Lightweight is generally one of the busiest divisions in the UFC (and MMA overall), so it shouldn't come as a surprise that we update the rankings on this particular division a lot. We did them after UFC on Fox 7 when a lot changed, and UFC 160 offered some more movement. In between, a couple of suspensions have altered things as well (since the rules state that we can't rank suspended fighters).
As usual, our panel consists of two members from each of the three SB Nation MMA sites - Ariel Helwani and Dave Doyle from MMA Fighting; Thomas Myers and Brian Hemminger from MMA Mania; and finally, Dallas Winston and yours truly from Bloody Elbow. Check out the fancy chart below to see where we had everyone at:
(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission or company suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues. Presently, this applies to Pat Healy, who is under suspension in New Jersey; and Nate Diaz, who has been suspended by the UFC. Also, Anthony Pettis is ineligible at lightweight due to the fact he is scheduled to fight at featherweight next).
The suspensions offered some fighters an opportunity for a brief visit to our top 10. Ben Henderson obviously sits on top of the list as the reigning UFC lightweight champion. T.J. Grant's huge UFC 160 win over Gray Maynard made him the number one contender, but couldn't push him past the last title challenger on our lists. Gilbert Melendez continues to hold down the two spot after his razor-thin loss to Henderson. Grant did get to number three though, with Josh Thomson holding down the four spot. Maynard fell from three to five with the loss.
Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler hold the six spot, while Donald Cerrone moves up to seven after his win over K.J. Noons. Eddie Alvarez is in limbo in terms of his career right now, but he managed to grab the eight spot. The final two spots went to the previously-unranked Khabib Nurmagomedov and Rafael dos Anjos, who tied for ninth. Jim Miller was the other other fighter to receive votes.
Upcoming matchups for ranked fighters
Ben Henderson (1) vs. T.J. Grant (3) - TBA
Michael Chandler (6) vs. Mike Rickels (NR), Bellator 97, July 31st