10. Usman.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Makhachev; 2. Jones; 3. Volkanovski; 4. Edwards; 5. Oliveira; 6. O’Malley; 7. Pantoja; 8. Pereira; 9. Aljamain Sterling; 10. Justin Gaethje.

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