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