USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 17: How high does Charles Oliveira rise?

Pound For Pound Rankings

Jones is one of the greatest fighters of all time, and though he was pushed to the limit by Dominick Reyes, he retained his belt and now returns to the top of MMA Junkie’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Cormier admits he shied from the gameplan at UFC 241, and it cost him dearly in a loss to Stipe Miocic. Now, at age 40, Cormier has decided to give it one more go against Miocic before calling it a career.

Adesanya got to add Yoel Romero to his list of career victories, even if it wasn’t exactly a thrilling affair, and it appears the undefeated Paulo Costa is up next.

Miocic had to wait more than a year to get his rematch with Daniel Cormier, but he made the opportunity count, gutting through some tough rounds early to score a late knockout and reclaim the UFC title.

Following an emotional build-up to a grudge match with Colby Covington, Usman was brilliant, notching the first defense of his UFC welterweight title.

Volkanovski has said from the beginning that he deserved to be considered among the world’s best, and now he is, cracking the pound-for-pound list for the first time.

Holloway is considered an all-time great, but a pair of losses in 2019 leaves ‘Blessed’ in a position to think about exactly what he wants to do next.

Whittaker’s recent journey has been full of challenges, but at just 29, he promises there are still plenty of good days ahead.

Woodley saw his title taken from Kamaru Usman in what was an admittedly bad performance but hopes to work his way back to another shot at the belt.

Honorable Mentions

USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, March 17: How high does Charles Oliveira rise?

It’s taken a while, but Charles Oliveira is finally starting to get the recognition he deserves.

Not just as a skilled submission artist — “Do Bronx” got his props on that front long ago — but as a legitimate title contender in the UFC’s deepest division, lightweight.

Oliveira got the biggest win of his career Saturday when he finished former interim title challenger Kevin Lee in the third round of their UFC on ESPN+ 28 main event in Brasilia, Brazil.

That’s the seventh consecutive victory for the UFC’s all-time submission record holder. All seven have been by way of finish, and it has come against a steadily increasing level of competition along the way.

This means that after a long run as a guy considered an entertaining fighter, but not a title contender, Oliveira is probably one win away from being on the very short list of challengers for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s belt.

That is reflected in the current USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings, as Oliveira now sits No. 7 at 155 pounds. Lee, in the midst of a rough stretch, checks in at No. 10.

If you’ve been following the news, you know why this is likely to be the final significant rankings update of note for a little while. In the meantime, if you want to find out how the rest of the competitors from UFC on ESPN+ 28 placed in the rankings, or how your favorite fighter in general fares, scroll up to the drop-down menu for our full selection.

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.