The Rankings: The Lightweights: Dec 31, 2012


The Rankings are just that – The MMA Manifesto's rankings of the best fighters in mixed martial arts today.  Check back every Monday and Friday for our rankings of a different weight class.  Next up: The Lightweights. 

Voting Panel: Jeff Fox – The MMA Manifesto, speeds – Sports Two MMA Forum, Dave Kelsey – 2011 MMA Manifesto Pick 'Em Contest Champion, Dan Vreeland from The MMA Manifesto and PrelimPicker, and MMA journalist (FIGHT!,, Keyboard Kimura) E. Spencer Kyte.



1) (Last rankings: 1) Benson Henderson – UFC Lightweight Champion – 50 points (out of 50)

ben henderson happy ufc 144

    Record: 18-2
    Last Five Fights: 5-0 
    Record vs Top 10: 4-1 (W-Diaz, W-Miller, L-Pettis, W-Cerrone, W-Cerrone)
    Next Fight: TBA

Benson Henderson's decimation of the lightweight class continues unabated.

2) (2) Gilbert Melendez – Strikeforce Lightweight Champion – 43 points
           Last Five Fights: 5-0 
           Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
           Next Fight: TBA

The UFC injury bug has spread to Strikeforce and infected Gilbert Melendez, among others.

3) (3) Gray Maynard – UFC – 40 points 
11-1-1 (1 No Contest)
           Last Five Fights: 3-1-1 
           Record vs Top 10: 2-0 (W-Diaz, W-Miller)
           Next Fight: TBA

Another day, another injured fighter – The Bully had to pull out of his fight versus Joe Lauzon due to a knee injury.

4) (4) Nate Diaz – UFC – 35 points 
          Last Five Fights: 3-2 
          Record vs Top 10: 2-2 (L-Henderson W-Miller, W-Cerrone, L-Maynard)
          Next Fight: TBA

Now it's up to big brother Nick to try to bring some UFC gold to the Diaz family

5) (5) Anthony Pettis – UFC – 28 points


          Record: 15-2
          Last Five Fights: 4-1 
          Record vs Top 10: 1-0 (W-Henderson)   
          Next Fight: vs #7 Donald Cerrone – UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Dodson – Jan 26th

Cowboy Cerrone called him out and Anthony Pettis responded – the two should have a Fight of the Year caliber scrap  at UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Dodson.

6) (6) Jim Miller – UFC – 26 points 
          Last Five Fights: 3-2
          Record vs Top 10: 0-3 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Maynard)
          Next Fight: TBA

It was expected to be a slobberknocker, and Jim Miller and Joe Lauzon didn't disappoint.

7)  (7) Donald Cerrone – UFC – 21 points
            Record: 19-4 (1 No Contest)
            Last Five Fights: 4-1
            Record vs Top 10: 0-3 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Henderson)
            Next Fight: vs #5 Anthony Pettis – UFC on Fox: Johnson vs Dodson – Jan 26th

Cowboy vs Showtime = Fight of the Year?

8) (8) Michael Chandler – Bellator Lightweight Champion – 16 points
            Record: 10-0
            Last Five Fights: 5-0
            Record vs Top 10: 1-0 (W-Alvarez) 
            Next Fight: vs Rick Hawn – Bellator LXXXV – Jan 17th

The former University of Missouri wrestling All-American shockingly stormed his way through Bellator's Lightweight Tournament and didn't stop until he had snatched the belt from heavily favoured Eddie Alvarez.

9) (9) Eddie Alvarez – Bellator – 9 points
           Last Five Fights: 4-1
           Record vs Top 10: 0-1 (L-Chandler)
           Next Fight: TBA

Eddie Alvarez is now a free man.  The UFC is surely on his horizon.


10) (tied) (10) Khabib Nurmagomedov – UFC – 2 points
                          Record: 18-0
                          Last Five Fights: 5-0
                          Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
                          Next Fight: vs Thiago Tavares – UFC on FX: Belfort vs Bisping – Jan 19th

18 wins and nary a loss is good enough to get The Eagle a place in our top 10.


10) (tied) (NR) Rafael dos Anjos – UFC – 2 points
                           Record: 18-6
                           Last Five Fights: 4-1
                           Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
                           Next Fight: TBA

Rafael dos Anjos went undefeated in 2012, and more importantly, cracked our top 10 rankings for the first time.

Bubbling under: Joe Lauzon, Jamie Varner, Pat Healy



Light Heavyweights



Pound for Pound

Check back on Friday for our Featherweight rankings


About Jeff Fox

Jeff Fox is Mr. Manifesto - the Supreme Leader and evil mind behind The Hoops Manifesto, The MMA Manifesto, & A Dry Heat.