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B/R Official Rankings for August: The Top 10 Lightweights in MMA

Sean SmithAnalyst ISeptember 6, 2016

B/R Official Rankings for August: The Top 10 Lightweights in MMA

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    At UFC 150, Frankie Edgar will attempt to regain his lightweight title from Benson Henderson in a highly anticipated rematch. While Henderson took a unanimous decision in his previous meeting with the former champion, many felt Edgar was owed an immediate rematch after having to grant the same to B.J. Penn and Gray Maynard during his reign as lightweight king.

    The fight with Henderson will provide Edgar an opportunity to prove he's still the best 155-pound fighter in the world. However, a loss could finally force Edgar to the featherweight division to grant the wishes of the UFC brass for the undersized lightweight.

    No matter the outcome, the UFC 150 main event will have a major impact on the landscape of the lightweight division, so let's take a look at how the top-10 155-pound fighters stack up heading into the pivotal event.

     

    These rankings are the combined efforts of some of Bleacher Report MMA's best writers, as we continue to try and provide you with the best content on the web.

10. Donald Cerrone

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 18-4, 1 NC

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Jeremy Stephens at UFC on Fuel TV 3

    Next Fight: Melvin Guillard at UFC 150

    Previous Ranking: 10

     

    In his past 12 fights, Donald Cerrone has only lost against lightweight champion Benson Henderson and top contender-in-waiting Nate Diaz. 

    With a win over Melvin Guillard on Saturday, Cerrone could set himself up for a potential title-shot eliminator against Anthony Pettis, who recently accepted a challenge from "Cowboy" through his manager's recent interview with MMAJunkie.

9. Michael Chandler

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    Promotion: Bellator

    Record: 10-0

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Akhiro Gono at Bellator 67

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 9

     

    After beating Brent Weedman in May, Rick Hawn will likely be Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler's first challenger, though a date for the title bout has not yet been set.

    Chandler earned his title by dethroning Eddie Alvarez in an instant classic that shook up the lightweight ladder. Then, the 26-year-old remained undefeated in a non-title bout against Akhiro Gono.

8. Clay Guida

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 29-13

    Most Recent Fight: Lost against Gray Maynard at UFC on FX 4

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 7

     

    Clay Guida's reputation as one of the more exciting fighters in the lightweight division took a serious hit in his most recent fight against Gray Maynard. In said bout, Guida backpedaled through much of the five-round contest before suffering a split-decision loss on the scorecards.

    In his past two fights, Guida has been competitive with elite lightweights in Maynard and Benson Henderson. So, while the UFC and its fans may not be happy with Guida at the moment, he remains one of the best 155-pound fighters in the world.

     

     


7. Jim Miller

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 21-4

    Most Recent Fight: Lost against Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 3

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 8

     

    Jim Miller has lost two of his past three fights, but his record remains extremely impressive. The lightweight's four career losses have come against Benson Henderson, Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard and Nate Diaz.

    Undoubtedly, Miller is disappointed with his recent inability to pick up wins when they matter most, but the 28-year-old will still have a few more opportunities to climb his way to the top. At the moment, though, Miller's next opponent remains unnamed.

6. Anthony Pettis

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 15-2

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Joe Lauzon at UFC 144

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 6

     

    Anthony Pettis' back-to-back wins and highlight-reel knockout of Joe Lauzon have him creeping back into title-shot conversation, where he was when he joined the UFC as the final lightweight champion in WEC history.

    As the last fighter to defeat champion Benson Henderson, Pettis will be given every opportunity to earn a very sellable rematch. After having a promised title shot ripped away from him, Pettis could be on a much faster track to a championship bout than most other fighters in his situation would be.

5. Nate Diaz

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-7

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Jim Miller at UFC 144

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 5

     

    With three straight wins since returning to the lightweight division, Nate Diaz has already separated himself as the division's top contender. As such, Diaz now awaits the winner of Saturday's main event between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar.

    Coupled with the reach advantage he possesses against most lightweights, Diaz's boxing makes him a serious threat to capture the 155-pound title by late 2012 or early 2013.

4. Gilbert Melendez

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    Promotion: Strikeforce

    Record: 21-2

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Josh Thomson at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier

    Next Fight: Pat Healy at Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy

    Previous Ranking: 4

     

    In May, Gilbert Melendez was less than impressive in victory against Josh Thomson. However, the Strikeforce lightweight champion remains the most dominant 155-pound titleholder going right now. As Benson Henderson prepares for his first title defense, Melendez has already won in seven consecutive title fights.

    Now, Melendez will ready himself for another title defense against Pat Healy in September. Healy has won five straight fights since a submission loss to none other than Thomson.

3. Gray Maynard

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 11-1-1, 1 NC

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4

    Next Fight: TBD

    Previous Ranking: 3

     

    After coming up short in back-to-back title fights against Frankie Edgar, Gray Maynard got back on a winning track with an uneventful victory over Clay Guida. 

    Undoubtedly, Maynard will now sit back and cheer on Benson Henderson, as he is much more likely to earn a title fight against the former WEC champion than be booked for a fourth fight with Edgar anytime in the near future.

2. Frankie Edgar

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 14-2-1

    Most Recent Fight: Lost against Benson Henderson at UFC 144

    Next Fight: Benson Henderson at UFC 150

    Previous Ranking: 2

     

    Win or lose at UFC 150, Frankie Edgar has had a great run at lightweight and could even make a strong argument that he has surpassed B.J. Penn as the greatest lightweight in MMA history for now. However, should he come away with a loss on Saturday, Edgar will most likely make his long-debated move to 145 pounds.

    That being said, the extremely tough Edgar can never be counted out of a fight and has a very realistic chance of reclaiming his lightweight belt from Henderson. 

1. Benson Henderson

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    Promotion: UFC

    Record: 16-2

    Most Recent Fight: Won against Frankie Edgar at UFC 144

    Next Fight: Frankie Edgar at UFC 150

    Previous Ranking: 1

     

    In February, Benson Henderson ended the epic championship reign of Frankie Edgar with a narrow decision victory. While Henderson was more than deserving of the win, he will certainly look to defeat Edgar more decisively on Saturday.

    Should Henderson dispose of Edgar a second time, he could be on his way to a great lightweight title run of his own. As a former WEC champion, the 28-year-old Henderson already has experience defending a belt and appears fully focused on becoming one of the best ever.

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