USAT/SBN August 2009 MMA Consensus Rankings: Lightweight

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 B.J. Penn 100 UFC 1
2 Shinya Aoki 93 DREAM 3
3 Eddie Alvarez 87 Bellator/DREAM/Strikeforce 4
4 Kenny Florian 82 UFC 2
5 Frank Edgar 73 UFC 6
6 Tatsuya Kawajiri 69 DREAM 7
7 Gray Maynard 64 UFC 9
8 Diego Sanchez 63 UFC 8
9 Joachim Hansen 59 DREAM 5
10 Sean Sherk 49 UFC 11
11 Josh Thomson 43 Strikeforce 12
12 Gesias Cavalcante 35 DREAM 13
13 Mizuto Hirota 27 WVR 27
14 Gilbert Melendez 26 Strikeforce 18
15 Satoru Kitaoka 25 WVR 10
16 Tyson Griffin 23 UFC 14
17 Jamie Varner 21 WEC 21
18 Eiji Mitsuoka 20 WVR 15
19 Joe Stevenson 20 UFC 17
20 Spencer Fisher 19 UFC 20
20 Clay Guida 19 UFC 19
22 Kurt Pellegrino 18 UFC 30
23 Takanori Gomi 18 WVR 16
24 Roger Huerta 15 UFC 23
25 Nate Diaz 14 UFC 25

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

With his sound defeat of #4 (former #2) Kenny Florian at UFC 101, #1 B.J. Penn has once again attained a 100% ranking as the unanimous #1 lightweight of all the top sites in MMA.

Ironically, the drop he caused in KenFlo's ranking has allowed DREAM's Shinya Aoki to rise to #2 and Bellator's Eddie Alvarez to get back to #3.Bellator/'s Eddie Alvarez to get back to #3. Aoki is coming off a rather lackluster decision win over Vitor Ribeiro at DREAM.10. He'll next face #9 Joachim Hansen in a title bout at DREAM.11 in October. This will be a rubber-match for the pair, having split their first two bouts.

B.J. is expected to defend his belt against #8 Diego Sanchez at UFC 105 in October.

#7 Gray Maynard will next fight against #24 Roger Huerta at UFN 19 in September.

UPDATE (from the comments): In response to a couple of good questions I wrote the following to explain why this division is a bit of a mess:

The thing with the lightweights is that a lot of the top guys fought each other and created some ugly loops. I’m thinking of Melendez losing to Ishida and Thomson, Kawajiri losing to Melendez and Alvarez, Calvancante losing to Kawajiri and Aoki, Aoki losing to Hansen, Hansen losing to Alvarez and Mitsuoka, Ishida losing to Melendez and Uno, Gomi losing to Kitaoka (and that other guy), Kitaoka losing to Hirota, Mitsuoka losing to Kitaoka….etc etc

I think if the DREAM/Strikeforce and WVR pools could settle on one top fighter the way the UFC has there would be huge demand to see that fighter against B.J. Penn.

But as long as the Japanese lightweight pools are gripped by parity, there is no pressure on the UFC to make the big acquisitions and as long as B.J. Penn keeps cleaning up on the UFC lightweight division, the Japanese guys will be dominating the #2 – 5 spots.

About the consensus rankings:

Based on the premise that all MMA rankings are subjective but that it’s still useful and informative to know who the online MMA community as a whole ranks as the best fighters in MMA, we collect and average the rankings of the top MMA websites to produce our consensus rankings.

We compile the top MMA rankings from each of our sources and award 25 points for a first place ranking, 16 for a 10th place ranking, 1 for a 25th place ranking. A formula is used to "normalize" the data so all fighters are awarded points from those lists that do not include a full 25 fighters. This formula ensures that each ranking site awards the same number of total points regardless of how many fighters they choose to rank. Each fighter’s total is divided by the number of possible points to determine their standing in the Consensus Rankings.


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