UFC 150 Results: Benson Henderson and the Top 10 UFC Lightweights
After an interesting night of fights, compliments of UFC 150 and the beautiful city of Denver, the UFC's lightweight division will surely encounter some changes.
Will Frankie Edgar's loss knock him down the divisional ladder?
Where will Donald Cerrone's KO of Melvin Guillard rank him amongst the best in the world?
What does Diego Sanchez's return mean to the division's middle pack of contenders?
Look no further. Here are the top-10 UFC lightweights going forward.
10. Donald Cerrone
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Whoever won between Donald Cerrone and Melvin Guillard was going to end up here so it should come as no surprise.
Cerrone could not have looked better against Guillard at UFC 150. He survived an initial barrage of punches and knees from "The Young Assassin" to turn things around, land a devastating head kick and secure the KO victory with a punch that left Guillard covering his face.
At this point, despite looking like an amateur striker against Nate Diaz at UFC 141, Cerrone should still be considered one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division.
He doesn't come in higher than No. 10 strictly because he hasn't beaten anyone on this list. His Octagon wins over Guillard and Jeremy Stephens are impressive, but there's too much talent ahead of him.
Although, a potential victory over Anthony Pettis would surely change that.
9. Jim Miller
With excellent wrestling skills and worthy submissions, Jim Miller seems to have it all figured out.
However, Miller hasn't really produced against some of the division's best strikers, specifically Nate Diaz and Ben Henderson.
He often seems slow on his feet and unable to make an impact in the standup game. Now while that may not be his bread and butter, it's important for any top lightweight to know how to box and strike with success.
Food for thought, Miller has lost all three of his fights against top contenders in the division; Diaz, Henderson and Gray Maynard.
Simply put, Miller needs to grind away to get back to where he once was.
8. Diego Sanchez
Diego Sanchez is officially back in the lightweight division.
After posting a 2-2 record over his last four fights as a welterweight, including three Fight of the Nights, "The Dream" has decided to retest his luck at 155 lbs.
Remember, Sanchez is only three years removed from his lightweight championship bout with BJ Penn, as well as his 2009 Fight of the Year opposite divisional gatekeeper Clay Guida.
At this point in his career, as a 30-year-old seeking yet another title opportunity, it makes sense for Sanchez to move back down. With a relative size advantage over most of the UFC's current lightweights, he should have no trouble implementing his world-class ground and pound.
Dana White and Joe Silva should feel very comfortable giving Sanchez a worthy contender in his first fight back in the division, so consider the veteran a budding championship threat himself.
7. Clay Guida
After losing a lackluster battle against Gray Maynard back in June, Clay Guida seems to be on the decline as far as title chances are concerned.
The loss to Maynard basically knocked him out of the top five in the division and his loss to Benson Henderson at UFC on FOX 1 was just as crucial in bumping him down the ladder.
Now don't get it wrong, Guida is still one of the best gamers in the division and could easily rack off two straight victories. But considering the UFC may pin him against Diego Sanchez in a rematch, it may be more difficult than usual.
The 30-year-old will have to significantly rebound to be considered a top-five lightweight by the end of next year.
6. Joe Lauzon
It's safe to say that Joe Lauzon is the best finisher in the lightweight division.
On top of recently submitting a resurgent Jamie Varner at UFC on FOX, Lauzon has successfully finished every one of his nine UFC victories by either KO, TKO, or submission.
That automatically makes the 28 year old a top contender in one of the toughest divisions around.
With budding power in his hands, world-class transitions and an array of submissions, "J-Lau" seems prone to make a run at the title in the near future.
5. Gray Maynard
Gray Maynard has what it takes to be champion.
As one of the division's biggest natural specimens, Maynard has been able to utilize his power and wrestling prowess in the past to batter some of the best lightweights in the world.
After making Clay Guida look like a guy unwilling to stand and bang, which is borderline impossible to pull off, it looks as if Maynard is ready to shake off his past title woes against Frankie Edgar and make another run at UFC gold.
His next fight may very well be a No. 1 contenders bout to see who will face the winner of Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz.
4. Anthony Pettis
Anthony "Showtime" Pettis possesses all the necessary ingredients to someday become the UFC lightweight champion.
He's young, versatile on his feet, hard-noised and explosive, making him one of the most well-rounded contenders the division has seen in years.
Since losing to Clay Guida in his UFC debut back in 2011, Pettis has racked off two-straight victories, including a KO of Joe Lauzon at UFC 144.
It's starting to look like Pettis is finally getting comfortable in the UFC and could very be turning into an unstoppable force.
Unfortunately for the budding star, he's getting caught up in a dispute with Donald Cerrone, so he'll most likely be fighting him instead of top lightweights like Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar.
3. Frankie Edgar
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
The second installment of Benson Henderson vs. Frankie Edgar sure resembled the first one.
The only difference? No up-kick.
Edgar seemed to inflict more damage throughout their second five round battle and looked ready to reclaim the lightweight title.
However, the judges didn't see it that way and gave Henderson more rounds than the challenger. The outcome sort of resembled the robbery displayed in Lyoto Machida's first title defense against Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, in which Rua was clearly the better fighter but "didn't do enough to win the belt".
Regardless of the judge's decision, Edgar performed like old. He took some shots, countered with quick fists of fury and controlled the action more so than the champ.
If this fight told us anything, it's that Edgar deserves to be a lightweight title contender heading into 2013 and that the speculation about him moving to featherweight should be put to rest.
Do I dare say Edgar vs. Gray Maynard IV?
2. Nate Diaz
Dana White recently said that Nate Diaz is next in line to challenge Benson Henderson for the lightweight championship.
Like him or not, it's about damn time.
Diaz has become one of the most well-groomed competitors in the entire UFC and never seems hesitant to make his fights all out brawls.
Since making his return to the division back at UFC 135, Diaz has secured three highly impressive victories.
One via submission over Takanori Gomi in his divisional comeback, one via submission over Jim Miller in his most recent bout and a unanimous decision over Donald Cerrone which ended with Diaz landing a grand total of 238 strikes.
So by looking at Diaz's domination over the past twelve months, it makes sense to throw him in the lion's den.
1. Benson Henderson
Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Whether or not you agree with the decision, Benson Henderson it still the undisputed UFC lightweight champion.
He presumably did enough to take a decision out of Frankie Edgar's hands yet again and seemed to withstand everything the challenger threw at him (except the knockdown).
It wasn't the greatest of performances by a champion looking to undoubtedly secure a victory in a close rematch but it is what it is.
Next up for Henderson will be Nate Diaz.
Henderson will surely have his hands full but could actually fare better against a guy slightly slower than Edgar.
In the future it's going to be hard for "Smooth" to swat away the copious amount of contenders the lightweight division has to offer. But for now, he's the No. 1 guy for obvious reasons.
In other news, this sorry writer lost a gallon milk challenge thinking the judges would award Edgar with the decision. Guess I'll be chugging like a champ.
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