Last year gave us two hot Ultimate Fighting Championship title challengers, but in 2018, Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier are still on top of their divisions.
Miocic clobbered anointed challenger Francis Ngannou in the UFC 220 main event on Jan. 20 in Boston, ending his 10-fight winning streak via lopsided 25-minute decision while becoming the first man to defend the heavyweight title three consecutive times. Meanwhile, Daniel Cormier retained his light heavyweight crown and No. 1 spot by pounding out surging Volkan Oezdemir, who tore up the 205-pound division in 2017.
Conversely, inactivity plays a large role in our latest update. With perennial heavyweight standouts Ben Rothwell and Josh Barnett awaiting formal discipline from the United States Anti-Doping Agency, both men have been on the sidelines for well over a year and as such drop two spots to ninth and 10th pending their USADA punishments. Meanwhile, former pound-for-pound queen Ronda Rousey is gearing up for a possible pro wrestling career, has not fought for nearly 13 months and may never do so again. As a result, the “Rowdy” one exits our rankings entirely.
With Rousey’s exit, Marion Reneau slides back into the 10th spot at 135 pounds. We have three other new No. 10 entrants. Ashley Cummins’ victory over Stephanie Alba and Kamaru Usman’s mauling of Emil Weber Meek put both fighters back into our rankings. Meanwhile, while Patricio Freire re-enters our list at 145 pounds following Jeremy Stephens’ upset of the previously ranked Doo Ho Choi.
Elsewhere, Rory MacDonald’s Bellator MMA welterweight title conquest on Jan. 20 sees “The Red King” rise back into our top five, swapping spots with previous champion Douglas Lima. Finally, Darren Elkins’ comeback against Michael Johnson elevates him one spot at 145 pounds, as he checks in at No. 6.
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