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ESPN’s division-by-division rankings — Light heavyweight


Check out my rankings within each division by clicking on the links below.

Who is the best fighter regardless of weight class? See ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings. Plus, check out our women’s pound-for-pound rankings.

Note: Results through May 30.


Divisional Rankings

Heavyweight | Light heavyweight
Middleweight | Welterweight | Lightweight
Featherweight | Bantamweight | Flyweight
Women’s bantamweight | Women’s strawweight


LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT DIVISION (UP TO 205 POUNDS)

1. Daniel Cormier (18-1)
“Boo me. I’m getting money and championship belts.” Those were the words out of Cormier’s mouth after he submitted Anthony Johnson at UFC 210. He might be a full heel at this point, and he doesn’t seem to mind too much.
Next: UFC 214 on July 29, vs. Jon Jones

2. Jon Jones (22-1)
The future is murky for Jones. You don’t need expert analysis to tell you that. He’s one of the greatest talents the sport has ever seen, but he has been limited to two fights since the start of 2015 and is suspended until July.
Next: UFC 214 on July 29, vs. Daniel Cormier

3. Alexander Gustafsson (18-4)
Not that Gustafsson’s place within the division was ever really in doubt, but he re-solidified his place near the top with a dominant showing over Glover Teixeira in May. As of right now, Gustafsson’s claim to fame are two very close losses to Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier. Will he be able to finally reach the peak in the near future?
Next: TBD

4. Ryan Bader (22-5)
Bader elected to sign with Bellator MMA in 2017 and finds himself in immediate title contention. He already has a win against the champion of that division, Phil Davis.
Next: Bellator: NYC on June 24, vs. Muhammed Lawal

5. Phil Davis (17-3)
The Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion is undefeated since crossing over from the UFC, and his title performance against Liam McGeary was about as one-sided as it gets. Davis will be a hard champion to topple.
Next: Bellator: NYC on June 24, vs. Ryan Bader

6. Jimi Manuwa (17-2)
The hard-hitting Brit delivered a first-round knockout against Corey Anderson in England — and proceeded to call for a UFC title shot or a professional boxing match against David Haye. That’s just good self-promotion, there.
Next: TBD

7. Glover Teixeira (26-6)
Teixeira has hung around the top of the division for years, piling up convincing wins over the middle of the pack. When he’s had his shots against elite talent, however, he hasn’t been competitive. Losses to Jon Jones, Phil Davis, Anthony Johnson and Alexander Gustafsson were all relatively lopsided. At this point in his career, that might not change.
Next: TBD

8. Mauricio Rua (25-10)
Few have accomplished more in this division than Shogun. At 35, he’s not what he once was, but he’s working on a three-fight win streak. He remains relevant in the rankings, even this late in his career.
Next: TBD

9. Volkan Oezdemir (14-1)
Just two fights into his UFC career, Oezdemir has wreaked some havoc on the top of this division. A split decision over Ovince St. Preux in February was followed by a shocking first-round knockout over highly touted Misha Cirkunov. Oezdemir says we should stop doubting him. Perhaps he’s right.
Next: TBD

10. Misha Cirkunov (13-3)
n a deeper division, Cirkunov probably wouldn’t find himself in the top 10. But the 205-pound division is nothing to write home about at the moment and the Latvian remains an intriguing player, despite a major setback against Volkan Oezdemir in May.
Next: TBD



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