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Bloody Elbow July 2008 MMA Meta-Rankings: Lightweight

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Fighter Points Promotion Last Rank
1. B.J. Penn 498 UFC 1
2. Takanori Gomi 474 WVR 2
3. Shinya Aoki 438 DREAM 3
4.Gesias Calvancante 394 DREAM 4
5. Sean Sherk 342 UFC
6. Tatsuya Kawajiri 337 DREAM 6
7. Eddie Alvarez 329 DREAM/Elite XC 13
8. Josh Thomson 288 Strikeforce 15
9. Joachim Hansen 286 DREAM 19
10. Gilbert Melendez 248 Strikeforce 6
11. Kenny Florian 214 UFC 10
12. Vitor Ribeiro 209 DREAM(?) 9
13.Roger Huerta 197 UFC 11
14. Mitsuhiro Ishida 196 DREAM 8
15. Tyson Griffin 165 UFC NR
16. Caol Uno 146 DREAM 12
17. Joe Stevenson 144 UFC 16
18. Frank Edgar 104 UFC 17
19. Andre Amade 95 DREAM 19
20. Gray Maynard 93 UFC 20
21. K.J. Noons 90 EliteXC NR
22. Nate Diaz 89 UFC 18
23.Takashi Nakakura 86 Shooto 19
24. Ryan Schultz 85 WVR NR
25. Jamie Varner 82 WEC NR

Here are this month's lightweight Meta-rankings. As always keep in mind that these are not our opinion, rather a compilation of the rankings issued by leading MMA web sites. This is the division where IMO the meta-rankings really bring some clarity to a very muddled picture. Because the UFC abandoned the division for more than two years, PRIDE was long considered the sole province of top lightweights.

Despite the UFC having rebuilt an extremely impressive division in the last couple of years, because most of their top contenders have either been young (Florian, Huerta, Griffin, Stevenson) or moved from higher weight classes (Penn, Sherk), there wasn't a clear record of cross-competition. Therefore the ex-PRIDE fighters were long over-ranked, and even though Penn is now almost universally considered #1, the other contenders in the UFC lightweight division are still underranked IMO.I expect if Florian vs Huerta is won in impressive fashion that the winner will break into the top 10, maybe even into some top 5s. If Griffin keeps winning he should continue to rise as well.

The DREAM tournament should have brought some clarity to the picture, but instead only muddled things further with upset losses by Aoki, Ishida, Calvacante, and Kawajiri and the unexpected rise of Eddie Alvarez and the come-back of Hansen. It seems like the fighting world has decided to act as if Aoki's loss to Hansen doesn't count against Aoki but does help Hansen. The meta-rankings even out those sites who choose to ignore Alvarez with those who consider him near the very top.

Ribeiro's balloon continues to deflate as his inactivity continues. I'm still very interested to see him fight one of DREAM's PRIDE veterans, Ishida, Kawajiri, or Uno would all be good matchups for the BJJ ace.

Noons, Schulz and Varner illustrate the value of winning belts in weak promotions. None of them has beaten another fighter currently ranked in the top 25 in the last three years (Schulz beat Huerta way back in the day). They've all got some impressive wins but I don't think they'd do that well in the bigger leagues. Schulz will have a chance to rise higher in the WVR/Sengoku lightweight tournament which is an excellent mix of the best fighters from small promotions like DEEP, CageForce and KOTC.

Facing the winner of that tournament will keep Gomi active but he's becoming increasingly irrelevant over time, as if he were in a parallel and much smaller universe. At this point, the only fighters on his resume still on the top 25 list are Ishida, Kawajiri, Hansen and Penn and he lost to the latter two.

Thomson and Melendez are likewise trapped in a parallel universe of Strikeforce. It would be nice if they would go fight in DREAM, Sengoku or Elite XC if not the UFC.

Based on the premise that opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and they all stink, instead of putting up our own subjective fighter rankings, we compile and average the rankings of every source we could find online.

The goal is to show how the MMA community rates the fighters, not to bore you with our opinions.

Be sure and look at the points, they're a much more telling number than the ranking. There's clearly a huge gulf between the top 9 fighters and those that follow.

A total of 37 fighters were ranked in the top 25 by one source or another. For reasons of sanity I only track the top 25 most highly rated fighters.

25 points are awarded 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. Each site consulted awards a total of 325 points. Fuller explanation below.

Rankings were compiled from the following sites: TAGG Radio, MMA News, Sherdog, Cage Potato, MMA On Tap, Five Ounces of Pain, Houston Chronicle's Brawl Sports, WAMMA, MMA Fighting, MMA-ELO, FCFighter, 411 Mania, MMA Madness, FFightMatrix, MMA Playground, HDNet/Inside MMA, MMAVT (Japan), Total MMA and Figure 4 Online.

The normalization scheme as explained by JCS of FightMatrix is here:

The “normalization number” (new name) would be:

divided by
(Total Fighters Found in Any List minus 10)

Every fighter found somewhere else, but on a Top 10 list would be assigned this number.

The “normalization” number would not apply to a fighter not found on a Top 25 list. They would simply get 0.

So the process would be:

Do all of the Top 25 lists first, #1 = 25, #2 = 24…. #24 = 2, #25 = 1
Do all of the Top 10 lists, same scoring structure.. stops at #10 = 16

Figure out that normalization variable.

Fill in the normalization variable to all fighters not found in the Top 10 lists, but found elsewhere.

Do your totals and rank.