’s Pound-for-Pound Top 10

By Brian Knapp Jul 12, 2018

Daniel Cormier outdid himself this time.

The American Kickboxing Academy cornerstone entered his champion-versus-champion superfight with Stipe Miocic at UFC 226 on July 7 with a hall-of-fame resume, as a two-time Olympian, NCAA All-American, Strikeforce grand prix winner and reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder. In less than five minutes, Cormier strengthened his claim as one of the greatest fighters of all-time.

“DC” knocked out Miocic to capture the undisputed heavyweight crown and join Conor McGregor as the only simultaneous two-division champions in UFC history. Cormier cut down the Strong Style Fight Team lynchpin with a right hook in the clinch and then blasted him with follow-up punches until referee Marc Goddard called for the stoppage 4:33 into Round 1. The Lafayette, Louisiana, native now owns a 14-0 record as a heavyweight.

The historic win over Miocic paints Cormier’s career in an entirely new perspective. As a result, he leapfrogs UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson and UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway to No. 1 on the latest pound-for-pound list. Miocic, who was previously ranked fifth, falls two spots to No. 7.

Without further delay, the updated Pound-for-Pound Top 10 rankings:

1. Daniel Cormier (21-1)

Cormier added to his legacy at UFC 226 on July 7, as he became only the second simultaneous two-division titleholder in the promotion’s history -- Conor McGregor was the first -- with a first-round knockout of heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic in the main event. Cormier, who also holds sway over the 205-pound weight class, remains undefeated in the big-man’s division; and based on a post-fight confrontation with current World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Brock Lesnar, he could remain at heavyweight for his next title defense.

2. Demetrious Johnson (27-2-1)

If you are going to break one of Anderson Silva’s marks, you ought to do it in style. This certainly was not lost on Johnson at UFC 216. In a title defense the world knew he would win, “Mighty Mouse” dominated challenger Ray Borg before hitting a breathtaking slam-into-armbar sequence. With the victory, Johnson earned his 11th straight UFC title defense, surpassing “The Spider’s” record of 10. After a targeted superfight against T.J. Dillashaw failed to become a reality, Johnson has been scheduled for his next title defense in a rematch against Henry Cejudo at UFC 227 in August.

3. Max Holloway (19-3)

Holloway is not having much luck in 2018. Just days out from a scheduled 145-pound title defense against Brian Ortega in the UFC 226 co-main event, “Blessed” was pulled from the bout due to concussion-like symptoms. That marks the third time this year Holloway has been forced to withdraw from a fight: An injured foot forced him out of a matchup with Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 in March, and the Hawaiian was deemed medically unfit to take a short-notice lightweight title bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 in April. Holloway will likely be rebooked against Ortega down the road, but for now, his health is the primary concern.

4. Tyron Woodley (18-3-1)

Woodley already has three successful welterweight title defenses under his belt and recently said he “would bet the house” that his fourth would come against Nate Diaz this summer. However, just as he did when Woodley referenced a matchup with Diaz in December, UFC President Dana White shot down that notion, claiming the champion “couldn’t be more full of s---.” A unification bout with newly minted interim titleholder Colby Covington figures to be next in line once “The Chosen One” is completely healed from shoulder surgery.

5. Robert Whittaker (20-4)

After nearly a year away from competition, Whittaker returned to the Octagon and delivered an instant classic in a rematch against Yoel Romero in the UFC 225 headliner. The Australia-based fighter survived knockdowns in the third and fifth rounds to hold off “The Soldier of God” -- a man he also defeated for interim 185-pound gold at UFC 213 -- for a narrow split decision triumph. Whittaker, who has won nine consecutive fights, will coach opposite Kelvin Gastelum on Season 28 of “The Ultimate Fighter” before squaring off with his rival at a future event. The exact date of his first official title defense depends on how quickly Whittaker heals from a broken thumb suffered in his fight with Romero.

6. Khabib Nurmagomedov (26-0)

It felt basically inevitable, but that did not make it any less impressive. Nurmagomedov did what he does best in the UFC 223 headliner, as he dominated short-notice opponent Al Iaquinta for five rounds to claim the undisputed lightweight title. Any number of interesting options could await “The Eagle” for his first championship defense, but it will not come until November or December -- the months the Dagestani fighter has targeted for his Octagon return.

7. Stipe Miocic (18-3)

Heavyweight title reigns are fleeting, even if you have authored the longest such reign in UFC history. That proved to be the case for Miocic, who fell to reigning light heavyweight king Daniel Cormier via first-round knockout in the UFC 226 headliner. The defeat snapped a six-fight winning streak for the Ohio firefighter, who had bested Francis Ngannou, Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem during his stay at the top.

8. Tony Ferguson (23-3)

When it comes to freak injuries, Ferguson’s is hard to top. “El Cucuy” tore a ligament in his knee while fulfilling media obligations less than a week before a highly anticipated clash with Khabib Nurmagomedov. As a result, the cursed fight was canceled for a fourth time. Still, Ferguson has won 10 straight fights, and according to UFC President Dana White, he remains the No. 1 contender at 155 pounds. However, the interim title he claimed with a triangle choke submission on Kevin Lee in October has been dissolved by the organization.

9. T.J. Dillashaw (15-3)

Dillashaw finally got his showdown with former Team Alpha Male training partner Cody Garbrandt at UFC 217 and overcame nearly being stopped in the opening round to knock out “No Love” and take back the bantamweight title. After a brief flirtation with a superfight against reigning flyweight king Demetrious Johnson, Dillashaw will instead settle for a return date with Garbrandt at UFC 227 on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles.

10. Cody Garbrandt (11-1)

Through five minutes of his UFC 217 co-main event on Nov. 4, Garbrandt looked well on his way to both defending his UFC bantamweight title for the first time and knocking out former teammate turned rival T.J. Dillashaw. Then Round 2 came and Dillashaw cracked him with a right hand, pounded him out, took his title and handed him the first loss of his career. The good news for “No Love” is that he will get to run it back against Dillashaw at UFC 227 in August.

Sherdog’s divisional and pound-for-pound rankings are compiled by a panel of staff members and contributors: Tristen Critchfield, Mike Fridley, Brian Knapp, Jesse Denis, James Nietering, Eric Stinton, Ben Duffy, Josh Stillman, Nathan Zur, Kevin Wilson, Edward Carbajal, Jason Burgos, Anthony Walker, Tudor Leonte, Mike Sloan, Mark Raymundo, Jordan Colbert, Jordan Breen and Joao Baptista.


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