Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullFor the most part, rankings fighters in each division starts easy and ends tough.

That isn’t the case for my lightweight rankings.

Of any division in MMA, the lightweights are the toughest to sort through. The group is very top-heavy and even the distant contenders are hard to decipher.

Nonetheless, here is my top 10 list for the lightweights. Feel free to add your take on who should be in the top spots.

(If you need to go back and find my pound-for-pound, heavyweight, light heavyweight, middleweight, or welterweight rankings, click on the links)

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar is the UFC Lightweight Champion and the lone lightweight in the world to clearly dominate the great B.J. Penn. Edgar will get his chance to put his stamp on the top spot when he faces Gray Maynard for the third time on May 28, but the fact that Edgar pulled out a draw at UFC 125 after that brutal first round is a testament to his abilities. Edgar’s speed, hands, and wrestling are a very impressive combination, especially for a man that could arguably fight at featherweight.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard has yet to lose and if he didn’t put everything he had into knocking Edgar out in the first round of their UFC 125 bout, he would be the champion today. Maynard was once just a wrestler, but is now showing strong striking ability. If he can put forth a full 25 minutes in May, he will become the champion and take over the top spot in my rankings.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez deserves some real consideration for this top spot and in my opinion, he is the top fighter in all of Strikeforce. Melendez genuinely competes against some of the top fighters around the world that fans aren’t that familiar with. Still, Gilbert needs to prove it on the biggest stage of them all, the octagon, to get my top spot.

4. Jim Miller (20-2) – Miller has just two losses in his career, and that is to the pair on top of this list. Both losses came by decision, and since that time, Miller has gone on to win seven-straight fights. Miller has a great style and aggressive attitude and his will may be greater than his talent, which makes him a dangerous opponent.

5. Anthony Pettis (13-1) – I am a fan of Pettis, and it isn’t just because of his “Showtime Kick” on Ben Henderson. Pettis is a very dynamic striker, but his ground game keeps getting better. He submitted a ground specialist in Shane Roller and he out-wrestled Ben Henderson to become the final WEC Lightweight Champion. Given the success WEC fighters have had in the UFC thus far, I see no reason that Pettis won’t be a problem for anyone in the UFC.

6. Shinya Aoki (27-5, 1 NC) – Aoki is the Dream Lightweight Champion. He is one of the best submission fighters in the world. The man has 17 submission wins in his career and his skills are so diverse that many of his opponents don’t know how to handle him. Still, in his chance to really shine against Melendez in April of 2010, he put on a terrible performance that is hard for me to forget about. His recent win over Lyle Beerbohm helped erase that, but I need to see him beat a real notable opponent in the states to take him seriously as a top-5 contender.

7. Eddie Alvarez (22-2) – Alvarez is the Bellator Lightweight Champion and probably the best single fighter in the whole organization. His last lost came against Aoki in 2008, but he still holds wins over former UFC fighters like Roger Huerta and Josh Neer. Alvarez has quick hands and some strong grappling. Only time will tell if he will ever fight on the big stage of the UFC.

8. Clay Guida (28-11) – Guida doesn’t get a lot of respect as a top-ranked lightweight, but to me, Guida is right there. His losses have come against some of the best in the division. He was beaten by Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian, both who contended for the title in the recent past. Guida has now won three straight and gets a crack at Pettis in June. He may be limited because of his size and stature, but he brings the fight and will never back down.

9. Melvin Guillard (27-8-2) – Since being submitted by every legit contender in the UFC, Guillard seems to have gotten his career on track. Now a winner of four straight, Guillard is emerging as a top contender in the division after his TKO of Evan Dunham last January. As long as Guillard can stay off his back, he can beat anyone. That will be the test for him when he takes on Roller at UFC 132 in July.

10. Dennis Siver (17-8) – Siver emerged with his decision win over George Sotiropoulos at UFC 127 and he has now won seven of his last eight. The compact kick boxer posses problems for wrestlers because of his strength and size and he also poses problems for strikers because of his devastating kicks and punches. Siver is on the fast track in the UFC right now, but he must keep up the momentum when he takes on Matt Wiman at UFC 132.


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