The final USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings update of 2021 is in, and though he didn’t fight this year, former UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will close the year in the No. 1 spot on our pound-for-pound list.

But Jones fast is approaching two years since his most recent fight – and if he’s not active before then, he’ll drop off our list until he fights again. If that happens, UFC welterweight champ Kamaru Usman, sitting at No. 2, could make his ascension to the top spot.

Rounding out the men’s top five are UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, former UFC flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson and UFC heavyweight champ Francis Ngannou.

On the women’s side, Amanda Nunes remains in the top spot even though she lost her UFC bantamweight title to Julianna Peña earlier this month. After her, it’s UFC women’s flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko, Bellator featherweight titleholder Cris Cyborg, UFC strawweight champ Rose Namajunas and former UFC 115-pound champ Zhang Weili.

The major promotions are hiatus for a few weeks during the holiday season, but there could be lots of shake-ups coming in 2022. As 2021 comes to a close, check out the final rankings update of the calendar year across all divisions.


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