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Bloody Elbow February 2008 Meta-Rankings: Lightweight Division

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Fighter Points Last Time
1. Takanori Gomi 28 28.17 (1)
2. BJ Penn 25.83 17.67 (4)
3. Gesias Calvancante 23.33 23.17 (2)
4. Sean Sherk 16.17 20.5 (3)
5. Gilbert Melendez 14.33 15.33 (5)
6. Mitsuhiro Ishida 12.5 13 (6)
7. Shinya Aoki 11.83 10.5 (7)
8. Hayato Sakurai 7.67 7.83 (10)
9. Tatsuya Kawajiri 7.17 8.67 (8)
10. Roger Huerta 6.83 6 (11)
11. Joe Stevenson 4.17 8.33 (9)
12. Kenny Florian 3 0.33 (15)
13. Joachim Hansen 2 0.33 (14)
14. Vitor Ribeiro 1.33 2 (13)
15. Nick Diaz 0.5 3 (12)
16. Frank Edgar 0.33 0.17 (16)

As I predicted in the comments of last month's Meta-Rankings for the Lightweights, B.J. Penn's win over Joe Stevenson to take the UFC 155lb belt shot him up the rankings. Should Penn beat Sean Sherk at UFC 84, there is a strong likelihood he will be a universal consensus #1.

Takanori Gomi certainly won't. Regardless of the outcome of his March match with Duane "Bang" Ludwig, Gomi will be falling in the rankings. His decision to sign with World Victory Road rather than DREAM will hurt him badly.

Speaking of DREAM, the child of K-1 Hero's and PRIDE is mounting an ambitious 154lb Grand-Prix from March to July. If the winner of that tournament is Calvancanti, Aoki, Kawajiri or Melendez that fighter will probably prevent Penn from becoming a consensus #1. If one of the long-shots win the tournament (Ishida, Hansen, Uno, etc) then Penn will probably reign -- provided he beats Sherk of course. Sherk is likely too unpopular with fans and critics to be a consensus #1 just from beating Penn. In fact, Sherk could probably beat Penn and go on to clear out the UFC's 155lb division and still not be a consensus #1.

The emergence of DREAM and the impressive line-up of lightweights in their debut GP tourny show that the UFC will have to work hard to establish themselves as the #1 organization for lightweights. UFC has 6 of these 16 fighters signed, but only 3 of the top 10. DREAMS has 6 of the top 10 and 7 of the 16 (maybe 8 if Vitor Ribeiro signs with them as well). Although it should be noted that Sakurai won't be fighting at 154 and should really only be ranked as a welterweight going forward. Gomi is all alone at World Victory Road and I'll be interested to see who he fights going forward. Zuffa seems to be snapping up the rising stars from DEEP and Cage Force. Will Shooto and Pancrase fighters move up to DREAM or WVR? My bet is DREAM will get the cream of the crop.

Nick Diaz is the only EliteXC fighter making the list and his status is falling. I expect to see UFC and DREAM dominate this division for at least the next year.

Rankings are based on an average of 6 Media Rankings (MMA Weekly, Sherdog, Irish Whip, Cage Potato, Inside MMA, and 5 oz of Pain), Fan Rankings (represented by MMA HQ and MMA Playground) and Computer Rankings (represented by Fight Matrix). If we missed a good ranking someone is doing let us know, we'll add them to the mix. Particularly other computerized or fan vote rankings.

A #1 vote is worth 10 points, #2 is 9 points and so on. Media rankings are totaled and divided by 6 to represent the average media ranking, this is then added to the computer and fan ranking points to create the total (perfect score is 30 points). Thanks to Brent Brookhouse for doing all the math work on this.