The Rankings: The Lightweights: Feb 25, 2013


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 ForumDave 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: 4-0 (W-Diaz, W-Miller, W-Cerrone, W-Cerrone)
    Next Fight: vs #2 Gilbert Melendez – UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Melendez – Apr 20th

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

2) (2) Gilbert Melendez – UFC – 44 points
           Last Five Fights: 5-0 
           Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
           Next Fight: vs #1 Benson Henderson – UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Melendez – Apr 20th

Many people have been touting Gilbert Melendez as the top 155-pounder in the world for years now.  Time to put up or shut up.

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: vs #10 TJ Grant – UFC 160 – May 25th

Another day, another injured fighter – The Bully had to pull out of his fight versus Joe Lauzon due to a knee injury.  So instead he'll get TJ Grant in May.

4) 5) Nate Diaz – UFC – 36 points 
         Record: 16-8
         Last Five Fights: 3-2
         Record vs Top 10: 2-2 (L-Henderson W-Miller, W-Cerrone, L-Maynard)
         Next Fight: vs Josh Thomson – UFC on Fox: Henderson vs Melendez – Apr 20th

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

5) (6) Jim Miller – UFC – 30 points 

(​Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)

          Record: 22-4 
          Last Five Fights: 3-2
          Record vs Top 10: 0-3 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Maynard)
          Next Fight: vs Pat Healy – UFC 159 – Apr 27th

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

6)  (tied) (7) Michael Chandler – Bellator Lightweight Champion – 21 points
                      Record: 11-0
                      Last Five Fights: 5-0
                      Record vs Top 10: 1-0 (W-Alvarez) 
                      Next Fight: TBA

The face of Bellator didn't disappoint on their Spike TV debut, tapping out Rick Hawn.


6) (tied) (7) Donald Cerrone – UFC – 21 points
                     Record: 19-5 (1 No Contest)
                     Last Five Fights: 3-2
                     Record vs Top 10: 0-3 (L-Diaz, L-Henderson, L-Henderson)
                     Next Fight: K.J. Noons – UFC 160 – May 25th

Getting knocked out by Anthony Pettis did nothing to prove that Cowboy Cerrone deserves to be mentioned among the very elite of the 155-pound weight class.

8) (9) Eddie Alvarez – Free Agent – 12 points
           Last Five Fights: 4-1
           Record vs Top 10: 0-1 (L-Chandler)
           Next Fight: TBA

The battle for Eddie Alvarez has gotten ugly (and drawn out).


9) (10) Khabib Nurmagomedov – UFC – 10 points
             Record: 19-0
             Last Five Fights: 5-0
             Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
             Next Fight: vs Abel Trujillo – UFC 160 – May 25th

19 up and 19 down for The Eagle.


10) (NR) TJ Grant – UFC – 8 points
                Record: 20-5
                Last Five Fights: 4-1
                Record vs Top 10: 0-0 
                Next Fight: vs #3 Gray Maynard – UFC 160 – May 25th

The biggest fight of TJ Grant's career is on the horizon.


Dropped off: (4) Anthony Pettis (moved to featherweight….if Jose Aldo obliges)

Bubbling under: Rafael dos Anjos, Joe Lauzon, 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.