Should the UFC Hold a Lightweight Grand Prix to Decide the Next Title Contender?

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IJune 24, 2011

The UFC lightweight division is at a standstill.

With champion Frankie Edgar and top contender Gray Maynard sidelined with injuries, there is no clear direction for some of the division's brightest stars.

Most would agree that Jim Miller is currently ahead of the herd. He is set to face former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson on August 14 in a possible title eliminator bout.

With no timeline set for Edgar or Maynard's return, the future remains uncertain. Even if Miller defeated Henderson, he would likely be forced to choose between taking a fight or going on an extended hiatus and waiting for a title shot.

What can the UFC do to sort out the excessively stacked and talented 155-pound division? UFC lightweight contender Melvin Guillard has an idea.

"Edgar and Maynard still haven't fought again, so right now, everybody's at a standstill," Guillard told "The only solution I see is them doing a 155-pound grand prix tournament, and putting everybody in brackets and weeding the losers to giving a true No. 1 contender a fight here in the next year or so."

With the success of the ongoing Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, UFC President Dana White could entertain the idea. The lightweight division is arguably the most stacked in the entire sport. With Strikeforce onboard and their partnership with Dream, fans can also hope for cross-promotional entries of upper-echelon talent like Gilbert Melendez and Shinya Aoki.

What about a B.J. Penn return?

A lightweight tourney would probably peak the Hawaiian's interest. Former two-time title contender Kenny Florian would be another name to consider, but he is apparently next in line to challenge Jose Aldo for the featherweight title.

"I honestly felt after the [Evan] Dunham fight that it was going to move me a lot higher," Guillard said. "But they're still ranking guys like Dennis Siver ahead of me, and I knocked this chump out in less than two minutes. He even called me out again, trying to fight me again."

Siver entered the title mix after securing major victories over George Sotiropoulos and Spencer Fisher. Guillard doesn't mind fighting guys like Siver and his upcoming opponent Shane Roller, but he is looking for fights that will further his position in the lightweight division.

"Honestly, you guys and all the fans are going to be like, 'well, we kind of knew that was going to happen...why was Shane Roller even in the cage with Melvin?' So, it's just one of those fights where, for me, it doesn't make sense...but it always makes sense when you're in there to make a paycheck," said Guillard.

"As far as I'm concerned, that's all it's going to do for me is bless me with another paycheck. But as far as moving me up the rankings and making me more elite? I don't think that's going to do anything."