Top 10 Lightweight Rankings

nullThe lightweight division is as impressive a group as any in MMA.

The top 10 list features a number of different styles and contenders, but each fighter could arguably beat everyone else on the list.

Still, here are my updated top 10 lightweight rankings.

1. Frankie Edgar (13-1-1) – Edgar holds on to the top spot as he still is the UFC champion. An injury kept him from facing Gray Maynard in their long-awaited trilogy fight, but those two should collide soon and be able to settle the score as to who deserves to be the champion.

2. Gray Maynard (10-0-1) – Maynard is still unbeaten but missed out on his opportunity to win the championship when he had Edgar beaten at UFC 125. Now, he will have to wait for a third shot at Edgar this fall where he can perhaps prove to the world that he is the top lightweight in the world.

3. Gilbert Melendez (19-2) – Melendez could legitimately compete for the UFC title, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to do so. Now that the UFC is tapping into Strikeforce, perhaps a champion vs. champion bout is in the near future. Until then, Melendez looks as if he will continue to tear up Strikeforce competition.

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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.

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Is Gilbert Melendez the top lightweight in the world?

nullGilbert Melendez believes he is the top lightweight in all of MMA.

At 19-2, he has a case to argue.

Following his first round TKO win over Tatsuya Kawajiri last Saturday, the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion stated “I think it’s time to unify some titles. I’m the No. 1 lightweight in the world. Let’s get it done.”

Melendez has looked better with each fight, but the question for him is competition. His two losses have been decisions to Josh Thomson and Mitsuhiro Ishida, but he avenged both defeats later in his career.

Melendez shows great striking skills and underrated grappling ability and he has been pushed for 25 minutes on more than one occasion.

While Melendez believes he has accomplished more than top UFC lightweights Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, I have to disagree.

Edgar defeated B.J. Penn twice, something only Georges St. Pierre has accomplished. Maynard has been around for a shorter period of time, but is undefeated and beaten top opponents like Kenny Florian, Edgar, Jim Miller, and Melendez’ teammate Nate Diaz.

Melendez’ argument is similar to that of Eddie Alvarez, the Bellator Lightweight Champion. Alvarez has been on a nice run, but because he doesn’t fight in the UFC, he arguably doesn’t get as much respect nationally as he deserves.

Melendez has more of a case as he has fought tougher opponents, but until he steps into the UFC octagon, there will always be that doubt that he can contend at the highest level.


Bellator 39 recap: Alvarez dominates Curran

nullBellator 39 took place Saturday night from the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. and the main event saw lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez improve his MMA record to 22-2 with a unanimous decision win over contender Pat Curran.

Despite going the full five rounds, it was pretty clear early on that Alvarez was the better fighter.

The champion peppered Curran (13-4) with punches to the head and body for 25 minutes but Curran was able to take the punishment. Alvarez also mixed in takedowns and shot attempts, which Curran defended well, but the challenger never seemed to poise a real threat.

Curran fought most of the bout reacting to what Alvarez was doing and that allowed the champion to dictate the style and pace of the fight.

In one of the featured bouts, Rick Hawn (11-0) picked up a split decision win over former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good (13-2) to advance to the finals of the promotion’s welterweight tournament.

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Bellator fighters still competing for national respect

nullWith all the media buzz over Zuffa’s purchase of Strikeforce last month, many media pundits were left to wonder what competition was left for the premiere company in MMA—the UFC.

Cleary Zuffa owns the two most notable promotions, but there are still plenty of other organizations that are trying to establish MMA stars.

One of those promotions is Bellator, which will be hosting another card tonight featuring a lightweight championship bout with Eddie Alvarez defending his title against Pat Curran. The show will air live on MTV2 at 9 p.m.

Alvarez is 21-2 in his MMA career with 19 stoppage wins. Some feel he is earning his spot in the top 10 of the lightweight rankings, but as Alvarez told’s Mike Whitman, rankings are “nonsense”

“I understand that in order to get in the rankings, you have to first gain popularity. And I’ve been saying this over and over. There are going to be guys in the next couple of years from Bellator who are going to be ranked in the top-10, and that’s not necessarily because they are better than the UFC guys,” said Alvarez during Wednesday’s media conference call.

“[The rankings] are very subjective and very political. I think it’s more of a popularity contest than a talent contest. Rankings, to me, are just a way to negotiate my money with a promotion. Other than that, they hold no bearing. It’s all nonsense. A No. 1 guy can lose to a No. 10 guy any day of the week.”

Looking at his career, Alvarez does hold recent wins over former UFC contenders Roger Huerta and Josh Neer, but he also has suffered losses to Shinya Aoki and Nick Thompson.

A lot of times we like to look at a guy’s record and deem him a certain caliber, but that won’t satisfy my eye test.

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