The rise of Islam Makhachev in the UFC’s lightweight division culminated on Saturday, when he captured the championship at UFC 280 in a virtuoso performance against Charles Oliveira. But that rise took a while. Makhachev has been in the UFC since 2015, and this past weekend’s bout in Abu Dhabi was his 13th trip inside the Octagon.

Makhachev’s rise in the ESPN pound-for-pound rankings, on the other hand, has been fast and furious.

The 31-year-old from Dagestan was unranked until now, but in our latest voting he’s not only in the men’s top 10, he’s up near the top.

That’s what happens when you end the 11-fight winning streak of then-No. 2 Oliveira by finishing the greatest finisher in UFC history.

Makhachev is being overlooked no more. And Khabib Nurmagomedov isn’t even on the voting panel.

For the ESPN divisional MMA rankings, click here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of Oct. 25.


Men’s pound-for-pound rankings

1. Alexander Volkanovskisw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 25-1
Last: W (UD) Max Holloway, July 2
Next: TBD


2. Israel Adesanyagn arrow - Replay Madness

UFC middleweight champion
Previous ranking: 3
Record: 23-1
Last: W (UD) Jared Cannonier, July 2
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Alex Pereira


3. Islam Makhachevgn arrow - Replay Madness

UFC lightweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 23-1
Last: W (Sub2) Charles Oliveira, Oct. 22, 2022
Next: TBD


4. Kamaru Usmansw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC welterweight
Record: 20-2
Last: L (KO5) Leon Edwards, Aug. 20
Next: TBD


5. Francis Ngannousw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 17-3
Last: W (UD) Ciryl Gane, Jan. 22
Next: TBD


6. Charles Oliveirard arrow - Replay Madness

UFC lightweight
Previous ranking: 2
Record: 33-9, 1 NC
Last: L (Sub2) Islam Makhachev, Oct. 22, 2022
Next: TBD


7. Leon Edwardsrd arrow - Replay Madness

UFC welterweight champion
Previous ranking: 6
Record: 20-3, 1 NC
Last: W (KO5) Kamaru Usman, Aug. 20
Next: TBD


8. Aljamain Sterlingsw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC bantamweight champion
Record: 22-3
Last: W (TKO2) TJ Dillashaw, Oct. 22, 2022
Next: TBD


9. Jiri Prochazkard arrow - Replay Madness

UFC light heavyweight champion
Previous ranking: 7
Record: 29-3-1
Last: W (Sub5) Glover Teixeira, June 11
Next: Dec. 10 vs. Glover Teixeira


T-10. Deiveson Figueiredord arrow - Replay Madness

UFC flyweight champion
Previous ranking: Tied for 9
Record: 21-2-1
Last: W (UD) Brandon Moreno, Jan. 22
Next: Jan. 21 vs. Brandon Moreno


T-10. Robert Whittakergn arrow - Replay Madness

UFC middleweight
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 24-6
Last: W (UD) Marvin Vettori, Sept. 3, 2022
Next: Feb. 12 vs. Paulo Costa


Other fighters receiving votes: Ciryl Gane, Brandon Moreno and Dustin Poirier.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Alexander Volkanovski; 2. Israel Adesanya; 3. Islam Makhachev; 4. Kamaru Usman; 5. Robert Whittaker; 6. Charles Oliveira; 7. Aljamain Sterling; 8. Francis Ngannou; 9. Deiveson Figueiredo; 10. Brandon Moreno.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Adesanya; 3. Makhachev; 4. Usman; 5. Oliveira; 6. Ngannou; 7. Sterling; 8. Edwards; 9. Ciryl Gane; 10. Figueiredo.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Makhachev; 3. Usman; 4. Adesanya; 5. Ngannou; 6. Oliveira; 7. Edwards; 8. Prochazka; 9. Sterling; 10. Figueiredo.

Megan Anderson: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Adesanya; 3. Makhachev; 4. Usman; 5. Oliveira; 6. Ngannou; 7. Edwards; 8. Prochazka; 9. Whittaker; 10. Figueiredo.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Adesanya; 2. Volkanovski; 3. Makhachev; 4. Usman; 5. Ngannou; 6. Oliveira; 7. Dustin Poirier; 8. Figueiredo; 9. Sterling; 10. Prochazka.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Volkanovski; 2. Ngannou; 3. Makhachev; 4. Adesanya; 5. Usman; 6. Oliveira; 7. Edwards; 8. Prochazka; 9. Sterling; 10. Poirier.


1. Amanda Nunessw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion
Record: 22-5
Last: W (UD) Julianna Peña, July 30
Next: TBD


2. Valentina Shevchenkosw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 22-3
Last: W (SD) Taila Santos, June 11
Next: TBD


3. Cris Cyborgsw ye 40 - Replay Madness

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 26-2, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Arlene Blencowe, April 23
Next: TBD


T-4. Julianna Peñasw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC bantamweight
Record: 11-5
Last: L (UD) Amanda Nunes, July 30
Next: TBD


T-4. Zhang Weilisw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC strawweight
Record: 22-3
Last: W (KO2) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, June 11
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Carla Esparza


6. Carla Esparzasw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 19-6
Last: W (SD) Rose Namajunas, May 7
Next: Nov. 12 vs. Zhang Weili


7. Rose Namajunassw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC strawweight
Record: 11-5
Last: L (SD) Carla Esparza, May 7
Next: TBD


8. Kayla Harrisonsw ye 40 - Replay Madness

PFL lightweight champion
Record: 15-0
Last: W (Sub1) Martina Jindrova, Aug. 20
Next: Nov. 25 vs. Larissa Pacheco


9. Jessica Andradesw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC flyweight
Record: 23-9
Last: W (Sub1) Amanda Lemos, April 23
Next: Jan. 21 vs. Lauren Murphy


10. Marina Rodriguezsw ye 40 - Replay Madness

UFC strawweight
Record: 16-1-2
Last: W (SD) Yan Xiaonan, March 5
Next: Nov. 5 vs. Amanda Lemos


Other fighters receiving votes: Manon Fiorot and Holly Holm.


How our panel voted

Brett Okamoto: 1. Amanda Nunes; 2. Valentina Shevchenko; 3. Cris Cyborg; 4. Rose Namajunas; 5. Zhang Weili; 6. Julianna Peña; 7. Kayla Harrison; 8. Carla Esparza; 9. Jessica Andrade; 10. Marina Rodriguez.

Marc Raimondi: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Peña; 5. Esparza; 6. Harrison; 7. Namajunas; 8. Weili; 9. Andrade; 10. Manon Fiorot.

Carlos Contreras Legaspi: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Peña; 4. Harrison; 5. Cyborg; 6. Esparza; 7. Weili; 8. Namajunas; 9. Andrade; 10. Holly Holm.

Megan Anderson: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Weili; 5. Namajunas; 6. Esparza; 7. Andrade; 8. Rodriguez; 9. Harrison; 10. Peña.

Eddie Maisonet III: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Peña; 4. Weili; 5. Cyborg; 6. Esparza; 7. Andrade; 8. Namajunas; 9. Harrison; 10. Rodriguez.

Jeff Wagenheim: 1. Nunes; 2. Shevchenko; 3. Cyborg; 4. Weili; 5. Andrade; 6. Peña; 7. Esparza; 8. Namajunas; 9. Harrison; 10. Fiorot.



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MMA pound-for-pound rankings – How high does Makhachev land?

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