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MMA pound-for-pound rankings: No easy road for Charles Oliveira, but he has made it

After overcoming adversity on Saturday, Charles Oliveira has a UFC title belt and an ESPN ranking. Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It did not look good for Charles Oliveira. Less than a minute into last Saturday's fight for the UFC lightweight championship, he was trapped in a guillotine choke, and Michael Chandler's beefy arms were squeezing the life out of him.

Even after he escaped trouble and gained dominant position in control of his opponent's back, Oliveira, the UFC's all-time leader in submissions, could not finish the job. And when Chandler got the fight back to standing and dropped Oliveira with a right hand with two minutes to go in the first round, the Brazilian was in trouble again.

The round ended with Oliveira on his back, his face bloodied. Right up to the horn, he had been absorbing punches and elbows. His chances did not look good.

Nineteen seconds of fighting later, though, Oliveira was a champion.

He came out for Round 2 and clipped Chandler with a short left hook just 7 seconds in, then swarmed him against the cage and delivered punch after punch until the referee jumped in at the 19-second mark.

Sometimes fortunes quickly change in this game. Then again, it sometimes takes a while. Oliveira, who has been in the UFC since 2010 and came into this bout -- his 28th in the UFC and first title shot -- riding an eight-fight winning streak, finally had a championship belt wrapped around his waist.

That stirring victory has propelled Oliveira into the ESPN pound-for-pound men's rankings.

Most other ranking positions held, including in the women's top 10, where Katlyn Chookagian maintained her spot on the strength of Saturday's victory over Viviane Araujo.

The rankings could see more movement over the next few weeks. On Friday, the No. 3-ranked woman, Cris Cyborg, defends her Bellator featherweight title against Leslie Smith. And in less than four weeks, at UFC 263 on June 12, No. 3 Israel Adesanya defends his middleweight title against Marvin Vettori and eighth-ranked Deiveson Figueiredo puts his flyweight belt on the line against Brandon Moreno.

For Brett Okamoto's division-by-division rankings, go here.

Note: Results are current; rankings as of May 18.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Kamaru Usman

UFC welterweight champion
Record: 19-1
Last: W (KO2) Jorge Masvidal, April 24, 2021
Next: TBD vs. Colby Covington


2. Jon Jones

UFC light heavyweight/announced move to heavyweight
Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8, 2020
Next: TBD


3. Israel Adesanya

UFC middleweight champion
Record: 20-1
Last: L (UD) Jan Blachowicz, March 6, 2021
Next: June 12 vs. Marvin Vettori


4. Francis Ngannou

UFC heavyweight champion
Record: 16-3
Last: W (KO2) Stipe Miocic, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD vs. Derrick Lewis


5. Alexander Volkanovski

UFC featherweight champion
Record: 22-1
Last: W (SD) Max Holloway, July 11, 2020
Next: TBD vs. Brian Ortega


T-6. Jan Blachowicz

UFC light heavyweight champion
Record: 28-8
Last: W (UD) Israel Adesanya, March 6, 2021
Next: Sept. 4 vs. Glover Teixeira


T-6. Dustin Poirier

UFC lightweight
Record: 27-6, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Conor McGregor, Jan. 23, 2021
Next: July 10 vs. Conor McGregor


8. Deiveson Figueiredo

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 20-1-1
Previous ranking: T-6
Last: D (MD) Brandon Moreno, Dec. 12, 2020
Next: June 12 vs. Brandon Moreno


9. Stipe Miocic

UFC heavyweight
Record: 20-4
Last: L (KO2) Francis Ngannou, March 27, 2021
Next: TBD


10. Charles Oliveira

UFC lightweight champion
Previous ranking: Unranked
Record: 31-8, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO2) Michael Chandler, May 15, 2021
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Max Holloway and Petr Yan


How our writers voted

Ariel Helwani
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Jon Jones
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Francis Ngannou
6. Charles Oliveira
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Max Holloway
9. Jan Blachowicz
10. Deiveson Figueiredo

Brett Okamoto
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Jon Jones
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Alexander Volkanovski
5. Deiveson Figueiredo
6. Jan Blachowicz
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Max Holloway
9. Francis Ngannou
10. Petr Yan

Marc Raimondi
1. Kamaru Usman
2. Jon Jones
3. Israel Adesanya
4. Francis Ngannou
5. Stipe Miocic
6. Alexander Volkanovski
7. Dustin Poirier
8. Jan Blachowicz
9. Charles Oliveira
10. Deiveson Figueiredo

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Jon Jones
2. Francis Ngannou
3. Kamaru Usman
4. Israel Adesanya
5. Stipe Miocic
6. Deiveson Figueiredo
7. Jan Blachowicz
8. Alexander Volkanovski
9. Dustin Poirier
10. Charles Oliveira


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

UFC bantamweight/featherweight champion
Record: 21-4
Last: W (Sub1) Megan Anderson, March 6, 2021
Next: Aug. 7 vs. Julianna Peña


2. Valentina Shevchenko

UFC flyweight champion
Record: 21-3
Last: W (TKO2) Jessica Andrade, April 24, 2021
Next: TBD


3. Cris Cyborg

Bellator featherweight champion
Record: 24-2, 1 NC
Last: W (TKO5) Leslie Smith, May 21, 2021
Next: TBD


4. Rose Namajunas

UFC strawweight champion
Record: 10-4
Last: W (KO1) Zhang Weili, April 24, 2021
Next: TBD


5. Zhang Weili

UFC strawweight
Record: 21-2
Last: L (KO1) Rose Namajunas, April 24, 2020
Next: TBD


6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

UFC strawweight
Record: 16-4
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7, 2020
Next: TBD


7. Jessica Andrade

UFC flyweight
Record: 21-9
Last: L (TKO2) Valentina Shevchenko, April 24, 2021
Next: TBD


8. Germaine de Randamie

UFC bantamweight
Record: 10-4
Last: W (TechSub3) Julianna Peña, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


9. Holly Holm

UFC bantamweight
Record: 14-5
Last: W (UD) Irene Aldana, Oct. 3, 2020
Next: TBD


10. Katlyn Chookagian

UFC flyweight
Record: 16-4
Last: W (UD) Viviane Araujo, May 15, 2021
Next: TBD


Other fighters receiving votes: Ayaka Hamasaki and Yan Xiaonan


How our writers voted

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

Brett Okamoto
1. Amanda Nunes
2. Valentina Shevchenko
3. Rose Namajunas
4. Cris Cyborg
5. Zhang Weili
6. Jessica Andrade
7. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
8. Germaine de Randamie
9. Katlyn Chookagian
10. Holly Holm

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

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