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5 Oz. Official Rankings: Lightweight is back with it’s brand new and highly official lightweight rankings.
Agree or disagree, these ranking were compiled in a completely unbiased manner based on several decisive contributing factors to the decision making process. There will be no delusional (hopefully) or political slants to these rankings

The different factors taken into account when considering the placing of the various top ten listers included, among a variety of other variables:

A) Recent activity at the weight class. Basically the deciding factor was that if you have competed your last two fights or more at a given weight, that’s your division.

For example, Some are going to be upset to see that Hendo and Rich Franklin aren’t considered for 205 due to the fact that neither have competed at the weight class in two or more bouts. Although a case could be made for either man jumping right into the top ten as soon as they return to the weight.

A guy like Anderson Silva is going to be ranked in both the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions due to the fact that he consistently bounces back and forth between divisions.

B) Activity. I could make a very strong case for putting Tito Ortiz in the 205 top ten, but he hasn’t been fighting. Someone like Alistair Overeem that hasn’t fought in over ten months also takes a significant hit for not competing.

C) Level of competition faced in the past

D) Recent wins over top contenders

E) Experience

Like always, we invite you to post your own personal rankings, and agree or disagree with us in a loosely respectful manner in the comment section below.

1. B.J. Penn: Penn’s recent submission of Kenny Florian following consecutive victories over Jens Pulver, Joe Stevenson and Sean Sherk make him the only choice for the number one spot.

2. Kenny Florian: Easily one of the most well rounded and dangerous fighters in the division, prior to his most recent defeat at the hands of Penn during UFC 101, Kenflo put together a string of six consecutive victories in the Octagon. His victims include Joe Stevenson, Roger Huerta and Joe Lauzon.

3. Gray Maynard: Undefeated in nine professional bouts, with six wins in the UFC, Maynard holds victories over highly regarded lightweights such as Frankie Edgar, Jim Miller and Roger Huerta.

4. Frankie Edgar: Outside of a unanimous decision loss to the guy in the number three spot, Edgar has gone unblemished during his professional fighting career, with notable wins over Sean Sherk, Hermes Franca, Spencer Fisher, Tyson Griffin and Jim Miller.

5. Sean Sherk: Outside of losses to Penn and Edgar, Sherk holds wins over top rated fighters like Kenny Florian, Hermes Franca and Tyson Griffin during his stint at lightweight.

6. Tyson Griffin: Griffin has consistently performed well against some of the very best fighters 155 pounds has to offer. His only losses coming to Sherk and Edgar, Griffin has bested some of the most dangerous lightweights in the world, including Thiago Tavares, Clay Guida, Gleison Tibau, and most recently, Hermes Franca.

7. Diego Sanchez: While Sanchez has only been at home in the lightweight division for two fights now, notching wins over Joe Stevenson and Clay Guida, the combination of Diego’s size, striking and submission defense make it hard to visualize a fighter as one dimensional as Shinya Aoki being able to take care of “The Nightmare”.

8. Shinya Aoki: Brace yourself but I feel like Shinya being considerably lower than you will find him in other polls deserves a thorough explanation.

Aoki is commonly ranked near the very top of his weight class by many of the other rankings from respected sources, but he will receive no such love here. It’s nothing personal against the “Tobikan Judan”, but wins over guys like Joachim Hansen, Eddie Alvarez and “JZ” Calvancante don’t justify being listed anywhere near the number two spot.

Hansen is a beast, but honestly, who does he hold a recent win over, other than Shinya Aoki, that could seriously rationalize him being listed over some of the fighters on the honorable mentions list? I’ll save you the trip to google his record and tell you…. nobody! But he beat Aoki.

Alvarez? Another really exciting fighter that I would always pay to watch, but who has he beat? I’ll tell you who: Hansen and Tatsuya Kawajiri. I’ve already said what I’d had to say about “Hellboy”, but the last time Kawajiri fought anyone world class other than Alvarez and Calvancante he was outclassed by Gilbert Melendez via unanimous decision.

Don’t even get me started on “JZ”. The dude is a talent, no question about it, but top ten material? No way. The biggest win over his career is….. I guess it’s Caol Uno three years ago. With that mindset, Spencer Fisher automatically jumps up to like seven or eight.

However, Aoki is amazingly gifted and it will be fascinating to see how his somewhat one dimensional style of submission fighting would do against the fighters in the United States who are allowed the use of elbows, combined with coming in at an average of ten to twenty pounds heavier than the majority of the opponents in his past.

I could use Hermes Franca as an example as to why I feel like Aoki is granted a little too much respect because it just so happens to be the sexy pick. Franca, while suffering losses to top fighters like Sean Sherk, Frankie Edgar and Tyson Griffin, at least he’s in there fighting the top guys so I can guage where his skill level is at a lot better. In Hermes’ case, the question begs to be asked whether wins over fighters like Jamie Varner, Nathan Diaz, Spencer Fisher and Marcus Aurelio should be so easily overshadowed by wins over Hansen, Alvarez and Calvancante.

Ask yourself a question, does Aoki beat Varner, Diaz, Fisher and Aurelio? You sure about that?

9. Eddie Alvarez: With his sole defeat at lightweight coming to Aoki, Alvarez has racked up impressive wins over the likes of Tatsuya Kawajiri and Joachim Hansen, including recently being crowned as the Bellator lightweight tournament champion with a rear-naked choke victory over Toby Imada in the finals.

10. Joachim Hansen: Hansen is one of the most experienced and dangerous lightweights in the sport. Holding a recent victory over Shinya Aoki, along with one of the most well rounded arsenals in the game, Hansen would be a handful for anyone on this list.

Honorable Mentions: Gilbert Melendez, Joe Lauzon, Benson Henderson, Spencer Fisher, Tatsuya Kawajiri, Donald Cerrone, Roger Huerta, Jamie Varner (There is a one year cut-off for inactivity, Varner last fought in January of 2009)

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