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Adesanya makes another grand entrance -- into pound-for-pound rankings

Israel Adesanya is UFC middleweight champion after his Oct. 6 victory over Robert Whittaker. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Israel Adesanya didn't just become a champion on Oct. 6 in Melbourne, Australia. He became a bona fide star -- from his choreographed walkout to his energized postfight callout. And his performance in between was even more spectacular. Fittingly, his second-round knockout of middleweight champ Robert Whittaker was witnessed live by more than 57,000 fans, the largest crowd in UFC history.

Adesanya's big night -- along with all of the highlight-reel moments that came before it in his 18-0 pro career -- has boosted him into the ESPN pound-for-pound fighter rankings.

The title-winning KO put an exclamation point on an Adesanya-in-Melbourne story that took nearly four years to play out. Back in 2015, the Nigerian who moved to New Zealand in his teens was at Etihad Stadium (now known as Marvel Stadium) not to fight but to witness history. At UFC 193, Adesanya saw Holly Holm wreck the veil of invulnerability that had surrounded Ronda Rousey, knocking her out to become champion. Adesanya saw it happen -- but not exactly from cageside.

"I was in the nosebleeds," he said, "and now I made his nose bleed."

That was a reference to Whittaker, who had been champ since 2017. In suffering his first loss in 10 fights, he was knocked out of the pound-for-pound top 10. Someone had to make room for Adesanya, who has won all seven of his fights in the UFC.

Check out where "The Last Stylebender" has landed in the rankings.

(You can find Brett Okamoto's division-by-division rankings here.)

Note: Rankings were updated Oct. 9.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

T-1. Jon Jones

Record: 25-1, 1 NC
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last: W (SD) Thiago Santos, July 6
Next: TBD

T-1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Record: 28-0
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (SUB3) Dustin Poirier, Sept. 7
Next: TBD

3. Henry Cejudo

Record: 15-2
Weight class: Flyweight/bantamweight
Last: W (TKO3) Marlon Moraes, June 8
Next: TBD

4. Stipe Miocic

Record: 19-3
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: W (TKO4) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 17
Next: TBD

5. Daniel Cormier

Record: 22-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: L (TKO4) Stipe Miocic, Aug. 17
Next: TBD

6. Tony Ferguson

Record: 25-3
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (TKO2) Donald Cerrone, June 8
Next: TBD

7. Israel Adesanya

Record: 18-0
Weight class: Middleweight
Last: W (KO2) Robert Whittaker, Oct. 6
Next: TBD

8. Demetrious Johnson

Record: 30-3-1
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Danny Kingad, Oct. 12
Next: TBD

9. Max Holloway

Record: 21-4
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (UD) Frankie Edgar, July 27
Next: Dec. 14 vs. Alexander Volkanovski

10. Kamaru Usman

Record: 15-1
Weight class: Welterweight
Last: W (UD) Tyron Woodley, March 2
Next: Dec. 14 vs. Colby Covington

Other fighter receiving a vote: Dustin Poirier.

How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Tony Ferguson
5. Israel Adesanya
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Daniel Cormier
8. Demetrious Johnson
9. Max Holloway
10. Kamaru Usman

Marc Raimondi
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Daniel Cormier
4. Henry Cejudo
5. Tony Ferguson
6. Stipe Miocic
7. Demetrious Johnson
8. Kamaru Usman
9. Max Holloway
10. Israel Adesanya

Ariel Helwani
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Daniel Cormier
6. Israel Adesanya
7. Tony Ferguson
8. Kamaru Usman
9. Dustin Poirier
10. Max Holloway

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Demetrious Johnson
6. Daniel Cormier
7. Max Holloway
8. Tony Ferguson
9. Israel Adesanya
10. Kamaru Usman


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

Record: 18-4
Weight class: Bantamweight/featherweight
Last: W (TKO1) Holly Holm, July 6
Next: Dec. 14 vs. Germaine de Randamie

2. Valentina Shevchenko

Record: 18-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Liz Carmouche, Aug. 10
Next: TBD

3. Cris Cyborg

Record: 21-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, July 27
Next: Jan. 25 vs. Julia Budd

4. Zhang Weili

Record: 20-1
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (TKO1) Jessica Andrade, Aug. 31
Next: TBD

5. Rose Namajunas

Record: 9-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (TKO2) Jessica Andrade, May 11
Next: TBD

6. Jessica Andrade

Record: 20-7
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (TKO1) Zhang Weili, Aug. 31
Next: TBD

7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Record: 16-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Michelle Waterson, Oct. 12
Next: TBD

T-8. Germaine de Randamie

Record: 9-3
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (TKO1) Aspen Ladd, July 13
Next: Dec. 14 vs. Amanda Nunes

T-8. Tatiana Suarez

Record: 8-0
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (UD) Nina Ansaroff, June 8
Next: TBD

10. Holly Holm

Record: 12-5
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: L (TKO1) Amanda Nunes, July 6
Next: TBD

Other fighter receiving a vote: Ketlen Vieira.

How our writers voted

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Jessica Andrade
6. Rose Namajunas
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Tatiana Suarez
10. Ketlen Vieira

Marc Raimondi
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Tatiana Suarez
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Holly Holm

Ariel Helwani
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Cris Cyborg
4. Zhang Weili
5. Jessica Andrade
6. Rose Namajunas
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Tatiana Suarez
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Holly Holm

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Cris Cyborg
3. Valentina Shevchenko
4. Zhang Weili
5. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Tatiana Suarez
10. Holly Holm