MMA pound-for-pound rankings: It's unanimous -- Khabib is unsurpassed

Khabib Nurmagomedov announced his retirement after his UFC 254 victory, but he remains No. 1 in the men's rankings. Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

"I know only one thing what I want from UFC," Khabib Nurmagomedov said moments after his victory over Justin Gaethje at UFC 254. "You guys have to put me No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, because I deserve it."

That he does.

And despite the undefeated lightweight champion having announced his retirement immediately after his second-round submission win Oct. 24 on Fight Island, the UFC did keep Nurmagomedov in its rankings and did elevate him to the top spot, as he wished.

The ESPN pound-for-pound men's rankings, on the other hand, were ahead of the curve. The 32-year-old Dagestani has been No. 1 for months. That's what a 29-0 record filled with dominant victories will get you.

However, Nurmagomedov still got a boost in the ESPN top 10: He now is the unanimous top choice of our four voters.

There likely will be a shakeup at the top of the mountain next time these rankings are updated, as Nurmagomedov does not seem like the type to announce a retirement merely as a negotiation tactic. He left the sport less than four months after the death of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, after promising his mother the Gaethje fight would be his last. "And if I give my word," said Nurmagomedov, "I have to follow it."

"This is real," his longtime friend and training partner Daniel Cormier said. "Khabib doesn't lie. Khabib doesn't play 'I'm retiring and I'm coming back.'"

So consider this unanimous No. 1 ranking ESPN's goodbye to Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The biggest change in these rankings? It's one that carries a punch: Making his debut in the men's top 10 is heavyweight Francis Ngannou, whose past four bouts have been knockouts in 45 seconds (Curtis Blaydes), 26 seconds (Cain Velasquez), 71 seconds (Junior dos Santos) and 20 seconds (Jairzinho Rozenstruik). His next fight is expected to be a challenge of champ Stipe Miocic.

In the women's rankings, Jessica Andrade moves up a spot on the strength of her Oct. 17 flyweight debut, a first-round TKO of ranked fighter Katlyn Chookagian.

(For Brett Okamoto's division-by-division rankings, go here.)

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Oct. 28.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Record: 29-0
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (SUB2) Justin Gaethje, Oct. 24
Next: Announced retirement


2. Jon Jones

Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8
Next: TBD


3. Stipe Miocic

Record: 20-3
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: W (UD) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 15
Next: TBD


4. Israel Adesanya

Record: 20-0
Weight class: Middleweight
Last: W (TKO2) Paulo Costa, Sept. 26
Next: TBD


5. Kamaru Usman

Record: 17-1
Weight class: Welterweight
Last: W (UD) Jorge Masvidal, July 11
Next: TBD vs. Gilbert Burns


6. Alexander Volkanovski

Record: 22-1
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11
Next: TBD


7. Demetrious Johnson

Record: 30-3-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12, 2019
Next: Feb. 24 vs. Adriano Moraes


8. Deiveson Figueiredo

Previous ranking: 9
Record: 20-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (Sub1) Alex Perez, Nov. 21
Next: Dec. 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


9. Dustin Poirier

Previous ranking: 10
Record: 25-6, 1 NC
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (UD) Dan Hooker, June 27
Next: Jan. 23 vs. Conor McGregor


10. Francis Ngannou

Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 15-3
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: W (KO1) Jairzinho Rozenstruik, May 9
Next: TBD

Other fighters receiving votes: Justin Gaethje, Petr Yan, Max Holloway, Conor McGregor and Robert Whittaker.


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Deiveson Figueiredo
8. Demetrious Johnson
9. Dustin Poirier
10. Max Holloway

Marc Raimondi
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Kamaru Usman
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Deiveson Figueiredo
8. Petr Yan
9. Francis Ngannou
10. Robert Whittaker

Ariel Helwani
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Israel Adesanya
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Justin Gaethje
9. Demetrious Johnson
10. Conor McGregor

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Demetrious Johnson
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Kamaru Usman
7. Alexander Volkanovski
8. Deiveson Figueiredo
9. Francis Ngannou
10. Dustin Poirier


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

Record: 20-4
Weight class: Bantamweight/featherweight
Last: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, June 6
Next: TBD vs. Megan Anderson


2. Valentina Shevchenko

Record: 20-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Jennifer Maia, Nov. 21
Next: TBD


3. Cris Cyborg

Record: 23-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (SUB2) Arlene Blencowe, Oct. 15
Next: TBD


4. Zhang Weili

Record: 21-1
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7
Next: TBD


5. Rose Namajunas

Record: 9-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11
Next: TBD


6. Jessica Andrade

Previous ranking: 7
Record: 21-8
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (TKO1) Katlyn Chookagian, Oct. 17
Next: TBD


7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Previous ranking: 6
Record: 16-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7
Next: TBD


8. Germaine de Randamie

Record: 10-4
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (TechSUB3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3
Next: TBD


9. Holly Holm

Record: 14-5
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3
Next: TBD


10. Katlyn Chookagian

Previous ranking: T-9
Record: 15-4
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Cynthia Calvillo, Nov. 21
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Julia Budd and Seo Hee Ham.


How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Zhang Weili
4. Rose Namajunas
5. Cris Cyborg
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Katlyn Chookagian

Marc Raimondi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Seo Hee Ham

Ariel Helwani
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Katlyn Chookagian

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Holly Holm
10. Julia Budd