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Russian star tops prestigious UFC rankings

Islam Makhachev has become the second fighter from his homeland to lead the UFC’s pound-for-pound ratings

Russian UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev has earned top spot in the elite MMA promotion’s pound-for-pound (P4P) rankings for the first time, dethroning American star Jon Jones. 

Makhachev is the second-ever Russian fighter to lead the ratings, which determine the UFC’s best fighters irrespective of their weight. He follows in the footsteps of friend and training partner Khabib Nurmagomedov, who had retained the P4P top spot until his formal retirement in March 2021. 

The updated rankings follow Makhachev’s victory in the main event at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi in late October, when he successfully defended his lightweight title in a second fight against Australian rival Alexander Volkanovski. Unlike their first bout back in February, which Makhachev had won via unanimous decision after a tight five-round contest, the Dagestani star left no room for doubt in the rematch with a head-kick KO in the first round.

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Jones, the reigning UFC heavyweight champion, slipped to second place in the UFC’s P4P ratings. The American was forced to pull out of his scheduled title defense against Stipe Miocic at UFC 295 later this month after tearing a pectoral tendon in training. Volkanovski, who holds the UFC’s featherweight title, occupies third place in the P4P list.

Former UFC champion Nurmagomedov congratulated Makhachev on his achievement, describing it as a “legendary feat.” The Russian MMA Union also praised Makhachev while wishing him continued success. 

“We congratulate Islam Makhachev on such an achievement as reaching first place in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings. He is a very good fighter, we wish him further success in his career,” said the acting head of the union, Andrey Terentyev.

The 32-year-old Makhachev boasts a record of 25 wins and just one defeat in his 26 professional MMA contests.


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