The UFC updated its official divisional rankings Monday, and a new No. 1 contender emerged in the division for champion Jon Jones at light heavyweight. Jones, 32, from Rochester, N.Y., defeated Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in Houston over the weekend via unanimous decision. Judges seated cageside scored the bout 48-47, 48-47 and 49-46 for Jones.
But Reyes, 30, from Hesperia, Calif., gave Jones arguably the toughest fight of his entire career. In fact, some have pondered whether Reyes was robbed by the judges after turning in such a significant effort.
It should come to no surprise that Reyes is now the UFC’s new No. 1 contender to Jones’ light heavyweight throne. Reyes, who was previously ranked No. 4 in the division, jumped all the way up to the top after his tremendous effort inside the Octagon almost netted him the UFC light heavyweight title.
Reyes is followed by previous No. 1 contender Thiago Santos at No. 2. Like Reyes, Santos also put up an excellent effort against Jones in his last fight at UFC 239 in July. Jones won that encounter via split decision.
The top 5 is rounded out by Anthony Smith, Daniel Cormier and Corey Anderon. Anderson, 30, from Rockford, Ill., remains the only fighter ranked in the UFC’s 205-pound rankings Jones has yet to defeat.
Anderson’s next fight is against No. 6 contender Jan Błachowicz at UFC Fight Night 157 this weekend in New Mexico.
Should Jones ultimately skip out on the immediate rematch with Reyes, there are several other notable fights for Reyes to consider, including battling Santos in what would pit Jones’ last two opponents against each other.
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Other Notable Changes Following UFC 247
Jones remained ranked No. 1 on the UFC’s men’s pound-for-pound list. While the action was competitive against Reyes, not everyone was convinced after the fight that Reyes deserved the nod. Moreover, Jones is the single most dominant fighter of the last decade. There’s no way he would be moved down on the UFC’s pound-for-pound list without having actually lost the fight.
UFC heavyweight contender Derrick Lewis jumped up to No. 5 over Jair Rozenstruik after defeating Ilir Latifi by unanimous decision. Lewis, 36, told the media in Houston after the fight that he’d be ready to fight again as soon as March but backed off that idea after revealing to Ariel Helwani Monday he’d been diagnosed before the fight with an unspecified “life of death” medical issue that needed to be resolved.
UFC women’s flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko stopped Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main event of UFC 247. It was a dominant performance from the No. 2-ranked fighter on the UFC’s women’s pound-for-pound list. Previously the division’s top contender, Chookagian dropped down to No. 2 behind Jessica Eye.
Does that mean a Shevchenko vs. Eye rematch is now on the UFC’s radar? Shevchenko scored a devastating knockout over Eye last year via epic head kick. However, Eye lobbied for another crack at Shevchenko following the champion’s UFC 247 win over Chookagian.
Meanwhile, women’s flyweight contender Lauren Murphy moved up to No. 6 in the division after scoring the epic upset win over Andrea Lee during on the prelims card. The epic women’s flyweight battle was a tough fight to score, but Murphy’s aggression and resiliency seemed to be what the judges ultimately favored.