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Justin Gaethje punches his ticket for entry into pound-for-pound rankings

Justin Gaethje made a brutal entry into the ESPN rankings with a bloody domination of Tony Ferguson on May 9. Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Justin Gaethje has arrived.

He might not think so, as evidenced by the disdain with which he tossed aside the interim lightweight championship belt moments after winning it with a brutal fifth-round TKO of Tony Ferguson in the UFC 249 main event on May 9.

"I'll wait for the real one," Gaethje said that night.

It might not be a long wait. With Gaethje's victory came a promise from UFC president Dana White that the 31-year-old fighting out of Colorado will indeed get a shot at "the real one" in a fight with the 155-pound champ, Khabib Nurmagomedov.

For now, Gaethje has his placeholder title strap ... and a spot in the ESPN men's pound-for-pound rankings.

He enters at the bottom of the top 10 with an opportunity to move up dramatically if he can dethrone No. 1-ranked Nurmagomedov.

Ferguson, previously ranked sixth, drops out of the rankings.

That is the only significant change in the top 10. Henry Cejudo, who successfully defended his bantamweight belt with a second-round TKO of two-time former champ Dominick Cruz at that same UFC 249 event, remains at No. 3, because it's tough to dislodge the two fighters above him, Nurmagomedov and UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones.

Other than that, a few fighters -- Israel Adesanya, Kamaru Usman, Demetrious Johnson and Alexander Volkanovski -- moved up a spot to fill in for the absence of Ferguson. The women's top 10 remains unchanged.

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

Note: Rankings were previously updated May 18.

Men's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Khabib Nurmagomedov

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

2. Jon Jones

Record: 26-1, 1 NC
Weight class: Light heavyweight
Last: W (UD) Dominick Reyes, Feb. 8
Next: TBD

3. Henry Cejudo

Record: 16-2
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (TKO2) Dominick Cruz, May 9
Next: TBD

4. Stipe Miocic

Record: 19-3
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: W (TKO4) Daniel Cormier, Aug. 17
Next: Aug. 15 vs. Daniel Cormier

5. Daniel Cormier

Record: 22-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Heavyweight
Last: L (TKO4) Stipe Miocic, Aug. 17
Next: Aug. 15 vs. Stipe Miocic

T-6. Israel Adesanya

Record: 19-0
Weight class: Middleweight
Last: W (UD) Yoel Romero, March 7
Next: TBD

T-6. Kamaru Usman

Record: 16-1
Weight class: Welterweight
Last: W (TKO5) Colby Covington, Dec. 14
Next: July 11 vs. Gilbert Burns

8. Demetrious Johnson

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

9. Alexander Volkanovski

Record: 21-1
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (UD) Max Holloway, Dec. 14
Next: July 11 vs. Max Holloway

10. Justin Gaethje

Record: 22-2
Weight class: Lightweight
Last: W (TKO5) Tony Ferguson, May 9
Next: TBD vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov

Other fighters receiving votes: Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier.

How our writers voted

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

Marc Raimondi
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Daniel Cormier
5. Stipe Miocic
6. Kamaru Usman
7. Demetrious Johnson
8. Israel Adesanya
9. Alexander Volkanovski
10. Justin Gaethje

Ariel Helwani
1. Jon Jones
2. Khabib Nurmagomedov
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Daniel Cormier
6. Israel Adesanya
7. Kamaru Usman
8. Justin Gaethje
9. Alexander Volkanovski
10. Dustin Poirier

Jeff Wagenheim
1. Khabib Nurmagomedov
2. Jon Jones
3. Henry Cejudo
4. Stipe Miocic
5. Demetrious Johnson
6. Daniel Cormier
7. Kamaru Usman
8. Israel Adesanya
9. Alexander Volkanovski
10. Justin Gaethje


Women's pound-for-pound rankings

1. Amanda Nunes

Record: 20-4
Weight class: Bantamweight/featherweight
Last: W (UD) Felicia Spencer, June 6
Next: TBD

2. Valentina Shevchenko

Record: 19-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (TKO3) Katlyn Chookagian, Feb. 8
Next: TBD

3. Cris Cyborg

Record: 21-2, 1 NC
Weight class: Featherweight
Last: W (UD) Julia Budd, Jan. 25
Next: TBD

4. Zhang Weili

Record: 21-1
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: W (SD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, March 7
Next: TBD

5. Rose Namajunas

Record: 9-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (TKO2) Jessica Andrade, May 11, 2019
Next: July 11 vs. Jessica Andrade

6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Record: 16-4
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (SD) Zhang Weili, March 7
Next: TBD

7. Jessica Andrade

Record: 20-7
Weight class: Strawweight
Last: L (TKO1) Zhang Weili, Aug. 31
Next: July 11 vs Rose Namajunas

8. Tatiana Suarez

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

9. Germaine de Randamie

Record: 9-4
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: L (UD) Amanda Nunes, Dec. 14
Next: TBD

T-10. Katlyn Chookagian

Record: 14-3
Weight class: Flyweight
Last: W (UD) Antonina Shevchenko, May 30
Next: TBD

T-10. Holly Holm

Record: 13-5
Weight class: Bantamweight
Last: W (UD) Raquel Pennington, Jan. 18
Next: Aug. 1 vs. Irene Aldana

How our writers voted

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

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. Rose Namajunas
6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
7. Jessica Andrade
8. Tatiana Suarez
9. Germaine de Randamie
10. Holly Holm

Jeff Wagenheim
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. Katlyn Chookagian