USAT/SBN April 2010 MMA Consensus Rankings: Lightweight

Rank Fighter % Promotion Last Rank
1 Frankie Edgar 99 UFC 7
2 B.J. Penn 97 UFC 1
3 Gilbert Melendez 89 Strikeforce 8
4 Kenny Florian 88 UFC 4
5 Eddie Alvarez 81 Bellator/DREAM 3
6 Gray Maynard 78 UFC 5
7 Shinya Aoki 77 DREAM/Strikeforce 2
8 Tatsuya Kawajiri 74 Strikeforce 6
9 Tyson Griffin 52 UFC 11
10 Sean Sherk 48 UFC 9
11 Mizuto Hirota 40 WVR 12
12 Diego Sanchez 38 UFC 10
13 Jim Miller 37 UFC 14
14 Ben Henderson 36 WEC 16
15 George Sotiropoulos 29 UFC 15
16 Joe Stevenson 28 UFC 16
17 Takanori Gomi 25 UFC 13
18 Joachim Hansen 21 DREAM 18
19 Kurt Pellegrino 19 UFC 30
20 Gesias Cavalcante 18 DREAM 19
21 Jorge Masvidal 16 G-Force Fights 20
22 Nate Diaz 16 UFC 23
23 Kazunori Yokota 15 WVR 21
24 Luis Palomino 15 G-Force Fights 23
25 Josh Thomson 14 Strikeforce 22

Rankings compiled by Richard Wade.

Wow. What a month for the lightweight division. First #1 Frankie Edgar upset #2 B.J. Penn at UFC 112. Throwing the division into disarray and rocketing Edgar up six places in the rankings. Then #3 Gilbert Melendez beat up and beat down #7 Shinya Aoki (formerly #2) at Strikeforce: Nashville. #5 Eddie Alvarez was collateral damage as he slid two slots due to a general bear market in fighters who made their reps on the Japanese circuit.

But those pundits and commenters who believe that Melendez' dismantling of Aoki somehow amounts to a discrediting of DREAM and PRIDE fighters really need to look more closely at Melendez' record. Other than fights with #25 Josh Thomson and #33 Clay Guida, Melendez' most notable wins and losses have all been in Japan -- he decisioned #8 Tatsuya Kawajiri in late 2006 and split a pair of fights with Mitsuhiro Ishida.

The UFC has wasted no time booking a rematch for Penn and Edgar at UFC 118 in Boston. That event will also see #4 Kenny Florian and #6 Gray Maynard fight for a title shot.

Those two fights will determine the future course of the UFC 155lb class for the foreseeable future.

As for the Japanese circuit, Kawajiri has been promised a crack at Aoki this summer in DREAM. This will be Kawajiri's chance to show that Melendez isn't the only boxer/wrestler to present a bad match up for Aoki.

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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