Sherdog Official Mixed Martial Arts Rankings

Lightweight

Feb 10, 2010
Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

B.J. "The Prodigy" Penn
Lightweight

1. B.J. Penn (15-5-1)
After his destruction of Diego Sanchez in December, fans have all but given up hope of seeing Penn seriously threatened by another UFC lightweight. However, "The Prodigy" is due for at least one more title defense, as he's expected to take on Frankie Edgar in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 on April 10.

2. Shinya Aoki (23-4, 1 NC)
What else can be said about Aoki's pro-wrestling-esque theatrics on New Year's Eve? Of more material importance to these rankings, it was yet another impressive, albeit brutal, submission victory for Aoki over a quality opponent in Mizuto Hirota.

3. Eddie Alvarez (19-2)
In an entertaining and tougher-than-expected bout with Japanese prospect Katsunori Kikuno, the sure-fisted Alvarez continued to flaunt his grappling prowess and submitted the karateka with an arm-triangle in the second round. The victory moved Bellator's lightweight champ to 4-0 for 2009 with four submissions.

4. Kenny Florian (12-4)
Florian has been designated the UFC welcoming committee: "Ken Flo" will have the honor of welcoming perennial star lightweight Takanori Gomi to the Octagon on March 31 when the pair meet in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 21 in North Carolina.

5. Tatsuya Kawajiri (26-5-2)
It wasn't a barnburner, but Kawajiri's New Year's Eve performance against a tough and underrated Kazunori Yokota was thorough and dominant. However, the real fight for the "Crusher" continues to be a potential showdown with Dream lightweight champ Shinya Aoki.

6. Gray Maynard (9-0, 1 NC)
Maynard won his Jan. 11 bout with Nate Diaz, but the controversial split decision to punctuate a lackluster fight was not enough to earn Maynard the favor of fans and UFC brass. That means "The Bully" will continue to wait for a crack at the UFC lightweight crown.

7. Frankie Edgar (11-1)
The winner by default due to the lackluster Gray Maynard-Nate Diaz bout, Edgar has won the right to next vie for the UFC lightweight crown. "The Answer" is expected to take on divisional ruler B.J. Penn at UFC 112 on April 10 in Abu Dhabi.

8. Gilbert Melendez (17-2)
In consecutive fights against Rodrigo Damm and Mitsuhiro Ishida, Melendez showed mature performances and vastly improved boxing. In his rematch with Josh Thomson, Melendez outdid himself, avenging his June 2008 loss to Thomson and regaining the Strikeforce title in the best performance of his career.

9. Sean Sherk (33-4-1)
Sherk's injury woes continue: After pulling out of multiple fights in the last few months, another undisclosed injury forced him out of a potential bout with Clay Guida that was set for "UFC on Versus 1" on March 21.

10. Mizuto Hirota (12-4-1)
Hirota was the unfortunate recipient of Shinya Aoki's enfant terrible routine on New Year's Eve, which resulted in a fractured humerus. Coming off of surgery, the Sengoku lightweight champion is expected to return to action this summer.

Other contenders: Gesias Cavalcante, Tyson Griffin, Benson Henderson, Jim Miller, Diego Sanchez.
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