This past weekend’s UFC 259 proved to be a rather memorable affair, and for a pair of fighters, it marked the moment they rose to No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings.
In the night’s main event, UFC light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz (28-8 MMA, 11-5 UFC) defended his title by earning a decision win over a previously undefeated Israel Adesanya, the reigning UFC middleweight titleholder. While he was already the UFC kingpin, he was still at No. 2 on our list prior to the result. But with Jon Jones on the sidelines for more than a year and the champion a perfect 3-0 during that time, Blachowicz and his “legendary Polish power” ascend to the top spot in our list.
Meanwhile, Aljamain Sterling (20-3 MMA, 12-3 UFC) became UFC bantamweight champion in a rather bizarre fashion, with Petr Yan disqualified for landing an illegal knee. Still, the result is official, and Sterling has now won six in a row and ascends to our top spot ahead of what’s expected to he a hotly contested rematch.
Check out the new look of those two divisions, as well as the changes across the lists that came as a result of UFC 259 in the latest edition of the USA TODAY Sports/MMA Junkie rankings.