MMA pound-for-pound rankings: Is there room near the top for Kamaru Usman?

Kamaru Usman needed a gritty performance at UFC 258 to retain his welterweight belt and hold his spot in the pound-for-pound rankings. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Kamaru Usman put on a star-making performance at UFC 258. His third-round TKO of former teammate Gilbert Burns was a roller-coaster ride that, after an uphill climb forced upon Usman early, gained heart-pumping momentum and shined a bright spotlight on the welterweight champ.

Not only did Usman retain his belt in Saturday's bout in Las Vegas, but he also further secured his place among the greats in mixed martial arts.

What the big victory did not do was elevate Usman even one inch in the ESPN pound-for-pound men's rankings. Although two of the four voters moved him up a spot in their top 10s, that was not enough to elevate Usman from No. 5.

Usman remains stuck behind Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jon Jones, Stipe Miocic and Israel Adesanya. How does one break into that elite foursome? Maybe the safest bet would be to just wait until the UFC takes Nurmagomedov's retirement seriously and moves on. Then again, Adesanya has a big fight coming up in less than a month (March 6 vs. light heavyweight champ Jan Blachowicz), and Miocic defends his belt against the terrifying Francis Ngannou on March 27.

For now, though, there is no movement in either the men's or women's top 10. But the top-ranked woman, two-weight champion Amanda Nunes, defends her featherweight belt on March 6 against Megan Anderson. And the other 145-pound champ, Alexander Volkanovski, also defends later that month, facing Brian Ortega on March 27.

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

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Feb. 15.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

UFC lightweight champion
Record: 29-0
Last: W (SUB2) Justin Gaethje, Oct. 24, 2020
Next: Announced retirement


2. Jon Jones

UFC light heavyweight/announced move to heavyweight
Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8, 2020
Next: TBD


3. Stipe Miocic

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 20-3
Last: W (UD) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 15, 2020
Next: March 27 vs. Francis Ngannou


4. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 20-0
Last: W (TKO2) Paulo Costa, Sept. 26, 2020
Next: March 6 vs. Jan Blachowicz


5. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 18-1
Last: W (TKO3) Gilbert Burns, Feb. 13, 2021
Next: TBD


6. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 22-1
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11, 2020
Next: March 27 vs. Brian Ortega


T-7. Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 20-1-1
Last: D (MD) Brandon Moreno, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: June 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


T-7. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Conor McGregor, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: TBD


9. Demetrious Johnson

One Championship flyweight
Record: 30-3-1
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12, 2019
Next: April 7 vs. Adriano Moraes


10. Max Holloway

UFC featherweight
Record: 22-6
Last: W (UD) Calvin Kattar, Jan. 16, 2021
Next: TBD

Other fighters receiving votes: Petr Yan, Justin Gaethje and Francis Ngannou


How our writers voted

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

Marc Raimondi
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Kamaru Usman
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Petr Yan
8. Dustin Poirier
9. Deiveson Figueiredo
10. Max Holloway

Ariel Helwani
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Stipe Miocic
4. Israel Adesanya
5. Kamaru Usman
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Max Holloway
9. Justin Gaethje
10. Deiveson Figueiredo

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


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

UFC bantamweight/featherweight champion
Record: 20-4
Last: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, June 6
Next: March 6 vs. Megan Anderson


2. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 20-3
Last: W (UD) Jennifer Maia, Nov. 21
Next: April 24 vs. Jessica Andrade


3. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 23-2, 1 NC
Last: W (SUB2) Arlene Blencowe, Oct. 15
Next: TBD


4. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 21-1
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7
Next: TBD


5. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight
Record: 9-4
Last: W (SD) Jessica Andrade, July 11
Next: TBD


6. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Record: 21-8
Last: W (TKO1) Katlyn Chookagian, Oct. 17
Next: April 24 vs. Valentina Shevchenko


7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

UFC strawweight
Record: 16-4
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7
Next: TBD


8. Germaine de Randamie

UFC bantamweight
Record: 10-4
Last: W (TechSUB3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3
Next: TBD


9. Holly Holm

UFC bantamweight
Record: 14-5
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3
Next: TBD


10. Katlyn Chookagian

UFC flyweight
Record: 15-4
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