USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, Dec. 1: Anthony Smith turns things around

Pound For Pound Rankings

As Nurmagomedov seemingly rides off into the sunset, he ascends to No. 1 status in the pound-for-pound ranks with an absolutely scintillating win over Justin Gaethje.

Already considered one of the greatest fighters of all-time, Jones said he wants to turn his attention to heavyweight in hopes of building an even more impressive legacy – though he seems awfully caught up in Israel Adesanya at the moment.

While we’re still waiting on an official announcement, it seems Adesanya is going to be gunning for UFC champ-champ status soon against Jan Blachowicz.

After fulfilling his dream of adding a global belt to his collection of championships, ‘Mighty Mouse’ now looks to add ONE’s flyweight belt to the grand prix title he already earned.

Usman may not be the most popular figure on the UFC roster, but he’s certainly effective and is starting to put his name in the history books with his dominant run.

With his trilogy win over Daniel Cormier secured, Miocic is widely considered the greatest heavyweight in UFC history – and perhaps even all of MMA.

Bader was certainly disappointed to lose his Bellator champ-champ status, but he does still have one belt and promises to return in top form.

It wasn’t as convincing as the first time around, but Volkanovski picked up a second win over Max Holloway and says he wants to continue taking out top contenders.

Khabib Nurmagomedov proved to be too much for Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, but ‘The Highlight’ could very well get another title shot in the very near future.

With a fantastic win over Jared Cannonier, Whittaker proved himself the No. 1 contender in the UFC’s middleweight division but made it clear he doesn’t want to fight again until 2021.

Costa was frustrated after suffering the first loss of his career and has been campaigning for a rematch with Israel Adesanya, though it certainly doesn’t seem to be in the cards right now.

Yan and his devastating boxing skills have earned him a UFC title, and his first defense will come against an impressive challenger in Aljamain Sterling.

Honorable Mentions

USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, Dec. 1: Anthony Smith turns things around

Anthony Smith put in exactly the type of performance he needed on Saturday night in the main event of UFC on ESPN 18.

Not only did Smith (34-16 MMA, 9-6 UFC) get a much-needed victory in his bout with Devin Clark, but he did so in a dominant manner. Smith put on a textbook display of groundwork in earning the first-round submission and snapping a two-fight losing streak.

The way the new USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie light heavyweight rankings break down, though, Smith basically held his spot. Smith entered the fight ranked No. 10 at 205 pounds. Clark was unranked. And standing one spot ahead of Smith is Aleksandar Rakic, who earned a unanimous decision over Smith the previous time “Lionheart” stepped into the octagon.

And that’s about how it went for UFC on ESPN 18, which was a night of solid action but without much rankings implications. Miguel Baeza certainly underscored the idea he’s one to watch with a finish of Takashi Sato, but a welterweight ranking is still a bit off.

So with that, if you want to check where your favorite — or least favorite — fighter places in the new edition of the rankings, go to the drop-down menu above and select a division.

Ranking Criteria

The rankings take into account a fighter’s wins/losses, quality of competition, finishing rate/dominance and frequency of fights.

Fighters are no longer eligible to be ranked after they’ve been inactive for 24 months, either due to injuries, drug/conduct suspensions, contract disputes or self-imposed hiatuses.

Fighters serving drug/conduct suspensions are eligible to be ranked, so long as they’re not inactive for more than 24 months.

To the best of our ability, fighters will be ranked in their primary weight class. Catchweight fights and bouts outside the fighter’s primary weight class can have a positive or negative impact on the ranking. However, non-titleholders can be ranked in only one weight class at a given time, and in most cases, they won’t be ranked in a new weight class until they’ve had their first fight at that weight.