Post-UFC 123: Ranking the UFC's Top 10 Lightweights

Sean SmithAnalyst INovember 22, 2010

Post-UFC 123: Ranking the UFC's Top 10 Lightweights

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    At UFC 123, George Sotiropoulos continued to add to his growing pile of impressive victories. After getting off to a slow start, Sotiropoulos finished Joe Lauzon with a kimura in the second round.

    Talks of receiving a title shot have surfaced after each of Sotiropoulos' last three victories, but the approaching influx of WEC lightweights could further postpone his chances at fighting for the title.

    Let's take a look at just how close Sotiropoulos is to the top of the UFC's lightweight division.

    (Remember, fighters are eligible for rankings in weight classes in which they have competed with in one year's time.)

10. Nate Diaz

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Marcus Davis

    Next Fight: vs. Dong Hyun Kim @ UFC 125

    With his next fight scheduled to be at welterweight, this could be the last time Nate Diaz is featured in the lightweight rankings for quite awhile.

    However, Diaz has expressed interest in making a return to lightweight, so his spot in these rankings should serve as a reminder that he is still a threat at 155 pounds. 

9. Sean Sherk

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Evan Dunham

    Next Fight: TBA

    After battling injuries for more than one year, Sherk finally returned to the Octagon with a victory over Evan Dunham at UFC 119.

    While it was far from a dominating performance, Sherk did enough to take a decision on the judges' scorecards. The win proved that the 37-year-old Sherk is still relevant in the lightweight division.

8. Clay Guida

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Rafael Dos Anjos

    Next Fight: vs. Takanori Gomi @ UFC 125

    Clay Guida has long been considered at gatekeeper to the lightweight division's elite fighters.

    At UFC 125, Guida may have a chance to become an elite fighter himself if he is able to beat Takanori Gomi in impressive fashion.

7. George Sotiropoulos

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Joe Lauzon

    Next Fight: vs. Dennis Siver @ UFC 127

    Sotiropoulos continues to run through his competition in the UFC. While many hoped his next opponent would be a top contender, Dana White named Dennis Siver as Sotiropoulos' next adversary.

    Siver is a tough fight for anyone in the division, but his lack of star-power shows that Sotiropoulos may still be a few fights away from a title shot.

6. Takanori Gomi

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Tyson Griffin

    Next Fight: vs. Clay Guida @ UFC 125

    After losing to Kenny Florian in his UFC debut, Takanori Gomi bounced back with one of the highlight knockouts of 2010.

    Gomi showed that he belongs in the UFC as he sent Tyson Griffin face-planting into the Octagon canvas. Now, Gomi will have a chance to prove himself as a contender in the UFC.

5. Kenny Florian

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    Last Fight: Loss vs. Gray Maynard

    Next Fight: vs. Evan Dunham @ UFC Fight for the Troops 2

    With a title shot on the line, Kenny Florian suffered another letdown in a fight against Gray Maynard. 

    Time is now running out for the 34-year-old Florian to become a UFC champion. His next potential run to the top will begin with Evan Dunham. 

4. Diego Sanchez

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Paulo Thiago

    Next Fight: TBA

    With the one-year anniversary of his loss to B.J. Penn approaching, Sanchez will soon be removed from this list.

    However, Sanchez has kept open the possibility of a return to lightweight. With Penn now fighting at welterweight, Sanchez could soon become one of the biggest threats at lightweight.

3. B.J. Penn

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Matt Hughes

    Next Fight: vs. Jon Fitch @ UFC 127

    With his impressive knockout victory over Matt Hughes at UFC 123, Penn became a contender at welterweight.

    Although his lightweight future is on hold, Penn seemed to have the anger from back-to-back defeats against Frankie Edgar fresh in his mind as he threw the punch that may have ended Hughes' career.

2. Gray Maynard

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    Last Fight: Win vs. Kenny Florian

    Next Fight: vs. Frankie Edgar @ UFC 125

    With his win over Kenny Florian, Gray Maynard earned himself a shot at becoming the UFC Lightweight Champion.

    Possibly more important to him, Maynard earned a chance to show why he deserved a title shot before Frankie Edgar.

1. Frankie Edgar

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    Last Fight: Win vs. B.J. Penn

    Next Fight: vs. Gray Maynard @ UFC 125

    As an underdog, Frankie Edgar successfully defended his championship for the first time with a second consecutive win over B.J. Penn.

    If Edgar wishes to remain champion, he will have to win as an underdog again against Gray Maynard.