Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Lightweight

Jun 17, 2009
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn
Lightweight

1. B.J. Penn (13-5-1)
With his Greasegate protests lingering, Penn has accepted the offer to defend his UFC 155-pound crown against Kenny Florian. The long overdue lightweight matchup is set for UFC 101 on Aug. 8.

2. Shinya Aoki (20-4, 1 NC)
Coming off his crushing loss against Hayato Sakurai in April, Aoki hasn't opted for a soft touch. He will take on returning lightweight standout Vitor Ribeiro at Dream 10 on July 20.

3. Eddie Alvarez (17-2)
With his May 1 submission over Eric Reynolds, Alvarez reached Bellator's lightweight tournament final, just as everyone had expected. However, the world expected him to meet Jorge Masvidal in the championship. Instead, he'll meet upset author and potential "Submission of the Year" owner Toby Imada on June 19.

4. Joachim Hansen (19-7-1)
Despite the attention given to his New Year’s Eve rematch with Gesias Cavalcante, the bout was nixed at the last minute when a pre-fight medical test revealed an undisclosed head injury to Hansen.

5. Kenny Florian (11-3)
Almost an afterthought in the current frenzy of MMA news, "Ken Flo" will take on UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn at UFC 101 on Aug. 8. It will be the fighter-cum-analyst's second crack at UFC gold.

6. Satoru Kitaoka (25-8-9)
Kitaoka’s Pancrase homecoming on June 7 was every bit as predictable as expected, as he leglocked an overmatched Yukio Sakaguchi in 86 seconds. The real challenge for Sengoku’s lightweight champion will come Aug. 2, when he makes the first defense of his title against Mizuto Hirota.

7. Tatsuya Kawajiri (24-5-2)
For the last six years, Kawajiri has been one of MMA's best lightweights, but in a red-hot, hyperactive division, he didn't quite have the wins to show for it. His workmanlike unanimous verdict over standout Gesias "JZ" Cavalcante on May 26 proved that the "Crusher" has still got it.

8. Gray Maynard (7-0, 1 NC)
Despite virtually no fanfare, "The Bully" has dominated three strong lightweights in a row. His March 15-minute thrashing of a high-quality Jim Miller was Maynard's most consummate outing to date.

9. Frankie Edgar (10-1)
Not wanting to hear any more discussion about him cutting to 145 pounds, Edgar made a strong statement that he can hang against elite lightweights, staying a step ahead of former UFC lightweight champ Sean Sherk for the full 15 minutes of their May 23 bout.

10. Sean Sherk (33-4-1)
With no clear direction in the UFC's lightweight division, Sherk was already in a tight spot before his May 23 loss to Frankie Edgar. Now a promotional course of action for the "Muscle Shark" is even more difficult to divine.

Other contenders: Gesias Cavalcante, Gilbert Melendez, Eiji Mitsuoka, Josh Thomson, Jamie Varner.

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